You are here:

The Endeavour Journal of James Cook

The Endeavour Journal is significant as the key document foreshadowing British colonisation of Australia. It has been cited in countless works on Pacific exploration and on first contacts between Europeans and the indigenous peoples of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. The journal, written between 1768 and 1771, records one of the first English voyages to the Pacific and one of the first in which exploration and scientific discovery, rather than military conquest and plunder, was the expedition’s primary purpose. It is significant for its recording of the exploration of Tahiti and the Society Islands, the first circumnavigation and detailed charting of New Zealand, and the first charting of the eastern coast of Australia.

The Journal is also significant as one of the few substantial manuscripts in the hand of one of the world’s greatest navigators and maritime explorers, James Cook. It is of high significance in the history of British colonisation of Australia and as one of the earliest written records of the indigenous peoples of Polynesia, New Zealand and eastern Australia. It is unique and irreplaceable, as no other journal of this voyage is in Cook’s handwriting. The Endeavour Journal was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World International Register in 2001.

Inscription Number: #1

Year of Inscription: 2001

Physical Location: National Library of Australia

a photograph of Cook's journal in Exhibition gallery

Loui Seselja, Cook’s journal in Exhibition gallery, May 2001,

Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Australia