John Gore in the Pacific
John Gore was one of the most experienced Pacific sailors of the 1700s.
As master's mate on HMS Dolphin, Gore sailed twice to the Pacific in search of fresh trading opportunities and new territories — first with Captain John Byron in 1764 and then with Captain Samuel Wallis in 1766. The second voyage found Tahiti, and Gore led an expedition to the interior of the island.
Left: John Webber painted this portrait of Captain John Gore in 1780. Courtesy: National Library of Australia, nla.pic-an2256760.
In July 1768, he sailed with Captain James Cook on HMB Endeavour. Already familiar with Tahiti and its languages, Gore took part in scientific observations of the transit of Venus there in 1769. Throughout the voyage, Gore was given command of landing parties sent ashore to gather wood, water and food, explore the terrain, and make contact with local people.
Following the deaths of Cook and Charles Clerke during the third Pacific voyage, Gore assumed command and brought the expedition home.
Right: This watercolour shows the Resolution, on which Gore served as First Lieutenant on Cook's third Pacific voyage, about 1775. Courtesy: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales/The Bridgeman Art Library.
Right: This sketch shows the Endeavour's landing boats alongside Maori canoes. During a trading dispute at Mercury Bay, New Zealand, in 1769, Gore shot dead a Maori man. Courtesy: British Library Board.
Right: This 1773 engraving was based on the stuffed skin of a kangaroo shot by Gore at Endeavour River. Courtesy: National Library of Australia, pic-an7946248.