Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Captain (afterwards Sir George) Grey's expeditions on the west coast of AustraJia were organised in the hope of discovering a large river or inlet which was supposed to exist in that quarter. The party arrived in Hanover Bay (lat. 15 degrees S.) in 1837, whence several inland journeys were made to the south-west, and the Glenelg River discovered. Captain Grey's second expedition was made in whale-boats, which he took with him in a sailing vessel from Swan River. He first landed on Bernier Island (lat. 25 degrees S.), where he made a depot; thence he crossed the Gascoyne River, and explored the coast for some miles to the northward; and after encountering great difficulties and hardships, he returned to Bernier Island. where he found that the stores had been utterly destroyed by the ocean, which during the stormy interval had swept over the island. This obliged Captain Grey to return to the mainland, which he reached at Gantheaume Bay (lat. 27degrees.50 minutes S.). Here the boats were abandoned, and the overland journey to the Swan River commenced, which was reached by a remnant of the party after having suffered incredible hardships from starvation and the natural difficulties of the country.
Of course, no collections of plants were brought back, but the Commander's narrative abounds in valuable observations on the vegetation of the countries visited. Amongst many other observations worthy of note, are that of an Araucaria occurring on the mountains of the interior, of a Swan River, Banksia near Prince Regent's River, of Xanthorrhoea attaining the latitude of 28 degrees, and Zamia of 29 degrees, in which latitude the common sowthistle appears to have been found abundantly. Many notices of edible plants are scattered through the narrative, including that of a, “Wild Oat," with large grains, which Captain Grey states has been cultivated with success as a cereal in the Island of Mauritius".
See also ., An historical review of the Explorations of Australia," Mueller (Trans. Phil. Soc. Vict., ii, 148). Many biographical accounts are available of this eminent explorer and statesman.
Swainsona greyana, Lindl., commemorates him.
Source: Maiden, J.H. (1909) Records of Western Australian Botanists. Journal of the West Australian Natural History Society. 2(6):5-33