Botany Bay wasn’t James Cook’s first choice of name for the bay. He first named it ‘Sting Ray Harbour’.
On 6 May 1770, Cook changed the name in his journal. First to 'Botanist’s Bay', before settling on ‘Botany Bay’ because of the ‘great quantity of new plants … collected by Mr Banks and Dr Solander'.
James Cook, 6 May 1770:
In the evening the yawl return'd from fishing having caught two Sting rays weighing near 600 pounds the one weigh'd pounds and the other exclusive of the entrails. The great quantity of New Plants &Ca Mr Banks & Dr Solander collected of this sort of fish found in this place occasioned my giveing it the name of Sting-Ray Harbour Botany ist Bay it is situated in the Latitude of 34°..0' So Longitude 20 8°..37'
Catching a bounty
James Cook, 5 May 1770:
I had sent the yawl [longboat] in the morning to fish for Sting rays who return’d in the evening with upwards of 4 hundred weight.