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28 May, 1770


On 28 May, 1770, James Cook wrote “At day light in the Morning we made sail... the farthest point of the Main[land] bore N 67° Wt distant 22 Miles... which I named Cape Townshend... the land of this Cape is of a moderate and pretty even height and is more barren than woody... As soon as we got round this Cape we hauld our wind to the westward in order to get within the Islands which lay scaterd upon and down in this bay in great number and extend out to sea as far as we could see from the Mast-head... we met with shoal water and was obliged to tack at once to avoide it, after which I sent aboat ahead and we bore away... A little before noon the boat made the Signal for meeting with Shoal water, upon this we hauld close upon a wind to the Eastward but suddenly fell into 3¼ fathom water, upon which we immidiatly let go an Anchor and brought the Ship up with all sails standing and had then 4 fathom, course sandy bottom... Having sounded about the Ship and found that there was sufficient water for her over the Shoal we at 3 oClock weigh'd and came to sail and stood to the westward as the land lay having first sent a boat a head to sound. At 6 o'Clock we Anchord in 10 fathom a sandy bottom about 2 Miles from the Main land”.

Named after Charles Townshend, a Lord of the Admiralty.


Joseph Banks wrote “This morn at day break the water appeard much discolourd as if we had Passd by some place where a river ran into the sea; the land itself was high and abounded with hills. Soon after we came round a point into a bay in which were a multitude of Islands. We stood into the middle of them, a boat was sent a head to sound and made a signal for a shoal, on which the ship came too but before the anchor went she had less than 3 fathm water; the boats now sounded all round her and found that she was upon the shoalest part, on which the anchor was got up and we stood on. Weather was hazey; at night anchord”.

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