The Library is closed onsite, open online. See updates here.
Journal of James Roberts
servant of Joseph Banks
Transcription of pages 73–77 (20 April – 10 May 1770)
Remarks &c. on the Coast of New Holland
Thursday 20 – nearly Streights am Saw high Land Call’d the Drumadery, from its resemblance of that animal Back Bearing NNW at noon Lattite. Obs 36° - -51 S
Friday 21 – Moderate and Pleasant Wr. Saw a smoke ashore Variation 10 – 30 Et. Running down a long shore making very high and seeming very firtile and rich being cloath’d with very high trees which had a pleasant appearance at Noon the Extreams from N to S 20 W Distce. Of shore 4 or 5 Leagues saw a remarkable peak’d hill with a tuft of Tall Trees on the top resembling the top of a pigion house from whence it was called Pigion House hill soundings from 60 to 70 Fm. Sandy Ground. Lattite. Obs. 35 °- - 52 S
Saturday 22 – Moderate and Pleasant weather saw a smoke ashore PM turning of shore 2 Leagues pass’d two small ???? the shore making a Bluff and little sandy Bays very woody sounded 30 fathm. Lay too all Night Saw a fire on shore in the Morning stood on for the Shore and found we had drove to the southward against the wind am passed a ledge of Breakers lying NE of a low Island within them is a bay form’d by the Island but as it had no good appearance the Capt. Thought it not good for his purpose to stop here as we stood along shore we saw 4 or 5 of the Indians sitting near a fire the appear’d to be quite Naked and very black which was all we could disern of them at Noon the Drumadary S 20 W Pigion House hill N 46 Wt. 2 ½ Leagues of shore Lattite. Obs. 35° – 27 So.
Sunday 23 – Little winds and fair pleasnt. Wr. Turning to windw. of Pigion House hill 6 Leagues off shore
Lattite. Obs. 35° – 10 So.
Monday 24 – Do. Wr. Inclinable to Calms pidgeon house Hill S B 2 W
Lattite Obs. 35° – 10 South
Tuesday 25 – Moderate Breezes & Clear PM Varite. 9 –15 E lay too all Night am made sail run along shore at 10 pass’d of Low Islands which had the appearance
Of being very Pleasant pass’d by a great quantity of spawn Lattite. Obs. 34 – 22 S the land from N 8 E to S 17 W of shore 4 or 5 Leagues
Remarks &c. on the Coast of New Holland
Wednesday 26 – Little winds and Calms PM Varite. 8—48 Et. At noon the Land from S 28 W to N b W and tends NNE of shore 6 Leagues Lattite. Obsd. 34 –10 S
Thursday 27 – Moderate and pleasant Wr. Turning to windw. of some Low Land which had the appearance of a harbour am upon standing in shore found had lost ground Considerably stood in for a low Island where there seemed a place likely to Land Depth of water from 61 to 32 fathom at noon of shore 4 or 5 miles saw several smokes Lattite. Obsd. 34 – 22 S
Friday 28 – Moderate Breezes and pleast. Weather at 2 being within 2 miles of the shore [indecipherable] and hoist’d out the yaul the Captn. and Mr. Banks &c. went towards the shore as we stood in had regular soundings from 14 to 9 fathm. Sandy of and on shore under an Easie sail the Bay is Covered well to the Southw. By a low point of red Earth which looked like [indecipherable] and runs a great way into the at 5 the boats returned having been Close to the shore but could not land for the surff they saw several people who came Down to the beach but soon afterwards retiring to the woods and saw them no more the shore appearing very Pleasant with tall trees having no under wood and some fine plains in the Woods they saw some Cabbage trees a hutt and 2 small Cannews ill made at 6 hoist’d in the Boats and made sail out to sea in the Night saw several fires along shore at 6 am saw a fine Bay Near the place where we was before haul’d up for it and made all sail at 9 abreast of the Mouth of the bay Distce. 2 miles sent the master in the pinnace to sound at Noon working to windw. into the bay Depth of water 29 fathom of the point q1 ½ Mile
Saturday 29 - Little winds and fair at ½ past one came too in 6 ½ fathm.sandy Ground hoist’d out the Long boat the Captn. Went on shore in the pinnace to where we had seen some Indians and hutts two of which appeared on landing armed with targettes and lances but upon
Remarks &c. at New Holland
2 or 3 muskitts fired and one of them being wounded with small shott they ran away into the woods the Captn. Mr. Banks Dr. Solander &c. with their servants and the detachment of Marines landed and search their huts where the saw 2 or 3 children & some lances the Last of which the Brought on board after finding a watering am the Captn. &c went away in the pinnace sent a party on shore to water and cut wood under the Command of the 2 Lieut. Moor’d with the stream anchor to the NE and ½ a cable on the Best Bower to the Wt. The one point of Bay Bearing E the other SE ½ E of shore ¾ of a mile
Sunday 30 – Little winds and pleasant Wr. Employ’d as before & on board in the Hold Armorers at the forg sailmakers on the sails &c. PM serv’d 3 pounds fresh fish pr. man caught in the seine
Monday 1 – Employ’d wooding and watering a party fishing with the seine but with little success at 6 PM departed this life Furbe Sutherland seaman of a comsumtion which he had been troubled with ever since we left Streights of St. Marie
Tuesday 2 – First part fresh Gales and pleasant wr. The middle heavy rain Thunder and Lightening the latter Moderate and fair am scrubbed and clean’d Ships Bottom wooders and waterers on shore as usual
Wednesday 3 -Moderate and fine Wr. Wooders and waterers on shore Compleated our water to 87 tuns am the Captn. Mr. Banks &c. Went into the Country some distance to look for the Indians but returned without success am Loos’d sails to dry wooders on shore as usual
Thursday 4 - Fine pleasant weather Employ’d wooding and Cleaning Ship The Captain &c. went up the Harbour the 2 Lieut and some of the petty Officers went to strike sting rays of Which they got sufficient to serve all hands Low water at ½ past11 oclock PM
Friday 5 – Light Breezes and pleasant Wr. Employ’d wooding and watering and striking fish sting rays of which caught 300 lbs one weighing 236 pounds
Remarks &c. in Stingray Bay new Holland
Serv’d 5 pound pr. Man and stopt the sea provision Varitn. Pr. Azmt. 6-42 E Stingray Bay Lies in Lattitude 34 °- - 6 So. And Long west of London 207 - - 43 it is formed by 2 low points between which there is a pasags of 1 mile with 12 fathom water on the East side lies a little Island and of the So. Ent of it a shore where the sea sometimes breaks after you are in the bay it spreads and turns to the Westwd for about 6 or 7 miles and then ends in 2 large Lagoons of the So. Shore lies large flats with only 6 or 7 feet Water on them is a Great Quantity of stingourers, the Bay is very Shoal But there is a Channel which lies open to the Entrance with 5 or 6 fathm. Water after you are 2 miles within it shoals to 3 fathm. The Bay is about 4 miles Broad and has a regular tide, the Country is very rich and fertile and has a fine appearance full of large trees which yield a gum like Dragon Blood this we found in great Quantity stiking to the here is another wood which has a grain like Oak and would be very Durable for Building the leaves are like a pine Leaf the soil is sand mist with Black Earth but is very shallow upon digging we found we found Vast Quantities of Oyster Shills which seemed to have been underground a great while We also found a tree which a red bery about the size of a Cherey but the grew only in one place. The inhabitants are so very shy that we had no kind of Connection with them the used to come down Every Evening armd with Lances and wooden swords th apare a very thin people and have their faces and breasts painted white the Surgion was a walking one day had a lance thrown at him out of a tree but which miss’d him the man ran off this was all we saw of them Except.when the was a fishing in
Remarks &c. in Stingray bay New Holland
their Cannews which holds one man each they being made of Bark and paddled with 2 small pieces of wood the use their lances in striking fish on the flatts of their houses are several pieces of Bark sett up one against the another and open at Each End and are the worst I ever saw the people wair nothing to cover themselves but go quite Naked Men and Women &c.in short the Most Wretched sett of People I ever beheld or heard of
Saturday 6 - Little winds and fine pleasant weather PM Cleard Ship for sea the Yaul returned from fishing with 2 skeets which weighd 600 lb servd it to the ships company in stead of salt provisions it was very strong and made a great many of the Company sick which Eate of it at 5 hove up the Best Bower and hove ahead on the steam at 7 hoistd in ye Boats Weighd and Made Sail out of the bay at noon the NE Extreams N b E of shore 3 leagues
Latite. Obs.33°- - 47
Sunday 7 – Little winds and pleasant Wr. PM Varitn. 7 – 56 Et. Sailing along shore passed by several little Bays the land tending NNE at Noon the Nearest Land N b E 2 or 3 Leagues of shore
Lattite. Obs. 33 - - 17 South
Monday 8 – Little winds and Clear Varitn. 8 - - 00 E PM Lost the deep sea Lead and Line turning to windw. at noon the Extreams of the Land a S 27 W to N 10 E distance 5 or 6 Miles Lattite. Obsd.. 33 °- - 24 S
Tuesday 9 – Moderate Breezes and fair weather working to windward Carpnt. repairing the long boat sailmakers repairing the sails at Noon the Extes. Of the Land from NWBN to SW ½ W 5 Leagues
Lattite. Obs. 33° - - 37 So.
Wednesday 10 – Moderate and Cloudy am saw Land tending NNE making like Islands made all sail along shore saw more smouk at noon the Extreams of the land a 32 E to SWBS
Lattitude Observed 32° - -51 So.