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James Drummond

Arr. Parmelia, 1829, with wife Sarah and six children.

Captain Stirling, when founding the Swan River colony in 1829, had introduced a staff of gardeners with James Drummond in charge, and planted Government gardens. Drummond became a permanent settler in the colony and made extensive collections of the native plants, which collections he sent to Europe. His assistants—Gilbert, Morrison, and Mangles—also made extensive collections and disposed of them. Volume 1.

The revered botanist and Parmelia pioneer, Mr. James Drummond, died at Toodyay on 27th March, 1863, aged seventy-nine years. Few such enthusiastic men of science as Mr. Drummond could have been found to do such long, unostentatious, unremunerative service for a young colony. He devoted himself to the public service without salary. He traversed immense stretches—north, east, south-east, and south—in the interests of his branch of science—botany. He was able to glean a mass of information, useful not only for pastoralists and agriculturists in the colony, but for the furtherance of the botanical knowledge of the world. For some years he was in correspondence with illustrious English botanists, and his monetary reward was tardy and totally inadequate. While he was performing such splendid labour his personal interests were overlooked. No settler's name merits perpetuation more than Mr. Drummond's. Chapter 17.

In February 1841, James Drummond, the Swan River colony’s botanist, undertook a short journey north from his home near Toodyay. He was accompanied by John Scully, the Government Resident of the Toodyay District, Samuel Phillips, a settler, Drummond’s youngest son Johnston and two Aborigines. The trip was essentially an exploration of the direct line between Toodyay and New Norcia. ANPS.

DRUMMOND, James, b. 1784 (Scotland), d. 27.3.1863 (Toodyay), arr. 1.6.1829 per Parmelia with wife & chd. m. (Ireland) Sarah MACKINTOSH b. 1782 (Ireland) d. 12.6.1864 (Toodyay), dtr. of Maxwell. Chd. Thomas b. 1811 d. 1897, Jane b. 1813 d. 1905, James b. 1814 d. 1873, John Nicol b. 1816, d. 1906, Johnston b. 1820 d. 1845 killed by Aborigine, Euphemia b. 1826 d. 1921. Appointed Govt. Naturalist without pay 1829. Granted 5000 acres of which he selected 2100 on Swan, & 2900 at Toodyay, reselecting Swan Loc at Helena where he lived briefly, collecting specimans until moving finally to "Hawthorden" Toodyay in 1837. Famous for his collection of plants (6 series containing over 48,000 specimens) which became the basis of W.A. Botanical Studies. His journeys ranged to far South coast & North to Hurchison, often alone in unexplored country.

References and Links

Battye, J.S. 1912-13, The Cyclopedia of Western Australia, Cyclopedia Co., Perth.

Kimberly, W.B. 1897, History of West Australia: A Narrative Of Her Past Together With Biographies Of Her Leading Men, Niven, Melbourne.


Place Names of Western Australia from 19th Century Exploration, 2016, ANPS Data Report, No. 4, Australian National Placenames Survey.

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