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20 November, 1769


On 20 November, 1769, James Cook wrote “I set out with the Pinnace and Long boat accompaned by Mr Banks, Dr Solander and Tupia. We found the Bay inlet end in a River [the Waihou] about 9 Miles above the Ship, into which we enterd... we landed on the West side in order to take a View of the lofty Trees which adorne its banks, being at this time 12 or 14 Miles within the entrance and here the tide of flood run as strong as it doth in the River Tham[e]s below bridge... we found a tree that girted 19 feet 8 Inches, 6 feet above the Ground, and having a quadrant with me I found its length from the root to the first branch to be 89 feet... We saw many others of the same sort several of which was half as long again were taller than the one we measured and all of them very stout; there were likewise many other sorts of very stout timber-trees all of them wholy unknown to any of us. We brought away a few specimans and at 3 oClock we embarqued in order to return on board with the very first of the Ebb but not before we had named this River the Thames on account of its bearing some resemblence to that river in england”.


Joseph Banks wrote “A fresh breeze of wind soon carried us to the bottom of the bay, where we found a very fine river broad as the Thames at Greenwich tho not quite so deep, there was however water enough for vessels of more than a midling size and a bottom of mud so soft that nothing could possibly take damage by running ashore... the banks of the river were compleatly cloathd with the finest timber my Eyes ever beheld, of a tree we had before seen but only at a distance in Poverty bay and Hawks bay; thick woods of it were every where upon the Banks, every tree as streight as a pine and of immense size: still the higher we came the more numerous they were... We cut down a young one of these trees; the wood provd heavy and solid, too much so for mast but would make the finest Plank in the world, and might possibly by some art be made light enough for mast as the pitch pine in America (to which our Carpenter likened this timber) is said to be lightned by tapping.  As far as this the river had kept its depth and very little decreasd even in breadth; the Captn was so much pleasd with it that he resolvd to call it the Thames... We rowd for the ship as fast as we could but nigh[t] overtook us before we could get w[i]th[i]n some miles of it”.

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