Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
William Swainson, more usually a zoologist than a botanist, was appointed by Lieutenant-Governor Latrobe in 1852 to report on the timber of the colony of Victoria, particularly the genera Eucalyptus and Casuarina. That report was tabled in November 1853 and within it Swainson claims to have discovered within Eucalyptidae 'five distinct and well-marked genera, hitherto unknown as such, and apparently peculiar to Victoria; together with two other new genera, which occur also in the adjacent province'.
Of Casuarina, Swainson (l.c.) claimed that 'all the descriptions now existing were perfectly and essentially defective, and therefore quite useless'. He attached a list of all of the species he had found claiming that 'Of all those named in the list I possess elaborate descriptions, partly written with the trees before me'. In a note attached to the 213 species listed, he regretted that he had to leave some species unnamed, although described. The lack of any books to refer to had led to an exhaustion of all the specific names he could think of that might be appropriate!
Continuing, he declared: 'As there exists no scientific society or other medium for publishing an essay on these trees in Melbourne, I think the Royal Tasmanian Society (of which I am an honorary member) will gladly do so in their own transactions'.
Presumably the Royal Society of Tasmania was not appreciative of Swainson's
efforts as this work was never published. W. J. Hooker reproduced
the report in his Journal of botany and Kew Garden miscellany referring
to it as a 'singular document' which is 'startling in some of its statements'
(W. J. Hooker 1854).
Privately he wrote to Mueller:
Extracted from R.M. Barker & W.R. Barker (1990), 'Botanical
Contributions Overlooked...' in 'History of Systematic Botany
in Australasia' ed: P.S. Short, ASBS.