The suburb of Botany is located 11 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district and is part of the City of Botany Bay. Botany sits on the northern shore of Botany Bay, east of Sydney Airport, adjacent to the suburbs of Mascot, Banksmeadow, Pagewood and Port Botany. Port Botany is the site of Sydney's major port and as such, Botany is a suburb with extensive commercial development centred on shipping and freight. Botany also has a large chemical production facility owned by several companies including Huntsman and Orica (previously ICI). The plant was built in the 1940s and was has been owned by Orica since 1997. The plant once manufactured paints, plastics and industrial chemicals such as solvents, and is responsible for a large groundwater plume of pollution in the area. The main shopping centre in Botany runs along Botany Road.
Botany was originally planned as an agricultural district, in the same way the surrounding suburbs were used for market gardens. However, it became an industrial area with fellmongers yards and slaughter works. In 1809, Mr E Redmond was one of the first to settle here and Simeon Lord (1771 1840) was an important developer in the area who built a fulling mill in 1815. In 1823 he was granted 600 acres (2.4 km2) and more grants followed. Part of his estate was subdivided in 1859 to create the Booralee Township and the rest was subdivided in 1887. The Sydney Waterworks were established in Botany in 1858.
The Sir Joseph Banks Hotel was a popular hotel on the shores of Botany Bay. By 1850, a private zoo had been established there and visitors could go horse riding, play cricket and football. International athletes challenged the locals in the Sir Joseph Banks Handicap on the racetrack. In 1988, the Sir Joseph Banks Pleasure Gardens were refurbished with local industry contributions. The racing track was restored and an annual event called the Botany Bay Gift attracted international athletes again. The hotel, which was built in stages from 1840, is now listed on the Register of the National Estate. The other historic landmark in the area is St Matthew's Church of England, on the corner of Botany Road and Lord Street. It was built in 1862 and is now on the Register of the National Estate.
Statue of Sir Joseph Banks, Sir Joseph Banks Park
Sir Joseph Banks Park comprises Foreshore Reserve and the Sir Joseph Banks Pleasure Gardens. Foreshore Reserve is 28 hectares of bushland on land reclaimed from Botany Bay. The Reserve features walking tracks through sand dunes to protected wetlands, formed around a network of ponds. The Pleasure Gardens reflect the history of the area with a zoo playground featuring life size animal statues, a mosaic depicting Banks s journey, decorative flag terrace, Banksia garden and the central oval running track. A statue of Sir Joseph Banks examining botanical specimens is located in the pleasure gardens.
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Port Botany is a major commercial area and deepwater seaport located in Botany Bay. The port is dominated by trade in containerised manufactured products, and to a lesser extent, bulk liquid imports including petroleum and natural gas. It is Australia's second-largest container port, and is administered by NSW Ports.
Prior to 1960 Sydney's international shipping facilities were exclusively located in Port Jackson, with bulk and break bulk docks at Darling Harbour and Walsh Bay. and bulk and ro-ro docks at Glebe Island and White Bay. With the advent of containerization in the late 1950s it became clear that Sydney would require additional port facilities to cater for new cargo types. In the 1960s the government agency responsible for ports, the NSW Maritime Services Board, recommended that a new port complex be developed in the northern part of Botany Bay adjacent to Sydney Airport.
Situated a few kilometres south of the central business district of Sydney, Botany Bay was the site of a landing by James Cook of the HMS Endeavour in 1770. Cook's landing here marked the beginning of Britain's interest in Australia and in the eventual colonisation of this new Southern continent. In modern times the Bay is chiefly notable for being the site of Kingsford Smith International Airport, Australia's largest. The land around the headlands of the bay is protected as Botany Bay National Park. Also within Botany Bay is Towra Point Nature Reserve.
Initially the name Stingray Bay was used by Cook and other journal keepers on his expedition, for the stingrays they caught. That name was recorded on an Admiralty chart too. Cook's log for 6th May 1770 records "the great quantity of these sort of fish found in this place occasioned my giving it the name of Stingrays Harbour". But in his journal (prepared later from his log) he changed to "The great quantity of plants Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander found in this place occasioned my giving it the Name of Botany Bay".
In 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip led the First Fleet into the bay on 19th January 1788 to found a penal colony there. Finding that the sandy infertile soil of the site in fact rendered it most unsuitable for settlement, Phillip decided instead to move to the excellent natural harbor of Port Jackson to the north. On 26th January, while still anchored in the bay, the British encountered the French exploratory expedition of Jean-Francois de La Perouse. Panicked by the thought that the French might beat them to it, the colonists sailed that afternoon to found a settlement at Sydney Cove. Despite the move, for many years afterward, the Australian penal colony would be referred to as "Botany Bay" in England - and in convict ballads such as Ireland's "The Fields of Athenry". The good supply of fresh water in the area led to the expansion of its population in the 19th century. The land around Botany Bay became part of the Sydney metropolitan area with suburban expension in the early part of the 20th century. Port Botany was built in 1930 and is now a container terminal.
Botany Bay is fed by the Georges River, which rises to the south-west of Sydney near the coal mining town of Appin, and then flows north past Campbelltown, roughly parallelling the Main South Railway. At Liverpool it then turns east and flows past suburbs such as East Hills, Lugarno, Bangor and Blakehurst, before emptying into Botany Bay at Taren Point in the southern suburbs of Sydney.
The circular shape of Botany Bay, echoed in the outer area of Port Hacking to the south, is distinctive; it occupies what was once a much larger bay, lying in a shallow basin in the surrounding rock formations. This drowned valley is now filled in by depths of sand which forms a natural underground reservoir. It is ironic that the lack of water drove the First Fleet from its originally selected home here.
This national park, located on the shores of Botany Bay. has two parts; one in the area to the north of the entrance to they bay and the other to This national park, located on the shores of Botany Bay. has two parts; one in the area to the north of the entrance to they bay and the other to the south. Captain Cook's Landing place at Kurnell in the southern section is highly significant in the history of Australia. It was here on 29th April 1770 that Captain (then Lieutenant) James Cook brought HMS Endeavour to anchor and came ashore. For the next eight days a team of scientists who accompanied Cook, and were headed by British botanist Joseph Banks, collected a variety of unique vegetation specimens as Cook's crew took on water and firewood and took a well earned rest from their time at sea. Upon Banks' recommendation, it would become the destination for the first convict-laden boats arriving from England in 1788.
The park established around the landing site contains a number of historical markers and monuments. The Discovery Centre is a museum and research centre recalling Cook's voyage and visit. A stone cairn commemorating the landing of Cook in 1770, was erected at the location on the 100th anniversary of the landing. The sandstone monument was donated by land developer and politician Thomas Holt. Another recalls a crewmember, Torby Sutherland, who died and was buried here during Endeavour's sojourn, his being the first recorded death of an European on Australian soil.
To the north east is an obelisk recording Cook's visit, a memorial to Sir Joseph Banks and another to Dr Solander. Driving and walking tracks offer spectacular views north towards Cape Banks and coastal views south from the Banks-Solander walking track. Guided educational walks around sites of national significance are available (booking is essential). The Monument Track and the Banks-Solander Track are wheelchair-friendly, self-guided walks. Cape Solander provides a superb vantage point for watching seasonal whale migrations.
La Perouse Peninsula
The north section of Botany Bay National Park lies on the tip of the La Perouse Peninsula at the mouth of Botany Bay on the north side. It is a major focal point in European Australia's pre-colonial history. It was here that the first recorded expedition from Europe came ashore and took a long, hard, serious look at the place. That visit, by James Cook, set in motion the events that led to the arrival of the first fleet in January 1788 with the intent of establishing a penal colony on Botany Bay. Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) was eventually chosen as a more suitable site. On the southern headland at the bay's entrance is the grave of one Torby Sutherland, a crew member with Cook who died and was buried there in 1770. On the northern shore is another grave, that of Pere Receveur, a Franciscan friar and scientist who came to Australia aboard the French vessel L'Astrolabe in 1788 at the time of the arrival of the first fleet. The Frenchman, who was buried on the La Perouse headland, died from injuries received when a landing party was attacked by native Samoans two months earlier.
Nearby is the old Cable Station, built in 1882 to house staff and equipment involved in the laying of the first ocean telegraph between Australia and New Zealand. Behind it is a stone tower, built by Governor Macquarie in 1820 to house soldiers watching for enemy ships, and used from 1831 to house customs officers on the lookout for smugglers. Over the rise is Bare Island, which Cook saw as so nondescript a location as to not warrant giving it a name. He marked its existence on his charts by description only, that description being adopted as its name half a century later. It was on this small island that, in 1885, a fort was erected as part of Sydney's defence strategy. Badly designed and built (the fort's five guns did not recoil, the walls were too thin and there were no foundations), it would have been more dangerous to be in than without during an attack! Its use as a military fort was short-lived, and today its story is just another interesting chapter in the birth and growth of Sydney from a colonial outpost to a thriving metropolis.
Walking tracks from La Perouse follow the coastline to Henry Head and Cape Banks. Henry Head is the location of the Endeavour light, a marker on the northern shore to guide ships into Botany Bay. Ruins of fortifications can be found in the heath nearby. The track leads to Cape Banks where the remains of a coastal steamer, the Minmi, have been rusting on the rocky cape since it ran aground one foggy morning in May 1937. It then follows the coast north to the remains of the World War II Cape Banks fortifications, which consisted of a series of bunkers, plotting rooms, two gun emplacements and a battery of anti-aircraft guns. Beyond the fortifications is the site of a former leper colony. The freshwater pools directly below the 18th tee of the N.S.W. Golf Club are believed to be those noted in the log of the endeavour by James Cook in 1770.
An octagonal stone watchtower, complete with firing slots in the walls that have never been used, sits on the point of La Perouse. It was constructed of local sandstone by Gov. Macquarie in 1821 as a place from which coastguards could keep a lookout for smugglers and stray vessels in the Botany Bay area. The watchtower is the last building to be erected by Macquarie in New South Wales.
Numerous graves of early settlers and Sydney personalities are located here. They include Bushranger John Dunn, an accomplice of the infamous Ben Hall and Frank Gardiner. Dunn was just 19 years of age when he was hanged in Darlinghurst Gaol. His headstone was erected by Mrs Pickard, Dunn's Godmother, which reads: "Memory of John Dunn, who died March 19th, 1866. Aged 19 years. May he rest in peace. Amen. He has gone to his grave but we must not deplore him though sorrow and darkness encompass his tomb - the Saviour has passed through its portals before him and the light of his love was the lamp through his doom".
John Cadman of Cadman's Cottage who was in charge of the Governor's boats in the time of Lachlan Macquarie's years as Governor of NSW; George Panton, the colony's first postmaster; Ellis Bent who was Colonial Judge-Advocate in Lachlan Macquarie's time; Barnett Levy the Jewish entrepreneur who introduced live theatre to Australia; William Minchin, the lieutenant who carried the dispatch to London about Governor Bligh. The suburb of Minchinbury is named after him as the area was originally granted to him; Mary Reiby, born Mary Haydock who was the colony's first business woman. Convict Mary married Thomas Reiby, the colony's first free merchant. Most of these were originally buried in the Old Devonshire Street Ground, Sydney, also known as the Sandhills Cemetery.