THE LINDA HALL LIBRARY HISTORY OF SCIENCE COLLECTION
Cook's First Voyage 1768-1771
Endeavor, ashore for repairs off
the northeast coast of Australia.
from An Account of the Voyages ... in the Southern Hemisphere
... by Captain Cook. London: Printed for W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1773.
he headed north along the east coast of Australia, the Endeavor
was damaged as Cook navigated the treacherous and then uncharted
Great Barrier Reef. While the ship was being repaired, the crew
explored the area.
Australia provided more plants that were new to the botanists
than any other place visited during the voyage. They collected
so many that Joseph Banks was required to use special techniques
to preserve them, laying them out on sails from the ship to dry
in the sun. Here, as at every anchorage, Banks also collected
greens to supplement the diet of the crew. Ascorbic acid (vitamin
C) was not identified as the reason until the 20th century, but
trial and error had proven the value of both citrus fruit and
green vegetables against scurvy, and Cook applied that knowledge
judiciously. He ordered his men to eat fresh greens when available;
if they refused, they were occasionally flogged. This was the
first long voyage to be distinguished by its success in losing
no men to the dread disease.