6th May 1770

[Description of Botany Bay, New South Wales]
In the evening the Yawl return'd from fishing, having Caught 2 Sting rays weighing near 600 pounds. The great quantity of plants Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander found in this place occasioned my giving it the Name of Botany Bay.* (* The Bay was at first called Stingray Bay. The plan of it at the Admiralty is called by this name, and none of the logs know Botany Bay. It seems probable that Cook finally settled on the name after the ship left, and when Banks had had time to examine his collections. A monument was erected in 1870 near the spot, on the southern side, where Cook first landed. Botany Bay was intended to be the site where the first settlement of convicts should be made, but on the arrival of Captain Phillip, on January 18th, 1788, he found it so unsuited for the number of his colony that he started in a boat to examine Broken Bay. On his way he went into Port Jackson, and immediately decided on settling there. On the 25th and 26th the ships went round, and Sydney was founded.)

It is situated in the Latitude of 34 degrees 0 minutes South, Longitude 208 degrees 37 minutes 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, Rather higher than it is inland, with steep rocky Clifts next the Sea, and looks like a long Island lying close under the Shore. The Entrance of the Bay lies about the Middle of this land. In coming from the Southward it is discover'd before you are abreast of it, which you cannot do in coming from the Northward; the entrance is little more than a Quarter of a Mile broad, and lies in West-North-West. To sail into it keep the South shore on board until within a small bare Island, which lies close under the North Shore. Being within that Island the deepest of Water is on that side, 7, 6 and 5 fathoms a good way up; there is Shoald Water a good way off from the South Shore--from the inner South Point quite to the head of the harbour; but over towards the North and North-West Shore is a Channell of 12 or 14 feet at low Water, 3 or 4 Leagues up, to a place where there is 3 or 4 fathoms; but there I found very little fresh Water. We Anchor'd near the South Shore about a Mile within the Entrance for the Conveniency of Sailing with a Southerly wind and the getting 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 the Ship might lay almost land locked, and wood for fuel may be got everywhere. Although wood is here in great plenty, yet there is very little Variety; the bigest trees are as large or larger than our Oaks in England, and grows a good deal like them, and Yields a reddish Gum; the wood itself is heavy, hard, and black like Lignum Vitae. Another sort that grows tall and Strait something like Pines--the wood of this is hard and Ponderous, and something of the Nature of America live Oak. These 2 are all the Timber trees 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 as we could see, and I believe that the Soil is in general sandy.

In the Wood are a variety of very beautiful birds, such as Cocatoos, Lorryquets, Parrots, etc., and crows Exactly like those we have in England. Water fowl is no less plenty about the head of the Harbour, where there is large flats of sand and Mud, on which they seek their food; the most of these were unknown to us, one sort especially, which was black and white, and as large as a Goose, but most like a Pelican.* (* Most probably the Black and White or Semipalmated Goose, now exterminated in these parts.) On the sand and Mud banks are Oysters, Muscles, Cockles, etc., which I believe are the Chief support of the inhabitants, who go into Shoald Water with their little Canoes and peck 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. Those I saw were about as tall as Europeans, of a very dark brown Colour, but not black, nor had they woolly, frizled hair, but black and lank like ours. No sort of Cloathing or Ornaments 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. 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,* (* A fishing implement like a trident.) and others they catch with hook and line; we have seen them strike fish with gigs, and hooks and lines are 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. However, 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.

During our stay in this Harbour I caused the English Colours to be display'd ashore every day, and an inscription to be cut out upon one of the Trees near the Watering place, setting forth the Ship's Name, Date, etc. [Off Port Jackson, New South Wales.] 

Having seen everything this place afforded, we, at daylight in the morning, weigh'd with a light breeze at North-West, and put to Sea, and the wind soon after coming to the Southward we steer'd along shore North-North-East, and at Noon we were by observation in the Latitude of 33 degrees 50 minutes South, about 2 or 3 Miles from the Land, and abreast of a Bay, wherein there appear'd to be safe Anchorage, which I called Port Jackson.* (* Cook having completed his water at Botany Bay, and having many hundreds of miles of coast before him, did not examine Port Jackson, the magnificent harbour in which Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, now lies. His chart gives the shape of what he could see very accurately, but the main arm of the harbour is hidden from the sea. He named the bay after Mr. (afterwards Sir George) Jackson, one of the Secretaries of the Admiralty. This fact is recorded on a tablet in the Bishop Stortford Church to the memory of Sir George Duckett, which name Sir George had assumed in later years. This interesting evidence was brought to light by Sir Alfred Stephen, Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales, and puts an end to the legend which was long current, that Port Jackson was named after a sailor who first saw it. There was, moreover, no person of the name of Jackson on board.) It lies 3 leagues to the Northward of Botany Bay. I had almost forgot to mention that it is high water in this Bay at the full and change of the Moon about 8 o'Clock, and rises and falls upon a Perpendicular about 4 or 5 feet.

Joseph Banks Journal
Went to sea this morn with a fair breeze of wind. The land we saild past during the whole forenoon appeard broken and likely for harbours; in the afternoon again woody and very pleasant. We dind to day upon the stingray and his tripe: the fish itself was not quite so good as a scate nor was it much inferior, the tripe every body thought excellent. We had with it a dish of the leaves of tetragonia cornuta boild, which eat as well as spinage or very near it.

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