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To William Lonsdale   27 June 1853

Melbourne, 27th of June 1853.

Sir

I have the honor to inform you for communication to his Excellency the Governor, that I returned yesterday to Melbourne after an absence of five months, during which time a great tract of country in the East and South of this colony has been botanically explored, the lines of my investigations extending over more than 1500 miles.

A series of unusual adversities together with the difficulties of travelling over the inundated South eastern coast-tracts after the last enormous rain brought it to my deepest regret out of my power to return as early as I stated in my last report, dated Alberton, May 10th.

Several weeks since have been exclusively devoted for examining Wilson's promontory, in order to elucidate fully the connection, that exists between the Flora of this country and Van Diemen's land; and I would humbly venture, to solicit his Excellency's permission, to visit at an apt occasion also the coast of Cape Ottway, to compare thus the second point of deep southern latitude of this country with those shores subjected to my last researches in the same way as I consider it hereafter desirable and highly interesting to connect my phytological survey of the South Australian coast, which extends there with some interruptions from Port Lincoln to Rivoli-Bay, with those of the Portlandbay District.

In the deep Ferntree-ravines of Sealers cove I discovered for the first time in this continent the Tasmanian Beech tree (Fagus Cunninghami), the only timber here, that bears comparison with that of Great Britain, (Pines excepted), otherwise closely allied to the Beechtree of Patagonia. I did howev[er] not succeed in finding any of the remarkable pines (Microcachrys, Phyllocladus, Arthrotaxus), with which this useful tree in Van Diemens Land is consociated. Another valuable plant of the same locality is the crotonlike Trachycaryon.

Retaining the observations of less universal interest for a general essay and the special descriptions, which I hope to accomplish during the next months, to be laid before the Government, I hope his Excellency will deem it sufficient, if I only resume here as formerly the list of genera, which include 110 species, added to my work during the last part of the journey: Telephora, Polyporus, Corraea, Acacia, Phyllanthus, Kunzea, Hakea, Lasiopetalum, Cladium, Epacris, Helichrysum, Scaevola, Isolepis, Trachycaryon, Pomaderris, Sargassum, Macrocystis, Capea, Meionectes, Pultenaea, Pimelea, Eurybia, Tripterococcus, Ozothamnus, Festuca, Acrotriche, Senecio, Exocarpus, Swainsona, Puccinia, Leucopogon, Sium, Amphipogon, Blitum, Leskea, Diplarrhena, Ctenodus, Agaricus, Gymnoschoenus, Lentinus, Billardiera, Hypnum, Hypnea, Thomasia, Fagus, Peziza, Agaricus, Pleurandra, Tremella, Panicum, Opercularia, Ballia, Sargassum, Cetraria, Clavaria, Phaeoleuca, Erysibe, Xanthosia, Prasophyllum, Nostoc, Caulerpa, Chapelliera, Galium, Xanthosia, Laxmannia, Xerotes, Lepidosperma, Stipa, Polysiphonia, Conferva, Laminaria, Ulva, Cystoseira, Ceramium, Amansia?, Fucus, Delesseria, Triglochin, Schizaea, Chrysymenia, Potentilla, Leptinella, Lichina, Splachnum, Chorizandra.

Representants of 31 of these genera were previously wanting amongst the indigenous plants of Victoria, and many of the species formerly considered foreighn to these shores. The character of the vegetation is according to the enumeration promiscuous rather than showing any predomination of certain natural orders with the exception of algae, which I had here for the first time an ample opportunity of observing.

As to a point of some importance I may be permitted to direct the attention of the Government Geologist1 to the coal layers along the coast from Screw creek to Cape Patterson, which appear to me to deserve a close investigation, feeling myself not entitled to bestow any lenght of time to examinations foreighn to the duties of the office entrusted to me by his Excellency.

I have the honor, Sir, to be your most obedient and humble servant

Ferd. Mueller,

Government Botanist.

 

The honorable the Colonial Secretary.2

Acacia

Acrotriche

Agaricus

Amansia

Amphipogon

Arthrotaxus

Ballia

Billardiera

Blitum

Capea

Caulerpa

Ceramium

Cetraria

Chapelliera

Chorizandra

Chrysymenia

Cladium

Clavaria

Conferva

Corraea

Ctenodus

Cystoseira

Delesseria

Diplarrhena

Epacris

Erysibe

Eurybia

Exocarpus

Fagus Cunninghami

Festuca

Fucus

Galium

Gymnoschoenus

Hakea

Helichrysum

Hypnea

Hypnum

Isolepis

Kunzea

Laminaria

Lasiopetalum

Laxmannia

Lentinus

Lepidosperma

Leptinella

Leskea

Leucopogon

Lichina

Macrocystis

Meionectes

Microcachrys

Nostoc

Opercularia

Ozothamnus

Panicum

Peziza

Phaeoleuca

Phyllanthus

Phyllocladus

Pimelea

Pleurandra

Polyporus

Polysiphonia

Pomaderris

Potentilla

Prasophyllum

Puccinia

Pultenaea

Sargassum

Sargassum

Scaevola

Schizaea

Senecio

Sium

Splachnum

Stipa

Swainsona

Telephora

Thomasia

Trachycaryon

Trachycaryon

Tremella

Triglochin

Tripterococcus

Ulva

Xanthosia

Xanthosia

Xerotes

 
 
 
 
 

Footnotes

Alfred Selwyn.

MS file annotation by Lieut. Governor La Trobe: 'Let me have all these reports from the out set'.

In 1869 this letter and a number of M's other letters from 1853 were extracted from their sequence in the Colonial Secretary's inward registered correspondence and filed separately. Annotations on the 1869 file indicate that information was being sought on M's appointments as Government Botanist and Director of the Botanic Gardens. Presumably the information was required in preparation for the institution in 1870 of a board of inquiry into M's management of the Botanic Gardens.

Included in the MS file of 1869 is a letter from G. Renner, Clerk in the Government Statist's Office, to the Under Secretary, 19 August 1910: 'Mr. Chas. A. Topp desires me to return to you the accompanying file of papers, referring to the late Baron von Mueller and which you were good enough to lend him some time ago.' Topp was at the time preparing to write a biography of M which did not eventuate (U69/11652, unit 408, VPRS 3991, PROV).

Please cite as “FVM-00087,”εpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 15 December 2018, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/vonmueller/letters/FVM-00087