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Captain Cook and the South Pacific

CollectionsANU Press (1965- Present)
Title: Captain Cook and the South Pacific
Date published: 1979
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Australian National University Press
Volume 3 of the Yearbook is devoted to matters relating to the voyages of Captain James Cook (1728-79), the bicentenary of whose death in Hawaii falls on 14 February 1979. His three voyages of Pacific exploration, in the Endeavour (1768-71) and the Resolution (1772-75, 1776-80), the last one completed after his death, established for him a reputation as one of the greatest explorers of all time. Cook was accompanied on his first voyage by a young botanist named Joseph Banks, who took with him a private staff of scientists and draughtsmen, and in the first paper Dr A. M. Lysaght deals with these draughtsmen, many of whose drawings are preserved in the British Library. A Tahitian native named Omai returned to England with Cook's second expedition, and a paper by Dr R. Joppien, discusses a pantomime based on his life, which was staged in London at that time. Cook and his companions found nearly all of the islands of the South Pacific to be inhabited, and the theorizing about how the natives came to be there is examined in a paper by Dr B. Durrans. The last two papers, by Dr A. L. Kaeppler and Professor D. Waite, attempt to identify some of the artefacts collected in the South Seas by participants in Cook's voyages, which are now in the collections of the British Museum. In Cook's own lifetime, in 1777, Daniel Wray wrote that he, Cook, 'will go down to posterity as one of our principal discoverers'; two hundred years after his death it is still true. The five papers gathered together here illustrate and evoke much of the impact that Cook and his voyages made on the eighteenth century.


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