Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia


Child ‘scientists’ taken back in time for nautical botany lesson

National Science Week 8-19 August 2013

To begin National Science Week, a group of lucky children boarded a replica of HMB Endeavour to enjoy the same botanical experiences botanists Sir Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander had on board the ship commanded by James Cook during his first voyage to Australia in 1770.

'The children put themselves back in time when they walked into the Great Cabin where these famous botanists once worked,' Flora Botanist, Louisa Murray from the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust said.

'They were given plant specimens I’ve collected from Kamay Botany Bay National Park in Kurnell, just as Banks and Solander did. With these, I demonstrated how to make a specimen collection, which we call a herbarium, and we looked at the differences between Banksia species, the genus named after Sir Jospeph Banks.

'This HMB Endeavour experience definitely has a bit of the "wow factor", Joseph Bank’s cabin where he slept and lived for three years was just off the Great Cabin, and it was where some of his precious collections were when he was a naturalist on the voyage,' she said.

Ms Murray said the HMB Endeavour experience can be copied by families who would like to expose their children to this incredible part of Australia’s history as well as botany.

'I encourage parents to take their children to the National Park in Kurnell to see where Cook landed and then visit the HMB Endeavour replica to complete the adventure,' Ms Murray said.

'Captain Cook, along with Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, were in Botany Bay for eight days in April 1770. During that time, Banks and Solander were able to collect a lot of plant material. The plants they saw there were completely different from anything they had ever seen before. The European species they were used to did not look anything like Australian plants.'

Science Week was launched by Chief Scientist Mary O’Kane at the Maritime Museum on Thursday 8 August.

Following the launch the historic replica HMB Endeavour set sail for a trip around the harbour with school children from Years 2-6, as well as scientists from various organisations in Sydney, and young scientists from the Young Science Association at Sydney University.



Louisa Murray

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