Joseph Banks Sees Smoke

1 May 2018

1770 It was a day of pleasant weather and fair wind when Joseph Banks
on the ship ‘Endeavour’ watched penguins swimming alongside
keeping up and while they were at it making noises something like
the shrieking of a goose
.
Diomedaea demersa? he wondered
on the 4th of March – I cannot be certain.
Three weeks later, having read his Abel Tasman, Joseph Banks recorded
At night came to an anchor in a Bay
in some part of which
it is probable
that Tasman anchor’d
.
Another three weeks and
they were sailing with a brisk breeze of wind and cloudy
unsettled weather
. Joseph Banks saw Land again.
He watched as three waterspouts formed and dissolved
moved to each other and
away, all between us and the land.
The pipe itself was perfectly transparent
and much resembled
a tube of glass
.
On April 20th at noon
Joseph Banks saw smoke again.
The country this morn
rose in gentle sloping hills which had the appearance
of the highest fertility, every hill seem’d
to be cloth’d with trees of no mean size
a smoak was seen
a little way inland and
in the Evening several more
.
The next day Joseph Banks, after seeing
smoke again and again, concluded
the land was rather more
populous
than first thought.

That night
five fires.


The next day, as the ‘Endeavour’ slapped across the waves
paralleling on port-side
the new coast, Joseph Banks
thought about the people he had seen and concluded
not much in favour of our future friends.
They didn’t make large fires
in order to clear the ground
for cultivation
.
As the ‘Endeavour’ nosed for anchorage and bays
they drew closer to the shore near enough to discern
five people who appear’d enormously black
. Joseph Banks
stood on deck and thought
perhaps so far did the prejudices which we had built
on Dampier’s account
influence us
that we fancied we could see their Colour
when we could scarce distinguish whether or not
they were men
. The next day
April 23rd, was calm. Myself in small boat but saw
few or no
birds
.
Being a man of science
he dipped his net into the new waters
and pulled out Cancer Erythroptamus, Medusa radiata,
Dagysa gemma, Holothuria obtusata,
Phyllodoce Velella and Mimus volutator
cornuta, strumose and pelagica
.
Later, Joseph Banks wrote in his journal
a larger fire was however seen
than any
we have seen before
.
A week or so later, in the place to be known
as Botany Bay, Joseph Banks saw the fires
(fishing fires as we suppos’d)
during the greatest part of the night.
In the morn we went ashore at the houses
but found not the least good effect from our present yesterday: in the house
in which the children were yesterday
was left every individual thing
which we had thrown to them and in the evening Myself with the Captn etc.
were in a sandy cove on the Northern side of the harbour
where we haul’ld the seine
and caught many very fine fish

more than all hands could Eat1

  1. Banks, Sir J 2005, The Endeavour Journal of Sir Joseph Banks, Project Gutenberg
    of Australia, text version prepared in 1962 from manuscript ‘The Endeavour
    Journal of Sir Joseph Banks, 1768-1771’ held at the State Library of NSW.
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