To John O'Shanassy1    May 1859

Monthly report of the proceedings of the Government Botanist and of the work performed in the botanical & zoological Gardens for April 1859.2


The examination of the plants collected by Mr Dallachy last season in the interior has been completed and the 5 No. of the Fragmenta phytographiae Australiae appeared.3

Some additional lithographic plates for the flora of Victoria are under work, and as the manyfold engagements of Mr Becker prevented him from furnishing them with regularity, the services of an other artist, Mr Schoenfeld have also been secured, for this purpose. Some new painted Garden-labels are written. The dried specimens have been sorted and the duplicates are already partially distributed as well as the seeds, gathered last season. The Stumps of old trees have been rooted out in various portions of the Ground. The wood fence in the reserve, contracted for by Mr Hughes is not yet completed, which is so much more to be regretted as the winter season is setting in, which is likely to prove injurious to some of the animals on the low Ground where they are kept at present.

The flat on the N. E. side of the lagoon has been cleared from dead timber and the half decayed underwood and a beautiful cool place for summer promenade will thereby be added to the Ground. The walk at the N. W. entrance of the Garden has been raised to a level at some places more than 3 feet for which purpose it was necessary to build a stonewall on the Yarra bank. To prevent any accidents of children falling from this steep wall into the river, the former has been lined with basalt-bolders, which were brought across the river from our Northern Ground.

I understand, that the owners of the small Yarra-steamers intend to petition the Government for a landing place at this new stone wall, a measure which I can fully recommend to favorable consideration. The declivity below the lodge has been brought to an equal slope and will be planted with Furze, prickly pears and other suitable plants. In the Northern Ground the long main walk has been completed and a gate has been fixed at the W. entrance, by which means the inhabitants of E. Melbourne can readily enter the zoological Garden without deviation.

Some rich soil has been carted to the trees in the pinetum, planted on the lagoon-slope. The edgings are renewed along several walks. The weather during the month being so dry, but little ground has as yet been prepared for planting. Still as water is available in the cistern of the palm-house, the terrace around that building has been planted already. In this edifice a fine Indian Banana is ripening now its fruits, whilst the noble Waterlily Victoria regia has been raised in one of our hotbeds. In order to provide for this magnificent plant, it is intended to build an addition to the small hot-house. The erection of a propagating house is likewise under consideration. In the Northern ground a three rail fence has been put up along the main fence for the protection of the young trees which we intend to plant there this season.

A boot4 has been granted by the public works departement, by the use of which a saving of time in the superintendence of the Ground will be effected.

A thorough overhowling5 of the plants of the Stove and palm house took place.

There have been no important additions to the menagerie.

An application has been made to the Hon. the Chief Commissioner of public works for the renewal of the rustic bridge in the central part of the garden. That this will be granted is sincerly hoped, since, notwithstanding the constant repair to this old and light structure, it will be difficult to guard against accidents, should at any time a crowded number of visitors pass the frail and outworn bridge.6

The prize essays on vine culture and wine-making, submitted by the Geelong Horticultural Society have been examined.7

The correspondence and interchange with men of science and kindred institutions has uninterruptedly progressed.

Ferd. Mueller.8


Victoria regia

MS written by Carl Wilhelmi and signed by M.
Registered, 11 May 1859.
boat. See M to J. O'Shanassy, 24 March 1859.
See T. Balmain to M, 10 May 1859.
Pettavel (1859).
MS annotation by the Under Secretary, J. Moore, 13 May 1859: 'Read'.

Please cite as “FVM-59-05-00d,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 20 September 2021,