A team of marine archaeologists believe they may have found the wreck of Captain James Cook’s famous vessel Endeavour which he used on his historic round-the-world voyage when he discovered Australia.
In April, 1770, the Endeavour reached what is now known as Botany Bay on Australia’s East coast and she returned to Dover in July, 1771. Capt Cook was killed on Feb 14, 1779, in a skirmish with local people in Hawaii.
Built at Whitby, in Yorkshire, in 1764 as a collier, the Endeavour had been acquired by the Admiralty for the scientific expedition to the then Southern Land.
After her epic voyage, the Endeavour became a troop transport during the American War of Independence, 1775-83. In August, 1778, the Endeavour, now renamed Lord Sandwich-2, was one of 13 ships that were sunk to blockade Narragansett Bay to keep out the French who were supporting the American colonists.
In 1993, the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) began a study of the British transports sunk in Newport harbour and located the sites of the wrecks. Since 1999, the Australian National Maritime Museum has participated intermittently in the Newport fieldwork and provided grants in 2016, 2017 and 2018 to support RIMAP’s work.
On Sept 21 this year, archaeologists from both organisations announced that the study had narrowed the search for the Endeavour from the 13 vessels to five and now may be to one or two sites. Of these, the possible site of the Endeavour was just off the Goat Island shore, near Gurneys Resort.