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Famous Freemason - Joseph Banks

"Who knows but that England may revive in New South Wales when it has sunk in Europe."

Joseph Banks was an English naturalist, botanist, and patron of the natural sciences.

Banks made his name on the 1766 natural-history expedition to Newfoundland and Labrador. He took part in Captain James Cook's first great voyage (1768–1771), visiting Brazil, Tahiti, and after 6 months in New Zealand, Australia, returning to immediate fame. He held the position of president of the Royal Society for over 41 years. He advised King George III on the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and by sending botanists around the world to collect plants, he made Kew the world's leading botanical garden. He is credited for bringing 30,000 plant specimens home with him; amongst them, he was the first European to document 1,400.

Banks advocated British settlement in New South Wales and the colonization of Australia, as well as the establishment of Botany Bay as a place for the reception of convicts, and advised the British government on all Australian matters. He is credited with introducing the eucalyptus, acacia, and the genus named after him, Banksia, to the Western world. Around 80 species of plants bear his name. He was the leading founder of the African Association and a member of the Society of Dilettanti, which helped to establish the Royal Academy.

Banks 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. He was honoured with many place names in the South Pacific: Banks Peninsula on the South Island, New Zealand; the Banks Islands in modern-day Vanuatu; the Banks Strait between Tasmania and the Furneaux Islands; Banks Island in the Northwest Territories, Canada; and the Sir Joseph Banks Group in South Australia.

The Canberra suburb of Banks, the electoral Division of Banks, and the Sydney suburbs of Bankstown, Banksia, and Banksmeadow are all named after him, as is the northern headland of Botany Bay, Cape Banks.

An image of Banks was featured on the paper $5 Australian banknote from its introduction in 1967 before it was replaced by the later polymer currency.

In 1986, Banks was honoured by his portrait being depicted on a postage stamp issued by Australia Post.

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