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Dr Hermann Beckler

Original item held at the State Library of Victoria, SLV MS13071, Box 2082/3b.
Victorian Exploring Expedition Records, Instructions issued to members of the VEE by the Exploration Committee. Leader's copy of Instructions to geologist, zoologist and botanist attached to the VEE.
Signed John Macadam and dated, Melbourne, 3rd Sept 1860.
Manuscript, handwritten in ink on blue foolscap paper, 9 pages.

 

For the purpose of elucidating to the fullest extent the physiology of any part of Australia to be explored by the Victorian expedition, it is recommended that the Botanist attached to the Caravan should keep a diary in which the principal botanical features of the country should be noted, and into which any plant either remarkable or observed for the first time should be introduced under the same number or designation by which it is distinguished in the herbarium.

To the specimens which will be collected and which should be pressed into papers always immediately and dried as speedily as circumstances will permit, a label should be fixed, containing note of the day of collecting, the habitat of the plant, the soil of the locality, the colour and perhaps odour of the flowers, the nature of the bark and of the wood of any arboreous species, the size of the plants, and any other characteristics, which cannot be derived from the examination of the dried specimens. These when dried, it will be desirable, should be secured against pressure and moisture, and the thus formed collections should be forwarded to the Secretary of the Exploration Committee, always at the earliest opportunity afforded for transmission.

To such collections of Botanical specimens might be added any well matured seeds collected on the journey, which should either be numbered corresponding to the specimens of the herbarium, or be accompanied by leaves, flowers, and seed vessels, for the purposes of recognising the species.

Samples of gums, resins, barks and any other vegetable substances likely to be of technical or economical or medicinal use should be gathered and labelled in such a manner as to facilitate specific determination.

No opportunity should be lost to obtain through the officer in charge of depôts, or through reconnoitring parties additional specimens of plants and seeds.

Particular attention is directed to the necessity of closely examining the Pandani and palms which are likely to be met with within the tropics; and since it will be difficult to procure the larger fruits of the former and since the determination of the species greatly depends on the habit of the plants, it would be of great advantage to have through the Artist of the expedition sketches of the outlines of these rare trees secured and the flowers and fruits fully delineated.

It will be of vast importance to ascertain as extensively as possible what relation the vegetation of the country bears to its geological formation.

Of any plants suspected to have been deleterious to either horses or dromedaree such a quantity should be dried as will suffice for chemical analysis and any experiments to be instituted there- after. Of plants, which may prove of utility for food or otherwise, or which are drawn into use by the natives, more particularly information is sought.

Committee of the Victorian Exploring Expedition.

 
     

General Instructions for Scientific Observers

Scientific observations or work that would cause hindrance, or otherwise interfere with the progress or necessary work of the expedition, never to be undertaken if contrary to the instructions of the Leader.

All specimens, journals, sketches, maps, or other documents, to be exclusively the property of the Royal Society, on behalf of the Government of Victoria; and on no pretence whatever are either specimens or copies of the said documents to be given away, or forwarded privately to any person, or even officially, except through the Leader, although it is intended that each observer should, on publication of the results of the expedition, receive the credit due to him for his observations.

All scientific, or other documents, journals, &c., relating to the expedition, to be at all times accessible to the Leader.

Committee of the Victorian Exploring Expedition.

 
     
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