History / 14 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.

“Thursday, 14th. P.M., had a Gentle breeze at South-East by East. Sent the Master, with 2 Boats as well, to sound ahead of the Ship, as to look out for a Harbour where we could repair our defects, and put the Ship on a proper Trim, both of which she now very much wanted.”

At 3 saw an Opening that had the appearance of a Harbour; stood off and on while the Boats were examining it, who found that there was not a sufficient depth of Water for the Ship. By this time it was almost sun set, and seeing many shoals about us we Anchored in 4 fathoms about 2 miles from the Shore.

At 8 o’clock the Pinnace, in which was one of the Mates, return’d on board, and reported that they had found a good Harbour [Cook Harbour, Endeavour River.] about 2 Leagues to leeward. In consequence of this information we, at 6 a.m., weigh’d and run down to it, first sending 2 Boats ahead to lay upon the Shoals that lay in our way; and notwithstanding this precaution, we were once in 3 fathoms with the Ship.

Having pass’d these Shoals, the Boats were sent to lay in the Channell leading into the Harbour. By this time it begun to blow in so much that the Ship would not work, having missed stays Twice; and being entangled among Shoals, I was afraid of being drove to Leeward before the Boats could place themselves, and therefore Anchoredd in 4 fathoms about a Mile from the Shore, and then made the Signal for the Boats to come on board, after which I went myself and Buoy’d the Channell, which I found very narrow, and the Harbour much smaller than I had been told, but very convenient for our Purpose. At Noon Latitude observed 15 degrees 26 minutes South.

The Master was Robert Molyneux. He died aged 25 as the ship left Table Bay, South Africa.

 Peter Aughton

The Endeavour carried three small boats, a pinnace, reserved for the use of the ship’s captain, a yawl – just large enough to carry four rowers and three passengers and a long  boat for carrying water and stores. All three had sails and oars

 A fathom is a unit of length equal to six feet (1.8 metres).

Banks’ Journal

The Pinnace however which had gone far ahead was not returnd, nor did she till nine O’Clock, when she reported that she had found just the place we wanted, in which the tide rose sufficiently and there was every natural convenience that could be wishd for either laying the ship ashore or heaving her down. This was too much to be beleivd by our most sanguine wishes: we however hopd that the place might do for us if not so much as we had been told yet something to better our situation, as yet but precarious, having nothing but a lock of Wool between us and destruction.


Three small boats sketch by Sydney Parkinson in Peter Aughton’s book ‘Endeavour’
Portrait of the Master, Robert Molyneux


Be the first to know the latest news from the Douglas Shire.


Be the first to know the latest news from the Douglas Shire.