Episode 3: “Empire’s Plant Hunter” follows Banks and his companions on their botanical journey of exploration of the eastern coast of Australia, the disastrous loss of life on board the Endeavour in the East Indies and Banks’ return to London in 1771, which made him a celebrity.
Sir Joseph Banks, naturalist, explorer, collector, patron and President of the Royal Society for more than 40 years was one of Australia’s founding fathers, and among the most outstanding figures of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He rose to lasting renown when, as a young botanist, he accompanied Captain Cook on his circumnavigation and voyage of discovery to The South Seas, and yet a true picture of Banks’s life has never emerged nor an appreciation of his enduring importance.
In this first ever television documentary of Banks’ life, journalist Ian Cross explores his influence over five decades during a critical period of great change in the world, from 1770 to 1820.In five half hour programmes, The Lost World of Joseph Banks, uncovers the relationships, achievements and controversies associated with this enigmatic figure.
Banks was instrumental in establishing Kew Gardens as the greatest botanical centre in the world, and he used his influence and friendship with King George the 3rd, and in society, to further the careers of many navigators, explorers and naturalists including William Bligh and Matthew Flinders.
Far from being merely the Colossus of Science traditionally imagined, Joseph Banks true genius lay in promoting the enthusiasms of others. His legacy survives not only in his collections, notably his magnificent Herbarium and Florilegium both housed in the Natural History Museum in London, the record of his botanizing in the South Seas, but in his pivotal role in the founding of Australia first as a convict settlement and its development as a British colony.
with thanks to
NATIONAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON
ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS, KEW
STATE LIBRARY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AUSTRALIA
LINNEAN SOCIETY, LONDON
NATIONAL LIBRARY OF AUSTRALIA
ROYAL SYDNEY BOTANICAL GARDENS DOMAIN TRUST
PITT RIVERS MUSEUM, OXFORD
AUSTRALIA NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM