The replica of the Endeavour being built at Fremantle was launched on Thursday, 9th December 1993, seven minutes ahead of schedule. It slid into Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour during high tide at 5.23 p.m.
Thousands of television viewers missed the launch as the Channel 9 station cut to a scheduled commercial break during its exclusive live coverage. It was to have been followed by a five-minute countdown to the scheduled launch of the ship.
The distinguished Australian botanist and chairman of CSIRO, Professor Adrienne Clarke, broke a bottle of 1987 Grange Hermitage (marking the year in which the replica idea originated) against the side of the ship and said "I name this craft Endeavour. May God bless her and all who sail in her."
Tens of thousands of well-wishers turned out on land and water to welcome the ship and applaud its makers. Nearly six years of hard work and times of acute anxiety as the project teetered on the edge of extinction through lack of funds came to an end as their creation took on a life of her own.
The ship was towed to Victoria Quay for fitting with lead ballast, masts sails and rigging with 15 km of rope. She will operate out of Fremantle undergoing ocean trials in March and April. It is felt that the conditions that prevail around Western Australia during this period will not be good for her to leave. So it will be four or five months before she goes on her maiden voyage to Sydney to be exhibited at the Australian National Maritime Museum. Then it will be off to Melbourne before returning to Sydney. She is now due to arrive in Britain in May 1996, going first to Greenwich before touring the British coast.
The Endeavour will leave Plymouth on August 26, 1996 to return to Australia.
From information supplied by the Arthur Cant and Verna Philpot
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 1020, volume 17, number 2 (1994).
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