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The HMS Endeavour, led by Captain James Cook, set sail in August 1769 on a scientific exploration. From Plymouth England, down around Cape Horn, out into the Pacific they sailed in search of the fabled Terra Australis Incognita. At Botany Bay the explorers grounded, then around the Australian shore, to significant discoveries. Among the 3600 plant specimens documented, 1400 were previously unknown.
Joseph Banks collected, drew and painted, along with other artists, an elegant resource of Australia’s native plants. To look through these paintings and illustrations now, more than two hundred years later, is to see Australia’s vast natural beauty whose biodiversity is our responsibility, our wealth and the wealth of future generations.
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