Most of these documents, previously located at ML A78-4, were purchased in 1884 from Lord Brabourne by Sir Saul Samuel, the Agent-General for New South Wales. They were transferred to the Mitchell Library in 1910 and were part of the accession which became known as the Brabourne collection. Document 5 in this series was previously located at DL MS Q158. It was part of the personal library of Sir William Dixson which was bequeathed to the State Library of New South Wales in 1952. Dixson's bequest was formally handed over when the Dixson Library was opened in 1959. It is now not possible to reconstruct Banks' original arrangement, the series has therefore been arranged chronologically.
Two gardeners, James Wiles and Christopher Smith, travelled on board HMS Providence as custodians and curators of the plants to be collected during the second breadfruit voyage and transported to the West Indies, and to England for the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew. Banks was responsible for providing their instructions. Wiles, the senior gardener, remained in Jamaica in charge of a public nursery being established at Bath near Kingston. Smith completed the voyage escorting the plants intended for Kew Gardens.