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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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On this day ...
4 August 1770

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

Endeavour River to the Northern Extremity of the Country


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Endeavour River to the Northern Extremity of the Country (continued)

The chief refreshment that we procured here, was turtle, but as they were not to be had without going five leagues out to sea, and the weather was frequently tempestuous, we did not abound with this dainty: what we caught, as well as the fish, was always equally divided among us all by weight, the meanest person on board having the same share as myself; and I think every commander, in such a voyage as this, will find it his interest to follow the same rule. In several parts of the sandy beaches, and sand hills near the sea, we found purslain, and a kind of bean that grows upon a stalk, which creeps along the ground: the purslain we found very good when it was boiled, and the beans are not to be despised, for we found them of great service to our sick: the best greens, however, that could be procured here, were the tops of the coccos, which have been mentioned already, as known in the West Indies by the name of Indian kale: these were, in our opinion, not much inferior to spinnage, which in taste they somewhat resemble; the roots indeed are not good, but they might probably be meliorated by proper cultivation. They are found here chiefly in boggy ground. The few cabbage palms that we met with, were in general small, and yielded so little cabbage that they were not worth seeking.

Besides the kanguroo, and the opossum that have been already mentioned, and a kind of polecat, there are wolves upon this part of the coast, if we were not deceived by the tracks upon the ground, and several species of serpents; some of the serpents are venomous, and some harmless: there are no tame animals here except dogs, and of these we saw but two or three, which frequently came about the tents, to pick up the scraps and bones that happened to lie scattered near them. There does not indeed seem to be many of any animal, except the kanguroo; we scarcely saw any other above once, but this we met with almost every time we went into the woods. Of land fowls we saw crows, kites, hawks, cockatoos of two sorts, one white and the other black, a very beautiful kind of loriquets, some parrots, pigeons of two or three sorts, and several small birds not known in Europe. The water fowls are herns, whistling ducks, which perch, and, I believe, roost upon trees, wild geese, curlieus, and a few others, but these do not abound. The face of the country, which has been occasionally mentioned before, is agreeably diversified by hill and valley, lawn and wood. The soil of the hills is hard, dry, and stony, yet it produces coarse grass besides wood: the soil of the plains and vallies is in some places sand, and in some clay; in some also it is rocky and stony, like the hills; in general, however, it is well clothed, and has at least the appearance of fertility. The whole country, both hill and valley, wood and plain, abounds with ant hills, some of which are six or eight feet high, and, twice as much in circumference. The trees here are not of many sorts; the gum tree, which we found on the southern part of the coast, is the most common, but here it is not so large: on each side of the river, through its whole course, there are mangroves in great numbers, which in some places extend a mile within the coast. The country is in all parts well watered, there being several fine rivulets at a small distance from each other, but none in the place where we lay, at least not during the time we were there, which was the dry season; we were however well supplied with water by springs, which were not far off.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 591 - 591, 2004
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