The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks 1768–1771 [Volume Two]
1. The Captn Dr Solander, myself and some of the people, making in all 10 musquets, resolvd to make an excursion into the countrey. We accordingly did so and walkd till we compleatly tird ourselves, which was in the evening, seeing by the way only one Indian who ran from us as soon as he saw us. The Soil wherever we saw it consisted of either swamps or light sandy soil on which grew very few species of trees, one which was large yeilding a gum much like sanguis draconis,1 but every place was coverd with vast quantities of grass. We saw many Indian houses and places where they had slept upon the grass without the least shelter; in these we left beads ribbands &c. We saw one quadruped about the size of a Rabbit,2 My Greyhound just got sight of him and instantly lamd himself against a stump which lay conceald in the long grass; we saw also the dung of a large animal that had fed on grass which much resembled that of a Stag;3 also the footsteps of an animal clawd like a dog or wolf and as large as the latter;4 and of a small animal whose feet were like those of a polecat or weesel.5 The trees over our heads abounded very much with Loryquets and Cocatoos6 of which we shot several; both these sorts flew in flocks of several scores together.
1 ‘Dragon's blood’: in earlier English parlance ‘gum-dragon’, the resinous tragacanth which exuded from the tragacanth shrub or its allied species. The likening of the gum to that of ‘sanguis draconis’ was due to the contemporary interest in the exudate of the Dragon Tree, Dracaena draco. Philip Miller says the Dragon Tree was ‘very common in the Madeiras and the Canary Islands, where they grow to be large trees; from the Bodies of which it is supposed the Dragon's Blood doth flow’. This gum was once an article of export from the Canaries. There was another vegetable gum, gum-lac, common in the East Indies, and used there as a scarlet dye; it was the raw material of shellac. Tasman's men reported it at Van Diemen's Land. The suggestion has been made that Banks saw the gum of the Blackboy or Grass-tree, Xanthorrhoea sp., but most likely he had come across a variety of Eucalyptus—which seems to have been Kaikur, Eucalyptus alba Reinw., of which Britten published the drawing (pl. 116, 1905), made on the voyage. One sheet is labelled ‘N[ova] C[ambria] no. 5’. Nova Cambria=New South Wales; the number refers to the ‘drying book’ in which the specimens were brought back to England; in this instance, however, an error for ‘50’. For the eucalyptus cf. p. 66 below.
2 Cook writes (p. 307), ‘Dr Solander had a bad sight of a small Animal some thing like a rabbit’. An outdoor Australian would probably be inclined to guess here a bandicoot or a kangaroo-rat; but in the absence of much better evidence than ‘a bad sight’ we are not entitled to identify.
3 No doubt a kangaroo.
4 Probably a dingo, the native Australian dog.
5 Probably one of the native cats, Dasyurus sp. See p. 117, n. 2 below.
6 Unidentifiable. There are no descriptions or plates of these; Parkinson says (Journal, p. 136) that they were made into a pie.
2. The morn was rainy and we who had got already so many plants were well contented to find an excuse for staying on board to examine them a little at least. In the afternoon however it cleard up and we returnd to our old occupation of collecting, in which we had our usual good success. Tupia who strayd from us in pursuit of Parrots, of which he shot several, told us on his return that he had seen nine Indians who ran from him as soon as they perceivd him.
1 The genus Banksia was among this particularly rich collection; the basis for the medallion marking the books of the Department of Botany, British Museum (Natural History), is the Banksia serrata (Linn. f.), collected here. See Pl. III.
1 These may have been the Brown Quail, Synoicus australis (Latham), which was abundant in this area in the early days of settlement. There are other Australian species.
2 This must have been Eugenia banksii or some related sp.
1 The rays taken at Botany Bay included the following species which were drawn by Spöring (Parkinson I, pls. 45–8): the Stingaree, Urolophus testaceus (Müller and Henle)—there is an Ms note by Spöring on the ‘200 pounder’; the Fiddler Ray, Trygonorhina fasciata (Müller and Henle); Banks's Shovelnose Ray, Aptychotrema banksii (Müller and Henle)—the description was based on this drawing which becomes the type; and an Eagle Ray, Myliobatis, probably australis Macleay, the length of which Spöring noted as 4 feet. Curiously enough this last fish was not described with the others by Solander in his Pisces Novae Hollandiae (MS Z 2). One of Spöring's drawings was previously thought to represent Dasyatis brevicaudatus (Hutton) and to be by Parkinson (Cook I, p. 310, n. 3), but further examination proved that both these conclusions were erroneous. That note must be regarded as superseded by the present one. See Pl. 36.
6. Went to sea this morn with a fair breeze of wind. The land we saild past during the whole forenoon appeard broken and likely for harbours; in the afternoon again woody and very pleasant. We dind to day upon the sting-ray and his tripe: the fish itself was not quite so good as a scate nor was it much inferior, the tripe every body thought excellent. We had with it a dish of the leaves of tetragonia cornuta2 boild, which eat as well as spinage or very near it.
7. During last night a very large dew fell which wetted all our sails as compleatly as if they had been dippd overboard; for several days past our dews have been uncommonly large. Most part of the day was calm, at night a foul wind.
8. Very light breezes and weather sultry all day. We had lost ground yesterday so the land was what we had seen before; upon it however we observd several fires upon it. At night a foul wind rose up much at the same time and much in the same manner as yesterday.
9. Wind continued foul and we turnd to windward all day to no manner of purpose.
1 It was for this day that Cook (it was his 6 May) made the entry in his log, draft journal, and finally journal (p. 310), ‘The great quantity/number of these sort of fish found in this place occasioned my giving it the name of Sting Ray's harbour/Bay’, with the substitution in the final journal, ‘The great quantity of New Plants &ca Mr Banks and Dr Solander collected in this place occasioned my giveing it the name of Botany Bay’. Cook came at this famous name not without trial and rejection: we have in his Ms journal at this place the quite clear scries, Sting-Rays Harbour, Botanist Harbour, Botanist Bay, Botany Bay. As we shall see, Banks generally uses the name ‘Stingrays Bay’, altering it only twice—except in his running heads, which he clearly added later, and which are consistently Botany Bay. I have discussed the problem of the date of the change (probably August-September 1770) in my Textual Introduction to Cook (p. ccix). It is impossible to say whether Cook or Banks had the first thought of change, though not improbably it was Cook, by way of delicate compliment to the naturalists; he is also much more painstaking in going through his journal and altering the name to the new one. Of the other journal-keepers, only Parkinson came by the name Botany.
2 Tetragonia expansa Murr., introduced into England by Banks on his return from the voyage. Though generally reckoned inferior to spinach, it yields largely, grows where the common spinach fails, and in climates where this produces only late in the year supplies an earlier vegetable.
3 ‘"To make all sneer again" is to carry canvas to such an extent as to strain the ropes and spars to the utmost’.—Smyth, The Sailor's Word-Book (London 1 1867). Banks seems simply to mean not that Cook carried more canvas, but that the squall put considerable strain on the rigging.
11. Fair wind continued. Land today trended rather more to the Northward than it had lately done, look'd broken and likely for inlets.1 At Sunset three remarkable hills were abreast the ship standing near the shore, of nearly equal size and shape;2 behind them the countrey rose in gradual slopes carrying a great shew of fertility.
12. Land much as yesterday, fertile but varying its appearance a good deal, generaly however well clothd with good trees. This evening we finishd Drawing the plants got in the last harbour, which had been kept fresh till this time by means of tin chests and wet cloths. In 14 days just, one draughtsman has made 94 sketch drawings, so quick a hand has he acquird by use.3
13. Wind offshore today, it let us however come in with the land. Many porpoises were about the ship. At Noon several fires ashore, one very large which I judgd to be at least a league inland. Innumerable shoals offish about the ship in the afternoon and some birds of the Nectris kind.4
14. For these three nights last much lightning has been seen to the Eastward. Early in the morn it was calm and some few fish were caught; after the weather became squally. The wind however after some time settled at South, the briskest breeze I think that the Endeavour has gone before during the voyage. In the afternoon the land was rather more hilly than it has been. Several fires were seen and one high up on a hill side 6 or 7 miles at least from the beach.5
1 On the afternoon of the previous day Cook named one inlet Port Stephens.
2 Called by Cook the Three Brothers.
3 This was Parkinson.
4 The common resident shearwater of this coast is Puffinus pacificus (Gm.).
5 On the afternoon of this day they passed the Solitary Islands.
16. In the morn we were abreast of the hill and saw the breakers which we last night escapd between us and the land. It still blew fresh; at noon we were abreast of some very low land which lookd like an extensive plain in which we supposd there to be a Lagoon,3 in the neighbourhood of which were many fires.
17. Continued to blow tho not so fresh as yesterday. Land trended much to the westward; about 10 we were abreast of a large bay the bottom of which was out of sight.4 The sea in this place suddenly changd from its usual transparency to a dirty clay colour, appearing much as if chargd with freshes, from whence I was led to conclude that the bottom of the bay might open into a large river.5 About it were many smoaks especialy on the Northern side near some remarkable conical hills.6 At sun set the land made in one bank over which nothing could be seen; it was very sandy and carried with it no signs of fertility.
2 Mount Warning, so called by Cook as an indication of the position of shoals and breakers: ‘there situation may always be found by the peaked mountain before mentioned which bears SwBW from them… . The point off which these shoals lay I have named Point Danger’.—pp. 317–8. Banks goes on to mention the breakers in his next sentence.
3 Cook does not mention this supposition of a lagoon. He merely remarks that to the northward of Point Danger the land ‘is low’, but for the following day he says (p. 319), ‘The land need only to be a[s] low here as it is in a thousand other places upon the coast to have made it impossible for us to have seen it at the distance we were off’ (variously 2 or 3 to 6 or 7 leagues).
4 Cook: ‘… the shore forms a wide open Bay which I have named Morton bay, in the bottom of which the land is so low that I could but just see it from the top mast head’.—p. 318. But this is not the modern Moreton Bay; it was formed by the eastern coast of Moreton and Stradbroke islands, behind which Moreton Bay stretches north and south.
5 Cook: ‘… some on board was of opinion that there is a River there because the Sea looked paler than usual, upon sounding we found 34 fathom water a fine white sandy bottom, which a lone is sufficient [to] change the apparant colour of sea water without the assistance of Rivers’.—p. 319. There was a river at the south end of Moreton Bay, but that was unlikely to affect the water outside the islands at sea.
6 The Glass Houses; cf. p. 102, n. 4 below.
18. Land this morn very sandy. We could see through our glasses that the sands which lay in great patches of many acres each were moveable: some of them had been lately movd, for trees which stood up in the middle of them were quite green, others of a longer standing had many stumps sticking out of them which had been trees killd by the sand heaping about their roots. Few fires were seen. Two water snakes swam by the ship; they were in all respects like land snakes and beautifully spotted except that they had broad flat tails which probably serve them instead of fins in swimming.1 In the evening I went out in the small boat but saw few birds of three sorts, Men of War birds (Pelecanus aquilus)2 Bobies (Pelicanus Sula)3 and Nectris munda,4 of which last shot one, and took up 2 cuttle bones differing from the European ones in nothing but the having a small sharp peg or prickle at one end.5
19. Countrey as sandy and barren as ever. Two snakes were seen, a man of war bird, and a small Turtle. At sun set the land appeard in a low bank to the sea over which nothing was seen, so that we imagind it was very narrow and that some deep bay on the other side ran behind it.6
1 There are many species of water snakes in Australia.
2 The Lesser Frigate Bird, Fregata ariel (G. R. Gray) is the common species in these Australian seas; the Great Frigate Bird, Fregata minor (Gm.) is an occasional vagrant after cyclones.
3 Probably the Brown Booby, Sula leucogaster Boddaert, which Solander described (p. 23) as Pelecanus sula.
4 Possibly Audubon's Shearwater, Puffinus l'herminieri. Solander does not record this specimen but notes one which he took to be a variety of his Nectris carbonaria, and was probably Puffinus pacificus, the Wedge-tailed Shearwater.
5 All cuttle bones have a spine.
6 This refers to the northern part of Great Sandy or Fraser Island.
7 Sandy Cape, the north-east point of Great Sandy Island.
8 Hervey Bay, forty miles across at its opening.
9 The breakers on Breaksea Spit, the name conferred by Cook.
21. Land seen only from the mast head. Innumerable bobies for near 2 hours before and after Sun rise flew by the ship comeing from Nnw and flying Sse, I suppose from some bird Island in that direction where they roosted last night.2 At 9 new land was in sight the other side of the bay which we left last night; as we aproachd it the depth of water gradualy decreasd to 9 fathom. At 4 in the evening the land appeard very low but coverd with fine wood; on it were many very large Smoaks several of which were seen before we could see the land itself. At night water still shoal, land low and well wooded, fertile to appearance as any thing we have seen upon this coast. At 8 came to an anchor till morn.
22. In the course of the night the tide rose very considerably. In the morn we got under sail again. The land as last night fertile and well wooded; at noon the land appeard much less fertile, near the beach it was sandy and we plainly saw with our glasses that it was coverd with Palm nut trees, Pandanus Tectorius which we had not seen since we left the Islands within the tropicks. Along shore we saw 2 men walking along who took no kind of notice of us. At night we were working into a bay in which seemd to be good anchorage,3 where we came to an anchor resolvd to go ashore tomorrow and examine a little the produce of the countrey.
1 This grampus is unidentifiable.
2 The Bunker group seems likely, not far from Hervey Bay, to which they were probably flying for the day.
3 Bustard Bay. It is a little odd that neither in this entry nor in the next does Banks say anything of a matter that raised Cook to a very great height of indignation. On the night of Banks's 22 May Orton, the clerk, went to bed drunk, and ‘some Malicious person or persons in the Ship took the advantage of his being drunk and cut off all the cloaths from off his back, not being satisfied with this they some time after went into his Cabbin and cut off a part of both his Ears as he lay asleep in his bed’. Cook at first suspected the young man James Magra, though he later exonerated him.—Cook I, pp. 323–4, 347 n. 5. The breach of discipline was so outrageous, even in that rough age, that it could not be forgotten, and Cook and the officers (we learn from Parkinson) at Batavia offered a reward for the discovery of the wrongdoer. Suspicion then fell on a midshipman, Patrick Saunders, who deserted at that port.
1 Probably Ceriops candolleana Arnott and Bruguiera gymnorhiza Lam., specimens of both of which are noted as collected a few days later.
2 Oecophylla smaragdina virescens (Fabr.). The type is in the Banksian collection at the British Museum (Natural History).
3 Almost certainly a species of Doratifera (Limacodidae), a ‘cup moth’.
4 Eucalyptus crebra F. v. M. is the principal sp. alluded to. Britten published the drawing made at Thirsty Sound (pl. 117, 1905) labelled ‘Metrosideros salicifolia mscr.’, all the eucalypti being referred to that genus by Solander. See Pl. 22. Britten wrongly identified it as Eucalyptus terminalis F. v. M.
5 Xanthorrhoea 〈JDH〉; but it is singular that Banks made no comment on the remarkable features of the ‘Grass Tree’, if, indeed, it was this; perhaps it was another sp. of Eucalyptus.
Those who stayd on board the ship saw about 20 of the natives, who came down abreast of the ship and stood upon the beach for some time looking at her, after which they went into the woods; we on shore saw none. Many large fires were made at a distance from us where probably the people were. One small one was in our neighbourhood, to this we went; it was burning when we came to it, but the people were gone; near it was left several vessels of bark which we conceivd were intended for water buckets, several shells and fish bones, the remainder I suppose of their last meal. Near the fires, for their were 6 or 7 small ones, were as many peices of soft bark of about the lengh and breadth of a man: these we supposd to be their beds: on the windward side of the fires was a small shade about a foot high made of bark likewise. The whole was in a thicket of close trees, defended by them from the wind; whether it was realy or not the place of their abode we can only guess. We saw no signs of a house or any thing like the ruins of an old one, and from the ground being much trod we concluded that they had for some time remaind in that place.
24. At day break we went to sea. The weather was fine; we however were too far from the land to distinguish any thing but that there were some fires upon it tho not many. At Dinner we eat the Bustard we had shot yesterday, it turnd out an excellent bird, far the best we all agreed that we have eat since we left England, and as it weighd 15 pounds our Dinner was not only good but plentyfull. In the evening it drop'd calm and we caught some fish tho not many.
1 Pelecanus conspicillatus Temminck. This was confirmed by Parkinson (Journal, p. 139) who says that they were nearly five feet high.
2 The Eastern Bustard or Plains Turkey, Eupodotis australis (J. E. Gray). Solander, p. 105.
3 Malleus albus Linn. See Guy L. Wilkins, A Catalogue and Historical Account of the Banks Shell Collection (Bull. B. M. [N.H.] Hist. Series, I, No. 3, London 1955), pp. 75–6, for a note on a specimen brought back by Cook which went to the Duchess of Portland.
4 Pinctada margaritifera.
25. Land in the morn rocky, varied here and there with reddish sand, but little wood was to be seen. In the evening it was calm, some few fish were caught. At night perceiving the tide to run very strong we anchord. No fires were seen the whole day.
We examind the orange juice and brandy which had been sent on board as prepard by Dr Hulmes directions: See his letter p. . It had never been movd from the cag in which it came on board. About ½ of it had been usd or leakd out; the remainder was coverd with a whitish mother1 but otherwise was not at all damagd either to taste or sight when it came out of the cag, but when put into a bottle in 3 or 4 days it became ropey and good for nothing. On this we resolvd to have it evaperated immediately to a strong essence and put up in Bottles immediately.
1 Apparently it had been fermenting: mother, ‘A ropy mucilaginous substance produced in vinegar during acetous fermentation by a mould-fungus called Mycoderma aceti’ (O.E.D.).
2 The previous day the ship had passed Cape Capricorn, and was now in the shoal-strewn channel between Great Keppel Island and the mainland.
3 Sterna bergii Lichtenstein, the Crested Tern. This bird was recorded by Solander (p. 103) as Sterna nasuta; he refers to a vernacular name given to it by the Tahitians, but apparently had no specimen when he was there.
4 This verb is omitted in the Ms and interpolated interlineally in this position by S.
5 Now Portunus pelagicus (Linn.).
6 Portunus sanguinolentus (Herbst). Spöring made fine drawings of both these crabs (Parkinson III, pls. 6, 7); see Pl. 35a and b.
27. The boats who sounded yesterday having brought back word that there was no passage ahead of the Ship we were obligd to return, which we did and soon fell in with the main land again which was barren to appearance; on it were some smoaks. We passd by many Islands.3 In the Eve the breeze was stronger than usual with Cloudy weather.
28. This morn at day break the water appeard much discolourd as if we had Passd by some place where a river ran into the sea; the land itself was high and abounded with hills. Soon after we came round a point into a bay in which were a multitude of Islands. We stood into the middle of them, a boat was sent a head to sound and made a signal for a shoal, on which the ship came too but before the anchor went she had less than 3 fathm water;4 the boats now sounded all round her and found that she was upon the shoalest part, on which the anchor was got up and we stood on. Weather was hazey; at night anchord.
1 Both the Cluster Fig, Ficus glomerata, and the Moreton Bay Fig, F. macrophylla, have been suggested: the Moreton Bay Fig is more likely, for it is known to be pollinated by two wasps, Pleistodontes imperialis Saund. and P. frogatti Meyer; none is known to pollinate Ficus glomerata (Tarlton Rayment, the National Museum, Melbourne). Nine species of Australian wasps have been described, all endemic, effective in pollination of Ficus. The insects mentioned belong to the same family of chalcids as Blastophaga psenes Linn., which has now been introduced into some parts of Australia in connection with the cultivation of the Smyrna fig. Cynips sycomori Linn. was a name given to the species now known as Sycophaga sycomori (Linn.) found in Ficus sycamoris. See Pl. VI.
2 Fredrik Hasselquist (1722-52), a Swede, was a pupil of Linnaeus. In 1749–52 he travelled in Palestine and Egypt and, a man of wide interests, not merely collected fishes, reptiles, insects, plants and minerals, but studied Arabic Mss, coins and Egyptian mummies. When he died prematurely at Smyrna, his collections and papers went to Linnaeus, who published his journal under the title Iter Palestinum (1757).
3 Probably he refers to the Keppel Isles and Cook's ‘Two Brothers’, Flat and Peaked Islets; and there are other islets in the vicinity.
4 Cook (p. 330): ‘A little before noon the boat made the Signal for meeting with Shoal water, upon this we hauld close upon a wind to the Eastward but suddenly fell into 3¼ fathom water, upon which we immediately let go an Anchor and brought the Ship up with all sails standing… .’ She was on the Donovan shoal in Broad Sound Channel.
5 The ship was in Thirsty Sound—named ‘by reason we could find no fresh water’.—Cook I, p. 332.
1 These were almost certainly ‘sand burrs’ (Cenchrus australis R. Br.) of which a good coll. labelled by Solander but without locality, is preserved.
2 See I, p. 166, n. 3 above.
3 Possibly Microcerotermes turneri Froggatt; or Eutermes graveolus Hill or E. walkeri Hill.
4 Acronychia laevis Forst., the name inserted later in Banks's Journal by Robert Brown, who likened the plant to Zanthoxylum mite Willd., a synonym for the North American Z. americanum. The practice of adding the suffix ‘oides’ to a familiar name was general in this period, and a favourite of Banks and Solander (cf. I, p. 315 above, and Appendix I).
5 There is still a good deal of work to do on the Australian ants, and this black ant—which may even have been a termite—does not at present seem to be identifiable.
6 Almost certainly Danais melissa hamata Macleay.
1 Euploea sylvester Fabr.
2 Architectonica perspectiva (Linn.).
3 The Ms has a later pencil addition in this blank, the first word of which seems to be ‘Gobius’. This was a Mud-skipper or Walking Goby (Gobiidae, Periophthalminae), and Banks's accurate observations on its habits seem to be the first to have been made. There are two genera and both occur in Australian waters.
4 repented of supplied from P; S inserts interlineally and almost illegibly wished ourselves well through.
Whether the sea was more fruitfull than the land We had not an opportunity to try. It did not seem to promise much as we with our hooks and lines could catch nothing, nor were there any quantity of Oysters upon the shore.2 The tide rose very much, how high was not measurd, but I think I may venture to guess not less at spring tides than 18 or twenty feet, perhaps much more.
The Captn and Dr Solander went today to examine the bottom of the inlet which appeard to go very far inland; they found it to increase in its width the farther they went into it, and concluded from that and some other circumstances that it was a channel which went through to the sea again.3 They saw two men who followd the boat along shore a good way but the tide running briskly in their favour they did not chuse to stop for them; at a distance from them far up the inlet they saw a large smoak. At night they returnd and having found neither fresh water nor any other refreshment it was resolvd to leave this place tomorrow morn.
1 Probably a kangaroo.
2 Cf. Cook (p. 333): ‘We found oysters sticking to most of the rocks upon the Shore which were so small as not to be worth the picking off’.
3 The ‘inlet’ which Cook had at first taken for a river, is a channel thirteen miles long, and 1000 to 3000 yards wide, separating Quail Island, Long Island (named by Cook) and the small Mangrove islands from the mainland. It runs into Broad Sound (also named by Cook), which in his journal (pp. 331–2) he describes as ‘a large lake which commun[i]cates with the sea to the NW; I not only saw the Sea in this direction but found the tide of flood coming strong in from the NW’.
1 They anchored in the lee of the Bedwell Islands; there are numerous islands not far away, the Northumberland Isles, the Percy Isles, and others. The Bedwell group is a south-western section of the Northumberland Isles.