I have mentioned before that one of my ancestors, Richard Pickersgill, was on board His Majesty's Bark (sic) Endeavour when it sailed into Botany Bay under Captain Cook in 1770. Richard, just 19 years old, had been hand-picked by Cook, because he already had several years experience -- sailing around the world on board another vessel.
|The modern Endeavour...|
|The mess deck of the Endeavour|
Richard was appointed Master's Mate, and later became Master, of the Endeavour.
|18 miles of rope, 28 sails, 127' mast|
|The firehearth, the height of modernity in 1768 ...|
When I was in Sydney earlier on this year, these stories alone gave me the incentive to visit Endeavour replica, now moored in Sydney Harbour. This ship, commenced in 1988, and finished in 1994 in Fremantle, Western Australia, recreated part of the original Endeavour's journey in the 1990s.
|The Mess Hall, home to 60 men|
For this reason, I dragged my pal and fellow writer, Karen Miller off to the Maritime Museum. Actually, I didn't have to drag her at all, because––guess what––Karen also had an ancestor who sailed aboard the original Endeavour. In fact, he was a senior officer, and outranked poor Richard who didn't get a cabin, but had to mess with the seven midshipmen -- until he replaced the Master who died on the way home.
Karen's ancestor was Second Lieutenant Hicks, who died of TB in Batavia. His moment of fame? He was the first person to sight the Australian coast!
|The Great Cabin, with Joseph Banks' desk.|
|Another of Richard Pickersgill's charts|