Maritime Monday for April 2, 2012: It took a ship to discover Australia

Monkey Fist
Total Views: 71
April 1, 2012



Descriptio terræ subaustralis – Copperplate map, with added color, 9 × 13 cm.
From Petrus Bertius’s P. Bertii tabularum geographicarum contractarum (Amsterdam, 1616)

Terra Australis Incognita

The notion of Terra Australis was introduced by Aristotle. Christian thinkers did not discount the idea that there might be land beyond the southern seas, but the issue of whether it could be inhabited was controversial.

The first depiction of Terra Australis on a globe was probably on Johannes Schöner’s lost 1523 globe. On this landmass was written “recently discovered but not yet completely explored”. The body of water beyond the tip of South America is called the “Mare Magellanicum,” one of the first uses of navigator Ferdinand Magellan’s name in such a context.


1604 copy of the 1602 Chinese map Kunyu Wanguo Quantu, which depicts
“Magellanica” as a large continent in the South. Full resolution‎ (11,726 × 5,266 pixels)

see also: The Pacific Ocean: 250 Years of Maps (1540–1789)

imageExploration of the Pacific

Polynesians reached nearly all the Pacific islands by about 1200AD. In 1521 Magellan crossed the Pacific. For the next 250 years Europeans explored various parts of the Ocean, but the only significant trade was along both coasts and the Manila galleons that crossed from Mexico to the Philippines. The modern period began with Captain Cook (1768–80).

Captain James Cook, FRS, RN (7 November 1728 – 14 February 1779) was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer who ultimately rose to the rank of captain in the Royal Navy.

Cook made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, during which he achieved the first European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, as well as the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand.

James Cook, portrait by Nathaniel Dance, c. 1775, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

Exploration of the Pacific  —  Captain Cook on wikipedia


HMS Endeavour leaving Whitby Harbour in 1768. By Thomas Luny, dated 1790

HMS Endeavour, also known as HM Bark Endeavour, was a British Royal Navyresearch vessel commanded by Lieutenant James Cook on his first voyage of discovery, to Australia and New Zealand from 1769 to 1771.

imageLaunched in 1764 as the collier Earl of Pembroke, she was purchased by the Navy in 1768 for a scientific mission to the Pacific Ocean, and to explore the seas for the surmised Terra Australis Incognita or “unknown southern land”.

In September 1769, she anchored off New Zealand, the first European vessel to reach the islands since Abel Tasman‘s Heemskerck 127 years earlier. In April 1770, Endeavour became the first seagoing vessel to reach the east coast of Australia, when Cook went ashore at what is now known as Botany Bay.

image right: HMS Endeavour off the coast of New Holland, by Samuel Atkins c.1794 — Painting shows the crew of HMB Endeavour in longboats attempting to pull the ship free from the reef.


Endeavour then sailed north along the Australian coast. She narrowly avoided disaster after running aground on the Great Barrier Reef, and was beached on the mainland for seven weeks to permit rudimentary repairs to her hull.  Largely forgotten after her epic voyage, Endeavour spent the next three years shipping Navy stores to the Falkland Islands.

Renamed and sold into private hands in 1775, she briefly returned to naval service as a troop transport during the American Revolutionary War and was scuttled in a blockade of Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island in 1778. Her wreck has not been precisely located.

A replica of Endeavour was launched in 1994 and is berthed alongside the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney Harbour. The space shuttle Endeavour is named for the original ship.

more on wikipedia
more images and history on National Museum of Australia
A Chart of the Southern Hemisphere 1777

New Zealander Tattoos


The bodies of both sexes are marked with black stains called Amoco, by the same method that is used at Otaheite, and called Tattowing; but the men are more marked, and the women less…

The men, on the contrary, seem to add something every year to the ornaments of the last, so that some of them, who appeared to be of an advanced age, were almost covered from head to foot. Besides the Amoco, the have marks impressed by a method unknown to us, of a very extraordinary kind: they are furrows of about a line deep, and a line broad, such as appear on the bark of a tree which has been cut through . . . and being perfectly black, they make a most frightful appearance.

We could not but admire the dexterity and art with which they were impressed. The marks upon the face in general are spirals, which are drawn with great nicety, and even elegance, those on one side exactly corresponding with those on the other. . . . No two were, upon a close examination, found to be alike.

The Inside of a Hippah, in New Zealand
From atlas volume of Cook’s A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean – London, 1784


image“Carte de la Nle. Zelande visitée en 1769 et 1770 par le Lieutenant J. Cook Commandant de l’Endeavour – French copy of Cook’s foundation map of New Zealand, showing the track of the Endeavour around both islands, from October 6, 1769, to April 1, 1770  (full size)

Endeavour came within sight of land on April 19, well north of the area charted by Tasman 125 years earlier. The New Holland (Australia) coast was exasperating, however, and Cook could not find a safe place to land until the afternoon of Saturday, April 28, when they entered Botany Bay (part of today’s Sydney Harbor), which Cook later named for the wide variety of plant life found there.

– Further Reading: Act I: The First Voyage

Captain Cook’s Journal during his first voyage round
the world made in HM Bark Endeavour 1768-71

A Literal Transcription of the Original Mss. with Notes and Introduction
edited by Captain W.J.L. Wharton, RN, FRS Hydrographer of the Admiralty.
Illustrated — web edition published by ebooks.adelaide

read online
Also on Project Gutenberg


left: A Pub inspired by the great Captain James Cook; Putney, London
right: Royal Doulton loving cup, Captain Cook, designed by Charles Noke & Harry Fenton. Issued 1933

Further Reading: Strait Through: Magellan to Cook & the Pacific

The British planned Botany Bay as the site for a penal colony. Out of these plans came the first European habitation of Australia at Sydney Cove.


Black-eyed Sue and Sweet Poll of Plymouth, England mourning their
lovers who are soon to be transported to Botany Bay, 1792

Governor Arthur Phillip sailed the armed tender Supply into the bay on 18 January 1788. Two days later the remaining ships of the First Fleet arrived to found the planned penal colony. Finding that the sandy infertile soil of the site in fact rendered it most unsuitable for settlement, Phillip decided instead to move to the excellent natural imageharbour of Port Jackson to the north.

On the morning of 24 January the French exploratory expedition of Jean-François de La Pérouse was seen outside Botany Bay. On 26 January, the Supply left the bay to move up to Port Jackson. It anchored in Sydney Cove and the British Flag “Queen Ann” was hoisted on shore. On the afternoon of 26 January, the remaining ships of First Fleet arrived at Sydney Cove.

In 1789, captain John Hunter surveyed Botany Bay. The good supply of fresh water in the area led to the expansion of its population in the 19th century.

right: The Founding of Australia, Jan. 26th 1788, by Capt. Arthur Phillip R.N. Sydney Cove Original oil sketch [1937] by Algernon Talmadge

– see: Very Early Map of Sydney from 1789 done by a transported convict –

Let’s settle this: Australia was colonised as part of Britain’s imperial ambition and not just as a penal dumping ground for failed citizens…

article: Bound to Botany Bay: putting to rest an ancient imperial lie


William Bradley – Drawings from his journal
A Voyage to New South Wales
December 1786 – May 1792, Album

image[11][1]The First Fleet

Over 252 days, the First Fleet brought over 1500 men, women and children half way around the world from England to New South Wales.

On 13 of May 1787, the fleet of 11 ships set sail from Portsmouth, England. Led by Captain Arthur Phillip, this historic convoy, which later became known as the First Fleet, carried officers, crew, marines and their families, and convicts from Britain to a distant and little known land on the far side of the world.

The Fleet consisted of two Royal Navy escort ships, HMS Sirius and HMS Supply. They accompanied six convict transports, the Alexander, Charlotte, Friendship, Lady Penrhyn, Prince of Wales and the Scarborough, and three store ships, the Borrowdale, Fishburn and Golden Grove.

keep reading
Spearing the Governor


The British First Fleet arrived in Port Jackson (now Sydney) in January 1788, when 11 ships carrying about 1,400 people landed to establish the first penal colony. Among the sailors and convicts on board were draughtsmen, artists and forgers. They painted and drew the new landscape, its wildlife, and the Eora Nation clans who inhabited the area. Despite their lack of scientific accuracy, the images in the First Fleet collection are some of the most important in the Museum, providing a snapshot of a key moment in Australia’s history…

article: Australian rarities arrive in the Images of Nature gallery 


left: The great South Sea Caterpillar, transform’d into a Bath Butterfly (1795), James Gillray caricatured Banks’s investiture with the Order of the Bath as a result of his expedition — right: Dr Daniel Solander, Sir Joseph Banks, Captain James Cook, Dr John Hawkesworth and Earl Sandwich by John Hamilton Mortimer

The Endeavour botanical illustrations 


1941 novel by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall; Dust jacket art by N. C. Wyeth
posted by

Botany Bay is a historical fiction written by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall about the trials and tribulations of the first European settlers of the Australian continent. It is also a 1953 American film directed by John Farrow and starring Alan Ladd, James Mason and Patricia Medina.

In 1787, prisoners are shipped from Newgate Jail on the Charlotte to found a new penal colony in Botany Bay, New South Wales. Amongst them is Hugh Tallant (Ladd) an American medical student who had been wrongly imprisoned. During the journey he begins to clash with the villainous Captain Gilbert (Mason), and is soon plotting a full-scale mutiny against him.

Botany Bay on IMDb –


Australian paintings by J.W. Lewin, G.P. Harris, G.W. Evans and others, 1796-1809
32 watercolours

imageThe Naming of Australia

In 1606, the Spanish Captain Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, standing in Tahiti, spoke of the destiny of Australia almost a hundred years before it was claimed by Captain Cook. Here, in part, is the text of the prophecy:

“Let the heavens, the earth, the waters with all their creatures and all those present witness that I, Captain Pedro Fernandez de Quiros… in the name of Jesus Christ… hoist this emblem of the Holy Cross on which His person was crucified and whereon He gave His life for the ransom and remedy of all the human race… on this day of Pentecost, 1606…

I take possession of all this part of the South as far as the pole, in the name of Jesus… which from now on shall be called the Southern Land of the Holy Ghost (La Australia del Espiritu Santo)… and this always and forever… and to the end that to all natives, in all the said lands, the holy and sacred evangel may be preached zealously and openly.”



Captain Flinders’s ‘A voyage to Terra Australis’ London: G.& W. Nichol, 1814
State Library of Queensland

Matthew Flinders on Minute Stories of Famous Explorers

A Voyage to Terra Australis: Undertaken for the Purpose of Completing the Discovery of that Vast Country, and Prosecuted in the Years 1801, 1802, and 1803, in His Majesty’s Ship the Investigator was a sea voyage journal written by English mariner and explorer Matthew Flinders.

imageIt describes his circumnavigation of the Australian continent in the early years of the 19th century, and his imprisonment by the French on the island of Mauritius from 1804-1810

The ship Flinders commanded, HMS Investigator, was a 334-ton sloop. Up until this time the circumnavigation of Australia which was necessary to prove it was a single continent land mass, had never been completed. He achieved this by circling the island continent, leaving Sydney in July 1802, heading north, through Torres Strait, across the top of the continent westward, and south along the western coastline.

Flinders reached and named Cape Leeuwin on 6 December 1801, and proceeded to make a survey along the southern coast of the Australian mainland, and then completing the journey, arrived back in Sydney in June 1803, despite the dangerous condition of his ship.

A Voyage to Terra Australis on wikipedia –
HMS Investigator (1798) on wikipedia –

Matthew Flinders: A Brief History
statue: Trim, the cat, at the feet of his master, Matthew Flinders

Matthew Flinders and the History of Minjerribah Island


РThe Baudin expedition ships: Le G̩ographe and Le Naturaliste


In October 1800 Nicolas Baudin was selected to lead an expedition to map the coast of Australia. He had two ships, Géographe and Naturaliste, and was accompanied by nine zoologists and botanists, including Jean Baptiste Leschenault de la Tour.

He reached Australia in May 1801, being the first to explore and map the western coast, and a part of the southern coast of the continent. The scientific expedition was a great success, with more than 2500 new species discovered.

In April 1802, he met Matthew Flinders, also engaged in charting the coastline, in Encounter Bay. Baudin then stopped at the British colony at Sydney for supplies. In Sydney he bought a new ship — Casuarina — named after the wood it was made from.

From there, Baudin sent home Naturaliste, which had on board all of the specimens that had been discovered by Baudin and his crew. He then headed for Tasmania, before continuing north to Timor.

Baudin then sailed for home, stopping at Mauritius, where he died of tuberculosis. An inscription was left by members of Géographe on Kangaroo Island, Australia, in 1803.

Over 200,000 specimens from the expedition were deposited in Muséum national d’histoire naturelle (zoology) and Jardin des Plantes (botany). Live plants, animals and birds were also sent to Empress Josephine Bonaparte’s gardens at Château de Malmaison.

Baudin expedition to Australia on wikipedia


Journeys of Enlightenment: French Exploration of Terres Australes


Owen Stanley; Voyage of HMS Rattlesnake: Album view

HMS Rattlesnake was an Atholl-class 28-gun sixth-rate corvette of the Royal Navy launched in 1822. She made a historic voyage of discovery to the Cape York and Torres Strait areas of northern Australia.

Captain on the voyage to northern Australia and New Guinea was Owen Stanley. Also aboard were John Thomson as Surgeon, Thomas Henry Huxley as Assistant Surgeon (“surgeon’s mate”, but in practice marine naturalist), John MacGillivray as botanist and Oswald Brierly as artist.


Founding of Port Adelaide and Kangaroo Island

The South Australian Company bought the ship Duke of York and another Falmouth packet named Lady Mary Pelham. The intent was to send it whaling in the South Seas after it had delivered passengers and cargo to South Australia.

In the oceans off Australia and New Zealand fortunes could be made in whaling. Since the first European ships had arrived in Australia in 1788 they had used whaling as a way to catch a cargo for their return voyages.

History of the South Australian Company
State Library of South Australia
also: South Australia illustrated

The Bound for South Australia website, established to give first-hand accounts of the voyage by History SA as it happened 175 years ago

On 25 February,1836 Captain Robert Morgan sat down in his tiny cabin on board the Duke of York to begin a diary of the long sea voyage to the new Province of South Australia. He was well aware that the journey he faced would be long and perilous, indeed the route to Australia was one of the longest sea voyages undertaken at the time, and he knew only too well that he might never return…

Bound for South Australia, 1836; Week One; Setting Sail

South Australian Company Building, North Terrace, 1872 on Flickr


Port Adelaide 1886


Patent slip belonging to the Australian Steam Navigation Co.
Views of ships, ca. 1859-1871 / watercolours by Frederick Garling (Album)
State Library of New South Wales

The Australasian Steam Navigation Company (ASN Co) was a shipping company of Australia. The company was started as the Hunter River Steam Navigation Company in 1839 and changed its name in 1850. The shipping company was amalgamated with the Queensland Steam Shipping Company with their respective vessels in 1887 to form the Australasian United Steam Navigation Company.

Australian United Steam Navigation Company on Flotilla Australia

see also: Circular Quay from Dawes Point fortifications with the ships
Haddon Hall, La Hogue, and Aviemore in port; c. 1870-75



Circular Quay, Sydney in 1892

Sydney Cove, the current site of Circular Quay, was the site of the initial landing of the First Fleet in Port Jackson on 26 January, 1788. In 1794 Thomas Muir, a Scottish constitutional reformer, was sentenced to transportation for sedition. Thomas Muir later escaped from the colony in 1796 aboard an American brig, the Otter.

Circular Quay on wikipedia
Interactive 360° panorama


Circular Quay, Sydney Harbor, Circa 1900
State Library of New South Wales

see also: ‘Ships and Sails’ from The Powerhouse Museum


Manly Wharf, Circular Quay, Sydney c. 1900

Port Jackson and the Manly Steamship Company


Circular Quay, Sydney, New South Wales, the Metropolis of the South Seas; 1906


Looking up — Sydney’s history from a new angle


Typhoo Tea “Wonder Cities of the World” 1933
No. 3 Sydney “The First Port of Australia”


Famous Names: The Australasian Antarctic Expedition

Australasian Antarctic Expedition
on wikipedia

1911 — 1914

The Australasian Antarctic Expedition was an Australasian scientific team that explored part of Antarctica between 1911 and 1914. It was led by the Australian geologist Douglas Mawson, who was knighted for his achievements in leading the expedition. In 1910 he began to plan an expedition to chart the 2000-mile long coastline of Antarctica to the south of Australia.

The Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science approved of his plans and contributed substantial funds for the expedition. The remaining funds were raised by public subscription and additional donations. more


left: Crew member W. F. Howard on board RRS Discovery 28th December 1930 — right: Scientific staff and ship’s officers on the second BANZARE cruise, 1930-31 (Sir Douglas Mawson stands in the middle row wearing a balaclava)

British Australian & New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition

1929 – 1931

The British Australian (and) New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE) was a research expedition into Antarctica between 1929 and 1931, involving two voyages over consecutive Austral summers. It was a British Commonwealth initiative, driven more by geopolitics than science, and funded by the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

The leader of the BANZARE was Sir Douglas Mawson on board the RRS Discovery. The BANZARE was also a scientific quest, producing 13 volumes of reports, on geology, oceanography, meteorology, terrestrial magnetism, zoology and botany.

more on wikipedia

BANZARE 1930-1931; Flickr Set –

map: Australian Antarctic Division: BANZARE 1929-31 voyage tracks


Illustrated front cover from The Queenslander, October 22, 1931
Caption: In memory of Trafalgar, October 21, 1805, “His ship the Victory named–Long be that victory famed. For victory crowned the day.”

Maritime Monday for April 9, 2012: It Took a Ship to Discover Australia, part 2: Ten Pound Poms

Monkey Fist

Monkey Fist is a smack-talking, potty mouthed, Yankee hating, Red Sox fan in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition to compiling Maritime Monday, she blogs about nautical art, history, and marine science on Adventures of the Blackgang.

Submit story ideas, news links, photographs, or items of interest to her at [email protected]. She can also out-belch any man.

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