Drew Hutton, Green historian and activist, will launch Sir Joseph Banks and the Question of Hemp by Dr John Jiggens at Avid Reader, Boundary Street, West End, on Tuesday April 24 at 6pm.
Sir Joseph Banks and the Question of Hemp examines the way the hemp question directed Britain’s colonial policy and naval strategy between 1776 and 1815, a period when Britain lost its first empire in the US and began a second empire, centred on the Pacific.
It argues that New South Wales was intended as a replacement hemp colony for the US. The convicts were a cover story. ‘The Father of Australia’ Sir Joseph Banks was a cannabis zealot, who, together with his protégé Governor Philip King, was responsible for the cultivation of tens of acres of cannabis on the banks of the Nepean and Hawkesbury Rivers in the 1800s.
Although Banks was primarily interested in hemp as a fibre crop, he was also intrigued with drug cannabis or ganga. Banks was regularly sent quantities of hashish from James Matra, the British consul in Tangiers. The poet and early drug enthusiast, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, found out about Banks’ stash of hashish and got Banks to send him a quantity. Coleridge later wrote an account of his experience, which is the first recorded use of drug cannabis in England. This, of course, makes Banks the first supplier of drug cannabis in England.
If you can’t make it to the launch, ask your book shop to get Sir Joseph Banks and the Question of Hemp.
Or ask your library to get a copy of Sir Joseph Banks and the Question of Hemp.
Sir Joseph Banks and the Question of Hemp Avid Reader, Tuesday 24 April, 6pm.