To John O'Shanassy   1 May 1858

Melbourne bot. Garden,

1. May 1858


Monthly report on the labours performed at the botanic Garden and at the office of the Govern. Botanist for the month of April 1858.


The ground near and around the wooden shade has been drained by underground pipes of 6" and 9" width and by surface gutters, the slope in front of the building being levelled at the same time. Drainpipes have been applied also to the declivity immediately above the rustic bridge and east of this spot the brickgutters have been completed. As the season was favourable and the water low at the lagoon a supply of stalkes has been cut in the teatree swamp near the Yarra for supports of shrubs and climbers.

We commenced securing a supply of plants for next year in propagating the more eligible kinds by cuttings.

Seeds, chiefly those received last month, have been sown under canvass cover, no better means being hitherto available, but the glass frames intended for this purpose are now in preparation under order of the hon. the Chief Commissioner of public works.1

Mr Dallachi was ordered to secure in our environs seedlings of such plants, as are suitable for exchanges with other gardens and he is now for the same purpose engaged at the Grampians, where his special attention has been drawn to the rare species restricted to that range of mountains, many yet desiderate even of our own gardens. The honorable fam. Henty has kindfully consented to effect their transit from Port Fairy to Hobsons Bay free of charge. Dr. Mueller ascended Mount Juliet for the same object and secured some rarities, besides augmenting by some notes and additional plants his work on the native flora

At the early part of the month our labour was chiefly devoted to clearing the ground, removing decayed plants, shearing of the Chamomile edges & similar general garden occupations of this season. Advantage has been taken of the last slight showers and the cessation of heat to remove from the nurseries such lately introduced plants, as are calculated for the open borders. Some places of shelter were prepared for the animals of our little menagerie, and some ornamental woodwork was added to the aviary, where at least the Canary birds are rapidly increasing. Climbers are planted on several of our buildings. Some seats were made, altho' the carpenters time was greatly absorbed in general repairs. Bulbs have been distributed all over the ground and will probably render the garden gay during the next season. Small seedlings have been potted & properly attended to.

A consignment of New Zealand plants, chiefly valuable pines were imported under the friendly aid of Capt Kreeft, the Commander of the Marchioness, from Wellington.

The Directors sparehours were principly employed in examining plants, either of this colony or submitted to his investigation from other parts of Australia.

Attention has been given to secure good soil for pot plants & for seed beds.

In compliance with a request from the honorable Capt Pasley a new road has been marked out through the reserve with an ultimate view of adding to the area of the garden and of planting a shady avenue along this walk as being a favourite line between Prahran or South Yarra and Prince's bridge.

The toolhouse as far as the contract went, has been completed by contractor Rickerd,2 whilst the Yarra footbridge is also completed by Contractor Sinclair with partial exception of the abutment. From 12,000 to 13,000 visitors availed themselves of the ready access given thus to the gardens alone on Sundays, the number of visitors counted then amounting to about 3000 each of these days.

Of a recent spontaneous offer from Mr Witton of Sydney, to convey for us by the Royal Mail vessels plants &c free of charge, we shall not fail to avail ourselves gratefully.

The Government botanical collections have been enlarged and improved, and the set of specimens destined for the public library is almost completed.

Bonds for the faithful performance of duty by the officers of this establishment have been submitted in behalf of the Gov. Botanist by Drs Howitt & Wilkie & the honor. Capt Clarke, and in behalf of the Clerk and the Curator3 by the Peoples provident society.4

The following documents were submitted during the month of April to Government: Report on the labours in the bot. Garden and on the proceedings of the Gov. Botanist for March; return of expenditure during January, February & March;5 return of revenue for horses grazing at the reserve during the month of March; pay sheets showing an expenditure of 368£ 14/6d for salaries and wages;6 requisition for books and official formules, for ironfencing-material (supplied by the office of public works),7 return of the officers of this department, requisition for the transit of Wardian Cases to Aukland,8 Moreton Bay and Honolulu, accounts for New Zealand plants = £24 5/,9 besides some minor official papers.

The correspondence from this department during the last month embraces letters to the following gentlemen: Walt Hill Esq. Director of the bot. Gardens of Brisbane, Ch. Moore Esq. Director of the bot. Garden of Sydney, Mr Vernon of the same establishment, to George Francis Esq. Director of the bot Garden of Adelaide, to Ang. M'Millan Esq. Gippsland, Mr Charl. Stuart at Brisbane, to F. Abbott of the Royal Society's Garden of Hobarton, to Dr. Milligan of Hobarton, to Mr Fr. Selwyn of St. Kilda, to the Hon. Jam. Henty, to Mr B. Ross, Mount Korong, to Wm Woolls Esq. Paramatta, to Mr [Jul] Schomburgk Adelaide to the Rev. Jul. Edm. Woods, Penola, to Dr Sonder of Hamburg, to Sir Will. Hooker of Kew, to the honor. Dr. Embling, to Capt Lowring C. B., Commander of the Iris, to Dr. Hillebrand of Honolulu, to Capt Newell of the Vaquero, to Mr D. Bunce Superintendant of the bot. Garden of Geelong, to Mr Dallachi, Mount Sturgeon, to Dr Hance of Hongkong, to Capt Kreeft of the Marchioness, to Mr Long, Ballarat, to R. Kippist Esq Librarian of the Linnean Society of London, to Professor Dr. Harvey of Dublin, to Mr Planch of Port Natal, to Mr Pamplin of London, to Mr D. Wilkinson of Wellington N.Z.10

Either by donation or by exchange have been received during the month: from Mr Hull seeds of Myrtle, from Mr Galt of publ. work office Indian seeds, from Mr Vernon of Sydney 139 kinds chiefly Australian seeds, from Mr Woolls, Paramatta a few botanical specimens & Brachychiton seeds, from the honor. Sir James Palmer cuttings of Mandavilla,11 from Mr Rich. Schomburgh12 of Gawlertown bulbs, from Dr Howitt plants of Peperomia and seeds, from Mr Beliafonte13 of Melbourne Panama-orchid, from Dr. Hance of Hongkong bot. specimens, from the hon. Mr Duffy seed of Sugar-mapple,14 from Mr John Whelan a large quantity of Ash seeds from Mr Wagon seeds of mistletoe, from Dr. Hillebrand Honolulu 37 kinds of seeds from Sandwich Islands, from Mr Kruse medicinal seeds, from Mr Brown of Como 2 weeping Chinese Cypresses, from Mr Thos Moore Director of the bot Garden of Chelsea tropical seeds, from Edw. Wilson Esq 2 Chaffinches, from Dr. Hance Hongkong seeds, from Capt Cave of the "Panama" 2 Chinese Geese, from Mr Walt. Hill of Brisbane seeds of Fegee island15 vegetable and Moreton Bay Zamia, from Mr Woolls Paramatta seeds of [Ca]tha, from Mr Rawl. May seeds and a large lot of bulbs, from the hon. Dr. Greeves seeds of Acacia, from Capt Kreeft 1 Chatham island Lily; As proceeds of our collector,16 whilst in employ at Moreton Bay two cases containing 137 seedlings of East Australian plants including 40 Araucarias.

The following supplies have been granted since the last month from this establishment to Mr Galt: cuttings, to Toorack17 Garden: cuttings & 9 plants in pots, to Messrs Smith & Adamson herbaceous seeds and Ferraria-bulbs; to the phil Institute flowers for decoration, to Mr Layard flowers for a lecture, to Mr Shepherd South Yarra cuttings, to Surveyor Phillips Ballarat 9 young trees, to the Hon Judge Barry 13 bulbs, to the hon. Dr Embling a collection of miscel. seeds, to Sir James Palmer seeds & cuttings, to Messrs Pince & Co Davon18 87 Austral seeds, to Dr Howitt 6 pot-plants, to Dr Hillebrand of Honolulu 251 kinds of miscellaneous seeds, to Mr Kenworthy flowers & greens for decoration, to the Gardener of the Earl of Minto 73 kinds of Australian seeds, to Mr Clarson wood specimens for experiments, to Mr Brown of Como rosebuds & cuttings, to Capt Kay R. N. South Yarra 1 rose-plant & Clianthus seeds, to Mr Merrett 1 Rose, to Mr Plant, Superintendent of the public garden of Port Natal 80 Austral seeds, to Mr Lightfoot South Yarra 6 pot-plants, to Arthur Bible Esq Melbourne 65 Australian seeds, to the Rev. Dr. Cairns flowers for decorations, to Mrs Barker of Port Phillip heads 59 kinds of seeds of trees & shrubs, to the Unitarian Church flowers for decoration, to Mr Roos of the Murray River 78 kinds of seeds of trees and shrubs, to the hon. Dr. Featherstone Superintendent of the Colony of Wellington a Wardian Case with 23 Austral. plants & 67 seeds,19 to Dr Hance of Hongkong a small collection of dried specimens, to Mr Short flowers for a painting, to the bot. Garden of Aukland in a Wardian Case 34 well established plants & 68 kinds of seeds, to W. Hill Esq Direct. of the botan Garden of Moreton Bay a Wardian Case filled with 33 plants, to Professor Balfour of Edinburgh bot. Garden 236 miscellan. seeds, to Dr. W. Hillebrand of Honolulu a wardian Case with 28 potted plants and to the bot. Garden of Capetown 218 kinds of promiscuous seeds.

The number of gardeners and labourers employed during the month of April was sixteen.

Not less than 11,205 visitors have been counted as entering at the principle gates our gardens during the last four Sundays, besides many passing through the smaller gates. It is my duty to direct the attention of the Government to the dangerous temporary approaches of the bridge, their narrowness having already caused accidents.

Ferd. Mueller, M.D., PhD.

Director of the bot. Garden & Gov. Botanist.20











See M to Charles Duffy, 31 March 1858 and 29 May 1858.
George Rickard.
Carl Wilhelmi was the Clerk and John Dallachy the Curator.
The bonds were in effect insurance policies that had to be taken out by those who could not get guarantors. These bonds were required for those who handled money or approved expenditure.
M to J. O'Shanassy, 1 April 1858 and 31 March 1858.
letters not found.
See letters to C. Duffy and from T. Balmain.
letters not found.
Only two of these letters have been found: M to W. Hooker, 15 April 1858 and M to D. Bunce, 30 April 1858.
Richard Schomburgk.
Presumably S. Belinfonte.
See also M to C. Duffy, 17 April 1858.
Fiji Islands?
Charles Stuart?
Toorak, Melbourne.
See I. Featherston to M, 27 January 1858.
MS annotation, 4 May 1858: '12,000 visitors during the 4 Sundays of the month. The temporary approaches to the bridge have caused accidents'.

Please cite as “FVM-58-05-01a,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 26 October 2021,