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6 May 1770
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6 May 1770

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Joseph Banks
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1770

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in Falconer's Dictionary of the Marine
6 May 1770

Sunday 6th In the evening the yawl return'd from fishing having caught two Sting rays weighing near 600 pounds the one weigh'd          pounds and the other exclusive of the entrails. The great quantity of ^New Plants &Ca Mr Banks & Dr Solander collected of this sort of fish found in this place occasioned my giveing it the name of Sting-Ray Harbour Botan^yist Bay   it is situated in the Latitude of 34°..0' So Longitude 20 8°..37' West it is Capacious safe and commodious - it may be known by the land on the Sea-coast which is of a pretty even and moderate height is level and rather higher than it is farther inland with steep rocky clifts next the Sea and looks like a long Island lying close under the Shore: the entrance of the harbour lies about the Middle of this land - in coming from the Southward you will it is discover'd the entrance before you are abreast of it which you cannot do in coming from the northward. the entrance is little more than a quarter of Mile broad and lies in WNW. To sail into it keep the south shore on board untill within a small bare Island which lies close under the north shore being within that Island the deepest water is on that side 7, 6 and five fathom a good way up. there is shoal'd water a good way off from the South Shore from the inner South point qu[i]te to the head of the harbour but over to wards the north and NW shore is a channell of 12 or 14 feet water ^at low water 3 or 4 leagues up to a place where there is 3 & 4 fm but there but here I found very little fresh water      we anchord near the south shore about a Mile within the entrance for the conveniency of sailing with a Southerly wind and the geting of fresh water but I afterwards found a very fine stream of fresh water on the north shore in the first sandy cove within the Island before which ^a Ship might lay almost land lock'd and wood for fual may be got every where: altho wood is here in great plenty yet there is very little variety   the largest trees are as large or larger than our oaks in England ^and grows a good deal like them and yeilds a redish gum    the wood itself is heavy, hard and black like Lignum Vitae    another sort that grows tall and strait some thing like Pines     the wood of this is like wise hard and heavy Ponderous and something of the nature of ^American live oak, these two are all the timber trees worth mentioning I met with, there are a few sorts of Shrubs and several Palm trees, and Mangroves about the head of the harbour - the Country is woody low and flat as far in^land as we could see and I believe that the soil is in general sandy, in the wood are a variety of very boutifull birds such as Cocatoo's, Lorry quets ^Parrots &Ca and Crows exactly like those we have in England - Water fowl are no less plenty about the head of the harbour where there are large flats of sand and Mud on which they seek their food.   the most of these were unknown to us, one sort especialy which was black and white and as large as a goose but most like a pelican. On the Sand and Mud banks are Oysters, Muscles, Cockles &Ca which I beleive are the cheif support of the inhabitants who go into shoald water with their little canoes and pick them out of the sand and Mud with their hands and sometimes roast and eat them in the Canoe, having ^often a fire for that purpose as I suppose for I know no other it can be for. The Natives do not appear to be numerous neither do they ^seem to live in large bodies but dispers'd in small parties along by the water side. they are ^those I saw were about as tall as Europeans   of a very dark brown colour but not black [check MS] nor had they wooly frizled hair, but black ^and lank much like ours - no sort of cloathing or ornaments was ^were ever seen by any of us upon any one of them ^or in or about any of their hutts from which I conclude that they never wear any - some that we saw had their faces and bodies painted with a sort of white paint or Pigment something that look'd white. Altho I have said that shell fish is their chief support yet they catch other sorts of fish, some of which we found roasting on the fire the first time we landed, some of these they strike with gigs and others they catch with hook and line ^we have seen them strike fish with gigs & hooks and lines were found in their hutts - Sting rays I believe they do not eat because I never saw the least remains ^of one near any of their hutts or fire places, neither were any of their darts or offensive weapons arm'd with the Stings of Sting rays the use I think they would apply'd them to did they make use of the fish. none of us ever saw any provisions laid up in store so that I beleive that they depend upon the present day for their subsistence, hHowever we could know but very little of their customs as we never were able to form any connections with them, they had not so much as touch'd the things we had left in their hutts on purpose for them to take away. The one we saw among them were darts / as some of which were bounded barb'd with fish bones stuck on with gum / and wooden swords - their defensive weapon is a Target made of the bark of the Gum tree During our stay in this Harbour I caused the English Colours to be display'd a shore every day and an inscription to be cut out upon ^one of the trees near the watering place seting forth the Ships name, date &Ca - Having seen every thing this place afforded we at daylight in the Morning weigh'd with a light breeze at NW and put to sea and the wind soon after coming to the Southward we steer'd along shore NNE and at Noon we were by observation in the Latitude of 33°.50' So about 2 or 3 Miles from the land and abreast of a Bay ^or Harbour wherein there apperd to be ^safe anchorage which I call'd Port Jackson. it lies 3 leags to the northward of Sting Ray's Harbour ^Botan^yist Bay, I had almost forgot to mention that the tide in ^it is high water in this Harbour ^Bay flowes at the full and change of the Moon about 8 o' Clock and rises and falls upon a perpendicular about 4 or 5 feet


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