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Endeavour journal, 4 May 1770 (Series 03.618)

Notes: Page header reads: 'Botany Bay'; 'New South Wales'
Author: Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820
Date: 4 May 1770
Series title: Series 03: The Endeavour journal of Joseph Banks, 25 August 1768 - 12 July 1771
Frame numbers:
Transcript: 4. Myself in the woods botanizing as usual, now quite void of fear as our neighbours have turnd out such rank cowards. One of our midshipmen stragling by himself a long way from any one else met by accident with a very old man and woman and some children: they were setting under a tree and neither party saw the other till they were close together. They shewd signs of fear but did not attempt to run away. He had nothing about him to give to them but some Parrots which he had shot: these they refusd, withdrawing themselves from his hand when he offerd them in token either of extreme fear or disgust. The people were very old and grey headed, the children young. The hair of the man was bushy about his head, his beard long and rough, the womans was crop'd short round her head; they were very dark colourd but not black nor was their hair wooley. He stayd however with them but a very short time, for seing many canoes fishing at a small distance he feard that the people in them might observe him and come ashore to the assistance of the old people, who in all probability belongd to them. 17 Canoes came fishing near our people in the same manner as yesterday only stayd rather longer, emboldend a little I suppose by having yesterday met with no kind of molestation. Myself in the afternoon ashore on the NW side of the bay, where we went a good way into the countrey which in this place is very sandy and resembles something our Moors in England, as no trees grow upon it but every thing is coverd with a thin brush of plants about as high as the knees. The hills are low and rise one above another a long way into the countrey by a very gradual ascent, appearing in every respect like those we were upon. While we were employd in this walk the people hawld the Seine upon a sandy beach and caught great plenty of small fish. On our return to the ship we found also that our 2nd lieutenant who had gone out striking had met with great success: he had observd that the large sting rays of which there are abundance in the bay followd the flowing tide into very shallow water; he therefore took the opportunity of flood and struck several in not more than 2 or 3 feet water; one that was larger than the rest weigh'd when his gutts were taken out 239 pounds. Our surgeon, who had strayd a long way from the people with one man in his company, in coming out of a thicket observd 6 Indians standing about 50 yards from him; one of these gave a signal by a word pronouncd loud, on which a lance was thrown out of the wood at him which however came not very near him. The 6 Indians on seeing that it had not taken effect ran away in an instant, but on turning about towards the place from whence the lance came he saw a young lad, who undoubtedly had thrown it, come down from a tree where he had been Stationd probably for that purpose; he descended however and ran away so quick that it was impossible even to atempt to pursue him.