Dr Becker's application to the Exploration Committee of the Royal Society of Victoria. This application demonstrates the range of skills required for a nineteenth century field scientist.
As well as his "knowledge of the climate, the meteorology, Geology and Natural History of Australia" and his profession of artist and naturalist Becker explains that "he is not unacquainted with the surveying of a country and mapping it. He is so far a proficient in Astronomy that he will be able (with two of three months further study) to take solar and lunar observations. He is well acquainted with the nature and use of the Barometer and Thermometer." He goes on to explain that he is also “skilled in traversing uninhabited regions” and accustomed to bush life.
See explorers applications at Burke and Wills Web
To the Hon. Secretary of the Exploration Expedition Committee
The undersigned proposes to join the Exploration Expedition into the Interior of New Holland, for which he thinks himself fit for the following reasons -
1.He has been above nine years in the Australian Colonies and has a good knowledge of the climate, the meteorology, Geology and Natural History of Australia.
2. His profession is that of an artist and a Naturalist and he is not unacquainted with the surveying of a country and mapping it. He is so far a proficient in Astronomy that he will be able (with two of three months further study) to take solar and lunar observations. He is well acquainted with the nature and use of the Barometer and Thermometer.
3. Having a well organized constitution, and being of sober and temperate habits, he was never seriously ill.
4. He possesses a considerable amount of mechanical skill, much required in the traversing of uninhabited regions. Accustomed to bush life, he never lost his way; instinct as well as calculation and a good sense for tracking brought him always to the point he sought for.
5. He is a good horseman, and can stand both hardship and privation, and exist on the most simple fare.
6. Having been an officer in a Rifle Company at home, he is accustomed to obey as well as to command; he fully knows the value of discipline.
He therefore proposes himself as an Officer of the Exploration Expedition, in the capacity of Artist,
Ethnographer and Naturalist (Zoology and Geology) and believes himself to be qualified to take a second leadership when necessary.
His family being unknown in this Colony he takes the liberty of mentioning that one of his brothers is Chief of the General Staff of the Army of Hesse-Darmstadt, and that another brother has held for the past nine years the post as Librarian and Private Secretary to the Prince Consort with that of a tutor to the elder sons of Her Majesty Queen Victoria.
The undersigned has the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant
Melbourne April 1860