History / 9 June post from Lieutenant James Cook’s Journal 250 years ago


Our appreciation to Pam Willis Burden, Gail Cockburn and Douglas Shire Historical Society for sharing this content with us daily.

“Saturday, 9th. Winds between the South and South-East, a Gentle breeze, and Clear weather, with which we steer’d North by West as the land lay”

 At 6 a.m. we were abreast of Some small Islands, which we called Frankland Isles, that lay about 2 Leagues from the Mainland, the Northern Point of which in sight bore North by West 1/2 West; but this we afterwards found to be an Island, [Fitzroy Island] tolerable high, and about 4 Miles in Circuit.

It lies about 2 Miles from the Point on the Main between which we went with the ship, and were in the Middle of the Channell at Noon, and by observation in the Latitude of 16 degrees 55 minutes, where we had 20 fathoms of water.

The point of land we were now abreast of I called Cape Grafton.

[The Duke of Grafton was Prime Minister when Cook sailed]

(Latitude 16 degrees 55 minutes South, Longitude 214 degrees 11 minutes West); it is Tolerable high, and so is the whole Coast for 20 Leagues to the southward, and hath a very rocky surface, which is thinly cover’d with wood. In the night we saw several fires along shore, and a little before noon some people.

From Banks’ Journal

9. Countrey much the same as it was, hills near the sea high, lookd at a distance not unlike Mores or heaths in England but when you came nearer them were coverd with small trees; some few flatts and valleys lookd tolerably fertile.

At noon a fire and some people were seen. After dinner came to an Anchor and went ashore, but saw no people. The countrey was hilly and very stony affording nothing but fresh water, at least that we found, except a few Plants that we had not before met with.

At night our people caught a few small fish with their hooks and lines

From Wikipedia

Yarrabah is an Aboriginal community south of Cairns. On an evening in early June 1770, the Endeavour anchored near there. While James Cook had no luck in finding accessible fresh water, Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander added to their plant collection. There were no encounters with local Gunggandji people, but the Endeavour’s visit was recorded in nearby rock art.

Queensland Govt Department of Environment and Science

Lieutenant James Cook named the Frankland islands in 1770 in honour of two 18th century sailors—a Lord of the Admiralty and his nephew, both named Sir Thomas Frankland.

From Wikipedia

Cape Grafton was named after Augustus FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton, the British prime minister when Cook sailed. Cook set anchor two miles from the shore and briefly inspected the cape with botanists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander.The Aboriginal community of Yarrabah is located here. It was founded by John Gribble in 1892 


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