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Early Maritime Explorers in Australia

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Brief Biographies from Memoirs of Hydrography

Captain James Cook......... Voyages 1768-79. Born in Yorkshire, in a lowly sphere of life, October 27th 1728, James Cook, as is well known, first went to sea in a collier brig, afterwards joining the Navy on board H.M.S. Eagle, where he speedily worked his way to the quarter deck, and rank of master, under the patronage of Captain Sir Hugh Palliser, who very soon recognised the merits of this remarkable man. .....continue

Jean-François de Galaup La Perouse ......... The voyage of 1785-86 was undertaken for the extension of French commerce, at the time when Cook's voyages had given so great an impetus to trade in the Pacific; and one of the first objects of L'Astrlabe, under La Perouse, and La Boussole, under Capt. De Langle, was to examine the N.W. coast of America, where the profitable furs were reported to be procurable.....continue

Captain William Bligh.....Voyages 1787-93. Seventeen years after the return of Cook from his first voyage, the Bounty of 215 tons was fitted out under the command of Lieutenant Bligh, who had acted in the capacity of master under Cook, for the purpose of transplanting the bread fruit tree from Polynesia to the West Indies....continue

Captain Arthur Phillip....Born October 11th 1738, and educated at Greenwich, Arthur Phillip entered the navy at the age of 16, partaking in his younger days in the early misfortunes and subsequent glories of the seven years war. In 1761, he was made a lieutenant...continue

Philip Gidley King.....Philip Gidley King born in 1758, entered the Navy at the age of twelve, in the Swallow, and served as midshipman for five years on the East Indian Station. With Captain Bellew in the Liverpool he sailed for Virginia in 1775, and was wrecked in that frigate in Delaware bay in the same year. He then joined the Princess Royal and was made a lieutenant by Admiral Byron into the Renown.....continue

Lieutenant John Shortland (senior)....Entered the Navy on board the Anson at the age of sixteen, and afterwards joined the Culloden, Hampton Court and Vanguard. In 1763 he was made a Lieutenant by Admiral Swanton.....continue

Lieutenant Watt....This officer sailed in the transport Lady Penrhyn, Captain Sever from Port Jackson for Macao roads, China May 4th 1788. continue

Captain John Marshall....In the transport Scarborough sailed from Port Jackson bound to China May 6th 1788 being engaged to take in a cargo of tea by the East India Company......continue

Captain Edward Edwards R.N.....This officer commissioned the Pandora of 24 guns, 160 men and sailed in September 1790 in search of the mutineers of the Bounty and to survey Endeavour straits.....continue

Captain George Vancouver.R.N....Voyages 1790 to 1795. Captain George Vancouver born about the year 1756, was appointed a midshipman to the Resolution in the autumn of 1771, under Commander James Cook in the second voyage made by the great navigator.....continue

Rear-Admiral Bruny D'Entrecasteaux Voyages 1791 -94. The French government decided in the year 1791 at the instigation of the Parisian Society of Natural history to send an expedition in search of the missing La Perouse. The command was given to Bruny D'Entrecasteaux in the Recherche. ....continue

Captain William Wright Bampton and Captain Mathew B. Alt.........These Captains in command of the ships Hormuseer and Chesterfield had their discoveries made public in two charts by Mr. Dalrymple in 1798-99. It appears that they sailed in company from Norfolk Island with the intention of passing through Torres Strait, by a previously unknown route.....continue

Commander W.R. Broughton....Voyage 1795-98. For this voyage the Providence of 420 tons, river built, formerly intended for the West India trade, which had been purchased for the purpose of conveying the bread fruit tree to the West Indies, under Captain Bligh, after the mutiny of the Bounty, and had returned successfully from this service, was fitted out in 1793 under Commander Broughton.....continue

Captain Matthew Flinders Voyages 1795 - 1814. Matthew Flinders entered the navy in 1791, and embarked as a midshipman in H.M.S. Providence commanded by Captain Bligh. In that voyage, he appears to have acquired a taste for the surveying branch of the profession in which he afterwards greatly distinguished himself.....continue

M. Beautemps Baupré Voyages 1791 - 1855. Born in 1773, M. Beautemps Beaupre, who by his great talents raised himself to scientific distinction died in 1855 at the age of 72 years. He was appointed first geographical engineer to the surveying expedition despatched by the French government under Admiral Bruny D'Entrescasteaux in search of the unfortunate La Perouse.....continue

Lieutenant James Grant Voyages 1800 - 02. The voyage of discovery of this officer on the Lady Nelson, apparently undertaken with less than the usual amount of high patronage, has, in consequence been greatly overlooked; it was singular in more respects than one...continue

Captain Nicolas Baudin. Voyages 1800 - 1804. The corvettes Geographe and Naturaliste, under Captain's N. Baudin and Hamelin were dispatched by Napoleon from Havre, October 19th 1800, to complete the discovery of the south and west coasts of Terra Australis. Men eminent in every branch of science were attached to this expedition. Peron the naturalist wrote a narrative of the voyage in which however, he does not once mention the name of the Commander, and an account was also compiled by Lieutenant L. Freycinet.....continue

Captain Peter Heywood - Voyages 1800 - 1812. This officer, born in 1772, was a son of the Deemster of the Isle of Man and Seneschal to the Duke of Athol. He sailed in the Bounty under Bligh in 1787, and was tried and pardoned in 1792 on the charge of having taken part in the mutiny on 28th April 1789.....continue

Lieutenant John Murray Voyages 1802 - 08. This officer assisted Captain Flinders in the surveys made in the Investigator on the eastern coast of Australia. The first Britons to discover Port Phillip were the crew of the Lady Nelson, commanded by John Murray, which entered the bay on 15 February 1802. Murray called the body of water Port King after the Governor of New South Wales, Philip Gidley King. On 4 September 1805, King formally renamed the bay Port Phillip, in honour of his predecessor, Arthur Phillip. - State Library Victoria...continue

Captain L. Freycinet Voyages 1817 - 1820. This expedition sailed from Toulon in the frigate Uranie on the 17th September 1817, Captain Freycinet in command, was the same officer who had been first lieutenant of the Naturaliste in Captain Baudin's voyage, and who afterwards commanded the Casuarina attached to the Geographie at the close of that expedition....continue

Rear-Admiral Philip Parker King Voyages 1817 - 30. Philip Parker King, born December 1793 at Norfolk Island, was son of Captain Philip Gidley King R.N. Philip Parker King entered the Navy in November 1807 as volunteer on board the Diana, Captain Grant......continue

Captain Sir John Franklin Voyages 1819 - 48. Sir John Franklin born in 1786, at Spilsbury, in the county of Lincoln, entered the Navy on the 1st October 1800, as a Boy, on board the Polyphemus, Captain Lawford, under whom he served as a midshipman in the action off Copenhagen in 1801. He then sailed in the Investigator, Commander Matthew Flinders on a voyage of discovery to the north and north east coasts of Australia......continue

Lewis R. Fiztmaurice. Son of L. Fitzmaurice. Lewis R. Fitzmaurice became a lieutenant and acted in the capacity of Assistant Surveyor to Captains Wickham and John L. Stokes on the Beagle during the surveying expedition to the south coast of Australia in the years 1837 and 1843......continue

Captain Bellinghausen (Russian) Voyages 1819 - 21. In 1819 the sloops Vostok and Mirnay were equipped at Kronstadt under Captain Bellingshausen for a voyage of discovery.. They sailed from England to Teneriffe and Rio de Janeiro and then to Port Jackson....continue

James Weddell Voyages 1822 - 24. On 17th December 1822 Mr. James Weddell, a master in the Royal Navy in the brig Jane, of 160 tons and 22 men, with the cutter Beaufoy of 65 tons and 13 men under Mr. Matthew Brisbane, in company sailed from the Downs for the purpose of collecting fur seal skins in the South Shetland islands....continue

Sir William Edward Parry born December 1790 at Bath, was fourth son of Dr. C.H. Parry. F.R.S., an eminent physician in that city. Parry entered the Navy in June 1803 as volunteer on board the Ville De Paris, Captain Ricketts bearing the flag of the Hon. William Cornwallis in the Channel Commander....continue

John Clements Wickham Voyages 1827 - 1837. John Clements Wickham entered the navy in February, 1812 and was made Lieutenant 6th October 1827, into the Adventure, surveying vessel, Captain Philip Parker King on the South American station.....continue

John Septimus Roe Voyage 1823. John Septimus Roe was born at Newbury in Berkshire, being the seventh son of the Rev. James Roe, of the same place. He was educated at Christ's Hospital and entered the Royal Navy as a midshipman in June 1813 being then fifteen years of age, on board the Ripon......continue

Captain Dillon Voyage 1827. In September 1813 the Bengal ship Hunter, Captain Robson touched at the Fiji Islands for a cargo of sandal wood. While the Hunter lay at anchor at one of these islands with the crew of Europeans on shore, the natives rose and massacred all but three. Captain Dillon was one of these three who survived.....continue

Notes and Links

1). Governor Arthur Phillip

2) Governor Phillip Gidley King