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Endeavour journal, 17 January 1770 (Series 03.510)

Notes: Page header reads: 'Totarra nue'
Author: Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820
Date: 17 January 1770
Series title: Series 03: The Endeavour journal of Joseph Banks, 25 August 1768 - 12 July 1771
Frame numbers:
Transcript: 17. This morn I was awakd by the singing of the birds ashore from whence we are distant not a quarter of a mile, the numbers of them were certainly very great who seemd to strain their throats with emulation perhaps; their voices were certainly the most melodious wild musick I have ever heard, almost imitating small bells but with the most tuneable silver sound imaginable to which maybe the distance was no small addition. On enquiring of our people I was told that they had observd them ever since we have been here, and that they begin to sing at about 1 or 2 in the morn and continue till sunrise, after which they are silent all day like our nightingales.

A small canoe came this morn from the Indian town: as soon as they came along side Tupia began to enquire into the truth of what we had heard yesterday and was told over again the same story. But where are the sculls, sayd Tupia, do you eat them? Bring them and we shall then be convinced that these are men whose bones we have seen. - We do not eat the heads, answerd the old man who had first come on board the ship, but we do the brains and tomorrow I will bring one and shew you. - Much of this kind of conversation passd after which the old man went home.