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Endeavour journal, 5 February 1770 (Series 03.529)

Notes: Page header reads: 'Totarra nue'
Author: Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820
Date: 5 February 1770
Series title: Series 03: The Endeavour journal of Joseph Banks, 25 August 1768 - 12 July 1771
Frame numbers:
Transcript: 5. Ship employd in Warping herself into a better berth for sailing, When after the anchor was carried out a fortunate eddy wind blew her into it. Our Old Man Topaa was on board, of whoom Tupia askd many questions concerning the Land &c . His answers were nearly as follows: 'that the streights which we had seen from the hills were realy a passage into the Eastern sea; that the Land to the South consisted of 2 Islands or several which might be saild round in 3 or 4 days in their canoes; that he knew of no other great land than that we had been upon, Aehia no Mauwe, of which Terawhitte was the southern part; that he beleivd his ancestors were not born there but came originaly from Heawye (the place from whence Tupia and the Islanders also derive their origin) which lay to the Northward where were many lands; that neither himself his father or his grandfather ever heard of ships as large as this being here before, but that [they] have a tradition of 2 large vessels, much larger than theirs, which some time or other came here and were totaly destroyd by the inhabitants and all the people belonging to them killd'. This Tupia says is a very old tradition, much older than his great grandfather, and relates to two large canoes which came from Olimaroa, one of the Islands he has mentiond to us. Whether he is right, or whether this is a tradition of Tasmans ships whose size in comparison to their own they could not from relation conceive a sufficient Idea of, and whoom their Warlike ancestors had told them they had destroyd, is dificult to say. Tupia all along warnd us not to beleive too much any thing these people told us; For says he they are given to lying, they told you that one of their people was killd by a musquet and buried Which was absolutely false.

Myself and the Dr went ashore today to wind up our bottoms and fell in by accident with the most agreable Indian family we had seen upon the coast, indeed the only one in which we have observd any order or subordination. It consisted of 17 people; the head of it was a pretty child of about 10 years old who they told us was the owner of the land about where we wooded, the only instance of property we have met with among these people. He and his mother (who mournd for her husband tears of blood according to their custom) sat upon matts, the rest sat round them; houses they had none, nor did they attempt to make for themselves any shelter against the inclemencies of the weather which I suppose they by custom very easily endure. Their whole behaviour was so affable, obliging and unsuspicious that I should certainly have accepted their invitation of staying the night with them had not the ship been to sail in the morn. Most unlucky I shall always esteem it that we did not sooner get acquainted with these people, from whoom we might have learnt more in a day of their manners and dispositions than from all that we have yet seen.