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Sydney Parkinson's account

Sydney Parkinson's account

Endeavour artist Sydney Parkinson's Journal Account, published 1773

Soon after we arrived in the bay, we laid the ship on a steep bank, on the side of a river; set up tents on shore, unloaded her, carried all the cargo and provisions into them, and there lodged and accommodated our sick.

On the 22d, we examined the ship's bottom, and found a large hole; through the planks into the hold, which had a piece of coral-rock, half a yard square, sticking in it: the same rock, therefore, that endangered us, yielded us the principal means of our redemption; for, had not this fragment intruded into the leak, in all probability the ship would have sunk.

We lost no time, but immediately set about repairing the ship's bottom, and in a few days made it sound again. In the mean time, the boats were sent out, in search of another passage, which they found, and returned to the ship on the 3d of July.

On the 4th of July, the ship was carried to the other side of the river, and examined thoroughly; but, being found in good condition, she was soon placed in her former station; where she was loaded, and properly fitted to proceed on the voyage.

During the time we staid here, we picked up a great many natural curiosities from the reef we struck upon, consisting of a variety of curious shells, most of which were entirely new to Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander ...

Of quadrupeds, there are goats, wolves, a small red animal about the size of a squirrel; a spotted one of the viverra kind, and an animal of a kind nearly approaching the mus genus, about the size of a grey-hound, that had a head like a fawn's; lips and ears, which it throws back, like a hare's; on the upper jaw six large teeth; on the under one two only; with a short and small neck, near to which are the fore-feet, which have five toes each, and five hooked claws; the hinder legs are long, especially from the last joint, which, from the callosity below it, seems as if it lies flat on the ground when the animal descends any declivity; and each foot had four long toes, two of them behind, placed a great way back, the inner one of which has two claws; the two other toes were in the middle, and resembled a hoof, but one of them was much larger than the other. The tail, which is carried like a grey-hound's, was almost as long as the body, and tapered gradually to the end. The chief bulk of this animal is behind; the belly being largest, and the back rising toward the posteriors. The whole body is covered with short ash-coloured hair; and the flesh of it tasted like a hare's, but has a more agreeable flavour.

Engraving of the damaged Endeavour based on a drawing by artist Sydney Parkinson

This engraving of the damaged Endeavour was based on a drawing by artist Sydney Parkinson.

By William Byrne. Courtesy: National Library of Australia, nla.pic-an9184938.

Engraved portrait of Sydney Parkinson

 

This engraved portrait of Sydney Parkinson is the frontispiece to his account of the Endeavour's voyage, published posthumously in 1773. Parkinson died of dysentery, aged 26, after leaving Batavia on the way home to England.

By James Newton. Courtesy: National Library of Australia, nla.pic-an9800893.

Sketch of a kangaroo

 

This sketch of a kangaroo, the first ever made by a European, was drawn by Parkinson during his time at Endeavour River.

Courtesy: Natural History Museum, London.