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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

James Cook

In their own words

James Cook, maritime explorer. (1728-1779) Portrayed by Joel
Audio: 2 minutes

Saw as we came in on both points of the bay, several of the natives and a few huts, men, women and children on the south shore abreast of the ship, to which place I went in the boats in hopes of speaking with them, accompanied by Mr Banks, Dr Solander, and Tupia.

As we approached the shore, they all made off except two men who seemed resolved to oppose our landing. As soon as I saw this, I ordered the boats to lay upon their oars in order to speak to them. But this was to little purpose for neither us nor Tupia could understand one word they said. When then through them some nails, beads, etc. ashore which they took up and seemed not ill-pleased in so much that I thought they beckoned us to come ashore. But in this we were mistaken, for as soon as we put the boat in again, they again came to oppose us, upon which I fired a musket between the two, which had no other effect that to make them retire back where bundles of their darts lay. And one of them took up a stone and threw at us, which caused my firing a second musket load with small shot. And although some of the shot struck the man, yet it had no other effect than to make him lay hold of a shield or target to defend himself.
Immediately after this, we landed, which we had no sooner done than they throwed two darts at us. This obliged me to fire a third shot, soon after which they both made off, but not in such haste but what we might have taken one. But Mr Banks being of opinion that the darts were poisoned made me cautious how I advanced into the woods. We found here a few small huts made of the bark of trees, in one of which were four or five small children, with whom we left some strings of beads etc. A quantity of darts lay about the huts, these we took away with us.

Acknowledgements

Cook, James (1770) Journal of H.M.S. Endeavour, 1768-1771, 29 April 1770, OBJ 229040197 National Library of Australia

Attribution

Voiced by Joel Horwood

Related people

Captain James Cook RN

Related information

'The portraits of Captain Cook'

An interview with Betty Churcher

Portrait story

Betty Churcher describes the creation of the portrait of Captain James Cook in the National Portrait Gallery.

Captain Cook

'The photojournalists of their time'

Portrait story

An exploration of the role of artists such as John Webber who, whilst a member of Cook’s crew over many voyages, created paintings and drawings of the situations and people the explorers encountered.

Portrait of Captain James Cook RN
Portrait of Captain James Cook RN
Portrait of Captain James Cook RN
Portrait of Captain James Cook RN

Thrown together

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2009

Shipmates for years, James Cook and Joseph Banks each kept a journal but neither man shed light on their relationship.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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