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The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks 1768–1771 [Volume One]

Foreword — The Sir Joseph Banks Memorial

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The Sir Joseph Banks Memorial

This book is published by the Trustees of the Public Library of New South Wales as the first part of the State's memorial to Sir Joseph Banks. It contains the journal of the voyage with Captain James Cook in the Endeavour, which in April 1770 brought Banks to the eastern shores of Australia.

The Sir Joseph Banks Memorial had its origin in a public meeting held in Sydney on 25th May 1905, under the inspiration of J. H. Maiden, F.R.S. (1859–1925), one of Australia's foremost botanists. The appointment of an executive committee of ten with Sir Francis Suitor as president and Maiden as honorary secretary followed. A fund was subsequently raised, partly by public subscription but mainly by the sale of Maiden's book, Sir Joseph Banks: The “Father of Australia”, which was published in 1909.

The executive committee generally favoured a memorial in the form of a statue and in addition, if funds were sufficient, a university scholarship. However, in 1937 upon the death of Sir Daniel Levy, its last surviving member, the committee ceased to exist. Six years later, when the fund had increased to £1,089 1,089 15s 9d, the Parliament of New South Wales passed the Sir Joseph Banks Memorial Fund Act, 1943, which established a Trust to ‘consider how the fund may be utilized for the purpose of providing a suitable and fitting memorial to perpetuate the memory and services of Sir Joseph Banks’. K. R. Cramp, O.B.E., was chairman of the Trust.

Upon the presentation of the Trust's report, including a minority report, a further Act was passed, the Sir Joseph Banks Memorial Act, 1945, which repealed the Act of 1943 and vested the fund in the Trustees of the Public Library of New South Wales, upon trust, ‘to apply the same in or towards defraying the cost of editing, publishing and distributing the Banks Papers in a manner and form suitable and fitting to the memory and services of Sir Joseph Banks’. On 8th March, 1946, when the fund was transferred to the Trustees, it amounted to £3,941 14s 3d, including a Government grant of £2,000 and a gift of £500 by Mr E. J. L. (now Sir Edward) Hallstrom.

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The Trustees immediately began their primary task of finding an editor with the necessary high qualifications. After a comprehensive survey of the relevant field of scholarship they invited Dr J. C. Beaglehole to assume the task, and he consented to make a beginning of it with an edition of this journal.

Arrangements were then made through the Prime Minister of New Zealand with the result that Victoria University College (now Victoria University of Wellington), generously permitted Dr Beaglehole, as Senior Research Fellow, to undertake the work as part of his normal duties. The Trustees here record their warm thanks to the Government of New Zealand, to the Council of Victoria University College, and to its Principal at that time, the late Sir Thomas Hunter, for their part in enabling Dr Beaglehole thus to act; and they particularly express their appreciation to Dr Beaglehole himself for his determination to make the memorial a worthy one.

The Trustees propose, as time and funds permit, to add to the Sir Joseph Banks Memorial by the publication of further volumes of the Banks Papers, many of which, like his original journal here reproduced, are in their possession.

H. V. Evatt

President of the Trustees

G. D. Richardson

Principal Librarian and Secretary