Ship model, Captain Cook's "Endeavour", [J C Easten], [Australia], [1937-1938] (OF).
HMS"Endeavour" 's place in history is secure as the Royal Navy research vessel commanded by Lieutenant James Cook on his first voyage of discovery to the Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand. After observing the transit of Venus from Tahiti and enabling measurements of the distance of the Sun to be computed, he sailed to Huanine, Borabora and Raiatea and claimed them for the British crown . After visiting New Zealand, the "Endeavour" reached the east coast of Australia, and finally going ashore at Botany Bay to claim Australia for Britain. Cook mapped the east and north coasts of Australia ,before finally arriving back to Dover after 3 years voyaging.
The model was built by Finecraft Scale Models P/L to 1 to 24 scale , requiring 3 model makers full time for 1 year. The model was commissioned by the Board of Trustees of the Museum for the Museum's special display to commemorate the landing of Lt. James Cook at Botany Bay ,NSW on Sunday, 29th April, 1770. Plans for the model were based on Admiralty draughts from Deptford, England ,and drawings prepared by Mr M. Fletcher ,Master Shipwright of the HMS Endeavour Trust. The rigging and mode of fixings were determined from a study of Steel's "Masting and Rigging", and Darcy Tevers' "Young Sea Officer's Sheet Anchor ".
The "Endeavour" started life as " The Earl of Pembroke", built in Whitby in1764 as a 3 masted square rigger for the coal and timber trade on the English East coast, and purchased in 1768 by the Admiralty for Cook's expedition. In 1767 the Committee of the Royal Society recommended that observations of the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun on 3rd June 1769 be observed at 3 points, North Cape of Norway, Hudson Bay, and on a Pacific Island. King George 111 gave a grant of 3000 pounds to purchase a ship, and as no suitable naval vessel was available , " The Earl of Pembroke " was purchased. She was duly registered on the navy lists as "a bark by the name of "Endeavour". Cook's orders were to proceed to Tahiti via Cape Horn to observe the transit of Venus and then open sealed orders which instructed him to determine whether or not the Pacific held a great continent to the southward ,and whether Tasman's New Zealand formed part of it. After 3 months in Tahiti, Cook travelled south to Huahine, Borabora and Raiatea allowing Cook to claim them for Britain, reaching New Zealand in 1769. Cook then spent the next 6 months surveying and mapping the New Zealand coastline, before sailing west to reach Australia at Botany Bay on 19th April, 1770. The "Endeavour" sailed north charting the Australian east coast until it ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef on11th June.. After lightening ship ,she was refloated, and managed to reach the mainland at Endeavour River. After temporary repairs, travelling north again, Cook rounded Endeavour Strait, landed on Possession Island and on 22nd August ,took possession of the whole of the coastline he had traversed and named it New South Wales. Reaching Batavia, the "Endeavour" was repaired before the homeward journey, finally returning to Dover on12th July1771.
Largely forgotten after this epic journey, the "Endeavour" spent the next 3 years shipping Navy stores to the Falkland Islands. She was decommissioned in 174, sold in1775 , and renamed "Lord Sandwich".
By now the ship was in a deteriorated condition ,but after extensive repairs was used as a troop transport in February 1776 to transport Hessian soldiers bound for New York and Rhode Island. . From there, the "Lord Sandwich" sailed to Newport ,where she was retained at anchor and intermittently used as a prison ship. The "Endeavour's" end came in August 1778 when the British settlement at Narragansett Bay was threatened by a fleet carry ing French soldiers in support of the colonial militia. The British commander, Captain John Brisbane, determined to blockade the bay by sinking surplus vessels at its mouth ,including the "Endeavour"
.In1999, a combined research team from the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project and the Australian National Maritime Museum began examining known wrecks in Narragansett Bay to determine if any could be the "Endeavour".In 2000, a site was identified containing the remains of one of the blockaded vessels ,partly covered by a separate wreck of a twentieth century barge. The older remains were those of a vessel of the same size, design and materials as those of the "Lord Sandwich" ,but there was too little evidence to definitively establish that this particular wreck was indeed Cook's ship.