To William Thiselton-Dyer   25 October 1892



This is one of the most magnificent of all Grevilleas, dear Dr Dyer, and when I saw it in 1877 in all its glory along side Nuytsia-trees, it demonstrated forcibly to me the petalar character of the floral envelope of the Proteaceae, quite analogous to that of Loranthaceae, except the undeveloped calyx, just as in some Rhododendrons, Diplolaena, Asterolasia &c.

You & Mr Baker must have smiled on my sending the worm, through which some vegetation grew, as something botanic, but this has been a most anxious year to me, and anyhow at my age, every hour becomes precious, so that I turn off my hands now many things without looking carefully.

The Columbus-Jubilee, celebrated so to say for all Australia in Melbourne, was attended by about 2000 select visitors.2 The Liedertafel on my Solicitation sung the Columbus-Cantata, (for the first time in Australia,)3 and the Ladies & Gentlemen of the Amateur-Orchestra played an adequate Ouverture.4 I gave the Oration and had on the platform of our large townhall for decoration a lot of West Indian plants, birds, Lepidoptera[,] a big map (specially prepared) pictures, portraits, one purposely made to lifesize I crowned with a laurel-wreath at the close of the oration. As such a festival occurs only once in 100 years, I gave some little time up for the arrangements, as Columbus discovered all the British possessions in W. India,5 except some few of the smallest islands, even the one, on which he first set foot, being British. The Royal geographic Society of Australia has been instrumental to my obtaining on many occasions extensive botanic material; so it was but fair, that I should do something in return. I will ask Prof Tate, when the Elder Exped material is elaborated6 for plants by us to send a set to Kew.

Kindly do not forget Prof Knoblauch, the great Physicist, when a vacancy occurs at the R.S.7 You know of course, that his son has taken up Botany as a professional Science8

Regardfully your

Ferd. von Mueller.









Date stamped Royal Gardens Kew 28. Nov. 92. and annotated in red ink by [William Hemsley]: Ackd. 29. XI. 92 (letter not found).
12 October 1892 (see Argus, 13 October 1892, p. 3, col. g).
Gadsby (1881); see 'Royal Geographical Society of Australia', Age (Melbourne), 13 October 1892, p. 6.
The Melbourne Amateur-Orchestral Society played Reissiger’s overture Die Fehlsenmühle, followed by two Hungarian dances by Brahms; see Trans. Roy. Geog. Soc. Aust. (1893), vol. 10, p. 103.
i.e. the West Indies.
Elder Scientific Exploring Expedition, 1891-2.
See M to Lord Kelvin, 23 April 1893.
Emil Friedrich Knoblauch.

Please cite as “FVM-92-10-25,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 25 January 2022,