Day 2: Botany Basics voyage, Sydney to Newcastle

Tuesday 9 September 2014

It was a glorious day on the Hawkesbury River today – perfect for voyage crew and the two botanists to head ashore in Refuge Bay to collect samples of native vegetation.

Endeavour crew land at Rescue Beach. Photo by Suzannah Marshall Macbeth.

Endeavour crew land at the second collection site, Rescue Beach. Photo by Suzannah Marshall Macbeth.

The ship’s fast rescue boat dropped the botanists and voyage crew onto a rocky stretch of coastline initially. This first site was predominantly riverine sheoak forest.

Voyage crew and botanists collecting samples above Refuge Beach. Photo by Matt Renner.

Collecting samples ashore. Photo by Matt Renner.

At this site the team collected the ‘infructescence’, or fruits, of Xanthorrhoea sp. The botanists have a permit to collect specimens of Xanthorrhoea, which was locally dominant in the understory at that site.

‘We needed to collect the full infructescence’if we are to fully understand the characteristics of this plant, particularly the seed structure,’ botanist Dr Trevor Wilson said.

‘The vegetation above Refuge Beach was more eucalypt dominated woodland, with some rainforest species around the waterfall,’ botanist Dr Matt Renner said.

‘At both sites there was lots of early spring colour – native wildflowers are in bloom, such as boronia, which we saw flowering in their wild state just as they would flower in your garden,’ Matt said.

Voyage crew and botanists record data along Refuge Bay. Photo by Matt Renner.

Voyage crew and botanists record data along Refuge Bay. Photo by Matt Renner.

‘So we collected plenty of specimens that were in flower.’

Back on ship, the voyage crew helped press the plants that they had collected – effectively contributing to a specimen that would remain in the National Herbarium of New South Wales for years to come.

Pressing plant specimens aboard HMB Endeavour. Photo by Eden Alley-Porter.

Pressing plant specimens aboard HMB Endeavour. Photo by Eden Alley-Porter.

The seed collected will go in PlantBank, the seed bank at the Mount Annan site of the Royal Botanic Gardens.At the end of a busy and unusually shore-based day for the crew of HMB Endeavour, we’ve remained at anchor and will set sail early in the morning for Newcastle.

All’s well.

– Suzannah Marshall Macbeth

2 thoughts on “Day 2: Botany Basics voyage, Sydney to Newcastle

  1. Is there any chance of photos from deck level and mast-head of the coastal features described in Cook’s Journal as he sailed past Newcastle

    http://www.nla.gov.au/apps/cdview/?pi=nla.ms-ms1-s234r-e

    Thursday 10th May 1770
    “a small round rock or Island laying close under the land” – now Nobbys Head at the entrance to Newcastle harbour

    “In the latitude 33deg 2′ S a little way inland is a remarkable hill that is shaped like the crown of a hat, which we past about 9 o’clock in the forenoon” – Warrawalong, in the Watagan Mountains – this is visible north from Norah Head.

    Friday 11th May 1770
    “Point Stephens”, “Port Stephens”

    Look forward to seeing Endeavour in Newcastle this weekend

    Russell Rigby

  2. Pingback: Endeavour and Eden | equineocean

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