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Fort Venus

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Fort Venus was the stockade that Cook had built on the peninsula at the northern end of Matavai Bay to secure the main goal of his expedition: the observation of the Transit of Venus.

The fort was constructed so that it was protected on one side by the Viapopoo River, which along its bank Cook had a double row of water barrels placed so as provide cover for armed men. Picket fences and trenches protected the sides of the fort running at right angles between the beach and river. The remaining side facing the beach was constructed so as to allow the fort to be easily reinforced from the sea.

Three pencil sketches of the fort by Herman Diedrich Sporing are preserved in the British Library. Joppien and Smith provide detailed descriptions of them in their catalogue of the art of the Endeavour voyage (1985: 94-5).

The British Library also holds three pen drawings after Sporing by Charles Praval which Joppien and Smith suggest were produced between January and July 1771 (1985: 96). One of these drawings is a detailed plan of the fort

An engraving of the fort by S. Middiman appears in Parkinson (1773: plate IV). This engraving, Joppien and Smith suggest, is based on a lost work by Parkinson and possibly also one of the three pencil sketches of the fort by Sporing.

Online Sources Published Sources
  • Parkinson, Sydney, A journal of a voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty's ship, the Endeavour, faithfully transcribed from the papers of the late Sydney Parkinson ... : embellished with views and designs, delineated by the Author, and engraved by capital artists. Online edition derived from the London edition: Printed for Stanfield Parkinson the editor: and sold by Messrs Richardson and Urquhart ...; Evans ...; Hooper ...; Murray ...; Leacroft ...; and Riley ..., 1773., South Seas, 2004, http://southseas.nla.gov.au/index_voyaging.html. [ Details ]

Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Created: 16 July 2003
Modified: 24 April 2004

Published by South Seas, 1 February 2004
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: Paul.Turnbull@jcu.edu.au
Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Updated: 28 June 2004
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-biogs-P000246

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