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Cannon from HMB Endeavour, which was jettisoned on the Great Barrier Reef in 1770 and recovered in 1969

Object type

Object number

A cast iron cannon in a replica wooden carriage constructed of unknown timbers with metal fittings painted red and black. The cannon is embossed with the text "GR2" on a raised plaque, "11-2-15" is chiselled on the breech, "2" is to the left of the monogram, "D" is embossed on the right trunnion and "IC" on the left trunnion.

Collection name
Endeavour Cannon collection

Collection statement of significance
The 'Endeavour' Cannon Collection consist of one cast-iron four-pounder gun carried on HMB 'Endeavour' between 1768 and 1770, and salvaged from the Great Barrier Reef in 1969.

Captain Cook's voyages of discovery between 1768 and 1779 produced accurate maps, extensive collections of natural history specimens and ethnographic materials, and advances in navigation and hydrography which revolutionised European understanding of the Pacific. These voyages laid the groundwork for Britain's expanded colonial empire and the establishment of settlements in Australia and New Zealand. The recovery in 1969 of the cannon jettisoned to save HMB 'Endeavour' and her crew from disaster occurred just one year before the 200th anniversary of Cook's charting of the east coast of Australia. Then, as now, the cannon served as poignant and tangible reminders of the dangers faced by those aboard in the discovery of Australia's east coast.

Place made

Date made
1725 - 1750

Captain James Cook
One of six cannons jettisoned by Captain James Cook on the Great Barrier Reef on 11 June 1770 and recovered in 1969

Place of event
Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

Period of use
1768 - 1770
On HMB Endeavor

Date of event

Iron, Wood

Length: 1845mm
Width: 790mm
Height: 960mm
Diameter: 325mm
Weight: 600kg

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