Saturday, February 15, 2014

Captain Edward Goldsmith at the Royal Society Gardens

Hops and Sarsparilla

At his own expense ...
Master mariner and merchant trader Captain Edward Goldsmith (1804-1869) was a contemporary of Sir John Franklin who founded in 1839 the society which became in 1848 the first Royal Society for the advancement of science outside Britain. In the early years the Society met under the name The Van Diemen's Land Horticultural Society at Lady Jane Franklin's Museum which she had built on 400 acres of land acquired from Dr Hull at Kangaroo Valley (Tasmania) and named Ancanthe. By 1848, Captain Goldsmith had imported a wide variety of plants - many at his own expense - to provide the Royal Society's Botanic gardens on the Queen's Domain above his patent slip yard with the finest specimens from English nurseries. The Royal Society moved to permanent quarters at the Royal Museum in 1862, now the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

Captain Edward Goldsmith's connection with Lady Jane Franklin extended into the next generation when his niece Elizabeth Rachel Day married photographer Thomas J. Nevin at the Wesleyan Chapel, Kangaroo Valley in 1871, on land held in tenure to Thomas' father John Nevin snr, who built his cottage there and tended his orchards adjacent to the Lady Franklin Museum from the 1850s to his death in 1887.

IMPORTS by Captain Goldsmith

Captain Goldsmith's importations, The Courier 17 November 1847
Source; LOCAL. (1847, November 17). The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859), p. 2. Retrieved February 14, 2014, from


IMPORTATIONS.-We learnt that Captain Goldsmith has brought out in the Rattler, and landed in prime condition, for W. A. Bethune, Esq., a number of pure Merino rams and ewes, as a change of blood in this colony, and for the improvement of the fleece in fine wools. He has also succeeded in bringing into port in a flourishing and healthy state several varieties of new strawberries for T. Horne, Esq.; new kinds of hops for Mr. Sharland; several cases of flowering shrubs and plants for Mr. Newman, of the Royal Botanical Gardens, another for E. P. Butler, Esq., and one, also, for Mr. F. Lipscombe. At his own expense Captain Goldsmith has imported upwards of one hundred varieties of plants and shrubs of the most approved sorts in the English nurseries; and, in accordance with his considerate attention on former visits to our port, has on this occasion not been unmindful of a desire to introduce to the colony additional objects of attention. Of these are white swans, so attractive in the sheets of water in park scenery; and pheasants and partridges, likely to become prolific in the bush of this colony, which is deemed well adapted to their nature and habits: so that, eventually, the " Old English Gentlemen" may once more enjoy their favourite sports, and the native youth become practically acquainted with the game which abounds in the rich domains of England. Examples of this kind are worthy of imitation by captains of colonial traders.
Note that it was a desire of the "Old English Gentlemen" - and not as yet one come to fruition - to import swans, pheasants, partridge and other game for their own hunting pleasure, in the hope the local lads might emulate their English tastes. The report ended with unmitigated flattery of Captain Goldsmith's philanthropy as an example to other captains of colonial traders. His generosity and goodwill, however, were stretched to limits by 1855 when the Colonial Secretary offered to re-imburse Captain Goldsmith just £5000 for costs to build the ferry Kangaroo while his own outlay exceeded £6000 "without any charge for his own time, interest of money, use of yard etc". The real costs to him personally, he claimed, were higher than £9400.

Print: Jardin botanique D’Hobart Town (Ile Van Diemen) / dessine par L. Le Breton Lithe par P. Blanchard
Publisher: Paris : Gide, [184-?]
ADRI: AUTAS001125294538
Source: W.L. Crowther Library

Frederick Lipscombe (1808-1887) nurseryman,
ADRI: AUTAS001136191079
Source: Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts

One year later, Captain Goldsmith imported flowers and herbs and some strawberry plants for nurseryman Mr Frederick Lipscombe which perished on the journey.

Captain Goldsmith's imports on the Rattler, the Courier 13 December 1848
Source: LOCAL. (1848, December 13). The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859), p. 2. Retrieved February 15, 2014, from

IMPORTED PLANTS.- The medal awarded to the Rev. R. R. Davies, of Longford, was mentioned in the Courier. We have been favoured with a list of the plants, &c. which the rev. gentleman has imported; we publish it, with a view to prevent a contingency that often happens - the importation of duplicates, when new specimens only are wanting. Amongst them are the following, which are new: - Magnolias purpurea and soulangeana ; azaleas Phœnicia, coccinea, and calendalocea ; hibiscus variegata and Syracus alba ; nerium versicolor, alba plena, alba plenex, lutescens, and cardinalis ; rosa aimee, Vibert's aimee, Jeanne desprez, Rivers musk, rutifolia, and six other varieties of which the labels are lost; rhododendron pygmœae and dauricum, (there are also two other varieties, but it is doubtful whether they can be saved;) the true snowberry and dog's-tooth violet; viburnum, hairy-leuved, opulifolia, and variegated myrtles. Besides these, he has imported magnolia grandi- flora, annoniflora, and gracilis ; azalea indica alba and pur- purea ; hibiscus rosa sinensis, flava, plena, and peduncu- latus; nerium purpurescens, grandiflora, alto-purpurea, and lacteum ; rosa unique, alba odorata, oduralissima, microphylla, and perdita ; Banksia lutea ; rhododendron ponticum, arboretum,and feruginnea; bougainvillia specta- bilis; syringa or mock orange, and other varieties ; lily of the valley; althauturtea; viburnum Japonicum and sinense; Portugal laurel, glycine sinensis, variegated holly and ferox, with about fifty varieties of double camellias ; and a box of plants from the Cape of Good Hope, containing some new mesembryanthemums and aloes, two plants like the richea of this country, and two others not named, with rosa Banksia alba, another new sort.The flora of this country has also received a great addition by the importation of some plants for Mr. F. Lipscombe in the Rattler, Captain Goldsmith. The following are in good condition :-Lilium rubrum, schimenes picta, campanula novilis, gloxinia rubra, Rollisonii, speciosa alba, and Pressleyans ; anemone japónica, lilium puctata, torenia concolor, lobelia erinus compacta, myasola (a "forget-me not"), and another new specimen of the same; cuphan mineara, weigella roses, phlox speciosa, cuphea pletycentra, lantana Drummondii and Sellowii, phloz rubra, achimines Hendersonii ; with the following camellias - Queen Victoria,- elegans, tricolor, triumphans, speciosa, Palmer's perfection, and Reevesii. These were all contained, with others, in one case ; they were well established in pots before packing, which has tended to their preservation. Another case contains lemon thyme, sage, and the Mammoth and Elisabeth strawberries. The same course in this instance had not been pursued; the plants were put into mould at the bottom of the case, and in almost every instance have perished. A quantity of carnations unfortunately experienced the same fate. Importers will therefore do well to impress upon their agents in England the necessity of establishing them in pots before packing. In the exportation of Van Diemen's Land shrubs to the United Kingdom, India, and Mauritius, Mr. Lipscombe always adopts this method, and it is of rare occurrence for any specimen to be lost.
The saga of the lost Mammoth and Elizabeth strawberry plants on this trip was dragged through the press by Mr Lipscombe in order to embarrass Captain Goldsmith, even into 1853, the year of the Jubilee. See this article here on this site.

Title: Royal Society's Gardens, & Government House / Clifford photo
Creator: Clifford, Samuel, 1827-1890
In: Abbott album Item 54
Publisher: 1868
Description: 1 photograph : sepia toned ; 10 x 17 cm
Format: Photograph
ADRI: AUTAS001136189081
Source: W.L. Crowther Library

EXPORTS by Captain Goldsmith
Even as the potato famine in Ireland was taking hold, Captain Goldsmith offered to export varieties of seed potatoes which had proved successful in experiments, in the hope that a change of seed and further experimentation in the "kingdom" amongst his friends might assist. Again, his offer to pay for the transport and experiments in England from his private account was noted. Some Tasmanian varieties exported were the "black Derwent" and the "fine ash-leaved kidney". Captain Goldsmith also exported Tasmanian timbers. He exhibited a blue gum plank at the Paris Expo in 1855.

Captain Goldsmith's export of Tasmanian potatoes
The Courier 30 January 1847
Source:LOCAL. (1847, January 30). The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859), p. 2. Retrieved February 14, 2014, from

SEED POTATOS FOR ENGLAND.-We noticed recently the importance that would be derived by the Home-country,could the potato disease be eradicated by a change of seed. At the same time, we did not express any sanguine opinion, founded on experiments that had been already tried, of the success of any extensive exportations from this colony. Experiments, however, are about to be tried-not, it is true, on a large scale, by merchants in the way of business, but by the philanthropic efforts of private individuals. We have heard within the last few days, of several samples of very fine and ripe seed potatos-including especially the black Derwent and the fine ash-leaved kidney-being already on their way to England in the vessels that have recently left our shores, freighted with colonial produce. Captain Goldsmith, of the Rattler, took with him, not as merchandise, but on his own private account, as presents for experiment by his agricultural friends in England, samples of several varieties. Many samples are now being packed for transmission in the Derwent and other vessels, whose departure may shortly be expected. These also are comparatively small; but as they will be dispersed as presents to friends in different parts of the kingdom, the experiment of success in eradicating the disease, by change of seed from this colony, will have, perhaps, a fairer and more satisfactory trial than if exportation had taken place on a larger scale on merchants' account.

Title: Royal Society's Gardens, & Government House / A.A. photo
Creator: Abbott, Alfred, 1838-1872
In: Abbott album Item 56 and 67
Publisher: 1861
Description: 1 stereoscopic pair of photographs : sepia toned ; circular, 8 cm. diam. each
Description: 1 stereoscopic pair of photographs : sepia toned ; 8 x 7 cm. each
Format: Photographs
ADRI: AUTAS001136189214
ADRI: AUTAS001136189107
Source: W.L. Crowther Library

For more newspaper reports about Captain Edward Goldsmith, check this tag list at TROVE. Many deal with his importation of machinery on the Rattler to build a patent slip on the Queen's Domain, the troubles which ensued, and the enormous costs on his own account to build the steam ferry the Kangaroo for the Denison government in 1854. See related posts below, some of which also document his familial relations with Elizabeth his wife, his two sons, his brother-in-law, his two nieces and their husbands, and his neighbour at Gad's Hill, Kent - Charles Dickens.

Captain Edward Goldsmith elected to the Royal Society

Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Van Diemen's Land
Vol.II, Part I. January 1852 Tasmania
Source: Smithsonian Institution Museum Library

Election of Captain Goldsmith 1851

17th December, 1851.— John Lillie, D.D., a Vice-President of
the Society, in the chair.
After a ballot, the following gentlemen were declared duly elected
into the Society :— Captain Goldsmith, of Hobart Town, and
Andrew Mowbray, M.D., of Circular Head.

Title: Royal Society's Museum / Clifford photo
Creator: Clifford, Samuel, 1827-1890, photographer
In Abbott album Item 42
Publisher: 1862
Description: 1 photograph : sepia toned ; 70 x 76 mm
Format: Photograph
ADRI: AUTAS001136188968
Source: W.L. Crowther Library

Captain Goldsmith's specimen of gold

Captain Goldsmith presented a fine specimen of gold upon an indurated
ferruginous clay, brought by himself from Central America, where it was
obtained at an elevation of about 3000 feet, in 13° North.

Fellows etc 1852

*Denotes Members admitted since the close of 1851.

Gardner, W. A
Garrett, Rev. James
Garrett, Robert
Giblin, Thomas
Gibson, James
Gill, W. H
Gleadow, J. W., M.L.C
Goldsmith, Captain
Gould, John, F.R.S.,* &c
Grant, James
Grant, James
Greenwood, Joseph, Capt. 31st Regiment,
Major Brigade
Gregson, T. G., M.L.C
Gregson, John Compton
Gresley, Nigel, Union Bank
Grey, Sir George, K.C.B., Governor-in-Chief
Groom, Francis
Gunn, Ronald C, F.L.S
Gunn, William

Contributions 1852


January — 1 case, 29 plants, per " Rattler," presented by Captain Goldsmith.
„ 1 case, 32 plants, per " Emma," from Botanic Gardens, Sydney.
„ 1 case, 31 plants, per " Rattler," from London, presented by the
Venerable Archdeacon Davies.
February — 1 case, 16 plants, per " Emma," from Camden, Sydney.
April — 1 case, 300 plants, pines, from Norfolk Island.
June — 2 cases, 40 plants, from China, presented by A. MacNaughtan, Esq.
„ 1 box of seeds, 120 species, from Cape of Good Hope, presented by
Alexander MacNaughtan, Esq.
„ 1 case, 50 varieties bulbs, from Cape of Good Hope, presented by
His Excellency Sir W. T. Denison.
„ 1 case, 400 pines, from Norfolk Island.
,, 1 case, 34 species bulbs, from Cape of Good Hope, presented by His
Excellency Sir W. T. Denison.
July — 1 case, 50 plants from New Zealand, presented by H. S. Chapman, Esq.
November— 1 case, 40 plants, from Knight and Perry, Chelsea.
December — 1 case, 40 plants, per " Desilles," from Bourbon, forwarded
from the Botanic Gardens there.

Royal Botanical Gardens
Thomas J. Nevin stereograph ca. 1870
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Ref: Q16826.17

Contributors 1852

Abbott, John.
Addison, S., Capt.
Aitkin, Marcus, A.P,M.
Allport, Mrs.
Allport, Morton.
Anstey, H. F., M.L.C.
Archer, Wm., M.L.C.
Becker, Ludwig, M.D.
Berthon, Benjamin.
Browne, Thomas.
Burnett, J. L.
Butterworth, C. B., Hon. Colonel.
Cartwright, Henry Durance.
Champ, W. T. N.
Cotton, Major.
Cotton, Henry.
Crowther, W. L.
Denison, His Excellency Sir Wo T,
Dixon, Capt.
Eardley- Wilmot, Chester.
Eraser, Peter.
Gardiner, Arthur.
Glover, John, junr., Sorell.
Goldsmith, Captain.
Gresley, Edward.
Groom, Francis.
Hawkes, W. K.
Hone, Joseph.
Hull, George.
Hull, Hugh.
Johnson, John.
Jones, A. B.
Kenworthy, Dr.
Lillie, Rev. Dr.
Loch, J. D.
Maclaine, H.
MacNaughtan, A.
Milligan, Joseph.
Moore, Wm.
Moses, Samuel.
Moses, Alfred.
Newman, F. W.
Officer, Robert.
Propsting, Richard.
Robertson, Rev. J.
Rolwegan, George.
Stieglitz, Francis.
Storey, G.
Walker, G. W.
Westcott, W.
Wheeler, J. A., A.P.M.
Young, Wm. Portland.
Young, J. M.

Valuable Plants per the Rattler

Captain Goldsmith presented to the Society's Gardens a case of valuable plants (28), imported per Rattler. A case containing 31 plants received from A. McLeay. Esq., of Sydney. From the Botanic Gardens at Sydney, a case received containing 32 species, partly exotics.

Thomas Dobson on hurricanes

An able paper on the relation between earthquakes, volcanic action, and hurricanes, designed as a pendant to the paper produced on the same subject last month, was read by Thomas Dobson, Esq., of the High School. Discussions on earthquakes and volcanoes followed, in which Mr. Mitchell and others took part. Mr. Hort stated that the earthquake of 1848, in New Zealand, was accompanied night after night with a most brilliant display of auroral lights, and that a season of excessively stormy weather succeeded. Captain Goldsmith's long experience on the Coast of America did not allow him, he said, to conclude that volcanic eruptions are usually or necessarily accompanied with, or followed by, high winds and stormy weather.
The thanks of the meeting to the persons making donations, and for the papers read, proposed by Mr. Hathaway and seconded by Mr. Hopkins, were voted. Mr. Hort drew attention to the great interest so constantly manifested by Sir William Denison in the welfare of this Society and the promotion of its objects ; and, instancing the communications between His Excellency and the Governor-General read to night, moved that a vote of thanks be passed to His Excellency, which, being seconded by Captain Goldsmith, was earned unanimously, and the meeting broke up about half-past nine.
Strawberry Plants to Norfolk Island

DURING 1852.
January — 1 case, 51 plants, per " Tasman," to Knight and Perry, Chelsea.
„ 1 case, 41 Araucarias, to Messrs. Lane, London,
,, 1 case, 72 Araucarias, per " Wellington," to Messrs. Lee,
„ 1 ease, 51 Araucarias, per " Wellington," to Messrs. Lee, of
„ 1 case, 42 Araucarias, per " Rattler," to Lucombe and Price,
February — 2 cases, 600 strawberry plants, to Norfolk Island.
„ 1 case, 28 plants, per " Rattler," to London, in exchange with Captain Goldsmith.
June— 1 case, 29 plants, per " Middleton," to S. Kennard, Esq., London.
,, 1 case, 43 Araucarias, per "Middleton," to Messrs, Lee, Hammer-
„ 1 case, 29 plants, per " Middleton," to William Jackson, Esq.,
„ 1 case, 400 Araucarias, per " Aurora," to Botanic Gardens, Sydney.

Books purchased during 1852

Gould's Birds of Europe, folio, 5 vols.
Gould's Humming Birds, folio. Part I.
Horticultural Magazine.
Paxton's Flower Garden.
Journal of Agriculture and Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural
Society of Scotland.
Annals of Natural History.
Hooker's Journal of Botany.
Beck's Florist.
Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal.
Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London.
United States Exploring Expedition. Wilkes. 1 vol., large 8vo.
Report of British Association, 1850.
Pickering's Races of Men, 1 vol.
Supplement to Penny Cyclopaedia, 2 vols.
Lindley's Introduction to Botany, 2 vols., Svo.
Victoria Regia, plates, imp. folio.
Grant's Outlines of Comparative Anatomy.
Brewster on Magnetism.
Dennis's Silk Manual.
Franklin Expedition, by Scoresby.
Conchologia Iconica. Reeves. Parts 1 to 108.
Hooker's " Rhododendrons of the Himalaya." Parts 1 & 2.
Hooker's Flora of New Zealand. Part 1.

Title: Museum / [photographed by Anson Brothers, Hobart]
In: Photographs of Hobart and surroundings, Huon Valley and east towards Port Arthur Pl. [16]
Publisher: Hobart [Tas.] : Anson, ca. 1878
Description: 1 photograph : sepia toned ; 105 X 180 mm
Format: Photograph
ADRI: AUTAS001136156536
Source: W.L. Crowther Library

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