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This Day in History

Australian History

Sunday, April 17, 2005. :   Ownership of a replica of Captain Cook's famous ship Endeavour is transferred to the Australian Government.

     James Cook is known for his exploration of Australia's eastern coast in 1770, in a ship known as the 'Endeavour'. The HM Bark Endeavour was an ex-collier purchased by the English navy and converted specifically so it could be used for exploration. It was first launched in 1764 as the Earl of Pembroke. In 1768, it was bought by the British Admiralty to be fitted out for use in a scientific mission to the Pacific Ocean, specifically observing the transit of Venus from the best vantage point, which was Tahiti, and to determine whether or not the great southern land existed.

The Endeavour successfully brought Cook to the south Pacific, where he made important observations and recorded new information about the Australian continent. After charting the coast, Cook continued his journey, formally claiming the eastern half of Australia for Great Britain under the name of New South Wales, before eventually returning to England.

The Endeavour was sold in 1775 and served as a collier once more until it was purchased by the French in 1790. Renamed 'La Liberte', it was used as a whaling ship until it ran aground off Newport in Rhode Island, in 1793. This may have been the end of the real 'Endeavour'; however, it was not the end of the Endeavour's legacy.

During the 1990s, an authentic replica was constructed at Fremantle, Western Australia, and it is considered one of the most historically accurate replicas in the world. Ownership of the 'Endeavour' replica was transferred to the Australian Government on 17 April 2005. The ship is usually on display at the Australian National Maritime Museum, on Sydney's Darling Harbour, but has been sailed for significant events, such as the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2010. Commencing in April 2011, the ship will circumnavigate Australia on an historical journey lasting until May 2012.

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