Early explorers did not hesitate to introduce familiar plants to the places they visited. In 1788, William Bligh anchored the Bounty in Adventure Bay off what is now Bruny Island. In addition to loading wood and water, Bligh planted seven apple trees. Returning to the same spot in 1792 as captain of the Providence, he and the ship’s botanists planted cress, celery, acorns and various fruit trees.
Bligh had visited Van Diemen’s Land in 1777 when he was navigational officer on Captain James Cook’s Resolution. The 1788 voyage had been intended to transport breadfruit from Tahiti to the West Indies. The ship had called at the Cape of Good Hope in Africa and the apple trees planted were most likely acquired there.
Blight’s visit on the Bounty occurred on the voyage which ended in the famous mutiny. He navigated a longboat to Timor and continued his naval service.
Four years later Bligh returned to Adventure Bay, again on his way to Tahiti. He recorded in his log that one of the apple trees that he had planted had survived. The others had been destroyed by fire. He described the fruit of the surviving tree as green and slightly bitter.
Bligh became Governor of New South Wales in 1806. However, he seemed to attract mutiny and was deposed by the New South Wales Corp in 1808.