Topic: Botany Place (TDN 16/02/2019)

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Botany Place 

Botany Place runs off Belair Avenue in Blagdon and was named after Captain James Cook’s first landing site in Australia, Botany Bay. Cook was navigating his way up the east coast of the continent, then known as ‘New Holland’, on the HMS Endeavour when he put ashore at the bay on 29 April 1770.

He initially used the name Stingray Harbour in his log because of the enormous number of stingrays his men caught (and enthusiastically devoured) whilst anchored there. The entry for 6 May 1770 records that the crew “caught two Sting rays weighing near 600 pounds [275 kilograms]” while the expedition’s naturalist Joseph Banks described in his journal that same Sunday how “We din’d to day upon the sting-ray… the fish itself was not quite so good as a skate nor was it much inferior.”

Cook eventually changed his mind, however, and amended the name to Botany Bay because of the huge variety of new plants found there by Banks and his Swedish botanist Daniel Solander. The two men brought thousands of plant specimens home to Britain from these voyages and introduced the eucalyptus tree, amongst others, to the rest of the world. Banks was a strong supporter of British colonisation of New South Wales and promoted the idea of a penal settlement at Botany Bay.

But what of the cul-de-sac? When the subdivision of a piece of land called the Marfell Block took place in the late 1950s, Mr Herbert Mullon wrote to Council suggesting that any new streets be named as a memorial to the great explorer – hence Cook Street, Endeavour Street and Discovery Place.

When the later subdivision of nearby Wood’s Block was undertaken, New Plymouth’s City Engineer recommended continuing the idea and Council officially approved the name of Botany Place on 21 March 1966.

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Botany Place (TDN 16/02/2019)

City:New Plymouth