The Cabinet of Curiosities
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First Section - Fourth Tray


Banks's voyage marked the incorporation of Australia into the processes, practices and concepts of Western science. In the years that followed, Australia's flora and fauna were catalogued, its geology studied, its scientists admitted to the international community. Science has provided a means of understanding the country, and forms an important part of our culture. But what opportunities have been lost? What perspectives have not been viewed? The Cabinet of Curiosities allows many voices from Australia's past to speak, but many more are silent. What are the difficulties of communicating across seas compared to communicating across cultures? What might have been learnt if science had been more ready to interact with other knowledge systems, such as those of Australia's original inhabitants? The opportunities remain.

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Prepared by Tim Sherratt (
for publication on ASAPWeb. Last modified 22 June 1997.