In 1866 the plant collector and planter Sir Henry Alexander Wickham, made the first of his many trips to Central and South America but it wasn't until 1870 on this second journey that he began his dealings with the rubber trade. In 1876 Sir Joseph Hooker of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew approached Wickham with a view to introducing the Parà rubber trees Hevea Brasiliensis into the British colonies of India, Ceylon and Malaya and encouraged Wickham to obtain as many seeds as possible, offering him a price of 10 per 1000 seeds. Wickham by now in desperate financial straits, his own plantations having failed and keen to escape his life in South America seized the opportunity not only as a commercial venture but also as a way of securing a passage back to England for him and his wife. Having gathered the precious cargo of 70,000 seeds, packed in cane baskets between dried banana leaves he had them loaded on board the recently chartered 1000 tonne liner the SS Amazonas. On reaching the Brazilian Customs House in Beléham Wickham had the captain hold the Amazonas under a full head of steam whilst he declared to them that the baskets contained "exceedingly delicate botanical specimens specially designated for delivery to Her Britannic Majesty's own Royal Gardens". Surprisingly due to large the nature of the cargo the local Brazilian customs didn't see cause to seek further authorisation for the shipment and Wickham set sail reaching Liverpool arrived on 14th June 1876. On arrival at Kew the seeds were planted in specially prepared beds, Hooker having ordered that the hot house be cleared of other tropical plants in anticipation of the shipment. By August that year due to the brief viability of the oily rubber seeds less than 4000 had germinated, the speed of the operation clearly having had been essential to its success. Later that year the first seedlings were shipped to Ceylon and successfully planted, thus ensuring the collapse of the Brazilian rubber industry and earning Wickham the nickname the 'Executioner of Amazonas' by the Brazilian rubber barons. Wickham went on to emigrate to Queensland to grow tobacco and coffee, having acquired land on the Herbert River.