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Ferdinand Mueller 
Original Letters to Ralph Tate

MSS 09 M9

Biographical

Sir Ferdinand Jakob Heinrich von Mueller was born in Germany in 1825, and moved to South Australia with his two sisters in 1847. While working as a pharmacist he spent most of his free time studying South Australian flora, covering an area from Mount Gambier to the Flinders Ranges and Lake Torrens.

In 1852 Mueller moved to Melbourne where he was appointed as government botanist by Lieutenant-Governor Charles La Trove in 1853. He continued his botanical studies, travelling extensively around the state and collecting specimens of what he estimated to be half of the indigenous vegetation in Victoria.

Eventually he left to travel and conducted more research, resulting in his observation of over 2000 species of plant, of which around 800 were new to Australian Botany. Upon returning to Melbourne in 1857 Mueller was appointed director of the Botanical Gardens, a position he held until 1873. During this time he maintained his position as government botanist. Mueller's findings and research was published in over 800 papers and major works on Australian botany, including Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae published over the period 1858-82.

Mueller was recognised for his work with honours from over 5 countries, was appointed a fellow of the Royal Society in 1861, awarded the hereditary title of Freiherr, by King Karl of Württemberg in 1971, and knighted as Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1879.

Contents

Folder 1

Correspondence from Baron von Mueller to Professor Ralph Tate on botanical matters 1879-1881. 22 letters

Folder 2

Correspondence from Baron von Mueller to Professor Ralph Tate on botanical matters 1882-1885. 77 letters

Folder 3

Correspondence from Baron von Mueller to Professor Ralph Tate on botanical matters 1888-1893. 38 letters

Folder 4

Page and galley proofs of two of Professor Tate’s botanical papers (incomplete) and part of Dr. Schomburgh’s “Flora of South Australia”

  • A census of the indigenous flowering plants and ferns of extra-tropical South Australia
  • Unidentified paper
  • “Flora of South Australia”

Folder 5

Sundry notes and correspondence in connection with Baron von Mueller and Professor Ralph Tate (mostly undated). 41 items.

Folder 6

Fragments of correspondence. 2 items

Rare Books & Special Collections
Address

The University of Adelaide
Rare Books & Special Collections
Level 1, Barr Smith Library
South Australia 5005
Australia

Contact

Phone: +61 8 8313 5224
library_special@adelaide.edu.au