HMS Endeavour was the ship
in which James Cook
undertook his explorations of the Pacific
Originally built in 1764 as The Earl of Pembroke
ship (a collier
) in Fishburn, Whitby England, she was 29.7metres long, with breadth
of 8.9 metres and a depth
of 3.4 metres. She had three masts and her hull was made of wood. She was armed
with 6 4-pounder guns, and 8 swivel cannon.
The Earl of Pembroke was bought in March 1768 by the Royal Navy
for conversion; to provide a vessel
James Cook when the Royal Society
invited him to command an expedition to the Southern Hemisphere. First it was renamed HM Bark
, later HMS Endeavour
was commissioned for two purposes, firstly to establish an observatory
on Tahiti and observe the transit of Venus
across the sun – with the intention of improving astronomy
, and secondly to discover whether “Terra Australis”, the great Southern Continent
, actually existed.
There was a third aim of the voyage: the investigation
and discovery of natural history
. This was a privately sponsored project
, financed by 25 year old Joseph Banks, and as well as the navy crew, Endeavour carried a scientific party of seven men and their four servants.
She set sail from Plymouth on 25 August 1768, travelling via Madeira
and Rio de Janeiro
, and rounding Cape Horn in January 1769. Banks party put ashore at Tierra del Fuego
, and were caught overnight in appalling conditions, resulting in two of the party’s servants, George Dorlton and Thomas Richmond, freezing to death.
Endeavour arrived at Matavai Bay, Tahiti
on April 13, 1769, where she remained until the mid-July, monitoring the transit of Venus. When they left the island a Tahitian, Tupia, and his servant Tiata joined the complement
, with Tupia joining the scientific group.
From Tahiti, Cook sailed southward
, reaching New Zealand
at the end of 1769, and spent four months exploring the coasts of North and South island, before sailing west in March of 1770.
The ship reached Australia at Botany Bay
in April 1770, and sailed along the East coast of Australia. On 10 June, Endeavour hit a reef
off the Queensland
coast, and there was a desperate battle
to keep her afloat, until repairs could be carried out. After repair and restocking, the ship left Australia in August 1770.
The journey back to England
was fraught with disaster. While laid up for essential repairs in Batavia
in the East Indies
ravaged the crew, killing thirty men including artist
Sydney Parkinson. Until this point the only deaths had been accidental
- the two frozen servants, and three drownings. A further three died between leaving the East Indies and arriving back in Britain
in July 1771. The voyages were a triumph, however, both in terms of discovery
and science, with the identification more than 1400 species of plant and 1000 animals previously unknown in Europe, and the charting of New Zealand and the Australian East coast.
HMS Endeavour was refitted in 1775. After this, her fate becomes murky. Some claim she served the Navy for 15 more years before possibly being purchased by the French in 1790 and renamed La Liberte
: there was definitely a ship of this name sold to the French, but there is doubt as to whether it was in fact, Captain Cook's. Other reports have her moored on the Thames and acting as a receiving ship for female convicts, yet others, renamed the "Lord Sandwich" and serving as a troopship. La Liberte
was finally broken up after running aground off Rhode Island in 1793, the fate of the ship on the Thames does not appear to have been recorded, and the Lord Sandwich was destroyed - again off Rhode Island - as part of a blockade to halt the advance of French and American troops in 1778.
Endeavour Crew, for the 1768-1771 Voyages of Exploration
William B. Monkhouse
ABLE SEAMEN & SEAMEN WITH ‘TRADES’ (Cooks, Carpenters etc.)
Thomas Jones (2)
Joseph Banks, Esq. -Leader
Herman Sporing - Secretary
Charles Green - Astronomer
Daniel Solander – Naturalist
Alexander Buchan - Artist
Sydney Parkinson - Artist
John Reynolds - Artist
SERVANTS TO BANKS’ PARTY:
Died of Illness: 33