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John Gore in the Pacific

A colour portrait painting of a man dressed in clothes from the eighteenth century. The painting is in an oval format. The man is visible from just below chest height upwards. He faces to the right of the image and has his head turned slightly toward the viewer. He wears a dark coat with a red collar and a white scarf around his neck. The scarf is tucked into the front of his coat. His hair is pale in colour and is done in the fashion of the era - brushed back with rolls above his ears. The background is a plain brown surface. Light falling on the man's face creates soft highlights and areas of gentle shadows.

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.

Watercolour painting shows the Resolution ship, about 1775.

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.

Sketch shows the Endeavour's landing boats alongside Maori canoes.

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.

1773 engraving of a kangaroo.

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.

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