To William Nicholson1    5 January 1860

Melbourne botanic & zoological Garden,

5 January 1860.


In reporting on the progress of the work of this department during the month of December 1859, I have the honor to inform you, that the 9 & 10 fascicle of my fragmenta phyt. Austral.2 have been issued and that therewith the first volume of this publication is completed and can be edited as soon as the index is printed.3

Altho' this purely scientific elaboration will not like my work on "the plants of Victoria"4 be of direct interest to the multitude of the colonists, it will still be I trust regarded as an acceptable addition to botanical literature and as a source of reference by those, who will hereafter study our public collection of plants. The latter will as soon as the museum is completed5 be accessible, and it is pleasing for me to report, that we have received most valuable and interesting contributions towards it from Mr Oldfield,6 who during the month returned from a 18 months journey to the northern districts of Western Australia. The "Flora of Victoria" has lately not progressed press, owing to the want of the particular paper required at the Government Printing office.

I would beg to solicit on this occasion, that your Honor may be pleased to sanction the distribution on behalf of the Victorian Government of the fragmenta to such institutions and scientific men, who are likely to turn the work to advantageous use, by which means the Victorian Government would participate in that liberality towards the promotion of knowledge, which now characterizes most of the states of the civilized world.7

Besides smaller contributions to the Herbarium collections have been received from Dr. Beckler,8 who is now exploring the Botany of the northern Alps of New South Wales, and from Major Warburton9 plants from the interior of South Australia and thus gradually a most valuable material for scientific work is accumulating at this office.

Many smaller contributions arrived for the gardens, of great value is the donation of a case of Chinese plants from Alfr. Rusden Esqr. of Foo Chew Foo.10

The menagerie received additions in some hawks presented by Dr Wehl of Mount Gambier, 2 Squirrels by Capt. Riches, also some Monkeys, black Swans and a few other small animals. The good effect of the measure to unite the two wings of the aviary manifests itself already, many of the singing birds seeking the retired spot below the bridge for building.

Three fawns are born during the month. The Salmon-tank is now under progress of forming and it is my intention to erect at it a small ornamental iron-windmill for securing a constant current of water through it. By the same appliance I think I will be able to keep the lagoon at an equal niveau, connecting pumpworks with a mill to convey a constant streamlet of Yarra water into our lagoon.

Seeds have been collected as extensively in the Garden as possible, but it is to be feared that in consequence of the continued drought our harvest will not be as rich as last Year. Some seats have been made, the old ones as well as the gates been painted and the labels, to which 50 new ones are added, have been varnished.

The effect of the dry winds this season is very severely felt by the plants of our Garden and lets me more than ever wish for the speedy acquisition of the Yan Yean water for irrigation.11

As usual on many occasions cut flowers and bows have been supplied for public festivals. A concert in aid of the lying-in Hospital12 took place at our Grounds and also the summer show of the Horticultural Society.

From the quarries in the reserve between the Gardens and Princes Bridge rubble has been extensively conveyed for the formation of a new walk in the Northern Ground. A small inlet close to the Yarra Yarra foot bridge has been made by us passable for carts, so that now an approach of conveyances hence is possible along the Yarra from Richmond. A new border has been raised on the Eastern side of the gardens and by levelling the road alongside, that whole part of the ground is much more beautified. The other work having been that of ordinary routine will scarcely require special allusion.

The number of the visitors on the four Sundays in the December has been 16,917 in the southern ground and 7471 in the northern Ground.

I have the honor to be


your most obedient & humble servant

Ferd. Mueller


The Honorable the Chief Secretary

& & &

MS written by Carl Wilhelmi and signed by M.
B59.12.01, B59.12.02.
The herbarium building was completed in February 1860, see M to W. Nicholson, 29 February 1860.
Augustus Frederick Oldfield.
On 10 January 1860 the Under Secretary, J. Moore minuted: 'Inform Dr Mueller that the proposed distribution of Copies of his Fragmenta is approved'. See J. Moore to M, 12 January 1860.
Dr Herman Beckler.
Major Peter Egerton Warburton.
Fuzhou, China.
See Lamb (1996).
The Lying-in Hospital for the Diseases of Women and Children was founded by Richard Thomas Tracy and John Maund in 1856; see ADB under R. T. Tracy. The concert took place on 31 December 1859.

Please cite as “FVM-60-01-05,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 28 November 2021,