Guide to the Records held by the Linnean Society of London (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

Linnean Society of London
Records held by the Linnean Society of London (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1789 - 1861
Collection Number
126 items
Language of Materials
Australian Joint Copying Project
The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) online portal was created with the assistance of the Australian Public Service Modernisation Fund, 2017-2020. The National Library of Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the other foundation AJCP partners, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK, and all other organisations which supported the work of the AJCP, the world's most extensive collaborative copying project, operating from 1948 to 1997.


Scope and Contents

Linnean Society archives.

Macleay correspondence and miscellaneous papers 1805-59.

Correspondence of William Swainson.

Miscellaneous manuscripts

Society for Promoting Natural History records.

Conditions Governing Access

Available for access.

Conditions Governing Use

Many of the records digitised as part of the AJCP are still in copyright. Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the owner of the original material.

Preferred Citation

Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the location of the original material and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.

Items from this collection should include references to the location of the original material and to the AJCP nla.obj number, which serves as the online identifier for the digital copy.

Example:M Series: Journal of Capt. James Cook, 18 February-23 September 1770, British Library Add. MS 27885 (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Filmed at the Linnean Society of London as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1965. (AJCP reel M596-M597). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

Linnean Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, England

For further information see Linnean Society of London Archives (

Existence and Location of Copies

The original AJCP microfilm of the records filmed from this collection is available at the National Library of Australia [] as well as other institutions holding AJCP microfilm.

Finding Aid Note

This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP), published by the National Library of Australia in 2018. The original AJCP finding aids were unpublished typescripts or photocopies available from libraries that held copies of the original microfilm.

Dates used in this finding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.


Australia: flora and fauna; Botany: Australia; Linnean Society of London; Linnean Society of New South Wales; Society for Promoting Natural History; Sydney, New South Wales


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry number 280, page 104.

Biographical / Historical

The Swedish naturalist Carl Linneaus, the author of Systema Naturae, died in 1778. In 1784 a young English medical student, James Edward Smith, purchased from Linneaus's son most of the Linnean private collection of books, manuscripts and natural history specimens. Four years later Smith founded the Linnean Society. In 1802, when the Linnean Society of London received a royal charter, it comprised 228 fellows. Smith was president of the Society from 1788 until his death in 1828.

The Society has been based at Burlington House since 1857. It began publishing its Transactions in 1791, while the Proceedings of the Linnean Society first appeared in 1839. Subsequently it published the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society (1856+) and the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society (1856+).

Fellows of the Linnean Society resident in Australia in the nineteenth century included William Archer, George Bennett, Sir Thomas Brisbane, George Everett, Sir John Franklin, Ronald C. Gunn, Sir John Jamison, Phillip P. King, Alexander McLeay, William S. Macleay, Sir Ferdinand von Mueller, John S. Roe, Charles Sturt, George Suttor and Sir Edward Deas Thomson. Fellows resident in New Zealand included Walter Buller, Leonard Cockayne, George W. Francis, T.M. Hocken, Arthur Holroyd, Thomas Kirk, William Swainson and Alexander Turnbull. Other fellows of the Society had some connection with Australia and New Zealand, such as Sir Joseph Banks, Robert Brown, Charles Darwin, Sir Joseph Hooker, Thomas Huxley and Sir James Clark Ross.

The Linnean Society of New South Wales was founded in 1874, with Sir William Macleay as its first president.

Item Descriptions

Series. Archives of the Linnean Society, 1806 - 1871

12 items

Letters received from Sir Joseph Banks 1806, James E. Bicheno 1821, Joshua Brookes 1823, Robert Brown 1821, John Lewis 1836 concerning specimens collected by Alexander Collie, Dr John Lhotsky 1839 on a biographical sketch of Ferdinand Bauer, Sir John Eardley-Wilmot 1846 and Rev. William Woolls 1860.


Banks, Sir Joseph; Bauer, Ferdinand; Bicheno, James E.; Botany; Brookes, Joshua; Brown, Robert; Collie, Alexander; Eardley-Wilmot, Sir John; Lhotsky, John; Linnean Society of London; Lewis, John; Macleay, Alexander; Woolls, William, Rev.

Sir Joseph Banks to Alexander McLeay, 23 May 1806 (File)

Sends diplomas of Comte de Lacepede and Georges Cuvier.

James Bicheno (Newbury) to Robert Brown, 26 April 1871 (File)

Subscription to a bust of Sir Joseph Banks by Francis Chantrey.

Joshua Brookes (London) to ?, 4 February 1823 (File)

Rent of a house

Robert Brown (London) to Alexander McLeay, 20 April 1821 (File)

Thanks for resolution of Council concerning his duties; value of rental of house at Soho Square.

J. Green (London) to ?, 1 August 1825 (File)

Encroachment of a wall between his property and that of late Sir Joseph Banks at Soho Square.

J. Beasley to J. Bicheno, 23 August 1825 (File)

Complaint of J. Green about the wall.

John Lewis and John Roe (Swan River) to Secretary, 29 August 1836 (File)

Cask of botanical specimens bequeathed to the Society by Alexander Collie.

J.D. Paul to the Secretary, 7 August 1837 (File)

Arrival of botanical specimens from Swan River.

John Lhotsky (London) to the Council, 7 July 1839 (File)

Biographical sketch of Ferdinand Bauer.

Franz Bauer (Kew) to John Lhotsky, 17 March 1839 (File)

Lhotsky's biographical sketch of Ferdinand Bauer.

Sir John Eardley Wilmot (Hobart) to ?, 16 February 1846 (File)

Request for books for Royal Society of Van Diemen's Land.

Rev. William Woolls (Parramatta) to Richard Kippist, 18 December 1860 (File)

Sends article concerning North Shore of Sydney.

Series. Macleay Correspondence, 1805 - 1859

64 items

Most of the correspondence is with Sir George Macleay and his father Alexander Macleay and concerns the social conditions and people of New South Wales as well as botanical studies. Letters from Rev. James Backhouse 1837 and 1843, Sir Joseph Banks 1805-18, Bishop Frederick Barker 1856, Edward Barnard 1824, Capt. Biden 1825, Jean Bory de St Vincent 1825, Vice-Admiral Sir Courtenay Boyle 1825, Robert Brown 1840, Rev. William Buckland 1843 forwarding a report by Professor Owen, Charles Campbell 1846, Rev. W.B. Clarke 1843-52, Allan Cunningham 1827, Charles Darwin 1839 introducing Syms Carrington, Sir William Denison 1855, William H. Fitton 1825 and 1842, G.W.S. Gethethjarte 1844, Sir George Gipps 1846 accepting Macleay's resignation as Speaker in the Legislative Council, Dr J.E. Gray 1841, 1844, Thomas C. Harrington 1842-59 including testimonials from Sir Ralph Darling, Rev. C.J. Hoare 1829 introducing Archdeacon W.G. Broughton, Sir James Everard Home 1825, Sir William Hooker and J.D. Hooker 1816-45, G. Howitt 1844, T.H. Huxley 1850, J. Innes 1825, David Jones 1857, Robert L. King 1857, P.P. King (n.d.), William Lithgow 1859, Robert Lowe, Duncan Macarthur 1825, John Macarthur (n.d.), Mrs Alexander Macleay (n.d. and 1837) discussing the estate and social events in Sydney, William Sharp Macleay to Shuckard 1839, 1845, F.J. McCrae 1846, J.A.I. Pancher 1853, Sir William Parry 1833, Sir James Clark Ross 1844, Phillip S. Sims 1841, Sir John Sinclair 1825, A. Smith 1843, J. de C. Sowerby 1847, Sir Alfred Stephen 1846, Admiral Sir James Stirling 1834-35, Samuel Wilson 1841, and miscellanea including accounts and plan of cabins of the ship Duncan Dunbar.


Australia: flora and fauna; Backhouse, James, Rev.; Barnard, Edward; Banks, Sir Joseph; Barker, Frederick, Bishop; Biden, Capt.; Birds: Australia; Botany: Australia; Botany; Boyle, Sir Courtenay; Broughton, William G., Bishop; Brown, Robert; Buckland, William, Rev.; Campbell, Charles; Clarke, William B., Rev.; Cunningham, Allan; Darling, Sir Ralph; Darwin, Charles; Denison, Sir William T.; Duncan Dunbar (ship) Fitton, William H.; Gethethjarte, G.W.S.; Gipps, Sir George; Gray, John E., Dr; Harrington, Thomas C.; Hoare, Charles J., Rev.; Home, Sir James E., 2nd Baronet; Hooker, Sir Joseph D.; Hooker, Sir William J.; Howitt, Godfrey; Huxley, Thomas H.; Innes, J.; Jones, David; King, Phillip P., Capt.; King, Robert L.; Lithgow, William; Lowe, Robert, 1st Viscount Sherbrooke; Macarthur, Duncan; Macarthur, John, Capt.; Macleay, Alexander; Macleay, Elizabeth; Macleay, Sir George; Macleay, William S.; McCrae, F.J.; New South Wales: flora and fauna; Owen, Sir Richard; Pancher, J.A.I.; Parry, Sir William E.; Ross, Sir James C., Admiral; Shuckard, William E.; Sinclair, Sir John; Sims, Phillip S.; Smith, Sir Andrew; Sowerby, James de Carle; Stephen, Sir Alfred; Stirling, Sir James, Admiral; St Vincent, Jean Bory de; Sydney, New South Wales ; Tahiti: botany; Tasmania: flora and fauna; Trees, Australia; Wilson,Samuel

Biographical / Historical

Alexander McLeay (1767-1848) became a civil servant in 1797 and from 1806 to 1815 was the secretary of the Transport Board. As a young man, he acquired a passion for entomology and assembled one of the largest collections of insects in private possession. He was secretary of the Linnean Society from 1798 to 1825 and was a fellow of the Royal Society. In 1825 he was appointed Colonial Secretary of New South Wales and held the position until 1837, when a dispute with Sir Richard Bourke led to his resignation. In 1843 he was elected to the Legislative Council and he was Speaker until 1846. His home at Elizabeth Bay, completed in 1837, housed his scientific collections and its garden was famous for its rare plants.

William Sharp Macleay (1792-1865), the eldest son of Alexander McLeay, was educated at Cambridge University and held official positions in Paris and Havana between 1818 and 1836. He became acquainted with leading scientists in Paris and his writings on zoology and entomology led to his election to the councils of the Linnean Society and the Zoological Society. In 1839 he arrived in Sydney and he lived at his father's house, Elizabeth Bay House, for the rest of his life. He was a trustee of the Australian Museum from 1841 to 1862 and a member of the National Board of Education. He assembled a vast collection of natural history specimens and cultivated many exotic shrubs and plants in his garden.

The Macleay correspondence was presented to the Linnean Society in 1865 by George Macleay, the brother of William S. Macleay.

Rev. James Backhouse (Hobart) to Alexander McLeay (Sydney), 22 August 1837 (File)

Specimens of eucalyptus of Van Diemen's Land; recollections of his visit to Sydney.

Sir Joseph Banks (Revesby, London) to Alexander McLeay (Transport Board), 1805 - 1818 (File)

Imprisonment of M. Journeau; orange trees from Malta; forwards letters; transport of sheep from Cadiz. (6 letters).

Bishop Frederick Barker (Sydney) to William S. Macleay, 14 March 1856 (File)

Sends a circular on a school for clergymen's daughters.

Edward Barnard (London) to Alexander McLeay, 25 December 1824 (File)

Conditions in Sydney; a house belonging to Major Frederick Goulburn.

C. Biden (Gravesend) to Alexander McLeay, 9 April 1825 (File)

Appointment of Rose as assistant surgeon on Princess Charlotte.

Jean Baptiste Bory de St-Vincent (Paris) to (Alexander McLeay), 2 May 1825 (File)

Collecting of natural history objects in Australia. (in French)

Courtenay Boyle (Navy Office) to Alexander McLeay, 8 January 1825 (File)

Possible offer of a position on the Navy Board; urges Macleay to accept New South Wales appointment.

Courtenay Boyle to Alexander McLeay, 18 March 1825 (File)

Appointment of Rutherford as surgeon on ship ailing to New South Wales.

Robert Brown to Alexander McLeay, 16 January 1840 (File)

Recommends John Lyell and Marsh travelling to Sydney; engraving of portrait of McLeay.

Robert Brown to William S. Macleay, 20 January 1840 (File)

Macleay's accident on his passage to Sydney; his father's portrait; Marsh, nephew of Sir Benjamin Brodie; seeks additions to collection of New Zealand plants.

Rev. John Buckland (Oxford) to William S. Macleay, 26 January 1843 (File)

Forwards a report by Richard Owen on mastodon remains sent by Sir Thomas Mitchell from Darling Downs; encloses letter from W.J. Broderip.

W.J. Broderip (London) to Rev. J. Buckland, 23 January 1843 (File)

Box of bones received from New Zealand; 'greatest zoological discovery of our time'; paper by Prof. Richard Owen.

Charles Campbell (Duntroon) to Alexander McLeay, 13 May 1846 (File)

Death of Campbell's father; his friendship with McLeay.

Rev. W.B. Clarke (Parramatta) to William S. Macleay, 1843 - 1852 (File)

Coal formation in Australia; believes Australia contains an inexhaustible supply of coal; survey of coal resources in Newcastle area; fish fossils; new form of cephalopod; Sir Roderick Murchison; gold discoveries. (6 letters)

Allan Cunningham (Sydney) to ?, 1827 (File)

Sighting of rare orchid in grounds of cottage of W.C. Wentworth; packet for Robert Brown.

Charles Darwin (London) to William S. Macleay, 29 May 1839 (File)

Introduces Syms Covington, emigrant to Sydney, who was Darwin's servant on HMS Beagle and prepared his specimens.

Sir William Denison (Sydney) to William S. Macleay, 7 August 1855 (File)

Examination and critique of a gun.

William H. Fitton (London) to ?, 26 November 1842 (File)

Possible emigration; geological specimens from Capt. George Grey in South Australia; views of Richard Owen on fossil bones.

William H. Fitton to (Alexander McLeay), 22 July 1825 (File)

Best wishes for New South Wales appointment; geological specimens needed by Geological Society.

G.W. Sandels Gethethjarte (Sydney) to William S. Macleay, 27 February 1844 (File)

Sends sketch of a Mexican insect; meeting of Australian Subscription Library; malicious intentions behind proposed innovations.

Sir George Gipps (Sydney) to Alexander McLeay, 20 May 1846 (File)

Acknowledges his resignation as Speaker of Legislative Council.

John E. Gray (London) to William S. Macleay, 18 June 1841 (File)

Introduces Dr Pratt emigrating to Sydney; interest in New Holland insects; staff changes at British Museum; Robert Brown; purchase of John Gould's collection of New Holland mammalia and selection of birds and reptiles.

Testimonials in favour of Thomas C. Harington of the New Zealand Company, 1842 - 1843 (File)

The contributors include Sir Ralph Darling, Sir William Parry, Rev. William Cowper, Rev. Thomas H. Scott, John H. Plunkett and William Wemyss. (printed, 14pp)

Rev. Charles J. Hoare (Godstone) to Alexander McLeay, 11 April 1839 (File)

Introduces Archdeacon William G. Broughton; divisions in the Anglican Church.

Sir Everard Home (Sydney) to ?, 1 July 1845 (File)

HMS North Star detained in Sydney before proceeding to New Zealand and China; strong opposition to Capt. Robert Fitzroy in New Zealand.

Sir Everard Home (London) to William S. Macleay, 1825 (File)

Natural history and anatomy of kangaroo; for years no specimens have been forwarded to Colonial Office; need for a female specimen.

Joseph D. Hooker to (William S. Macleay) (File)

Compilation of flora of Tasmania.

Sir William J. Hooker (London, Halesworth, Glasgow, Yarmouth) to Alexander McLeay, 1818 - 1845 (File)

Introduces American botanist Booth; possible appointment of Sweeting as medical officer in Sydney; Hooker's interest in a position in the British Museum or at Cambridge (1821-22); East Indies plants; introduces Allan Cunningham; Sydney Botanic Gardens; Gardens should be put on same footing as those at Ceylon; claims of Kidd and Ludwig Leichhardt. (13 letters)

Godfrey Howitt (Melbourne) to ?, 29 July 1844 (File)

Lists 187 plants found in the immediate vicinity of Melbourne. (7pp)

Thomas H. Huxley to William S. Macleay, 25 December 1850 (File)

Voyage from Australia to England; visit to island of Fayal (Azores); paper sent to Linnean Society; Sir John Herschel; search for employment.

J. Innes to Alexander McLeay, 18 February 1825 (File)

Recommends his son George Innes at Bathurst; stock losses through depredations of Australian Aboriginals.

David Jones to William S. Macleay, 18 August 1857 (File)

Objects to closure of gate below property of William Brown; refers to deeds of Alexander McLeay.

Robert L. King (Parramatta) to (William S. Macleay), 31 December 1857 (File)

Resignation from Australian Museum; his work on eucalyptus; Ferdinand Von Mueller's system of classification.

Capt. Phillip P. King to ? (File)

Sends drawing of butterfly found in extraordinary numbers.

William Lithgow to William S. Macleay, 31 January 1859 (File)

Seeks pamphlet by Charles de Montalembert.

Robert Lowe to (William S. Macleay) (File)

Termination of Lowe's connection with The Times; arrangements about a house in George Street, Sydney. (incomplete)

Duncan Macarthur (Deal) to Alexander McLeay, 7 January 1825 (File)

McLeay's appointment as Colonial Secretary.

Duncan Macarthur to Alexander McLeay, 14 February 1825 (File)

Information about sheep that McLeay proposes to take to New South Wales; Sir Thomas Mantel.

Duncan Macarthur to Alexander McLeay, 10 August 1825 (File)


John Macarthur to (Alexander McLeay), 13 May (year unknown) (File)

Invitation to family dinner.

John Macarthur to (Alexander McLeay) (File)

Land owned by emancipists; a condition of residence would exclude undesirable emancipists.

Elizabeth McLeay (Sydney) to William S. Macleay, 1827 (File)

Illness of Alexander McLeay; purchase of 13,000 acres near Sydney; overseers; visit by HMS Rainbow; death of Sir James Brisbane; Alexander McLeay preoccupied with government business.

William E. Shuckard (London) to William S. Macleay (Portsmouth), 1 October 1838 (File)

Publication of a monograph; geographical descriptions of some genera of hymenoptera. (2 letters)

William S. Macleay (Sydney) to William E. Shuckard, 20 June 1839 (File)

Species collected by Alexander McLeay and named by Leech. (draft)

William S. Macleay (Sydney) to James Macarthur (File)

Preparation of address to Sir George Gipps; Lord Glenelg. (draft)

F.J. McCrae (Sydney) to Alexander McLeay, 22 February 1846 (File)

Recommends a sea voyage for John McLeay.

J.A.I. Pancher (Papeete) to William S. Macleay, 25 July 1853 (File)

Acknowledges box of plants for botanic gardens; botanical studies. (in French)

Sir William Parry (Port Stephens) to Alexander McLeay, 1 July 1833 - 1 August 1833 (File)

Petitions from Hunter River district on laws to control convicts; Parry will never agree to join any faction. (2 letters)

Capt. James C. Ross (HMS Erebus) to ? (File)

Dinner invitation.

Philip Sime (?) to ?, 9 August 1841 (File)

His article in Sydney Herald on voyage of Capt. J.C. Ross; has dealt lightly with Walker.

Sir John Sinclair (Edinburgh) to Alexander McLeay, 30 January 1825 (File)

Mcleay's appointment to New South Wales; colony's great staple should be wine; silver rabbit of Lincolnshire and Carlisle codlin apples would be assets.

A. Smith to ?, 22 October 1843 (File)

Introduces Dr Dawson proceeding to Sydney to replace Dr Thompson.

J. de C. Sowerby (London) to Alexander McLeay, 11 August 1847 (File)

Botanic gardens at Regents Park; family news; receipt of Australian fossils by Geological Society; interest of W.S. Macleay in botanic gardens in Sydney.

Alfred Stephen to Alexander McLeay, 1 May 1846 (File)

McLeay's resignation of Speakership.

Alexander McLeay to Alfred Stephen, 22 May 1846 (File)

Acknowledgment. (draft)

Capt. James Stirling to Alexander McLeay, 2 December 1834 (File)

Stirling's visit to England; unable to secure much money from Treasury; progress of Swan River colony; vast area suited to sheep farming; cheap prices.

Capt. James Stirling (Perth) to Alexander McLeay, 20 March 1835 (File)

Grant of land near Bathurst made in 1828; inquires about measures to secure full title; possible sale of a stallion.

Samuel Wilson (Tahiti) to D. Poole, 9 December 1841 (File)

Researches on traditions and history of Polynesian Islands.

List of shareholders, 31 December 1842 (File)

Including Alexander Berry, John Blaxland, John Betts, R. Tertius Campbell, S.A. Donaldson, P.W. Flower, Sir John Jamison, William S. Macleay, Sir William Parry and Capt. Henry Rous.

Donaldson & Co. to William S. Macleay, 30 June 1857 (File)

Business to be carried on by James Graham under name of Donaldson, Graham & Co. (printed)

Invoices issued by Donaldson & Co. to William S. Macleay, 1 November 1856 - 1 June 1857 (File)

Invoices issued by Donaldson and Co. to William S. Macleay, Nov. 1856-June 1857, T.W. Foster (Sydney), 23 July 1858 and Edward Solomon, 16 Jan. 1856

Plan of Allandale estate (File)

Showing a farm of five acres, the property of William S. Macleay.

Plan of cabins of the ship (File)

Plan of cabins of the ship Duncan Dunbar, Henry Neatby, commander.

Miscellaneous notes and drafts (File)

Series. William Swainson Correspondence, 1816 - 1840

31 items

Letters from Sir Joseph Banks 1816-19, Andrew Bloxam 1825-26, J. Bunting 1840 and D. Coates 1840 concerning missionary work in New Zealand, Allan Cunningham 1821-31, Richard Cunningham 1833, James Drummond 1837, T.J. Ewing 1837, John Gould 1830-37, Sir William Hooker 1816-39, T.J. Lempriere 1829-39, and a manuscript entitled 'On the Botany of Tahiti' (1870).


Australia: flora and fauna; Banks, Sir Joseph; Birds: Australia; Bloxam, Andrew; Botany: Tahiti; Bunting, Jabez, Rev.; Coates, D.; Cunningham, Allan; Cunningham, Richard; Drummond, James; Ewing, Thomas J.; Gould, John; Hooker, Sir William J.; Lempriere, Thomas J.; New Zealand: missions; Swainson, William; Tahiti: botany; Tasmania: flora and fauna

Biographical / Historical

William John Swainson (1789-1855) served with the Army in the Mediterranean from 1807 to 1815 and in his spare time developed a strong interest in the zoology and botany of Sicily and Greece. He retired on half-pay in 1816 and went to Brazil, where he assembled a fine collection of plants. On his return to England he became a fellow of the Royal Society and the Linnean Society and produced a series of important publications on natural history, making use of colour lithography. In the late 1830s he appeared to lose interest in his work and in 1841 he emigrated with his family to New Zealand. He acquired a considerable area of pastoral land in the North Island, but it yielded relatively little income. In 1852 he was invited to study Australian flora and he described 1520 species of eucalyptus.

Sir Joseph Banks to Swainson, 27 September 1816 (File)

Thanks for seeds from Mediterranean.

Swainson to Sir Joseph Banks, 20 November 1816 (File)

Proposed journey to Brazil; seeks instructions on method of sending home living plants.

Swainson to Sir Joseph Banks (File)

Packets of seeds despatched from Brazil. (draft)

Although described individually, this letter was originally microfilmed with a page from another letter. The last page of the letter described can be found at the beginning of nla.obj.851717332

Sir Joseph Banks to Swainson (Liverpool), 16 February 1819 (File)

Receipt of seeds.

Andrew Bloxam (Valparaiso) to Swainson (Warwick, Rugby), September 1825 - April 1826 (File)

Visit to Sandwich Islands; birds unique to the islands; shells; narrow escape from death on Galapagos Islands; thanks for books; shells and birds from HMS Blossom; birds of Warwickshire; visit to Oxford Museum. (6 letters)

J. Bunting to Swainson, 21 April 1840 (File)

New Zealand missionaries; procurement of bells for native congregation at Hokianga.

Dandeson Coates (Church Missionary Society) to Swainson, 27 March 1840 (File)

New Zealand Mission.

Allan Cunningham (Sydney) to Swainson (London), 25 May 1821 (File)

Engagement with Lieut. Phillip P. King on HMS Mermaid; offers to send insects; inland journey with John Oxley in 1817.

Allan Cunningham (Parramatta) to Swainson, 2 June 1848 (File)

Exploring expedition; Moreton Bay.

Allan Cunningham to Swainson, 3 October 1831 (File)

Seeds from New South Wales. (poor legibility)

References to some species of Australian birds forwarded to W. Swainson, 30 November 1831 (File)


Richard Cunningham (Sydney) to Swainson, 9 November 1833 (File)

Collecting insects for Swainson; preparation for trip to New Zealand; John Lhotsky.

James Drummond (Swan River) to Swainson, 1 November 1837 (File)

Despatch of birds; prices.

T.J. Ewing (Hobart) to Swainson, 9 December 1837 (File)

Birds of Van Diemen's Land; butcher birds.

John Gould (London) to Swainson, 12 December 1830 (File)

Collection of Australian birds; study of generic character of birds.

Includes another letter from Gould to Swainson (30 April 1834).

John Gould to Swainson, 21 January 1837 (File)

Sends synopsis of Birds of Australia.

William J. Hooker (Halesworth, Glasgow) to Swainson, 1816 - 1839 (File)

Thanks for Mediterranean lichens; list of Mediterranean plants; Swainson's exotic conchology; Royal Society of Scotland; possibility of a position for Swainson in British Museum; humming birds; lithography; herbarium; Swainson's Brazilian plants; Carl von Martius's Nova Guinea; Swainson's work on conchology; John Swainson in West Indies; Grigory Langsdorff; James Drummond; Sir William Jardine; proposed expedition to Antarctic (1839); appointment of Joseph Hooker as the naturalist; Swainson's intention of emigrating to New Zealand; Allan Cunningham. (21 letters)

Thomas J. Lempriere (Macquarie Harbour, Van Diemen's Land) to Swainson, 23 January 1829 (File)

Swainson's The Naturalist's Guide; animals, birds, fishes, insects, moss and lichens in Van Diemen's Land.

Thomas J. Lempriere (Hobart) to Swainson, 6 May 1830 (File)

Forwards animals; penal settlement at Macquarie Harbour.

Thomas J. Lempriere to Swainson, 6 August 1830 (File)

Despatch of specimens; establishment of Philosophical Society in Hobart; platypus.

Marianne Lempriere (Newport, Isle of Wight) to Swainson, 9 April 1831 (File)

Specimens sent by Thomas Lempriere.

Thomas J. Lempriere (Port Arthur) to Swainson, 3 October 1836 (File)

Illness; possums.

Thomas J. Lempriere to Swainson, 14 January 1839 (File)

Public appointments in Van Diemen's Land.

Alexander McLeay (London) to Swainson, 1816 - 1822 (File)

Plants from Sicily; Swainson's voyage to Brazil (1816); collecting of insects in Scotland; Swainson's work in Brazil; acquisition of publications for Linnean Society; misunderstanding between Swainson and Dixon in Rio de Janeiro. (8 letters)

Swainson to Alexander McLeay, February 1822 - March 1822 (File)

Aspersions on his character by Dixon and Curtis. (2 letters, copies)

Although described individually, this letter was originally microfilmed with a page from another letter. The last page of the letter described can be found at the beginning of nla.obj.851717770

William S. Macleay (London, Havana) to Swainson, 1818 - 1838 (File)

Swainson's return to England (1818); Macleay's study of entomology; Rev. John Fleming; Swainson's bereavement; possible visit to West Indies (1837). (5 letters)

Swainson to William S. Macleay, July 1830 (File)

Macleay's reply to Dr Fleming's criticisms; urges him to show greater moderation in future; Macleay's talents.

Manuscript, 1870 (File)

On the botany of Tahiti, found in William Swainson's papers and sent to the Linnean Society by the Wellington Philosophical Society in 1870. (19pp.)

John Richardson (Chatham, Gosport) to Swainson, 1830 - 1840 (File)

William Hooker's dealings with James Drummond; proposal for a popular account of discoveries in Arctic America; large collection of Australian birds, reptiles and fishes belonging to Dr Stevenson; Swainson's arrangement of fishes; proceedings of Geological Society; slow progress on paper on Australian fish; Thomas Lempriere. (4 letters)

Thomas Watson (Hobart) to Swainson (File)

Birds of Van Diemen's Land.

Thomas Woolcombe (Devonport, N.Z.) to Swainson, 6 March 1940 (File)

Plymouth Company of New Zealand unable to fix a site for a settlement until expedition of Col. Wakefield is completed; rapid sale of town lands; payment of allowances to emigrants.

Series. Miscellaneous manuscripts, 1792 - 1856

9 items

Includes: William Archer drawings of Tasmanian orchideae 1848-56; James Backhouse 'An Enumeration of Plants Noticed on Visits to Moreton Bay and Lake Macquarie in 1836' (39 p.) and a draft list of Australian plants; Sir Joseph Banks 'Hints on the Subject of Gardening Suggested to the Gentlemen who Attend the Embassy to China' (1792); Ferdinand Bauer letters to his brother 1802-04 and drawing; two letters from General Thomas Hardwick to Sir Joseph Banks, Sir William Hooker 'Prince of Wales Island Flora'; George Suttor 'Notes on the Forest Trees of Australia' 1843.

Subseries. William Archer, 1848 - 1856

1 item


Archer, William; Australia: flora and fauna; Botany: Australia; Paintings, drawings and prints: Tasmania; Tasmania: flora and fauna

Biographical / Historical

William Archer (1820-1874) of Cheshunt, near Deloraine, was a leading landowner in Tasmania and also an architect, naturalist and politician. In 1856-58 he visited England to pursue his botanical studies and was elected as a fellow of the Linnean Society. He was later secretary of the Royal Society of Tasmania.

William Archer. Original watercolour drawings of Tasmanian orchids, 1848 - 1856 (File)

In a folio album with notes by Archer.

Subseries. James Backhouse

1 item


Australia: flora and fauna; Backhouse, James, Rev.; Botany: Australia; Lake Macquarie, New South Wales; Linnean Society of New South Wales; Moreton Bay, Queensland; Norfolk Island; Queensland: flora and fauna

Biographical / Historical

Rev. James Backhouse (1774-1869) was a Quaker missionary who, with G.W. Walker, toured all the Australian colonies between 1832 and 1838.

James Backhouse. An enumeration of plants noticed on visits to Moreton Bay and Lake Macquarie in 1836 (File)

In the same volume are lists of plants from New South Wales, Van Diemen's Land and Norfolk Island.

Subseries. Sir Joseph Banks, 1792

1 item


Banks, Sir Joseph; China; Linnean Society of London

Sir Joseph Banks. 'Hints on the Subject of Gardening suggested to the Gentlemen who attend the Embassy to China', 1792 (File)


Subseries. Ferdinand Bauer, 1801 - 1804

2 items


Australia: flora and fauna; Bauer, Ferdinand; Botany: Australia; Linnean Society of London; Sydney, New South Wales

Biographical / Historical

Ferdinand Bauer (1760-1826) and his brother Franz Bauer were born in Austria and settled in England in 1787. In 1800 Ferdinand was appointed botanical draughtsman on HMS Investigator, commanded by Lieut. Matthew Flinders. By the time he returned to England in 1805 he had made 2073 drawings, but only a small number were published, including ten plates in Flinders's A voyage to Terra Australis (1814).

Ferdinand Bauer to his brother Franz Bauer (Kew), October 1801 - March 1804 (File)

(8 letters, in German) The letters were written at False Bay (South Africa), Timor, Sydney and at sea.

Ferdinand Bauer. Coloured drawing of Lambertia formosa, based on 'wild specimens' in New South Wales. (File)

Subseries. General Thomas Hardwicke, 1816 - 1817

2 item


Banks, Sir Joseph; Botany; Hardwick, Thomas, Gen.

Biographical / Historical

Thomas Hardwicke (1756-1835) joined the army of the East India Company in 1778 and served in India until 1823. He became a major-general in 1819. He collected zoological specimens in his travels and amassed a large collection of paintings of animals. He was a fellow of the Royal Society and the Linnean Society.

General Thomas Hardwicke (Calcutta) to Sir Joseph Banks, 15 May 1816 (File)

Appointment of James Hare to the botanical gardens in Calcutta; his relations with Nathaniel Wallich; Hardwicke's hopes of rambling in Java; natural history acquisitions in Malacca; new species of tapir; quotes extract from paper by William Farquhar; bird of paradise from Amboyna; wild cow or buffalo from Celebes. (13pp)

General Thomas Hardwicke (Calcutta) to Sir Joseph Banks, 15 January 1817 (File)

Departure of James Hare; management of botanical gardens passed to Dr Casey; sends seeds; trees from Nepal; introduces Henry Hough.

Subseries. Sir William J. Hooker, n.d

1 item


Hooker, Sir William J.; Penang, Malaysia

William J. Hooker. Prince of Wales Island flora (File)

The volume comprises text only. Prince of Wales Island (Penang) was a territory of the East India Company from 1786 to 1858. (68pp)

Subseries. George Suttor, 1843

1 item


Australia: flora and fauna; Linnean Society of London; Suttor, George; Trees, Australia

George Suttor. Notes on the forest trees of Australia, 1843 (File)

The paper was read at a meeting of the Linnean Society on 20 June 1843.

Series. Papers of Alfred Wallace, 1855 - 1861

8 items

Alfred R. Wallace journals 1856-61, notebooks 1855-59, and list of Australian birds.

Biographical / Historical

Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) began collecting insects as a young man and in 1848-52 he accompanied Alfred Bates on a collecting expedition to Brazil. On his return to England, he wrote a number of academic papers and two books and established contacts with several leading scientists. From 1854 to 1862 he travelled through Malaya and the East Indies, collecting 126,000 specimens of insects, butterflies, birds, fish and mammals. He published The Malay Archipelago in 1869. It was while living in Borneo, Lombok, the Aru Islands and Ternate in 1855-58 that Wallace developed his ideas on evolutionary theory. The famous paper 'On the tendency of species to form varieties', jointly written by Wallace and Charles Darwin, appeared in the Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London in August 1858.

Subseries. Journals of Alfred Wallace in the East Indies, 1856 - 1861

4 items


Wallace, Alfred R.

Volume 1, June 1856 - 9 March 1857 (File)

The entries cover Wallace's travels in Baly (Bali), Lombock (Lombok), Macassar (Makassar, Celebes ie Sulawesi), Ke (Kai) Island and the Arru (Aru) Islands. (entries 1-68)

Volume 2, 13 March 1857 - 1 March 1858 (File)

The entries cover Wallace's travels in the Arru Islands, Makassar, the Kaisa Islands (Sulawesi), Timor, Banda Island (Banda Besar), Amboyna (Ambon), Ternate and Gilolo (Halmahera). (entries 69-128)

Volume 3, 25 March 1858 - October 1859 (File)

The entries cover Wallace's travels in Ternate, Makian (Machian) Island, Ganeh (Gani, South Halmahera), Dorey (New Guinea ie Irian Jaya), Batchian (Bacan) Island, Ternate, Gilolo, Tidore Island, March (Mare) Island, Motir (Moti) Island, the Kaioa Islands, Batchian Island, Ternate, Amboyna, Banda Island, Timor, Semao (Semau) Island, Menada (Sulawesi) and Amboyna. (entries 129-92)

Volume 4, 29 October 1859 - 10 May 1861 (File)

The entries cover Wallace's travels in Ceram (Seram) Island, the Gorong Islands, Kilwaru (Kiliwara) Island, Ceram Island, the Mesmon Islands (Jef Doif Islands), Waigiou Island (Irian Jaya), Gam Island (Irian Jaya), Giliolo, Kaioa Island, Ternate, Timor, Banda Island, Amboyna and Bouru Island. (entries 193-245)

Subseries. Notebooks of Alfred Wallace in the East Indies, 1855 - 1859

4 items


Birds: Australia; Australia: flora and fauna; Wallace, Alfred R.

Notebook 1 (File)

Notebook containing a list of birds, giving the name of the bird, the reference in John Gould's Birds of Australia, whether the bird was in Wallace's Collection, and the locality and comments. There is an index in the front of the notebook. (101pp)

Notebook 2 (File)

Notebook containing an index to trees and shrubs. (54pp)

Notebook 3 (File)

Notebook containing detailed descriptions of butterflies of the Malay Archipelago and Australia, including drawings, with notes on the locality. (235pp)

Notebook 4, March 1855 - March 1859 (File)

Entomological notes. (180pp)

Series. Society for Promoting Natural History, 1789 - 1797

2 item

Includes: minutes of meeting 14 December 1795 and transcription of a letter from Capt. W. Paterson 1794; part of a letter from Norfolk Island 1790.


Australia: flora and fauna; King, Phillip P., Capt.; Norfolk Island; Paterson, William; Ross, Sir James C., Admiral; Society for Promoting Natural History; Sydney, New South Wales

Biographical / Historical

The Society for Promoting Natural History was founded in London in 1782, six years before the Linnean Society. It was never in a secure financial position and it did not publish scientific papers. It was dissolved in 1822 and its assets passed to the Linnean Society.

Minute book, no. 2, 1789 - 1797 (File)

Copy of a letter from Capt. William Paterson (Norfolk Island), 23 Aug. 1790. The letter refers to the wreck of the HMS Sirius, the transfer of command at Norfolk Island from Lieut. Philip G. King to Major Robert Ross, the shortage of provisions, rations, and birds on the island.

Minutes of meeting, 14 December 1795 (File)

The minutes refer to a letter from Capt. William Paterson (Sydney) to William Forsyth, 2 May 1794. The attached letter refers to Paterson's return from Norfolk Island, his collection of specimens, seeds and shells; an expedition to discover the source of the Hawkesbury and Grose Rivers; the colony's narrow escape from starvation, the purchase of cattle and stores from the East Indies, and the arrival of the Daedalus with a letter from Archibald Menzies in the northern Pacific Ocean. Attached to the letter is a return of land cleared for cultivation in New South Wales, 25 April 1794. (4pp)