Series 63: Correspondence, being mainly letters received by Banks from various persons, concerning the fitting out of HMS Investigator, Matthew Flinders, 1800-1801
The documents in this series were previously located at ML A79-4. These papers, purchased in 1884 from Lord Brabourne by Sir Saul Samuel, the Agent-General for New South Wales, were transferred to the Mitchell Library in 1910. They were part of the accession which became known as the Brabourne collection.
Document 8 in this series was used by the compilers of Historical records of New South Wales, vol 4 (1896).
It is now not possible to reconstruct Banks' original arrangement, the series has therefore been arranged chronologically.
In November 1800, following a recommendation by Sir Joseph Banks, the Navy Board was directed to prepare the Xenophon for a voyage of discovery to Australia. Matthew Flinders' commission as commander of the ship, renamed HMS Investigator, was read on 24 January 1801.
Banks was responsible for gathering together a civilian suite of natural scientists and artists and furnishing them with their instructions. Their work would be carried out in conjunction with the hydrographic work of Flinders. Banks selected the naturalist, Robert Brown, the botanical artist, Ferdinand Bauer, and landscape artist William Westall. Brown's assistant was the gardener Peter Good, and John Allen, a miner, was selected to gather mineralogical specimens. William Daniell, an astronomer, withdrew from the expedition because of concerns over the lack of a passport. In addition, Banks received a number of letters of application from people wishing to join the expedition.
The Investigator sailed from Spithead on 18 July 1801.