To John O'Shanassy1    July 1858

Monthly Report on the progress of the labours in the botanic Garden and on the proceedings of the Gov. Botanist, June 1858.


Besides our carrying out the usual work of the season, preparations have been made for extending the pine-plantations on the declivities sloping towards the lagoon. Holes were dug and the barren soil exchanged for the rich mould from the Yarra-Banks.

The same process was adopted in continueing the avenues.

The hot-house has undergone a throughout repair, the stages having been entirely renewed. Shelves have been put up at the new storehouse as also at the office, altho' the present building is both too small and too moist for the bot. collections. —

Under the advantage of rain-showers we commenced transplanting in the beginning of the month, also preparing cuttings for next years supply. The borders in the eastern part of the Garden have been edged anew. The regular annual digging of the ground commenced at the end of this month. In front of the exhibition-shade and around the vaste ground flower-borders have been made, in order to conceal the latter unsightly place with a plantation of shrubs. A new walk is completed through the southern glade and an other under progress from the aviary to the menagerie. Along the latter we desire to extend the enclosure for waterbirds. The outside of the old nurseries is now transformed into a shrubbery, thus brought out of sight and access of ordinary visitors.

A considerable lot of seeds has been conveyed to the ground.

At the menagerie and aviary attention has been given, to shelter the animals against the cold & wet. A few of the Canary birds continue nesting even at this season. The old hut, so long a disgrace to the paddock, has been removed.

The work at the new plantation of Blue Gum trees in the Gov. Reserve has been superintended.

Under the authority of the office of public works approaches are progressing at the Yarra Bridge The honorable the Chief Commissioner of publ. works also kindfully consented to provide the heating apparatus for the palm-house, also the t[an]k & spouts for the same building, the spouts for the shade and orchestra, seats in the latter building, and also a cottage in the S.W. part of the reserve for the bailiff, which I would be glad to make at a future period the quarters of the carter, as it will be desirable to remove the stables to this part of the grounds. My observations moreover during the last 13 months have persuaded me of the superfluity of present Bailiffs employment and I would therefore recommend that his appointment should be abolished, since his annual income and allowances would supply the garden for the cool season with two labourers and during the summermonths with one, by which means a great deal of additional work might be executed.2

The herbarium of the University received considerable additions. A collection of dried plants, belonging to the Flora of Victoria, has been deposited for general use at the public library of Melbourne. It contains 1067 species

Some new plants have been examined. Those, sent from other Australian Colonies for examination to this office found publicity in the second number of my "fragmenta phytographia Australiae",3 issued under the sanction of his honor the Chief Secretary at the Govern. Printing office. A large importation of Grampian-plants has been effected by Mr Dallachi, who upon the Director's desire devoted two months for securing seedlings of the rarities of that range, and it would be a great injustice not to admit, that this mission was accomplished in a most satisfactory manner, several thousands seedlings of plants have been safely and with little expense conveyed to the gardens. I trust therefore, that his Honor the Chief Secretary will kindfully sanction the small outlay, which this journey incurred. If the 120£ lately solicited for travelling expenses were granted out of the vote for tools & apparatus (which by being economically employed is well able to bear this reduction), an other journey for obtaining seedlings could be performed by Mr Dallachi in July and August to the Mallee-scrub, and in September or October to the Buffalo-Range, whilst the Gov. Botanists botanical survey could be extended with the same outlay to the N.W. deserts of the colony in Aug or September, to Cape Howe in October and to Mount Baw Baw in December.4

The number of Visitors counted at the bridge & principle gates on the Sundays of June was 7040. — The number of gardeners and labourers was 16.

The contributions have been considerable. But whilst I refrain from specifying them, as they will be mentioned in my annual report (due next month) I would not postpone mentioning at least the arrival of the following living plants: vize 1 Case from Mr Fr. Fergusen of Camden, 1 Case from Mr Massle of Moreton Bay, 1 Case from the bot Garden of Brisbane, 1 collection from Capt Kreeft of N. Zeeland, and 1 Collection from Mr W. Woolls of Paramatta.

Many former donors have reciprocally been supplied with plants; — on a more extensive scale however had the public establishments the benefit of our supply. Thus the Melbourne University garden, the zoological Garden, the public gardens of Geelong and of Portland, that of the Military Barracks and of the benevolent Asylum, also the South Park, the Government Reserve, both cemetries of St. Kilda &c have been furnished with large lots of plants.

The communication with establishments abroad is steadily at an increase. Professor de Vriese of the University of Leyden, commissioned by his Sovereign the King of Holland to examine the bot. treasures of Java, has kindfully consented to contribute also towards our gardens. Professor Balfour of Edinburgh bot Garden & University, Sir Will. Hooker of Kew royal gardens, Professor Harvey of Dublin University and many savants of the continent & America continue to cooperate with us.5

Ferd. Mueller, Ph. & M.Dr.,

Gov. Botanist & Director of the bot Gardens.6

See also J. Moore to M, 14 July 1858.
My observations … be executed is marked by double lines in margin and annotated: 'for appl' [approval]'.
thousands seedlings of plants…Baw Baw in December is marked by a line in the margin and annotated: 'for appl' [approval].
Only two of these letters have been found: M to W. Hooker, 10 June 1858 and 14 June 1858.
On 8 July 1858 the Under Secretary, J. Moore, minuted: 'There is no such appointment on the Estimates as that of "Bailiff" The Man alluded to must be paid as a Gardener or Laborer and as Dr Mueller has the entire control of this class he requires no authority from this Office to enable him to carry out the arrangement he proposes. The provision for travelling expenses has been dealt with on another paper'. See M to J. O'Shanassy, 29 June 1858, and J. Moore to M, 14 July 1858.

Please cite as “FVM-58-07-00b,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 27 October 2021,