Sunday, October 4, 2009

This week in 1769 - Captain James Cook's ship's boy sights land In NZ...

This week in 1769 - Captain James Cook's "Endeavour" ship's boy sights land - now known as Young Nick's Head in Poverty Bay..

This week in 1769 Young Nick sights land. Ship's boy Nicholas Young received a gallon of rum and had Young Nick's Head named in his honour for being the first aboard the Endeavour to spot land. One hundred and twenty-seven years had passed since Abel Tasman's Dutch expedition had made the first recorded European sighting of New Zealand.

Captain James Cook noted that ‘at 2 p.m. saw land from the masthead bearing W by N, which we stood directly for, and could but just see it of the deck at sun set.’ When leaving Poverty Bay on 11 October 1769, he confirmed in his journal that the ‘south west point of Poverty Bay … I have named Young Nicks head after the boy who first saw this land.’ Research suggests that the land that young Nick sighted was most likely the mountains to the south of Poverty Bay and not the prominent landmark with which he was famously linked. Little is known of Nicholas Young. He was about 12 years old and was the personal servant of the Endeavour’s surgeon, William Brougham Monkhouse. After this voyage he became the servant of the botanist Joseph Banks, who had also accompanied Cook on his first voyage to New Zealand. In 1772 Young joined Banks on an expedition to Iceland, but no more is known of his later life.

Captain James Cook

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