ENDEAVOUR: official copy of journal kept by Captain James Cook. Voyage of discovery, South Indian Ocean. 1768 May 27-1771 July 10. Catalogue ref: ADM 55/40.
‘After landing I went upon the highest hill which however was of no great height, yet not less than twice or thrice the height of the Ships Mast heads [tall poles supporting the sails] but I could see from it no land between SW and WSW so that I did not doubt but there was a passage…Having satisfied myself of the great Probabillity of a Passage, thro’ which I intend going with the Ship and therefor may land no more upon this Eastern coast of New Holland and on the Western side I can make no new discovery the honour of which belongs to the Dutch Navigators but the Eastern Coast from the Latitude of 38° South down to this place I am confident was never seen or visited by any European before us, notwithstanding, I had in the Name of his Majesty taken possession of several places upon this coast I now once more hoisted English Colours and in the Name of His Majesty King George the Third took possession of the whole Eastern Coast from the above Latitude down to this place by the Name of New South Wales together with all the Bays, Harbours Rivers and Islands situate upon the same said coast after which we fired three Volleys [rounds] of small Arms [guns] which were Answerd by the like number by from the Ship.’
‘After landing I went up on the highest hill, which however was not very high but not less than twice or thrice the height of the ship’s mastheads [tall poles supporting the sails], but I could see from it no land between southwest and west-southwest, so I did not doubt that there was a passage. …
Having satisfied myself of the great probability of a passage, which I intend to go through with the ship and therefore would not find any more land on this Eastern coast of New Holland, and on the Western side I can make no new discovery, the honour of which belongs to the Dutch navigators. But the Eastern coast from the latitude of 38° south down to this place I am confident was never seen or visited by any European before us.
Nevertheless, I had in the name of his Majesty taken possession of several places upon this coast. I now once more hoisted English colours and in the name of His Majesty King George the Third took possession of the whole Eastern coast from the above latitude down to this place by the name of New South Wales, together with all the bays, harbours, rivers and islands situated upon this coast, after which we fired three rounds from small guns that were answered by the same number of volleys from the ship.’
« Return to The Search for ‘Terra Australis’
- Previous journal entries show Cook’s interactions with Australian Aboriginal peoples as he sailed up the eastern coast of modern-day Australia. Return to the last paragraph in the letter from Source 1. Do you think Cook has followed the instructions in this paragraph? How has the word ‘uninhabited’ been interpreted here?
- Why do you think it’s important for Cook to be sure that he is the first European to visit before he claims the lands?
- Can you find out where ‘New Holland’ is? Why does Cook only claim the Eastern coast of New Holland?
- Is there anything that you have read in ANY of the source extracts 3-5 from Cook’s journal that has surprised you? Anything that hasn’t?
- How would you describe the impact and result of the voyage from the point of view of today?
- on Britain
- on places travelled to by Cook
- What types of source have been used in this lesson to provide information about Cook’s mission?
- Can you think of any other possible sources that could be used to find out more about Cook’s voyage?