The Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mike Noonan, AO, RAN, says confirmation that Australian and US marine archaeologists have found the wreck of Captain Cook’s ship HMB (His Majesty's Bark) Endeavour adds a significant page to Australia’s maritime history.
The Endeavour has been located in Narragansett Bay, off Newport, Rhode Island following an extensive search by experts from the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) and the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP). The ship, which Captain James Cook sailed to Australia in 1770, was scuttled by British forces during the American war of Independence in 1778.
VADM Noonan was in Newport for the US hosted International Seapower Symposium last week. A keen diver, the combined ANMM and RIMAP team invited CN to join them on a dive to the site following his formal engagements.
“It is difficult to say how much of the ship is actually left given the amount of silt that has accumulated over the last 240 years, but what we could see was very exciting,” VADM Noonan said.
“I was able to see a number of cannons, exposed timber and what looked like ballast piles.”
“I felt extremely privileged to be able to visit and share in such a significant piece of Australia’s maritime history.”
In its day, HMB Endeavour was the modern-day equivalent of an Apollo spacecraft – to a Londoner in the 18th century, what James Cook planned to do and how far he planned to travel would have been almost impossible to comprehend.
“Ultimately, Cook was one of the world’s greatest ocean explorers and HMB Endeavour remains integral to our maritime past."
The next steps will be determined by Australian and US authorities. Regardless, the Chief of Navy says simply confirming the Endeavour’s identity is a significant outcome.
“On behalf of the Royal Australian Navy and mariners everywhere, ‘Bravo Zulu’ to the Australian National Maritime Museum and their US colleagues from the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project,” VADM Noonan said.