To Joseph Hooker1    25 December 1861

Melbourne bot & zool Garden,

25 Dec 61.

Dear Doctor Hooker.

I herewith beg to forward to you the list of vegetable articles, procured under my superintendence and through the aid of friends for the forthcoming international Exhibition.2 They have been packed under my supervision and are under my direction brought on board of the "Young Australian"3 which fine ship is to sail from our Port within a very few days. Only box N. 19 altho' packed is not yet on board but will go in time and if meanwhile some more timber (I am expecting) & some timber specimens made up in book-form are ready, the collection will be supplemented. Allmost all the timber is procured on expense of the Commissioners and under such aid as I could aford in my department. The collection of woods, as you will see by the enumeration numbers 421 pieces, all (I think) correctly named. A double number is painted largely on each piece of wood or plank or section, and about 300 metal labels with corresponding numbers are sent along with the woods, written in oil paint, locality being given in all instances.

The fruitcasts have perhaps a little suffered by our local exhibition in color, so that perhaps an artist is required to touch some of them a little up again. But on the whole I think they will form a magnificent display. The larger timber specimens (or rather heavy planks) are placed unpacked in the ship, but Captain Lourie, who is a very attentive Gentleman, had some canvass placed round the pieces, so that the bark will not be injured, a matter to which due attention was paid also in the transport of the wood from the ranges. As the specimens are yet too wet we had none polished here, but I have no doubt that they will have dried sufficiently when they arrive in London in being at least partially polished. They are all plained on one side and we kept them in a cool place and glued over with paper to arrest to some extent rapid evaporation & thus succeeded generally in preventing the wood from bursting. There was no time to subject them to the process of submersion, nor had we sufficient convenience to dry so huge a collection by steam. My principle reason for explaining all this, you will observe, is the following. Mr Knight, our Agent, a highly talented Gentleman, who proceeds home to supervise the display of the Victorian Articles, had some notions of accumulating a quantity of articles for a special Victorian Museum in London, a suggestion which met with strong opposition on my part, as, unless all Australian Colonies combined for such a purpose, the collection is far too insignificant to be specially maintained in London. I hold moreover, that these articles should in one complete series of select specimens go to Kew, duplicates to Edinburgh & Dublin, & it was the hope, of seeing this carried out, which spurred me to so much exertion[s] for the purpose. My colleagues of the Commission agree with me in what I wished to be done, as far as the veget. articles are concerned, and especially so Sir Redmond Barry & Mr Bright, the two Commissioners proceeding home. Nevertheless I consider it proper to apprize you at the earliest opportunity of all circumstances, so that you may from the beginning watch the interest of Kew. And should possibly any unforeseen hindrances arise in your getting the select series of these articles, I would be very glad if you would in my name enter a protest, as I have through labor employed and through aid of many personal friends some claim to be heard on the final disposal of the things. At the same time I do not think that any difficulties will arise in your getting the collection. It may be many years before such a collection could be secured again. Mr Bosisto, who distilled most of the oils is quite willing, that they should be placed in Kew Museum. On these oils no one whosoever but Mr Bosisto & myself have any proprietorship.

You will see how we equip ourselfes travelling. The meat bisquit & dried meat should be placed in the travelling bags. I have sent moss as a substratum for the gyps-fruits.

Such articles as the stock whips &c which would be out of the place at Kew, I shall otherwise arrange for.

I have named our Ironbark E. Sideroxylon, but as Mr Cunningham has not described his, the name wants perhaps to be altered into E. Siderophloia. I made an error in the Fragmenta in combining from herbar. specimens E. Leucoxylon & E. Sideroxylon or (Siderophloia),4 as you will see in inspecting the bark. The flowers & fruits show scarcely appreciable differences in both trees! So if A. Cunninghams specimens of E. Sideroxylon do not agree with the description of E. Leucoxylon in the Fragmenta pray alter the name as suggested.

A jurors report will be forwarded probably by the next mail, and therein I shall give the necessary additional information on the timber — It will be worth your while to have the second unpainted set of fruit-casts painted according to those which were copied from the fresh fruit.

For a few woods in the list I have still to supply the names. You will observe that I named many of the collection brought together by Mr Moore in Sydney.

The large planks of Ironwood & Box wood from Sandhurst5 are presented to me by my friend the Rev. Backhaus, D.D., who procured them on my request. These noble pieces of wood will probably please you, [indeed] I hope the generality of our collection, should they safely arrive.

I will write to your worthy father & to Mr Bentham about the Australian Flora.

Ever your attached

Ferd Mueller.


Pray, dear Doctor, consider what I wrote, confidential. I could not help to guard you against possible loss[es].

Some more oils are yet under distillation & will follow by an other ship. The sections of wood are principly packed in large casks You are aware that our laws allow only the use of 5 Gallons stills. So we could not send much oil of each kind. But the yield of Euc. Amygdalina is more enormous than that of any other leaf in the world; so we got at least a gallon through Mr Bosistos unceasing exertions. The oil is excellent for varnish, gas; also a very good antirheumatic and antispasmodic.


Eucalyptus Amygdalina

Eucalyptus Leucoxylon

Eucalyptus Siderophloia

Eucalyptus Sideroxylon

MS black edged, M's sister Bertha Doughty died 7 September 1861.
International Exhibition, London, 1862.
Young Australia .
B60.05.01, p. 62.
Now Bendigo, Vic.

Please cite as “FVM-61-12-25,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 25 January 2022,