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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'

Pencil sketch of a stingray, with a sketch of the underside of its head bottom left.
Southern fiddler ray (Trygonorrhina fasciata) by Herman Spöring

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.

Page from a logbook featuring cursive handwriting. The pages are yellowed with age and feature various marks and stains.
Endeavour logbook entry for 29 April 1770
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