Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Maiden wrote in 1908:
The “ Cumberland,” armed colonial schooner, left Sydney, 23 rd November, 1802, under the command of Lieutenant Robbins for Port Phillip and Tasmania. Following is a record: “The voyage of His Majesty’s Colonial Schooner ‘ Cumberland” from Sydney to King Island and Port Phillip in 1802-3. A journal of the explorations of Charles Grimes, Acting Surveyor-General of New South Wales. Kept by James Fleming.” Note by Governor King:-
“The writer of this journal (James Fleming) was sent to examine the soil, timber, etc. of King Island and Port Phillip; he is very intelligent, and a man to whom I could place great confidence in his knowledge of the objects that fell to his share.” (P.J.K = Phillip Gidley King.)
The above journal was found by Mr. J.J. Shillinglaw in the archives of the Colonial Secretary’s Office Sydney, and published in that gentleman’s “Historical Records of Port Phillip.” (Govt. Printer, Melbourne, 1879). The botanical references are slight, Fleming however (P.22), (“looked over seeds and specimens”) evidently made collections. Rev. Samuel Marsden writes to Banks from Sydney, 27 th April, 1803, introducing.
“John the name is James, J.H.M. Fleming (spelt Flemming in the above Journal), is sent to England by the ‘Glatton,’ by His Excellency the Governor with the charge of the plants and seeds from the country. He is a man of experience and real knowledge in agriculture, a good gardener and botanist. From Fleming’s local knowledge of the Colony and the state of improvements we are in, I have requested him to make such a collection as will benefit the settlement of fruits, seeds, etc., etc.,”King refers to him as “a very good man, a gardener,….a sensible man.” W.A. Chapman writing to Mrs King, London, 16 th October 1804, says “James Flrming has got an appointment to a botanical garden in the West Indies and is gone out.” This perhaps refers to St. Vincent, but I have not been able to trace his subsequent career. Evidently he worked in Sydney, and was well known to Governor King, but I have been unable to trace anything about his career in Sydney.
Source: Maiden, J.H. (1908) Records of Australian botanists- (a) General, (b) New South Wales. Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales for 1908. 42:60-132