William Henry Harvey
(1811-1866), the Irish phycologist spent six months travelling around Australia in the 1850s collecting marine algae/seaweeds. He collected over 20,000 individual specimens which he painstakingly pressed and identified. Harvey published his five volume set of Phycologia Australica
in which he illustrated 300 species in magnificent colour.
The frontispiece to Phycologia Australica is a magnificent illustration of Claudea elegans (see below right), and next to it is the specimen he collected which looks remarkably similar (below left). Harvey had a numbering system and a locality code to keep track of the many pressings and collections. This was always pencilled onto the bottom left hand corner of the sheet on which the alga was pressed. Sometimes, Harvey would write this code on the back of the sheet. The numbers (1-601) correspond to the master list of names that accompanied each set of exsiccate distributed. We have updated many of these names based on recent nomenclatural and taxonomic changes. This list is updated regularly.
Harvey's Australian Algal Exsiccatae are sets of pressed herbarium specimens from his collections, which he sold to museums and scientists all around the world. The State Library of New South Wales and the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust have collaborated to restore and archive four sets of Harvey's Exsiccatae, which were part of the Mitchell Library Collections. Details of this collaborative effort can be found in Botanical Time Capsules - The William Henry Harvey Exsiccatae Volumes. Some of these "time capsules" are the subject of this searchable website.
Harvey's locality codes are as follows:
Fremantle (Western Australia) and the local area from 13 April to late July 1854, including Rottnest Island and Gardens Island from 21 May to 2 July.
B King George Sound (Western Australia) from 7 January to 2 April 1854, including Cape Riche during March.
C Cape Riche (Western Australia) March 1854
D Port Fairy (Victoria) from 1 - 15 October 1854.
E Port Phillip Heads (Victoria) from 30 October onwards and 30 November 1854 onwards.
F Brighton Beach, Port Phillip Bay (Victoria) August 1854.
G Geelong, Corio Bay (Victoria) March - May 1854.
H Western Port (Victoria) from 9 - 28 December 1854.
I/J Georgetown (Tasmania) from 13 - 25 February 1855.
K Port Arthur (Tasmania) from 26 February - mid March 1855.
L Port Jackson (New South Wales) from 1- 16 May 1855.
M Newcastle (New South Wales) from 17 May to mid June 1855.
N Kiama (New South Wales) June 1855.
O Auckland (New Zealand) August 1855.