The “Norfolk” arrives in Port Jackson

12th February 1837

On this day, 12th February 1837, Allan Cunningham arrived in Port Jackson aboard the “Norfolk” from England to take up his post as Colonial Botanist. The excitement and optimism he felt would soon shift to disappointment when he realised the Colonial Botanist was expected to be a gardener not a scientist. He would resign in only a few months. He would not let this set back get in the way of his scientific endeavours. It wouldn’t be long before he would independently pursue knowledge for the good of botanic science. His adventure was not yet over. 1

Passengers aboard the Norfolk included: Captain Bowler, 80th Regiment and Lieutenant Raitt, 80th Regiment. The ship’s captain was John Gatenby. 2 Also aboard were Mrs Reitt, Mrs Bowler and family, Mrs Inches and family along with Allan Cunningham.

On arrival Captain Gatenby was presented with a silver snuff box and a note of thanks by Capt. Bowler, Lieut. Raitt and Allan Cunningham. 3


  1. McMinn, Winston Gregory. Allan Cunningham, botanist and explorer. Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press, 1970. Print. Page 109[]
  2. The Australian Newspaper Tuesday 14 March 1837 Page 2[]
  3. Jen Willett’s Free Settler or Felon Website – Convict Ship “Norfolk” 1837[]