21 August 2015

This is the story of 3 extraordinary men and a goat who were to change the face of navigation and botany forever. In 1768 the Endeavour set sail for southern seas. At the helm was Captain James Cook on a secret mission to locate the fabled southern continent ‘terra australis incognito’.

Sailing with him were Joseph Banks, a natural scientist and passionate plant hunter, and Sydney Parkinson, a botanical artist. The goat just went along for the ride, having already sailed round the world with Captain Wallis and survived three shipwrecks.

The Endeavour, a stalwart converted coal ship, survived storms and near shipwreck on the Barrier reef, guided by Cook’s sublime seamanship. En route to becoming the first Europeans to tread on Australian soil, they became the first to circumnavigate and map the coastline of New Zealand.

Life on board the Endeavour became a maelstrom of activity. Banks often working through the night hunting down over 1000 new plant species. Parkinson, frantically trying to keep up, sketching away in his cramped quarters, surrounded by piles of specimens, working as quickly as he could to capture them before they faded, and fighting off the flies that ate his paint as he worked. The iconic Australian tree Banksia serrata, featured on this print is one of his exquisite drawings.