2020: RGSSA Exhibition : the great navigator

his achievements

An exhibition at the
Royal Geographical Society
of South Australia

Level 2 South Mortlock Wing
State Library of South Australia on
North Terrace Adelaide

Dates to be advised

At this time : 
In the interests of community health
our physical exhibition has been postponed 
refer to our Facebook page

Who really put Australia’s eastern coast
on the world’s maps 250 years ago?

Portrait of Captain James Cook RN, 1782 by John Webber
National Portrait Gallery
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa
Portrait of Captain James Cook (1728-1779) circa 1780, England, painted by John Webber
Information regarding this painting is available online:

Portrait of Captain Cook by John Webber ; frontispiece, vol. III. 
Refer: RGSSA catalogue record
The Journals of Captain James Cook on his voyages of discovery 
Voyage of the Resolution and Discovery, 1776-1780 
Cook, James, 1728-1779.
Beaglehole, J. C. (John Cawte), 1901-1971. ed. ; Skelton, R. A. (Raleigh Ashlin), 1906-1970. ed.
Cambridge : Hakluyt Society, 1955-1974.
Description: 4 volumes in 5 : illustrations, portraits (part colour), maps, facsimiles. +
1 portfolio, 2 volumes of addenda and corrigenda
Call Number: rga 910.45 C771

Historical texts and illustrations reflect the societal attitudes of their times
References from these texts are not intended to cause offence
The RGSSA Library in Adelaide stands on Kaurna traditional lands

noted in our 'Proceedings' ...

As an introduction to this virtual exhibition; the following references to Captain Cook are cited from our early Proceedings; a transcript of the Society's meetings in the late 1800s. The historical perspective conveyed in our early journals provides original and primary source information with an authentic voice for research quotations and is just as interesting for general readers of history.

Lord Hallam Tennyson at the unveiling of the Flinders Tablet at the Bluff, Encounter Bay,
Victor Harbor on April 8, 1902. Simpson Newland (Acting President of the Royal Geographical Society, SA Branch)
is reading the address.--State Library of South Australia

Lord Hallum Tennyson (1852-1928) was the Governor of South Australia for over three years (1899-1902). Soon after his arrival in Adelaide he addressed a large assembly at the Society's annual meeting in 1899 including this personal anecdote recorded in our Proceedings:
'I first took a genuine interest in Australian geography when years ago, my family became acquainted with an old lady of a hundred, whose husband had served under Captain Cook, and who had herself known the famous captain and explorer in her girlhood.'--

The Governor was the son of Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), who was favoured by Queen Victoria (1819-1901) and her poet laureate until his death in 1892. Perhaps, the Governor's opinion of the Society's inaugural address may carry some literary authority; he said in part:

'Let me recall to your minds that it was Sir Samuel Davenport, who, in his remarkable inaugural address in 1885, put before you certain objects of attainment, which are necessarily more or less divided into the academic and the practical. Firstly, he mentioned "educational advancement." That means, I presume, primarily, that stress should be laid on the immense importance of the teaching, by our most approved and interesting methods of geography, more particularly in its relation to anthropology, archaeology, history, and politics.'--  

Governor Tennyson's opinion on the treatment of Aboriginal people in the Colony reads:

'The British Government and the British people look to you [the RGSSA] and the Government of South Australia to continue setting the noble example of protecting these aboriginal inhabitants, and of helping them with rations and the necessaries of life in periods of want and distress, and of treating them with the utmost care, tenderness, justice, and forbearance. It is to the eternal honour of South Australia that among the earliest of their colonial appointments was a Protector of Aborigines.'--Lord Hallam Tennyson.
Annual Meeting, June 16, 1899. Proceedings. Vol. IV, 12th session : p. 6-7.

Sir Samuel Davenport (1818-1906) was a founding member of the Society who delivered our inaugural address at a gala evening event (October 22, 1885); 'illustrated by a series of views of Australian scenery and portraits of explorers, shown by the oxy-hydrogen lantern.'

Davenport's address is well worth reading in full. In part, he gives an overview of the history of early voyages into Australian waters by Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese and Malay traders where he then makes this point:

          'Australia lay a blank to the civilised world'... 

Map published in the Society's Proceedings, 1st session, 1886. 'Copied from a chart in Harris's "Navigatium alque Itinerantium Bibliotheca," dated 1705'.
Navigantium atque itinerantium bibliotheca, or, A complete collection of voyages and travels :
consisting of above six hundred of the most authentic writers ...
Harris, John, 1667?-1719.
Published London : 1764.
Call Number: rgsp 910.8 H314 d

'In 1705, three Dutch vessels from Timor examined the north-west coast [Australia], of which we have but an imperfect account.' ... 

    'the great South Land was not worth another visit,' [until] ... 

'It was the Royal Society who, in 1767, set a fresh exploration of these regions afloat, in resolving on a South Sea Expedition to observe the transit of Venus. The command was given to James Cook, of the Royal Navy. In opposition to an opinion that for the purpose he should voyage in an East Indiaman (then the largest of commercial ships) or in a three-decker, he chose a barque of 370 tons. She was called the Endeavour. ... 

In 1773 Cook, during his second voyage to the South Seas, explored the east coast of Van Diemen's Land; and again in 1777 on his third voyage, remained several days in Adventure Bay, on its south coast, and thence passing on through the South-western Pacific he discovered the Sandwich Islands, and there met his death at the hands of the savage and treacherous islanders. …

… Of all the adventurers [to Australia] none had made so long and close an investigation as James Cook ; and when, he quitted its shores the chief portion left unexamined lay between Nuyts' Archipelago [Great Australian Bight] and Wilson's Promontory [Victoria] and hence the fact that Van Diemen's Land [Tasmania] was insulated from Australia yet remained to be proved.'--Sir Samuel Davenport. Inaugural Address : p.45-48.
Refer: Inaugural Address. Proceedings, Ist session, 1885 : p. 35-99.

image:  'The Death of Captain Cook' [Hawaii, 14 February 1779] after a painting by J. Webber--Proceedings, 1st session, 1886.
Also refer: 
'The photojournalists of their time' 
Original oil, 1784. Held at the National Portrait Gallery 
Previous RGSSA blog post marking the 'Transit of Venus' in 2012
The Transit of Venus 1769 & the Great Southern Land 
Also refer:
RGSSA catalogue records
Proceedings of the Geographical Society of Australasia : South Australian Branch. 1886
Description: 1 volume : illustrations, maps, portraits
Call Number: rgsp 910.6 R888
Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia : South Australian Branch. 1890-1987
Description: 85 volumes : illustrations, maps, portraits
Call Number: Gallery Per 910.6 (Lib.Ref set & Gallery set) Benham cupboard (Benham set)

everything about James Cook is extraordinary

Visitors to the RGSSA's physical exhibition in Adelaide will be treated to a rare selection of James Cook's journals and those of his botanist, Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820). The Library's copies were published in the late 18th century. Also on display will be a catalogue of fragile 'tapa', or, barkcloth samples that Cook collected during his three great voyages of discovery; our edition contains 38 samples of tapa and is dated 1787.

The following items held in the RGSSA's Collection will be displayed in our physical exhibition.

image: A Woman of Van Dieman's Land  
Cook's voyages : A voyage to the Pacific Ocean 
Encounter with Cook during his last voyage of discovery 
at Bruny Island, Tasmania (Van Diemens Land) in 1777. 
Engraved by Robert Benard after J. Webber
Vol. I, Book I. Chapter VI 
Edition held in the RGSSA Collection 
Refer: RGSSA catalogue record 
Published : London, 1784-85 
Call Number: rgsp 910.41 C771 d rgsp 910.41 C771 d 
(Plates) rgsp 910.41 C771 

Terra Australis/ New Holland/ New South Wales

Our island continent’s western and northern shores were slowly mapped from about 1600, possibly earlier, if Chinese records are creditable. These shores are generally some of the harshest environments in the Australian landscape. About 50,000 years ago waves of human migration traversed these regions when the climate was wetter and more habitable.

image: [The world] / Copied directly at the "Bibliotheque Nationale", Paris
from the original. H. Delachaux, [Paris : H. Delachaux, 1884?]--National Library of Australia
Map held in the RGSSA Collection
Map by Nicolas Desliens (active 1541-1566). Medieval church maps were usually oriented with the east at the top of the sheet and there was no 2 consistent convention of the north at the top until the use of the compass became widespread. In this 'Mappemonde', south is at the top of the drawing. This is a hand-drawn copy of the original in the Bibliothéque Nationale in Paris, made by Henri Delachaux in 1884. Notes on its provenance are with the item.
Refer: RGSSA website/ Exhibitions/ 'Treasures' 1978
pdf download, 10 pages

In the 17th and 18th centuries, European powers were searching for new sources of raw materials and trade opportunities as Europe’s population changed from an agrarian to an industrial economy. Whoever found the greatest access to material resources in unknown territories would dominate world trade—the geopolitics of the era.

This was an 'Age of Enlightenment' for scientific knowledge of the natural world that produced explorers and scientists whose achievements would be extraordinary in any century.

image: Bowen, Emanuel, d. 1767. 
A Complete Map of the Southern Continent: Survey’d by Capt. Abel Tasman & Depicted by Order of the East India Company in Halland [sic] in the Stadt House at Amsterdam. 
Copperplate map
From John Harris’ Navigantium atque itinerantium bibliotheca 

'First printed English map of Australia. Keeping the Dutch names, Bowen is quick to point out to the reader (in the top note) that only discovered territory is shown—hence all the blank spaces. Still, he claims that it “is impossible to conceive a Country that promises fairer from its Scituation [sic], than this of Terra Australis; no longer incognita, as this Map demonstrates . . .” (bottom note).
Below the Tropic of Capricorn, Tasman’s great discoveries of 1642 are sketched: Van Diemens Land and Nova Zeelandia; above it, his coastal exploration of northern Nova Hollandia, during which he missed finding the Torres Strait. In 1606, Spanish navigator Luis Vaez de Torres (fl. 1606) had stumbled on the strait now bearing his name on his way to Manila in the Philippines, but his report was kept secret by Spanish authorities—an example of the proprietary nature of European discovery during the Age of Exploration.'--
Princeton University Library
Edition held in the RGSSA Collection
Published : London, 1764 
Call Number: rgsp 910.8 H314 d 
Refer: RGSSA catalogue record

Also refer:
Interesting account of the early voyages, made by the Portuguese, Spaniards, etc. to Africa, East and West-Indies. The discovery of numerous islands; with particulars of the lives of those eminent navigators, including the life and voyages of Columbus : to which is perfixed the life of that great circumnavigator Captain Cook, with particulars of his death
Edition held:
Kippis, Andrew, 1725-1795. 
Published: London,  1790
Description: v, xix, 276 pages, 2 leaves of plates : illustrations, maps ; 27 cm.
Call Number: rgsp 910.45 K57 c
Refer: RGSSA catalogue record

What was,Terra Australis; that unexplored land in the southern hemisphere
 between the Indian and Pacific Oceans—was it just a series of islands, an isthmus or
was it a part of another as yet undiscovered land? 
British explorers were about to find out.

James Cook (1728-1779) was a British navigator and cartographer, born, 27 October, at Marton-in-Cleveland in the English county of Yorkshire; the son of a Scottish labourer. He grew up on a local farm at Great Ayton, attending the village school, and at 17 was apprenticed to a shopkeeper at the nearby coastal town of Staithes. 

With the consent of all concerned, Cook gave up shopkeeping for an apprenticeship at sea with John Walker, a Quaker, who ran merchant coal ships out of Whitby, a seaside town near Staithes. Cook served two years before the mast in the Baltic maritime trade and made headway in mathematics and navigation. 

'The Bark, Earl of Pembroke, later Endeavour, leaving Whitby Harbour in 1768'
by Thomas Luny (1759-1837), painted c. 1790
National Library of Australia

In 1755, John Walker offered Cook a command but he preferred to join the Royal Navy as a common seaman. Aged 26, his first ship was HMS Eagle and within a month was master's mate. Cook was made master of HMS Pembroke after two years on the Channel service.
At this time, 'master' should not be confused with captain. The master, or sailing master, of a windship was an historical naval ranking for the officer responsible for the navigation of a sailing vessel. This officer was an experienced seaman and specialist in navigation. In the British Royal Navy the master was originally a warrant officer who ranked with but under lieutenant. It became a commissioned rank and renamed 'navigating lieutenant' in 1867 but gradually fell out of use from around 1890 when all naval lieutenants were required to pass the same examinations.
With James Cook as master, the Pembroke saw service during the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) in North America to oust French occupation in the region. From 1758-62, he was based at the North American station, Nova Scotia. Halifax was the main base of the Royal Navy in the North Atlantic. The Pembroke served at the Siege of Louisbourg (1758) under Captain Simcoe and at the Capture of Québec (1759) under Captain Wheelock. Cook played a pivotal role in the victory of the English fleet at Québec by charting the attack approaches at the entrance of the St. Lawrence River.
Cook was then appointed to HMS Northumberland and began surveying Halifax Harbour during the northern winter of 1759.

In 1765, Cook was on HMS Grenville while Joseph Banks was on HMS Niger in the North Atlantic which lead to a friendship between the two men. Banks and other crewmen from the Niger would soon accompany James Cook for a voyage of discovery on the barque Endeavour unaware they were bound for Botany Bay. 

Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820) was a British naturalist, botanist, and patron of the sciences,
born 13 February, at Westminster in Central London. He led the formation of the African Association.

Sir Joseph Banks, Botanist, by Sir Joshua Reynold, 1771-1773

Banks was on HMS Niger patrolling and surveying the Newfoundland coast in the northern summer of 1766 commanded by Sir Thomas Adams (1738-1770).
William Brougham Monkhouse (d.1770) was surgeon on the Niger and would later serve as surgeon on Cook's Endeavour but did not survive the voyage. He spells his name 'Munkhouse' although his father's name is 'Monkhouse' which is the conventional spelling used in library catalogues. Banks fell seriously ill at the settlement of Croque in Newfoundland. Monkhouse is credited with saving Banks' life who was reportedly 'very ill with ague and fever and at one time not expected to recover'.

Sir Hugh Palliser (1723-1796), was Commander-in-chief and Lieutenant-Governor of Newfoundland (1764-1768) and another Yorkshireman. His patronage of James Cook resulted in the able seaman's promotion to master of HMS Pembroke and also responsible for directing Cook to conduct a detailed survey of the Newfoundland coast. After Newfoundland, Palliser was appointed to comptroller of the Royal Navy by the Admiralty. From 1770-75, he organised and outfitted several voyages of exploration including those of his friend James Cook. 

Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser, before 1775
attributed to George Dance the younger (1741-1825)
Royal Museums Greenwich, London 

Banks demonstrated and honed his natural history cataloguing skills in North America and was very impressed by Cook’s skills in navigation and cartography. Cook's navigational charts of Newfoundland were so accurate and detailed that they remained in use to the 1950s.

Some of Banks' natural history artefacts were sent to England with Cook on the Grenville. However, they were jettisoned when the ship ran aground at the mouth of the Solent at the Nore in November, 1767.
Soon after, Banks made his way home via Portugal.

'A Man of Nookta Sound' drawn by J. Webber from
Cook's voyages : A voyage to the Pacific Ocean, v
ol. II  
'They make use of no paint ; but the women puncture their faces slightly ; and both men and women bore the under-lips, to which they fix pieces of bone. But it is as uncommon, at Oonalafhka [sic], to see a man with this ornament, as to see a woman without it. Some fix beads to the upper lip under the nostrils ; and all of them hang ornaments in their ears.'--Cook's voyages. Vol. II, Book IV. Chapter XI : p. 509
Edition held in the RGSSA Collection
Published : London, 1784-85
Call Number: rgsp 910.41 C771 d rgsp 910.41 C771 d 
(Plates) rgsp 910.41 C771 

Held in the RGSSA Collection
The journal shown above was written by Joseph Banks in 1766 describing his voyage to Newfoundland.
At this time Banks was on the ship Niger and Cook was on the Grenville
Admiralty records indicate the ships frequently rendezvoused to exchange information and socialise. 
RGSSA website/ Exhibitions/ 'York Gate Library Centenary Exhibition Catalogue (Terra Cognita) 2008
pdf download, 16 pages 

In 1768, Banks negotiated for a berth on Cook's Endeavour that was due to sail for Tahiti in order to observe the Transit of Venus occurring in the June of 1769. To assist him with research on the voyage he also paid for four 'scientific gentlemen' and four of his servants to accompany him— 
The naturalists; Daniel Solander (1733-1782) and Hermann Spöring (1733-1771) who also acted as personal secretary to Banks; Spöring was a former surgeon and one of the four medical 'gentlemen of the faculty' who sailed with Cook. Recent translations of Spöring's original documents in Finnish provide more details about his life and contributions to Cook's voyage.
Also assisting Banks were two Scottish artists; Sydney Parkinson (1745?-1771) and Alexander Buchan

Neither artist survived the voyage.
Refer: RGSSA catalogue record
A journal of a voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty's ship, the Endeavour
Author: Parkinson, Sydney, 1745?-1771 ; Parkinson, Stanfield, editor
London : Printed for Stanfield Parkinson, 1773.
Call Number: rgsp 910.41 P248 c

'View of an Arched Rock, on the Coast of New Zealand ; with an Hippa, or
Place of Retreat, on the Top of it' a drawing by Sydney Parkinson-- 
A journal of a voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty's ship, the Endeavour
Plate XXIV
Edition held:
Author: Parkinson, Sydney, 1745?-1771 ; Stanfield Parkinson, editor
London : 1773.
Call Number: rgsp 910.41 P248 c 

Stanfield Parkinson published and edited his brother's work done on the Endeavour—his journal, drawings and the calculations he made of the transit at Tahiti. However, much of his brother's work went 'missing'. In the preface, Stanfield Parkinson relates a story of deception and betrayal of trust in his efforts to recover his brother's intellectual property from Joseph Banks.
In part—
'I caused the following advertisement to be inserted in the newspapers. 
Whereas a Journal was kept on-board the said ship, during her late voyage round the world, by Sydney Parkinson deceased, late draughtsman to Joseph Banks, Esq. which, from the great variety of particulars it contained relative to the discoveries made during the said voyage, was allowed by the ship’s company to be the best: and most correct that was taken; and whereas the said Sydney Parkinson had, at his leisure hours, made drawings of many of the natives of the new-discovered islands, and had also taken views of several places in the said islands, which he intended as presents to his friends; which said Journal and Drawings are pretended to have been lost.'--A journal of a voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty's ship, the Endeavour, preface by Stanfield Parkinson : pages (v.)-xxiii.
Refer: 'Parkinson's Journal' 
Text available online from the National Library of Australia 

Spöring assisted Banks as landscape artist after the death of Alexander Buchan. Returning to England, toward the end of the voyage, he died due to dysentery related to food poisoning

Spöring was buried at sea, between Indonesia and South Africa, January 24, 1771. 

Sporing, Herman Diedrich 1733-1771
'A fortified town or village, called a hippah, built on a perforated rock at Tolaga in New Zealand'
after Sydney Parkinson [London, Strahan, 1773] 
National Library of New Zealand

Also refer:
Hermann Diedrich Spöring : NaturalistArtistSurgeon
Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine
Biennial Scientific Meeting, Perth, 29 September 2009. 
Professor John Pearn
University of Queensland
pdf download, 16 pages, available from
South Seas : Voyaging and Cross-Cultural Encounters
in the Pacific (1760-1800) 
National Library of Australia

In early 1768, the Royal Society gained approval and the funding from King George III (1738-1820) for a scientific expedition to Tahiti in order to take accurate readings of Venus passing across the sun (transit). This would help determine the 'astronomical unit'—a unit of length roughly the distance from the Earth to the sun; a vital constant required to calculate longitude at sea.

To this purpose; the Endeavour sailed Plymouth, England, 26 August, 1768. Cook was not told by the Admiralty that he carried orders to sail west after Tahiti. The ship was ultimately bound to determine the existence of a southern continent. Cook's first voyage of discovery would take three long gruelling years to return to England and some would not survive the voyage.

They reached Tahiti, 13 April, 1769, via Cape Horn; around 8 months later. 
Meanwhile, Cook charted the islands waiting for the transit to occur in June.

'Sir Joseph Banks preventing the assassination of Tubourai Tamaide's wife'
Artist unknown. [London?, ca 1800]
At Tahiti, a dramatic incident shows Banks in full uniform preventing Henry Jeffs, 
the butcher on Endeavour, from killing a local woman. 
National Library of New Zealand

A Polynesian elder named Tupia recognised that the arrival of the English ship could provide him with extra status. Tupia became a valuable crewman as an interpreter through the islands. He was later joined on Endeavour by Tayeto, a young Polynesian boy— 

'The Lad Taiyota, Native of Otaheite, in the Dress of his Country'
a drawing by Sydney Parkinson-- 
A journal of a voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty's ship, the Endeavour
Plate IX, described on page 66.
Edition held:
Author: Parkinson, Sydney, 1745?-1771 ; Stanfield Parkinson, editor
London : 1773.
Call Number: rgsp 910.41 P248 c
Refer: RGSSA catalogue record

Both Polynesians perished from disease at the port of Batavia (Jakarta) in the Dutch East Indies.

The unhealthy conditions at Batavia resulted in other deaths from the scourge of the tropics—malaria and from dysentery. At Batavia, seven crew members died and some 40 were too sick to attend their duties when Endeavour set sail on December 26, 1770. Over the following 12 weeks, a further 23 died from disease and were buried at sea; including Spöring, Green, Parkinson, and the ship's surgeon William Monkhouse.

'Captain Cook's beer'

Cook won the battle against scurvy on long sea voyages but no one knew exactly how at the time. Cook enforced cleanliness, regular washing of sailors' clothes and bedding, and the routine inclusion of citrus juice (vitamin C) as well as 'wort of malt' (an infusion of malt or beer) in the seamen's diet. He encouraged naturalists who sailed on voyages to identify edible plants to fight scurvy. Fresh vegetables and fruits were added to the ships' food supply. While scurvy appeared amongst sailors on Cook's voyages; no sailor died from the disease. Joseph Banks observed the value of lemon juice in combating signs of his own scurvy but his journal comments were not published until much later. 
In 1776, the Royal Society awarded Cook the Copley Gold Medal in recognition of his contributions toward improving the health of seamen. 
Refer: Captain Cook's beer: 
the antiscorbutic use of malt and beer in late 18th century sea voyages, 2003. 
Stubbs, Brett, J.
Published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 
Available on Google Drive by Creative Commons Licence
pdf download, 10 pages:

Cook circumnavigated and mapped New Zealand

'Map of the Coast of New Zealand discovered in the Years 1769 and 1770
by J. Cook. Commander of His Majesty's Bark Endeavour'
Engraved by I. Bayly--
Captain Cook's journal during his first voyage round the world made in H.M. Bark "Endeavour", 1768-71 : a literal transcription of the original mss. : with notes and introduction
Edition held in the RGSSA Collection
Author: Cook, James, 1728-1779.
Wharton, W. J. L. (William James Lloyd), Sir, 1843-1905.
Published: London, 1893
3 folded charts in pocket.
Call Number: rgsp 910.41 P248 c
Refer: RGSSA catalogue record

Ship’s boy, Nicholas Young, aged about 12, received a gallon of rum for being the first crewman aboard HM Bark Endeavour to sight land in the south-west Pacific off New Zealand's North Island. Nick was apprenticed to the Endeavour's surgeon, William Brougham Monkhouse. Cook named the headland; Young Nicks Head.
Cook's maps of New Zealand were so accurate they remained in use until satellite mapping technology replaced them in the 1970s.     
Young Nick sights land, 6 October 1769
New Zealand History

'Head of Otegoongoon, Son of a New Zealand Chief, the face curiously tattoow'd' a drawing by Sydney Parkinson. 
A journal of a voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty's ship, the Endeavour
Plate XXI, described on page 109: 
'We passed a small island which we named Piercy Island, and soon after cast anchor. Many canoes came off to us ; and the people in them ; according to custom, behaved somewhat unruly [haka?]: while I saluted one of them, in their manner, he picked my pocket. Some of our people fired upon them, but they did not seem to regard it much. One of our boats went onshore, and then they set off all at once, and attempted to seize her, in which, however, they failed ; but soon after Mr Banks got on shore, he had like to be apprehended by one of the natives, but happily escaped. The marines fired upon them ; five great guns were fired from the ship, and Otegoowgoow [sic], (see pl. XXI.) son to one of their chiefs, was wounded in the thigh.'--Sydney Parkinson on Endeavour, 29 November, 1769.
Refer: RGSSA catalogue record
Author: Parkinson, Sydney, 1745?-1771 ; Stanfield Parkinson, editor
London : 1773.
Call Number: rgsp 910.41 P248 c

At  6 p.m., 19 April 1770, Lieutenant Hicks was the first crewman on the Endeavour to sight the Australian mainland. Cook named this headland, Point Hicks; a coastal headland off East Gippsland, Victoria.
On 19 April, 1770, Banks saw Australia for the first time and noted in his journal: 'The countrey this morn rose in gentle sloping hills which had the appearance of the highest fertility, every hill seemd to be cloth’d with trees of no mean size.'

Cook sailed north seeking a harbour

On 29 April, the Endeavour landed at Stingray Bay, visiting and charting the coast seeking a place to repair the ship's underside. At Stingray Bay, Banks and his naturalists collected so many specimens of plants it was renamed Botany Bay. 

Sailing north in May 1770, the Endeavour's second landing was at Bustard Bay, now in the Gladstone region of Queensland, and a third near Cape Townshend. Further north, Cook found himself within the Barrier Reef amidst dangerous shoals. Sounding their way and often preceded by the long-boat, they crept north, making two more landings in search of water.

At 10 p.m. on 11th June, the Endeavour, struck fast on a coral reef at high tide. Ballast, guns and decayed stores were jettisoned; two tides later she was hauled off with windlass and anchors after three days beached in the Endeavour River. Repairs and gales delayed them for several weeks.

On 22 June 1770, crew members were sent ashore to shoot pigeons and reported seeing a 'greyhound-like' creature the colour of a mouse. Three days later, Banks wrote—
'In gathering plants today, I myself had the good fortune to see the beast so much talkd of, tho but imperfectly; he was only like a greyhound in size and running but had a long tail, as long as any greyhounds; what to liken him to I could not tell, nothing certainly that I have seen at all resembles him.' 

image: Plate No. 20. 
drawn by Sydney Parkinson--An account of the voyages 
A journal of a voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty's ship, the Endeavour
Lieutenant Cook's voyage round the world
Vol. III, Book III. Chapter VI. : 
Transactions while the Ship was refitting in Endeavour River :
A Description of the adjacent Country, its Inhabitants, and Productions--p. 561
Edition held in the RGSSA Collection
Refer: RGSSA catalogue record
Author: Hawkesworth, John, 1715?-1773.
Cook, James, 1728-1779.
Carteret, Philip, d. 1796.
Byron, John, 1723-1786.
Wallis, Samuel, 1728-1795.
Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820.
Corporate Author: T. Cadell (Bookseller) ; W. Strahan (Bookseller)
London : Printed for W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1773
Description: 3 volumes : illustrations, maps (some folded), portraits ; 30 cm

Call Number: rgsp 910.45 H392 c 

On 22 August, after rounding and naming Cape York at Possession Island, Cook once more 'hoisted English Colours'. In his journal, he took possession of the entire eastern coast of Australia for the British Crown; later adding—New South Wales. Apparently, the landscape reminded the Captain of southern Wales.

image: Plate No. 19.
An account of the voyages 
Lieutenant Cook's voyage round the world 
Vol. III, Book III. Chapter VI. : 
Transactions while the Ship was refitting in Endeavour River :
A Description of the adjacent Country, its Inhabitants, and Productions--p. 557.  
Edition held in the RGSSA Collection
Published: London : Printed for W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1773
Description: 3 volumes : illustrations, maps (some folded), portraits ; 30 cm
Call Number: rgsp 910.45 H392 c 

Refer: RGSSA catalogue record

Cook ultimately took formal possession of New Zealand and Australia for the British Crown with orders to claim lands if the indigent population was not farming or making use of the land. However, journal entries from those on board the Endeavour mention Aboriginal people lighting warning fires along the coast to alert other communities of the ship's approach.

The Royal Society issued a charter of conduct for the voyage. 
In part—
'To exercise the utmost patience and forbearance with respect to the natives of the several lands where the ship may touch. To check the petulance of the sailors, and restrain the wanton use of fire arms. To have it still in view that shedding the blood of those people is a crime of the highest nature. They are human creatures, the work of the same omnipotent author, equally under His care with the most polished European; perhaps being less ­offensive, more entitled to his favour … should they in a hostile manner oppose the landing and kill some men in the attempt, even this would hardly justify firing upon them until every other gentle method had been tried.' 

A reprinted copy of Banks' Endeavour Journal is held in the RGSSA Library.
The above pages show his log entry about diamond mining in Brazil.
The 25-year-old Joseph Banks kept this journal aboard HMS Endeavour as a record of the first Pacific voyage of Captain James Cook from 1768 to 1771.
Following the Endeavour's return to England in 1771, Banks was hailed as a hero.
His reputation had been launched.

'Read Joseph Banks’ Endeavour Journal' 
Abstract available online from
State Library of New South Wales 
Available online from
Project Gutenberg Australia
Refer: RGSSA catalogue record
The Endeavour journal of Joseph Banks : 1768-1771
Published: Public Library of New South Wales, 1962
Description: 2 volumes : illustrations, maps, portraits, plates ; 24 cm
Call Number: rga 910.45 B218

image from:
Notes describing the recovery of diamonds in Brazil with
annotated list of the accompanying eight drawings [manuscript] 
Author: Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820
Place: Australia Description: 12 pp.
Location: Rare Book Room
Call Number: MS 5c
Refer: RGSSA catalogue record

During the five months that Endeavour was in Australia, Banks collected natural history specimens and documented countless plant species that were unknown in Europe. Species included varieties of eucalyptus, acacia and a new genus of plants that Banks named: the Banksia. There are 173 known species of Banksia; all but one is an Australian native. 

Banksia serrata from
Botanical sketches of Australian plants, 1803-1806 / John Lewin
Sir Joseph Banks Papers, 1767-1822
State Library of New South Wales

Banks reflected on the expedition’s rich collection of Australian specimens
and wrote in his journal, 13 August, 1770—  
... 'could we have understood the Indians or made them by any means our friends we might perchance have learnt some of these; for tho their manner of life, but one degree removd from Brutes, does not seem to promise much yet they have a knowledge of plants as we plainly could percieve [sic] by their having names for them.'
During the entire voyage, Banks collected over 30,000 plant specimens and his artists made over 700 watercolour drawings. Returning to England, these drawing were engraved onto copperplates by his friend, Daniel MacKenzie (fl. 1775-1800), an esteemed engraver who lived at Banks' house in Soho Square, London.

Banks died at his house at Spring Grove, Isleworth, on 19 June 1820, 
and is buried at St Leonard's Church, Heston, London.

image: Deplanchea tetraphylla Bignoniaceae
Coloured engraving by Daniel Mackenzie
Joseph Banks and his party saw this species at
Endeavour River, Australia (17 June-4 August 1770) 
Natural History Museum, London
Botanical art and illustrations from HMS Endeavour
Refer: RGSSA catalogue records

Journal of the Right Hon. Sir Joseph Banks ... :
during Captain Cook’s first voyage in H.M.S. Endeavour in 1768-71
to Terra del Fuego, Otahite, New Zealand, Australia, the Dutch East Indies, etc. 
Also titled:
Journal during Captain Cook's first voyage in H.M.S. Endeavour in 1768-71 
Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820 ; Hooker, Joseph Dalton, Sir, 1817-1911 (editor)
London : Macmillan, 1896
Description: 466 pages : illustrations
Call Number: rg 920 B b

Captain Cook's first voyage round the world.
Part I, Madeira, Rio Janeiro, Tierra del Fuego, Otaheite, Society Islands, New Zealand
Also titled:
Madeira, Rio Janeiro, Tierra del Fuego, Otaheite, Society Islands, New Zealand
Also titled:
Voyage to Otaheite and New Zealand
Also titled:
Otaheite and New Zealand
by Cook, James, 1728-1779 ; Bettany, G. T.
London ; New York : Ward, Lock, and Co, [1886?]
Description: 126, [2] pages
Call Number: rg 910.4 a 1886

image from: 
A catalogue of the different specimens of cloth collected in the three voyages of Captain Cook : to the Southern Hemisphere; with a particular account of the manner of the manufacturing the same in the various islands of the South seas; partly extracted from Mr. Anderson and Reinhold Forster, observations, and the verbal account of some of the most knowing of the navigators: with some anecdotes that happened to them among the natives
Refer : RGSSA catalogue record
Shaw Catalogue held in the RGSSA Collection
Now properly arranged and printed for Alexander Shaw : London, 1787
Description: 8 pages : specimens of cloth ; 22 cm
Call Number: rgsp 677.54 S534


Prior to Cook's first voyage to the Pacific, Captain Samuel Wallis (1728-1795), of the HMS Dolphin was the first European navigator credited to sight Tahiti; June, 1767, naming it, 'King George the Third's Island'. Cook carried Wallis' logs on his first voyage to the Pacific and engaged some of the crewmen from the Dolphin on the Endeavour. It is not clear if the two captains met prior to Cook's first voyage to the Pacific in August, 1768.

Our Shaw catalogue contains 38 specimens of tapa or barkcloth.
The 8 pages of text in the catalogue are directly quoted from Cook's third voyage of discovery on the Resolution that departed Plymouth, England, 12 July 1776. Specimen 34, documented in Cook's log, was 'gifted' to one of his officers by a young Tahitian girl. In total desperation, the girl unwound the cloth from her body in order to save a little boy who had just been 'traded' to a crew member by a local man for a piece of old iron.

image: from Shaw's catalogue 
Description of tapa specimen 34 : page [8]
The description from Captain Cook's Voyage, Vol. I, p. 286.
Their cloth is of different degrees
Text is notated from observations on the manufacture of bark cloth in Polynesia taken chiefly from the journals of Cook, Anderson, and John Reinhold Forster. 
Refer :
In texts of this era: 'f' should be read as 's' 
'Palaeography: reading old handwriting 1500-1800'
National Archives, UK

On board HMS Resolution with Cook on his second Pacific voyage in 1773 were Johann Reinhold Forster (1729–1798) and his son Georg who were accomplished comparative linguists. They realised that the 'O' in 'Otaheite' was an article in the Tahitian language and not properly part of the name i.e. should not be pronounced.

Mr. King, Captain James King (c.1750-1784), is mentioned at specimen 35. He may have  been appointed by Cook to collect all of the tapa cloth samples on the voyage contained in this catalogue but this is unclear. King was Cook's second lieutenant on the Resolution, who completed Cook's journal of the third voyage (1776-1780). It contains an account of the tragedy in the Hawaiian Islands that resulted in Cook's death, 14 February 1779. King then published his own astronomical observations of the voyage.
Refer: RGSSA catalogue record
The Resolution journal of Johann Reinhold Forster, 1772-1775
Forster, Johann Reinhold, 1729-1798.
Hoare, Michael E. (Michael Edward), 1941-
London : Hakluyt Society, 1982
Description: 4 volumes (xvii, 831 p.) : illustrations ; 23 cm
Call Number: rga 910.41 F733

Our catalogue contains eight letterpress pages of explanatory text followed by a promised 39 samples of tapa or barkcloth (our copy has just 38!). These were gathered from the Pacific islands during Captain Cook’s voyages, probably mostly during his third voyage. Tapa is a cloth produced from the bark of trees, usually the paper mulberry tree. The cloth seems to have been most commonly used by Polynesian islanders for clothing, bedding materials and for ceremonial purposes. Cook himself describes the process of manufacture in his journal of July 1769, written in Tahiti:
'All their cloth is I believe made from the bark of trees . . . They let this plant grow till it is about six or eight feet high . . . after this they cut it down and lay it a certain time in water, this makes the bark strip easy off the outside of which is this then scraped off with a rough shell, after this is done it looks like long strips of raged linen. These they lay together, by means of a fine paste made of some sort of a root . . . after it is thus put together it is beat out to its proper breadth and fineness upon a long square piece of wood with wooden beaters the cloth being kept wet all the time; the beaters are made of hard wood with four square sides . . . cut into grooves of different fineness this makes the Cloth look at first sight as if it was wove with thread; but I believe the principal use of the grooves is to facilitate the beating it out . . . The finest sort when bleached is very white and comes nearest to fine Cotton. Thick cloth especially fine is made by pasting two or more thickness’s of thin cloth . . . together . . . The making of Cloth is wholy the work of the women . . . common colours are red, brow[n] and yellow with which they dye some pieces just as their fancy leads them' [sic] 

'Poulaho. King of the Friendly Islands' [Tonga] drawn by J. Webber
Cook's voyages : A voyage to the Pacific Ocean
Vol. I. Book II. Chap VI. May, 1777. 
Edition held in the RGSSA Collection
Refer: RGSSA catalogue record
Published : London, 1784-85 
Call Number: rgsp 910.41 C771 d rgsp 910.41 C771 d 
(Plates) rgsp 910.41 C771 

One of the strangest and, perhaps, most frustrating features of Shaw's catalogue is that despite having a numbered list of the 39 samples supposedly contained, virtually no two copies of the catalogue are alike, with the tapa samples themselves bound in various orders.

In our Library's copy the samples are even bound in backwards with what is clearly the decorated front of the cloth facing the rear of the book! Quite why this has happened is unclear but perhaps it is something to do with the fact that books printed during the 18th century were commonly sold unbound with the purchaser organising the binding themselves.

It is easy enough for a binder to ascertain the correct paging where the pages are numbered and printed signatures are present; quite another story with unnumbered cloth samples. Yet a large number of the surviving copies seem to be bound in similar marbled paper boards. Perhaps, an ‘edition binding’ of the copies was done prior to sale?

A recent census of Shaw’s catalogue has identified 66 surviving copies around the world. Over and above the binding confusion, the 66 copies, also seem to fall into two distinct categories. While all bear identical letterpress printed pages, one group, including our Library copy, contains what are apparently the original tapa samples.

However, a second group contains an entirely different selection of samples. Watermarking of the paper guards used between the tapa samples of this second group has dated the paper used as 1805-06; not before.

So what is going on?

It seems likely that a quantity of the original printed sheets remained unsold, perhaps, after Shaw sold all of his extra tapa to  the Welsh naturalist Thomas Pennant! These lay around unused until c.1806 whereupon a new batch of tapa cloth became available. At this point a second (and arguably somewhat fraudulent, since the list certainly doesn’t match the cloth!) issue was published.
'Alexander Shaw’s curious cloth catalogue'

The 1806 date has been remarked upon as the date of a large sale of Cook and Pacific ethnographic itemsthat of Sir Ashton Lever. Just possibly, the Lever sale was the source for the tapa used in this c.1806 second issue of Shaw’s catalogue. It is interesting to note that one of the tapa samples found in this second issue of the work is apparently identical to the large tapa sample from Cook’s third voyage acquired by Hunter prior to his death in 1783.

This book is one of 66 in the world still in existence—it seems each catalogue is unique with its tapa content! 
Also refer:
An edition of this catalogue is held at the Auckland Museum, New Zealand
Collections Online, Auckland War Memorial Museum
Document (untitled pdf) download available (63 pages) 

An account of the voyages undertaken by the order of His present Majesty, for making discoveries in the southern hemisphere, and successively performed by Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Carteret, and Captain Cook, in the Dolphin, the Swallow, and the Endeavour : drawn up from the journals which were kept by the several commanders and from the papers of Joseph Banks, Esq. 

image: Plate No. 13. 
An account of the voyages 
Lieutenant Cook's voyage round the world
Vol. III, Book II. Chapter IX -- A Description of the Inhabitants, Apparel, Ornaments, Food, Cookery and Manner of Life

'The bodies of both sexes are marked with the black stains called Amoco but the men are more marked. The women in general stain no part of their bodies but the lips, though sometimes they are marked with small black patches on other parts : 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, they 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, after a years growth : the edges of these furrows are afterward indented by the same method, and being perfectly black, they make the most frightful appearance. The faces of the old men are almost covered in these marks ; those who are very young, black only their lips like the women ... we could not but admire the dexterity and art with which they were impressed.'--March, 1770. 
An account of the voyages
Vol. III, Book II. Chapter IX : p. 452-453
Edition held in the RGSSA Collection
Author: Hawkesworth, John, 1715?-1773.
Cook, James, 1728-1779.
Carteret, Philip, d. 1796.
Byron, John, 1723-1786.
Wallis, Samuel, 1728-1795.
Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820.
Corporate Author: T. Cadell (Bookseller) W. Strahan (Bookseller)
London : Printed for W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1773
Description: 3 volumes : illustrations, maps (some folded), portraits ; 30 cm
Provenance: York Gate Library
Call Number: rgsp 910.45 H392 c 
Refer: RGSSA catalogue record

Cook's second and third voyages of discovery

The following volumes held in the RGSSA's Library are accounts of these voyages

Although, Cook had accurately charted 5000 miles (8047 km) of coastline without a chronometer on the Endeavour, an achievement in itself, he was dissatisfied about his failure to prove or disprove the existence of a southern continent. Back in London, he pleaded with the Admiralty for another opportunity to return to the Pacific.

Cook was given command of HMS Resolution for his second voyage of discovery (1735–1781) to again prove the existence of the unknown Southern Land. He would also be in command of HMS Adventure sailed under Tobias Furneaux (1735–1781) who had been second lieutenant on Wallis' Dolphin.

The Furneaux Islands in Bass Strait, named by Cook, commemorate him. 

Cook circumnavigated the world in high southern latitudes on this voyage, sailing further south than any explorer had done but did not find Antarctica due to ice and weather conditions that blocked his way. During this exhaustive search of the Pacific he visited a number of island groups such as Easter Island, the Tongan Group, New Caledonia and South Georgia.

'A Man of the Sandwich Islands, Dancing' [Hawaii]
drawn by J. Webber
Cook's voyages : A voyage to the Pacific Ocean
Vol. III. : p. 140 
Edition held in the RGSSA Collection
Published : London, 1784-85 
Call Number: rgsp 910.41 C771 d rgsp 910.41 C771 d 
(Plates) rgsp 910.41 C771 
Refer: RGSSA catalogue record

The important part of this voyage for Australian history occurred in February and March 1773 when HMS Adventure was parted from the Resolution by bad weather and made for the south coast of Van Diemen's Land; the first British vessel to retrace Tasman's sightings in 1642.

Furneaux charted the Tasmanian east coast to Flinders Island but failed to reach Point Hicks (Victoria) before proceeding to rendezvous with the Resolution in New Zealand.

If Furneaux reached Point Hicks he would have had convincing evidence that Tasmania was separated from the Australian mainland by what we know as the Bass Strait. The strait would be 'discovered' in 1798–99 by George Bass (1771-1803) and Mathew Flinders (1774-1814) who circumnavigated Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) in the Norfolk. Until then, maps of Australia showed the east coast of Tasmania joined to the Australian mainland.

Refer: RGSSA catalogue record
A voyage towards the South Pole, and round the world : 
performed in His Majesty's ships the Resolution and Adventure,
in the years 1772, 1773, 1774 and 1775
Cook, James, 1728-1779 ; Furneaux, Tobias, 1735-1781.
Corporate Author: J. Williams (Bookseller) L. White (Bookseller) W. Wilson (Bookseller)
C. Jenkyn (Bookseller) P. Byrne (Bookseller) R. Burton (Bookseller)
Dublin : Printed for J. Williams ; L. White ; W. Wilson ;
C. Jenkin ; P. Byrne ; and R. Burton, 1784.
Description: 2 v. ([ix], xxx, [1] 372 ; [8], [1], 392 p.) : illustrations ; 20 cm
Call Number: rgsp 910.41 C771
On Cook's third voyage of discovery, now post-captain and fellow of the Royal Society, he visited Adventure Bay on 26 January 1777, on his way to New Zealand and Tahiti. He went on to explore the Pacific coasts of North America and Siberia. In November 1778 at the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), at Kealakekua (Karakakooa) Bay,

Cook was killed by the islanders on February 14, 1779.

A voyage to the Pacific Ocean : undertaken by the command of His Majesty, for making discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere. To determine the position and extent of the west side of North America; its distance from Asia; and the practicability of a northern passage to Europe. Performed under the direction of Captains Cook, Clerke and Gore, in his Majesty's ships the Resolution and Discovery, in the years 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779 and 1780
Edition held in the RGSSA Collection 
Author: Cook, James, 1728-1779 ; King, James, 1750-1784.
Dublin : Printed for H. Chamberlaine, W. Watson, Potts, Williams, Cross, Jackson, Moncrieffe, Walker, Jenkin, Burnet, Wilson, Wogan, Exshaw, Vallance, Beatty, White, Whitestone, Burton, Byrne, Mills, J.Porter, Stewart, Wallace, Higly, Cash, Herey and McKenzie
Description: 3 volumes : illustrations, maps ; 22 cm.
Call Number: rgsp 910.45 C771
Refer: RGSSA catalogue record 

'A Young Woman of the Sandwich Islands' [Hawaii]
drawn by J. Webber
Cook's voyages : A voyage to the Pacific Ocean
Vol. III. Book V. Chap VII. March, 1779. 
Edition held in the RGSSA Collection
Published : London, 1784-85 
Call Number: rgsp 910.41 C771 d rgsp 910.41 C771 d 
(Plates) rgsp 910.41 C771

A voyage to the Pacific Ocean : Undertaken by the command of His Majesty, for making discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere. Performed under the direction of Captains Cook, Clerke and Gore, in His Majesty's Ships the Resolution and Discovery; in the years 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, and 1780 ...
Cook's voyages
Plates to Cook's voyage
Author: Cook, James, 1728-1779.
King, James, 1750-1784.
London : printed for G. Nicol; and T. Cadell, 1784-85
Description: 3 volumes, plates : illustrations, portraits, maps ; 33 cm
Provenance: York Gate Library
Call Number: rgsp 910.41 C771 d rgsp 910.41 C771 d 
(Plates) rgsp 910.41 C771 c
Refer: RGSSA catalogue record 

HMS Endeavour was last seen in 1778 by which time she was being used as a transport ship during the American Revolution.
For those interested in the current whereabouts of the Endeavour, she is almost certainly at the bottom of Newport Harbour, Rhode Island. She is being well cared for by the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project who are in the process of raising her and she may one day return to Australia. 

Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project

On this day, 250 years ago, James Cook made landfall at Botany Bay.
It seems appropriate to 'launch' this post today—
April 29, 2020 at Sydney,
New South Wales.
All external links retrieved April 29, 2020
Posted with additional research by Sandra Thompson
RGSSA remote cataloguer


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