- Evolutionary ecology research
- Australian rainforest - evolutionary ecology
- Australian rainforest through time
- Biodiversity adaptation transect
- Botany of Botany Bay
- Ceratopetalum - Phylogenetic relationships
- Conservation genetics
- Ecology of Cumberland Plain Woodland
- Eucalypts: adaptive variation vs vicariance
- Floristic Lists of NSW
- Habitat fragmentation
- Isopogon prostratus - ecology
- Liverpool Plains grasslands
- Native plants of Sydney Harbour NP
- Newnes Plateau Shrub Swamps
- Plants of the Newnes Plateau
- Plants, vegetation, landscape, country
- Podocarpus elatus - rainforest conifer
- Post-glacial range shift
- Proteaceae - natural hybridisation
- Proteaceae - shifting species boundaries
- Proteaceae - speciation
- Rainforest diversity
- Testing speciation models
- Horticultural research
- Plant diversity research
- Plant pathology research
- Herbarium & resources
- Scientific publications
The Botany of Botany Bay
People, Plants and Places
Plants, vegetation, geography, country: the landscape and its unique flora is a major element in Australia's story. Some plant specimens were collected near the Swan River in Western Australia in 1697 by Dutchman Willem de Vlamingh and on the north-western coast of Western Australia by the English buccaneer William Dampier in 1699, but the age of serious European botanical exploration began in the 18th century. For Australia, it began in 1770, at Botany Bay.
About 10 km south of Sydney Harbour lies the broad expanse of Botany Bay. Here, in April 1770, the Endeavour, commanded by Lieutenant James Cook, anchored and the first Europeans landed on the east coast of Australia. During the eight day visit, Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, the naturalists (for it was a scientific exploring expedition) encountered an unusually large number of previously unknown plants. First named Stingray Bay by Cook, he later changed the name to Botany Bay, in recognition of this new and impressive flora.
Two hundred years later you can still see the descendants of many of those plant species in the small bushland reserves around the Bay, though others have disappeared as their habitat has been destroyed by Sydney's continuing urban and industrial expansion.
The Botany Bay National Park website has more information about visiting the area.
The Botany of Botany Bay webpages were prepared by Doug Benson (text, research), Louisa Murray (text, photos), Linn Linn Lee (technical support, photos) and Karen Wilson (coordination) in 2006. Essential funding for the project was provided by the Friends of The Gardens.
Recent research findings
Benson, D and Eldershaw, G. (2005). Naturalizating non-local native trees at Botany Bay: The long-term impact of historical plantings. Ecological Management and Restoration 6(3) pp 163 - 171. (pdf file)
Benson, D and Eldershaw, G. (2007). Backdrop to encounter: the 1770 landscape of Botany Bay, the plants collected by Banks and Solander and rehabilitation of natural vegetation at Kurnell. Cunninghamia 10(1) pp 113 - 137. (pdf file)
Sydney’s Bushland. More than meets the eye.
Now available at the special reduced price of $15.00
This book takes you back before the age of the dinosaurs to glimpse the forces that shaped the Sydney bushland scene. It brings you up to date to join scientists in discovering some of the surprises Sydney’s bushland plants have in store. Beautifully illustrated with a wealth of colour photographs covering the different types Sydney’s vegetation, including bushland ecology and walks around Sydney.
128 pages/Soft cover/180mm x 250mm/ISBN 0 7313 9342 2