Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Possession Island


Katrina and Susan together with Tony visited Possession Island, June 2007


from Cook's journal 22 August 1770

Wednesday 22d Gentle breezes at EBS and clear weather. We had not stood above 3 or 4 Miles along shore to the westward . before we discover'd the Land ahead to be Islands detach'd by several channells from the Main land, upon this we brought too to wait for the yawl and called the other boats on board, and after giving ^them proper Instructions sent them away again to lead us through the Channell next the Main, and as soon as the yawl was on board made sail with the Ship after them; soon after we discoverd Rocks, & shoals in this Channell upon which ^I made the Signal for the boats to lead through the next Channel to the Northward laying between the Islands which they accordingly did we following with the Ship and had not less than 5 fathom water and this was in the narrowest part of the Channell which was about a Mile and a half broad from Island to Island. At 4 oClock we anchor'd about a Mile and a half or 2 Miles within the entrance in 61/2 fathom clear ground distant from the Islands on each side of us one mile, the Maind land extending away to the SW, the farthest point of which that we could see bore from us St 48° West and the South-wester-most point of the Islands on the NW side of the Passage bore St 76° West between these two points we could see no land so that we were in great hopes that we had at last found out a Passage into the into the Indian seas, but in order to be better informd I land^ed with a party of Men accompan'd by Mr Banks and Dr Solander and land upon the Island which lies at the SE point of the Passage: before and after we landed Anchor'd we saw a number of People upon this Island arm'd in the same - manner as all the others we have seen except one man who had a bow and a bundle of Arrows the first we have seen on this coast. from the appearence of these People we expected they would have opposed our landing but as we approached the Shore they all made off and left us in peaceable posession of as much of the Island as served our purpose. After landing I went upon the highest hill which however was of no great height, yet not less than twice or thrice the height of the Ships Mast heads but I could see from it no land between SW and WSW so that I did not doubt but there was a passage, I could see plainly that the Lands laying to the NW of this passage were composed of a number of Island of various extent both for height and circuit rainged one be hind a nother as far to the Northward and Westward as I could see which could not be less than 12 or 14 Leagues. Having satisfied myself of the great Probabillity of a Passage, thro' which I intend going with the Ship and therefor may land no more upon this Western Eastern coast of New Holland and on the Western side I can make no new discovery the honour of which belongs to the Dutch Navigators and as such they may lay claim to it as their property but the Eastern Coast from the Latitude of 38° South down to this place I am confident was never seen or viseted by any European before ^us and therefore by the same Rule belongs to great Brittan Notwithstand I had in the Name of his Majesty taken posession of several places upon this coast I now once more hoisted English Coulers and in the Name of His Majesty King George the Third took posession of the whole Eastern Coast from the above Latitude down to this place by the Name of New South ^Wales together with all the Bays, Harbours Rivers and Islands situate upon the same said coast after which we fired three Volleys of small Arms which were Answerd by the like number by from the Ship this done we set out for the Ship but were some time in geting on board on accout of a very rappid Ebb Tide which set ^NE out of the Passage away to the NE ever sence we came in among the Shoals this last time we have found a Moderate Tide the Flood seting to the NW and Ebb to the SE. at this place it is High-water at the Full and Change of the Moon about 1 or 2 o'Clock and riseth and falls upon a perpendicular about 10 or 12 feet. We saw on all the Adjacent Lands and Islands a great number of smooks a certain sign that they are Inhabited and we have dayly seen smooks on every part of the coast we have lately been upon — Between 7 and 8 oClock in the Morning we saw several naked people, all or most of them women, down upon the beach picking ^up Shells, &Ca they had not a single rag of any kind of Cloathing upon them and both these and those we saw yesterday were in every respect the Same sort of people we have seen every where upon the Coast; two or three of the Men we saw Yesterday had on pretty large breast plates which we supposed were made of Pearl Oysters Shells this was a thing as well as the Bow and Arrows we had not seen before — At Low-water which happend about 10 oClock we got under sail and stood to the SW with a light breeze at East which afterwards veerd to NBE, having the Pinnace a head, depth of water from 6 to 10 fathom except in one place where we pass'd over a bank of 5 fathom — At Noon Posession Island at the SE entrance of the Passage bore N 53° East distant 4 Miles ^Leagues the western extreme of the Main land in sight bore St 43° West distant 4 or 5 Leagues, being all exceeding low, The SW point of the ^largest Island on the NW side of the Passage bore No 71° West distant 8 Miles ^this point I named Cape Cornwell / Latd 10°..43' S: Longde 219°..0 and some Low Islands laying about the Middle of the Passage ^which I call'd Wallice's Isles — bore WBS1/2S distt about 2 Leagues, our Latitude by Observation was 10°.46' South —Wednesday 22d Gentle breezes at EBS and clear weather. We had not stood above 3 or 4 Miles along shore to the westward . before we discover'd the Land ahead to be Islands detach'd by several channells from the Main land, upon this we brought too to wait for the yawl and called the other boats on board, and after giving ^them proper Instructions sent them away again to lead us through the Channell next the Main, and as soon as the yawl was on board made sail with the Ship after them; soon after we discoverd Rocks, & shoals in this Channell upon which ^I made the Signal for the boats to lead through the next Channel to the Northward laying between the Islands which they accordingly did we following with the Ship and had not less than 5 fathom water and this was in the narrowest part of the Channell which was about a Mile and a half broad from Island to Island. At 4 oClock we anchor'd about a Mile and a half or 2 Miles within the entrance in 61/2 fathom clear ground distant from the Islands on each side of us one mile, the Maind land extending away to the SW, the farthest point of which that we could see bore from us St 48° West and the South-wester-most point of the Islands on the NW side of the Passage bore St 76° West between these two points we could see no land so that we were in great hopes that we had at last found out a Passage into the into the Indian seas, but in order to be better informd I land^ed with a party of Men accompan'd by Mr Banks and Dr Solander and land upon the Island which lies at the SE point of the Passage: before and after we landed Anchor'd we saw a number of People upon this Island arm'd in the same - manner as all the others we have seen except one man who had a bow and a bundle of Arrows the first we have seen on this coast. from the appearence of these People we expected they would have opposed our landing but as we approached the Shore they all made off and left us in peaceable posession of as much of the Island as served our purpose. After landing I went upon the highest hill which however was of no great height, yet not less than twice or thrice the height of the Ships Mast heads but I could see from it no land between SW and WSW so that I did not doubt but there was a passage, I could see plainly that the Lands laying to the NW of this passage were composed of a number of Island of various extent both for height and circuit rainged one be hind a nother as far to the Northward and Westward as I could see which could not be less than 12 or 14 Leagues. Having satisfied myself of the great Probabillity of a Passage, thro' which I intend going with the Ship and therefor may land no more upon this Western Eastern coast of New Holland and on the Western side I can make no new discovery the honour of which belongs to the Dutch Navigators and as such they may lay claim to it as their property but the Eastern Coast from the Latitude of 38° South down to this place I am confident was never seen or viseted by any European before ^us and therefore by the same Rule belongs to great Brittan Notwithstand I had in the Name of his Majesty taken posession of several places upon this coast I now once more hoisted English Coulers and in the Name of His Majesty King George the Third took posession of the whole Eastern Coast from the above Latitude down to this place by the Name of New South ^Wales together with all the Bays, Harbours Rivers and Islands situate upon the same said coast after which we fired three Volleys of small Arms which were Answerd by the like number by from the Ship this done we set out for the Ship but were some time in geting on board on accout of a very rappid Ebb Tide which set ^NE out of the Passage away to the NE ever sence we came in among the Shoals this last time we have found a Moderate Tide the Flood seting to the NW and Ebb to the SE. at this place it is High-water at the Full and Change of the Moon about 1 or 2 o'Clock and riseth and falls upon a perpendicular about 10 or 12 feet. We saw on all the Adjacent Lands and Islands a great number of smooks a certain sign that they are Inhabited and we have dayly seen smooks on every part of the coast we have lately been upon — Between 7 and 8 oClock in the Morning we saw several naked people, all or most of them women, down upon the beach picking ^up Shells, &Ca they had not a single rag of any kind of Cloathing upon them and both these and those we saw yesterday were in every respect the Same sort of people we have seen every where upon the Coast; two or three of the Men we saw Yesterday had on pretty large breast plates which we supposed were made of Pearl Oysters Shells this was a thing as well as the Bow and Arrows we had not seen before — At Low-water which happend about 10 oClock we got under sail and stood to the SW with a light breeze at East which afterwards veerd to NBE, having the Pinnace a head, depth of water from 6 to 10 fathom except in one place where we pass'd over a bank of 5 fathom — At Noon Posession Island at the SE entrance of the Passage bore N 53° East distant 4 Miles ^Leagues the western extreme of the Main land in sight bore St 43° West distant 4 or 5 Leagues, being all exceeding low, The SW point of the ^largest Island on the NW side of the Passage bore No 71° West distant 8 Miles ^this point I named Cape Cornwell / Latd 10°..43' S: Longde 219°..0 and some Low Islands laying about the Middle of the Passage ^which I call'd Wallice's Isles — bore WBS1/2S distt about 2 Leagues, our Latitude by Observation was 10°.46' South —

40 Comments:

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6:53 AM  
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4:47 PM  
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4:02 AM  
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10:14 AM  
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10:42 AM  
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6:13 PM  
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12:52 AM  
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7:17 PM  
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8:05 AM  
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3:43 PM  
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8:16 AM  
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7:34 PM  
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9:25 PM  
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3:55 PM  
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10:24 PM  
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2:46 PM  
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8:08 PM  
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1:56 AM  
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3:35 PM  
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1:38 PM  
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11:27 AM  
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12:07 PM  
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2:31 PM  
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1:12 PM  
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1:46 AM  
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3:33 PM  
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11:45 PM  
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11:56 PM  
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11:54 AM  
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3:56 PM  
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1:12 AM  

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