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Series 18: Correspondence, being mainly letters received by Banks from George Caley, 1795-1809, 1814

Number of documents

102

Provenance note

Most of the documents in this series were previously located at ML A79-1. Caley's maps and charts, documents 81-90, were previously located at ML A80-3. Document 39 was previously located at ML A79-3. These papers, together with those located at ML A79-1, were purchased in 1884 from Lord Brabourne by Sir Saul Samuel, the Agent-General for New South Wales, and transferred to the Mitchell Library in 1910. They were part of the accession which became known as the Brabourne collection.

Document 28 was previously located at ML A82. Documents 46-50, 60-71, 75-76 and 96 were previously located at ML A83. They are part of an accession of Banks papers purchased for the Mitchell Library from Sotheby's, London, in May 1929.

Documents 77-80 were previously located at DL MS Q158. These were part of the personal library of Sir William Dixson which was bequeathed to the State Library of New South Wales in 1952. Dixson's bequest was formally handed over when the Dixson Library was opened in 1959.

Documents 57-58 were previously part of ML MSS 681. They were acquired for the Library from an unknown source.

Document 3 was not previously accessioned having been acquired for the State Library of New South Wales in May 1995 from the Sydney book dealer Tim McCormick.

All other documents in this series were previously located at ML A79-1.

Some of the letters from the Brabourne collection were used by the compilers of Historical records of New South Wales, vol 3, (1895), vol 4 (1896) and vol 5 (1897) and include some annotations made by the compilers.

It is now not possible to reconstruct Banks' original arrangement, the series has therefore been arranged chronologically.

Background note

George Caley laid the foundations of his botanical knowledge by working first in the gardens of his home town, Manchester, and then in the Chelsea Physic Garden. Sir Joseph Banks arranged for his transfer to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew to allow Caley to familiarise himself with the Australian plants there. He was to become a collector, in Banks' employ, in New South Wales and ultimately a collector for Kew also.

Caley was to have travelled to New South Wales on board HMS Porpoise, in the capacity of a free settler and paid a retainer by Sir Joseph Banks for his botanical collecting. After delays caused by the unseaworthiness of the Porpoise and alterations to accommodate the ship's plant cabin, Caley, together with Philip Gidley King and family, were transferred to the whaler Speedy under the captaincy of George Quested. Caley finally left England on 20 November 1799 arriving in New South Wales on 15 April 1800.

Based mainly at Parramatta, Caley collected plant and bird specimens in and around Sydney, Parramatta and further west. A keen explorer, he also organised several excursions inland taking in the Hawkesbury and Nepean River regions and extending as far west as Mt Tomah [Fern Tree Hill] and Mt Banks in the Blue Mountains as early as 1804. He also took part in several excursions to the Hunter River, Norfolk Island and the settlements in Tasmania.

In 1810 Caley left New South Wales on board the Hindostan. He arrived in London in October. After his return to England he was engaged mainly in ordering his extensive natural history collections. He continued to receive financial support from Banks.

Subjects: Botany - New South Wales
  Collectors and collectors - Botanical
  Gardeners - New South Wales
  Plants - Collection and preservation