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3 June, 1770


On 3 June, 1770, James Cook wrote “we got under sail we stood away to the NW untill 8 oClock, at this time we discoverd low land quite aCross what we took for an opening upon between the Main and the Islands which proved to be a Bay about 5 or 6 Leagues deep... At Noon we were just within the entrance... the North point of the bay... I have named Cape Conway... and the Bay Repulse Bay... Among the many Islands that lay upon this coast there is one more remarkable than the rest being of a small very high and peaked [Pentecost Island]... In the PM steer'd thro' the passage... It is form'd by the Main on the west and by Islands on the East one of which is at least 5 Leagues in length [Whitsunday Island]... the whole passage is one continued safe harbour, besides a number of small Bays and Coves on each side where to all appearances Ships might lay as it were in a Bason, at least so they appeard to me for I did not wait to examine them as having been in Port so lately and being unwilling to loose the benefit of a light Moon. The land both on the Main and Islands especialy on the former is tolerable high and distinguished by hills and Vallies which are deversified with woods and Lawns that look'd green and pleasent. On a Sandy beach upon one of the Islands we saw two people and a Canoe with an outrigger that appeard to be both larger and differently built to any we have seen upon the Coast... This passage I have named Whitsunday's Passage, as it was discoverd on the day the Church commemorates that Festival and the Isles which form it Cumberland Isles in honour of His Royl Highness the Duke of Cumberland”.

Henry Seymour Conway, was a secretary of state.

Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland, was a younger brother of King George III.


Joseph Banks wrote “At day break the anchor was weighd and we stood along shore till we found ourselves in a bay off the outermost point of which were the Islands seen yesterday; by 8 it was resolvd to stand out again through a passage which was seen between them and the main which was accordingly done. The countrey within the bay, especialy on the innermost side, was well wooded, lookd fertile and pleasant. After dinner standing among Islands which were very barren, rising high and steep from the sea; on one of these we saw with our glasses 2 men a woman and a small canoe fitted with an outrigger, which made us hope that the people were something improvd as their boat was far preferable to the bark Canoes of Stingrays bay [Botany Bay]”.

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