A visit to the historically accurate HMB Endeavour replica in Sydney is well worthwhile if you wish to understand the harsh realities of the perilous journey Lieutenant James Cook undertook during his first voyage to Australia, during 1768-1771. Exploring the cramped confines below deck, while imagining what three years aboard this vessel would be like, makes you appreciate the ease of modern travel – especially by sea. Since 2005, the museum has hosted tens of thousands of school students for a visit aboard the HMB Endeavour and now, the Virtual Endeavour program allows you to digitally explore the vessel – even if you are a student sitting in a classroom thousands of kilometres away…
On 3 May 2016 Dr Kathy Abbass, Project Director from the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP), announced that, aided by a grant provided by the Australian National Maritime Museum and some previous research carried out by the museum’s Head of Research Dr Nigel Erskine, she had located a report by a Lieutenant John Knowles, the Agent for Transports at Newport, dated 12 September 1778 at the National Archives in London.
The Knowles report provided a breakdown of where a small fleet of troop transports had been sunk in Newport in August 1778. One of these transports was a 368-ton bark called the Lord Sandwich and it had been sunk, along with four other transports – the Earl of Orford, Yowart, Peggy and Mayflower – between the northern tip of Goat Island and the North Battery in Newport Harbor. Continue reading
The 26th of January – Australia Day – has long been associated with boats on Sydney Harbour. In 1838, to mark 50 years after the arrival of the First Fleet, a regatta was held, watched from the foreshores by ‘crowds of gaily attired people … bearing the supplies for the day’s refreshments…’ and from the crowded decks of steamers ‘decked out in their gayest colours’.
In the early 1800s, in the colony of New South Wales, 26 January was referred to as First Landing Day or Foundation Day. In a very short time, however, the day had shifted from official toasts to the king at the governor’s table to a people’s celebration.
But the history of Australia Day has taken many more twists and turns along the way. In 1938 it wasn’t thought proper to include convicts in a parade of history through the streets of Sydney. And this same parade was met with a silent group of protesters who called Australia Day a National Day of Mourning.
With just days to go, there is still lots of work to prepare HMB Endeavour Replica for its upcoming voyages. Apart from organising bookings, logistics and crew, the ship is being made ready, and last-minute maintenance and painting scheduled.
The clouds parted as the voyage crew gathered to join the HMB Endeavour replica on Tuesday morning for a three-day return voyage to Botany Bay. The voyage was timed to coincide with the 245th Anniversary Ceremony of the landing of Captain Cook and the Endeavour crew at Kurnell in Botany Bay. The voyage crew included some new crew and some ‘repeat offenders’, as the returning voyage crew have been affectionately dubbed.
Friday 7 November 2014, 1500 hours
Distance over ground since 1800 Thursday: 60 nautical miles
The HMB Endeavour replica is now back alongside her usual berth at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, concluding the Eden voyages.
Both voyages involved some exciting sailing, some stunning days at sea and the chance to see wildlife including whales and seabirds.
As with the last time we returned to the Museum at the end of a period of voyaging, I’d like to end this series of blog posts with a mention of the family groups on board this trip.
As topman of mizzenmast watch this voyage, there were no less than three family groups in my watch. Couple John and Lesley Rowe were both supernumeraries, while Emily Devine and father Michael were voyage crew in mizzenmast watch. Michael has been on Endeavour before and came back for another voyage with Emily as a present for Emily’s birthday.
My father Jim Macbeth came along as voyage crew, making us the third family group in mizzenmast watch. Several other voyage crew wondered how a parent would go ‘taking orders’ from a daughter, but we managed remarkably well and had a good time!
As I mentioned in the blog last time we had a number of family groups on board, it can be a very special experience not only for the families themselves but for others in the watch and on the voyage.
As Jim said: ‘The camaraderie is growing every day as the crew get to know each other and through sharing good, but often challenging, experiences. Sharing an adventure does bring people together, giving us all a sense of friendship and good will.’
This camaraderie was certainly in evidence during our last night at sea on the Eden to Sydney voyage. Everyone was in high spirits and keen to make the most of the experience. This voyage has been a little unusual in that we’ve been at sea every night – there were no nights at anchor.
At 2000 hours, the portside cannon was fired. It was just after dark and, as always, the explosion created by lighting the charge was a spectacular sight.
Mizzenmast watch had the morning watch (0400-0800) and we emerged on deck at 0400 into brilliant moonlight – so bright it seemed that dawn had arrived early. When dawn really did come, it was with a soft orange in the eastern sky, opposite the final light of the moon setting in the west.
Meanwhile, to our northwest the loom of Sydney had been visible for some time, and with the dawn we were able to see Botany Bay as we passed.
A large cargo ship emerged from the port of Botany as we approached, passing around 1.5 nautical miles ahead of us. 1.5 nautical miles sounds like a long way, but at sea it seems extremely close to a ship of that size!
This morning was busy as the whole crew got to work furling the remaining sails (furling involves rolling the sail up tightly and lashing it firmly with lines called gaskets so that the sail cannot flog in the wind or fill up with rainwater). Some sails had been furled the previous evening but the bulk of the work still remained.
On the calm seas and in the bright sunshine, most of the voyage crew were keen to go aloft and it was a good opportunity to put ‘harbour furls’ in all the sails. ‘Harbour furls’ refer to furls that are neat and tidy, ready for the ship to look presentable alongside the wharf – in contrast to storm furls, when the aim is to get the sail in as quickly as possible, with no time for presentation!
Once the sails were furled and the ship neat and tidy, we proceeded through the heads into Sydney Harbour just after lunch. Once again, I was sad to say goodbye to the voyage crew in Darling Harbour – it has been a wonderful few days.
As always, the ship herself attracts many people to come and sail – but it is these same people who give life to the experience of sailing a 19th century replica.
Endeavour’s next adventure on the high seas will be a series of three voyages, beginning in late January 2015. We will be sailing from Sydney to Hobart for the Wooden Boat Festival in early February, then undertaking a ten-day convict history voyage departing from and returning to Hobart, before the return voyage from Hobart to Sydney. The ship will be away from Sydney for six weeks and there are places available for voyage crew and supernumeraries.
Until next time Endeavour goes to sea, fair winds!
– Suzannah Marshall Macbeth