'I have made no great discoveries, yet I have explored more of the Great South Sea than all who have gone before me, and little remains now to be done' James Cook in a letter to a friend, 1771.The Admiralty's unpublicised hope for the expedition - that Britain would rediscover and survey the coast of the Australian land mass before the French could do so - was fulfilled. The Royal Society's expectation, too, was realised: establishment of the fact that Terra Austalis Incognita, the 'great Southern Continent', did not exist; that Australia, New Zealand and New Guinea were islands.
The Endeavour travelled by the Madeira Islands to Cape Horn and then across the Pacific to Tahiti, southwards round New Zealand, and up the coast of eastern Australia. After difficulties with the Great Barrier Reef, the ship was repaired at Batavia, then sailed westward to the Cape of Good Hope and, finally, north toward the English Channel. She anchored at the Downs in June 1771, after a voyage of nearly three years.
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A facsimile of the manuscript held in the Public Record Office, Kew, with a Foreword by the late Admiral of the Fleet, the Earl Mountbatten of Burma.
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