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Dr Ludwig Becker

Original item held at the State Library of Victoria, SLV MS13071, Box 2082/3d.
Victorian Exploring Expedition Records, Instructions issued to members of the VEE by the Exploration Committee. Instructions issued to Scientific Observers attached to the VEE.
Manuscript, handwritten in ink on blue foolscap paper, 12 pages.


Geological, Mineralogical and Natural History Observer
Geology - Diary to be kept regularly and all observations made during the day to be entered before the next day, and as soon as possible after the camp is pitched for the night, and the necessary duties connected with camping, attention to stock, &c., are completed. This to be, in all cases, determined by the Leader.

General Heads of Diary :-
1. Distance and course travelled.

2. Number, character, distance apart, and general trend or fall of all watercourses or drainage channels crossed.

3. Quality of water, if any, in such courses or channels. To ascertain the nature of the salts in saline or other mineral waters, a certain quantity might be evaporated, and the deposited matter collected for chemical examination.

4. Mode of occurrence of water: springs, lakes, pools, or running streams, with average depth of ditto.

5. Indications relative to probable permanence or otherwise of ditto, also of periodical floods.

6. Geological, physical, and mineral character of the banks and beds of streams, lakes, &c., and also of the intervening and adjacent country. If composed of tertiary de- posits of mud, clay, sand, or gravel, note nature of such, whether stratified or irregular accumulations, also mineral character, stating the nature and relative proportions of the materials, whether limestone, sandstone, quartz rock, quartz, or other rock fragments, sedimentary or igneous, or much waterworn. If composed of removed rocks, state probable geological age of such; if stratified and undoubtedly in situ, average direction and angle of dip (noted thus: D.N. 10° E.15°), also probable thickness and relative geological position of different formations (conformable or otherwise) of igneous rocks, whether intrusive or contemporaneous.

7. Indications or presence of organic remains to be carefully sought for and noted, also of mineral veins, coal seams, lignite beds, &c.; date and locality of such researches, with the time so occupied to be stated.

Mineralogy and Fossils
8. Specimens: rock, minerals, and fossils. All specimens to be numbered consecutively, and entered with a corresponding number in a book kept for that purpose, with the locality and date of collection, and a short description of each. The numbers also to be entered in the diary, on the day of collection (thus: June 15, 1860, specimens 1 to 20, stating whether rock, mineral, or fossil).

9. As geological specimens are difficult to transport, owing to their weighty character, it is desirable that only such as are new or doubtful should be collected, and these should be as small as possible for the purpose of examination and recognition; also that whenever an accurate description, or sketch, or both can be made to answer, they should be resorted to in preference to adding unnecessarily to the bulk and weight of the collection. In all cases the gross weight of the specimens that can be taken must be subject to the approval and control of the leader.

10. Rock specimens should in all cases be abandoned in favour of either minerals, fossils, or recent natural history specimens.

11. All specimens that it may be found necessary or deemed expedient to abandon, should be marked off in the catalogue, and the date and cause for their being so abandoned stated. If fossil or recent natural history, sketches of them should, if possible, be retained.

12. A tracing of the route, as laid down by the Surveyor, should be furnished daily, if possible, to the geological and other scientific officers, to enable them to mark the approximate position of their observations. To effect this rapidly, the daily observations in the journal should be numbered, and a corresponding number placed on the map at the point where the observation was made, or to which it refers. Boundaries of different rocks or geological formations crossed on the line of route, should be marked on the map.

13. The observations, whenever practicable, should be copiously illustrated by sketches, with the number of the specimen or observation in the journal to which they refer attached. A sketch of each camp and its environs should, if possible, be made before quitting it. Sketches of all remarkable geological sections are desirable, also outline views of mountain ranges, remarkable hills, and other physical features on either side of the line of route; also of all objects of natural history and natives (aborigines).

14. All views should be numbered and dated with the time of day, the position whence they were taken marked on the map, and the compass bearing, and estimated distance given of the extreme points embraced in each.

The Zoologist, in addition to all general observations which he may be able to make on all classes of animals that may occur to him, illustrated by sketches, is particularly required to ascertain, when possible, the fishes, shells, or articulate occurring in any stagnant or running waters met with, as these are of the highest interest in connection with questions of the geographical distribution of animals. No duplicate specimens that might encumber the party need be collected. Of fossil animals, if any should be noted, it would be very desirable to secure characteristic specimens. The larger fishes may be skinned, by the removal of one-half of the fish, leaving the fins of the mid-line perfect; if then washed with solution of corrosive sublimate in spirit, the specimen can be packed flat between papers without injury. The soft Annelida and small Crustacca, as well as the soft parts of mollusca, should be inclosed in vessels of spirits, the specimens separated by portions of linen cloth to prevent their being injured by shaking. Paper labels, written with black lead pencil, will remain uninjured with specimens so packed. As a general rule, every specimen collected should receive one of a consecutive series of numbers (irrespective of the natural series of the objects), by which it should be indicated in the journal of the day, in which all particulars observed about it or illustrative sketches should appear. In case of a specimen of actually or doubtfully the same species be obtained for the second or third time, at some subsequent dates from its first entry in the journal, there is no objection to its receiving a new number in connection with any additional observations which may be made, in cases where loss of time would result from endeavouring to ascertain the first number applied to the series. Of Mammalia, the nocturnal ones, as bats, and the small marine forms, are the most interesting, and should receive particular attention. No opportunity should be lost to obtain through the officer in charge of depots, or through reconnoitring parties, additional specimens of rocks, fossils, minerals, and natural history. It will be of vast importance to ascertain, as extensively as possible, what relation the vegetation bears to its geological formation.

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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