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Pelican Waters QLD - Street Names
Sir Joseph Banks Drive

Sir Joseph Banks, 1st Baronet, GCB, PRS (13 February 1743 – 19 June 1820) was an English naturalist, botanist and patron of the natural sciences. He took part in Captain James Cook's first great voyage (1768–1771). Banks is credited with the introduction to the Western world of eucalyptus, acacia, mimosa, and the genus named after him, Banksia. Approximately 80 species of plants bear Banks's name.

Banks was also the leading founder of the African Association, a British organization dedicated to the exploration of Africa, and a member of the Society of Dilettanti, which helped to establish the Royal Academy.

Banks was born in London to William Banks, a wealthy Lincolnshire country squire and member of the House of Commons, and his wife Sarah, daughter of William Bate. Joseph was educated at Harrow School from the age of 9, and at Eton College from 1756; his fellow students included Constantine John Phipps. As a boy Banks enjoyed exploring the Lincolnshire countryside, and developed a keen interest in nature, history and botany.

His father had died in 1761, so when he turned 21 he inherited the impressive estate of Revesby Estate, in Lincolnshire, becoming the local squire and magistrate, and sharing his time between Lincolnshire and London. From his mother's home in Chelsea he kept up his interest in science by attending the Chelsea Physic Garden of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries and the British Museum, where he met Daniel Solander. He began to make friends among the scientific men of his day and to correspond with Carl Linnaeus, whom he came to know through Solander. As Banks's influence increased, he became an adviser to King George III and urged the monarch to support voyages of discovery to new lands, hoping to indulge his own interest in botany.

Endeavour voyage

Banks was appointed to a joint Royal Navy/Royal Society scientific expedition to the south Pacific Ocean on HM Bark Endeavour, 1768—1771. 
This was the first of James Cook's voyages of discovery in that region. 
This voyage went to Brazil, where Banks made the first scientific description of a now common garden plant, bougainvillea (named after Cook's French counterpart, Louis Antoine de Bougainville), and to other parts of South America. The voyage then progressed to Tahiti (where the transit of Venus was observed, the overt purpose of the mission), to New Zealand and to the east coast of Australia, where Cook mapped the coastline and made landfall at Botany Bay and at Endeavour River (near modern Cooktown) in Queensland, where they spent almost seven weeks ashore while the ship was repaired after foundering on the Great Barrier Reef.

While they were in Australia Banks, the Swedish botanist Daniel Solander and the Finnish botanist Dr. Herman Spöring Jr. made the first major collection of Australian flora, describing many species new to science. 
Almost 800 specimens were illustrated by the artist Sydney Parkinson and appear in Banks' Florilegium, finally published in 35 volumes between 1980 and 1990.

Banks arrived back in England on 12 July 1771 and immediately became famous. He intended to go with Cook on his second voyage, which began on 13 May 1772, but difficulties arose about the accommodation for Banks and his assistants, and he decided not to go.

Also in 1779 Banks took a lease on, and eventually bought outright, a house with thirty-four acres along the northern side of the London Road, Isleworth. The grounds contained a natural spring, which was an important attraction to him. Banks spent much time and effort on this secondary home. He steadily created a renowned botanical masterpiece on the estate, achieved primarily with many of the great variety of foreign plants he had collected on his extensive travels around the world, particularly to Australia and the South Seas. The house and surrounding district became known as 'Spring Grove', and the picture shows the house in 1815.

The house was substantially extended and rebuilt by later owners and is now part of West Thames College.

Banks was made a baronet in 1781, three years after being elected president of the Royal Society. 
During much of this time Banks was an informal adviser to King George III on the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, a position that was formalized in 1797. 
Banks dispatched explorers and botanists to many parts of the world, and through these efforts Kew Gardens became arguably the pre-eminent botanical gardens in the world, with many species being introduced to Europe through them. 
Banks was directly responsible for several famous voyages, including that of George Vancouver to the northeastern Pacific (Pacific Northwest), and William Bligh's voyages to transplant breadfruit from the South Pacific to the Caribbean Sea islands (the latter brought about the Mutiny on the Bounty). 
The redoubtable Bligh was also appointed governor of New South Wales on Banks's recommendation, which in turn led to the Rum Rebellion of 1808. 

It was Banks's own time in Australia, however, that led to his interest in the British colonisation of that continent. 
He was to be the greatest proponent of settlement in New South Wales: in fact, the name "Banksia" was proposed for the region by Linnaeus. In the end a genus of Proteaceae was named in his honour as Banksia. 
In 1779 Banks, giving evidence before a committee of the House of Commons, had stated that in his opinion the place most eligible for the reception of convicts "was Botany Bay, on the coast of New Holland". His interest did not stop there, for when the settlement was made, and for 20 years afterwards, his fostering care and influence was always being exercised. He was in fact the general adviser to the government on all Australian matters. 
He arranged that a large number of useful trees and plants should be sent out in the supply ship Guardian which, however, was wrecked, and every vessel that came from New South Wales brought plants or animals or geological and other specimens to Banks. 
He was continually called on for help in developing the agriculture and trade of the colony, and his influence was used in connection with the sending out of early free settlers, one of whom, a young gardener George Suttor, afterwards wrote a memoir of Banks. 
The three early governors, Arthur Phillip, John Hunter, and Philip Gidley King, were continually in correspondence with him. 
He was interested in the explorations of Matthew Flinders, George Bass and Lieutenant James Grant, and among his paid helpers were George Caley, Robert Brown and Allan Cunningham.

Banks's health began to fail early in the 19th century and he suffered from gout every winter. After 1805 he practically lost the use of his legs and had to be wheeled to his meetings in a chair, but his mind remained as vigorous as ever.

He died on 19 June 1820 in Spring Grove House and was buried at St Leonard's Church, Heston. 
Lady Banks survived him, but there were no children.

Banks's was a major supporter of the internationalist nature of science, being actively involved both in keeping open the lines of communication with continental scientists during the Napoleonic Wars, and in introducing the British people to the wonders of the wider world. As befits someone with such a role in opening the South Pacific to Europe, his name dots the map of the region: Banks Peninsula on South Island, New Zealand; the Banks Islands in modern-day Vanuatu; and Banks Island in the Northwest Territories, Canada.

The Canberra suburb of Banks, the electoral Division of Banks, and the Sydney suburbs of Bankstown, Banksia and Banksmeadow are all named after him. Banks also appeared on the Australian currency paper $5 dollar note before it was replaced by the later polymer currency.

In 1986 he was honoured on a postage stamp depicting his portrait issued by Australia Post 

In Horncastle, Lincolnshire the Sir Joseph Banks centre can be found, this is a grade II listed building which was recently restored by the Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire to celebrate the life of Sir Joseph Banks. Horncastle is situated only a few miles from his Revesby Estate and Banks himself was the towns Lord of the Manor. The centre is located on Bridge street, Horncastle, Lincolnshire and boasts research facilities, historic links to Australia and a garden in which rare plants can be viewed and purchased.

banks house



Sir Joseph Banks House - 1815
"Spring Grove" 
Isleworth, UK



West Thames College - 2010
Grade II listed Building
Spring Grove House 
Isleworth, UK
west thames college

Famous People who have attended West Thames College.

  • Anne-Marie Duff, actress 

  • Freddie Mercury, lead vocalist of Queen, studied at the college when it was known as Isleworth Polytechnic 

  • Rufus Sewell, actor 

  • Martin Hancock, actor Coronation Street (between 1997 and 2003) 

  • Celena Cherry, lead singer with the Honeyz

  • Brothers Mark Morriss and Scott Morriss of the Bluetones


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