Inscribed, as title, in the lower margin and signed and dated by the artist below the image l.r, 'W: Ellis fect 1777'. Adventure Bay, in south-west Tasmania, was Cook's first landfall after crossing the southern Indian Ocean from Cape Town at the start of his third voyage to the Pacific, 1776-80. He was aiming for Ship Cove in New Zealand's Cook Strait but was obliged to go in there for repairs after 'Resolution's' fore-topmast and main top-gallant had been damaged in a gale. That ship is shown at anchor on the left, apparently repaired, with the slightly smaller 'Discovery' in which Ellis was surgeon's mate to the right. Adventure Bay had been named by Tobias Furneaux, who commanded the 'Adventure' on Cook's second voyage (1772-75) and had been the first British navigator to put in there after becoming temporarily separated from Cook during their eastward Indian Ocean passage: Cook went straight to southern New Zealand and never learnt that Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) was an island, rather than part of the Australian mainland. This was only established after observations by the naval surgeon George Bass, on the Australian side in the 1790s, suggested there was a passage between the two, and then proved it in 1798 when he and Liieutenant Matthew Flinders managed to circumnavigate Tasmania in the sloop 'Norfolk', sailing from Sydney. On their return there Governor John Hunter accepted Flinders's recommendation that the passage be named the Bass Strait and it soon became the usual sailing route to and from Sydney from the westward. This view is by the artistic surgeon's mate of 'Discovery' and is one of ten by him in the collection (PAH0144-PAH0153). It is no 3.9 in Joppien and Smith's catalogue of the art of Cook's voyages (vol. III ) and a version of the practially identical 3.8, then noted as in private hands in Australia. Notes by Captain Fuller on the back observe that the view of the east side of Adventure Bay in the official account of Cook's third voyage (vol 1, pl. 9, p. 117) may have been taken from the present drawing - or presumably the other version.
© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Adventure Bay, Tasmania, Australia
Landscapes & Seascapes