EXPLORATION

The Endeavour
Australia Crest

The ship used by Captain James Cook on his voyage of discovery to eastern Australia in 1770.

Captain Cook

Cook found the 22.7 metre long Whitby collier Earl of Pembroke in 1769 and the Admiralty paid the sum of 2,800 for the vessel and renamed it the Endeavour. She was then taken to Deptford on the river Thames to be refitted.

The ship was heavy, displacing 368 tonnes, and slow, rarely reaching speeds of 8 knots.

Cook's brief was to observe the transit of Venus over the island of Tahiti. This was to take place on January 3rd, 1769. After this event the Endeavour pressed on to New Zealand where she was careened in Queen Charlotte Sound before Cook circumnavigated both the North and South Islands.

Onwards to Terra Australis where Cook landed at Botany Bay on April 28th, 1770, staying for 8 days before sailing north.

Disaster struck on the Great Barrier Reef on June 16th when Endeavour struck a reef. Guns and ballast were thrown overboard to refloat the ship. Emergency repairs were done and the bark set sail again in a northwards direction, sailing round the tip of Cape York (Cook was a Yorkshireman and Endeavour was from Whitby, Yorkshire) on August 26th, 1770.

Onwards to Batavia where some crew died and others became very ill, then to Cape Town and finally to England. Endeavour arrived home on July 12th, 1771, after successfully circumnavigating the world and solving the mystery of the great unknown southern continent.

The Endeavour replica
The Endeavour replica


After the great voyage from 1768 to1771, the Endeavour was used as a store ship on two voyages to the Falkland Islands. She was then sold out of the navy in 1775.

Little is known of her fate after this but recently it is believed that she, now called Lord Sandwich, was used as a blockade in Newport Harbour, Rhode Island, during the American War of Independence from Great Britain. A marine archaeologist from the Australian National Maritime Museum will investigate this possibility.

A wreck under 7 metres of water has been found in Newport Harbour and has been put under protection until marine archaeologists can confirm the vessel is indeed the Endeavour.

A replica of the Endeavour was commissioned by Alan Bond in 1987 as a Bicentennial gift to the nation and the 3 masted bark sails the high seas today.


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