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Endeavour; Captain William Wright Bampton

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Surnames/tags: New South Wales Shipping Sealers and Whalers
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Endeavour sailed from N.S.W. in 1795

note: not to be confused with Captain James Cook's naval vessel Endeavour (1764); or with Endeavour, the first Bass Straight sealing vessel (Capt. Joseph Oliphant) to work out of Dusky Bay from 1803. [1]

ENDEAVOUR was a ship of 280 tons of unknown provenance, commanded by Captain William Wright Bampton who had been contracted in Sydney by Lieutenant-Governor Grose, of New South Wales, to supply the Australian colony with cattle and grain from India.[2] [3] [4] [5]

Endeavour cleared the port of Bombay on the 17th March 1795, with cattle and new season's grain from Surat for the New South Wales Colony.

She arrived in Sydney, N.S.W. on 31st May 1795; remaining in Sydney for repairs

18th September 1795, Endeavour sailed for Dusky Sound, New Zealand en route to India, accompanied by the scow Fancy commanded by Captain E. T. Dell; planning to spend some time seal hunting before sailing for Bombay. Endeavour had barely cleared the heads when 40 or more escaped convict stowaways and deserters from Botany Bay were discovered aboard, including one woman, Ann Carey. Four of the stowaways are found to be carpenters; their skill would become essential to the ultimate survival of Endeavour's crew. [6]

Crossing the Tasman, Endeavour encountered a heavy northwesterly gale, on the 3rd October Endeavour began to leak and it was all hands to the pumps for three days, with no further log entries until 12th October, when both Endeavour and Fancy are recorded anchored in Facile Bay, Dusky Sound. [7] [8]

12th October, Endeavour and Fancy arrived in Facile Bay, Dusky Sound. Elizabeth Heatherly and Ann Carey (both from the First Fleet transport ship Charlotte 1787) among the convict stowaways become the first known European women to have visited New Zealand.

A complete survey of Endeavour was made, following which a decision was made to condemn her. A few years earlier, a sealing party from the trader Britannia (Captain William Raven) had been left ashore in Dusky Sound from November 1792 to September 1793, erecting a house and a wharf at Luncheon Bay, and almost completing the construction of a new vessel of between 60 and 70 tons, before being picked up again by Britannia ten months later. Fortunately for the crew of Endeavour, the vessel partially built by Britannia's sealers was still on the stocks, recorded by Captain Raven as "a small vessel of forty feet six inch keel, thirty-five feet in length upon the deck, sixteen feet ten inches extreme breadth, and twelve feet hull... skinned, ceiled and decked, and with the work of three men or four men for one day should be ready for caulking. Her frame and crooked pieces are cut from the timber growing to the mould. She is planked, decked and ceiled with the spruce fir (rimu), which, in the opinion of the carpenters, is very little inferior to the English oak.... Her construction is such that she will carry more by half than she measures, and I am confident that she will sail well. The carpenter has great merits, and has built her with that strength and neatness which few ship-wrights belonging to the merchant service are capable of performing.” [9] [10]

Endeavour was hauled into a tight nook in the bay. [11] All hands were set to work dismantling Endeavour, the supplies and ammunition were placed on board the Fancy, the rigging, masts and cables were taken ashore. Two of the guns were lost when a raft capsized. [12] [13] [14] [15]

The crew and the convict stowaways quickly finished building the boat begun by Britannia's crew, rigging it out as a schooner they named Providence.

In all, with the crews of Endeavour and Fancy and Endeavour's stowaways, there were 244 people ashore in Dusky Sound. The plan for their evacuation was that Captain Dell would command the Providence which would carry 90 men, and Captain Bampton command the Fancy with 64 men. With 90 on board, Providence left Dusky Sound on 7th January 1796 and arrived at Norfolk Island 12 days later. The Endeavour’s longboat would be refitted as an ocean-going vessel by the shipwright James Heatherly, and commanded by Mr. Waine to take off the balance of those ashore; though leaving four including Ann Carey, in charge of the surplus stores left ashore at Dusky Sound until relieved by a vessel which would be sent out from India. [16]

Captain Bampton to Lieutenant-Governor King [17]
"scow, Fancy, off Norfolk Island, Jauary 19, 1796.
I beg leave to acquaint you that I sailed from Port Jackson (Coromandel) in the Endeavour with the Fancy September 19, 1795, but having unfortunately suffered the disaster of the Endeavour being shipwrecked, and having only a few days provisions of rice alone to subsist upon, and that at half allowance, under such unfortunate circumstances I have taken the liberty of requesting your humane assistance for such necessary supplies as I stand in need of, and his Majesty's stores will admit to enable me to return to India. I also beg leave to inform you that I have between 25 and 30 people who secreted themselves on board the Endeavour, unknown to me or any of the officers, whose time of transportation is not yet expired. I therefore hope you will be so kind as to send boats and a guard to take them on shore; as likewise, a number of others whom I permitted by leave of Governor Hunter to have a passage to India, but, from my unfortunate situation, cannot take them farther.
Despatch [18]
Norfolk Island, January 19, 1796
I have the honour to enclose lists of persons landed here from the Fancy (scow) and Providence (schooner). They are real objects of pity, being so debilitated from extreme hunger that it will be some time before any labour can be got from them. Captain Bampton informs me that in Dusky he left a schooner of 60 tons almost built, which may be expected here with the remainder of the people belonging to the Endeavour in about three weeks. It may be necessary to explain, the loss of that ship was occasioned by stress of weather, which compelled the master and officers to run her ashore at Facile Harbour, Dusky Bay, where she lies bilged. Such stores belonging to the wreck as could not be taken away by the three small vessels are left at Dusky Bay in storehouses, under the care of four men who are to remain there, until a vessel can be sent from India to take them off.,

In March 1796, Endeavour’s longboat, now named Assistance, with a small crew of seamen and convicts left Dusky Bay for Norfolk Island; leaving thirty five people behind in Dusky Bay. [19]

Despatch : the Governor of N.S.W. to the Home Office [20]
Sydney, January 10, 1798
In the accounts received from Norfolk Island, an American scow, the Mercury, which had refitted here, having called in there (Norfolk Island) and landed 35. people left at Dusky when the ship Endeavour was lost about twenty months before. As I had long been apprehensive some of these people might still be in that melancholy situation, upon the master of this American having offered to go thither and take off such people as he might find, and land them on Norfolk Island, on condition that I would permit his taking from the wreck what stores he might want, I refused my sanction to his taking anything from the wreck, but said he might make what terms he could with the people he might find belonging to her, and that I would give him a letter to the commanding officer at Norfolk Island to permit his landing these people. This service he has performed under many difficulties, and has sent me a copy of his agreement with these unfortunate people, whose deplorable situation for so long a time had given me so much concern.

In 1801, George Bass called at Dusky Sound in the ship Venus, and stripped the iron from Endeavour's hulk, and forged the scrap iron into axes, which were later traded in Tahiti for pork. [21]

  1. Murihiku: A History of the South Island of New Zealand etc: First Sealers Arrive, 1803 to 1805
  2. some sources say she was an East Indiaman, she is not listed among Ships of the East India Company
  3. An East Indiaman of the East India Trading Company was a specific type of vessel Pirates Fandom Talk: HMS Endeavour
  4. Murihiku: A History of the South Island of New Zealand etc. ch: 9 Wreck of the Endeavour; says Endeavour was a ship of 800 tons
  5. Earlier, Captain William Wright Bampton, of the ship Shah Hormuzear had been contracted in Sydney by Lieutenant-Governor Grose, of New South Wales, to supply cattle and grain from India. She departed Sydney on April 21st 1793, reaching Bombay February 1st 1794. The Neptune, the first vessel despatched by Captain Bampton from India in fulfilment of his contract was lost soon after her departure from Bombay. No other vessel suitable for the carriage of cattle over a great distance was available until in May 1794, when the ship Endeavour arrived in Bombay and was purchased by Captain Bampton. Extensive delays caused by the necessity to dock and refit the Endeavour, and the delay for the right season in which to transport the cattle from Surat (Gujarat, India) then land them for two months for condition before sailing.
  6. " Saturday 19th. We this evening found, that; in spite of all our vigilance, upwards of 40 Men & 1 Woman had found means to secret themselves in the ship, -- and had escaped the search." added next day, a note "Of the convicts mentioned on Saturday 4 are Carpenters this may look as if we had conceald them but I am certain it was not the case." September 19th; Murry's Journal
  7. Sunday 4th October: Murry's Journal
  8. Notable Events at Dusky Sound - Some Famous Old Ships and their Story by A. Shanks in The New Zealand Railways Magazine vol:ll issue:12 March 1st 1937
  9. Notable Events at Dusky Sound - Some Famous Old Ships and their Story by A. Shanks in The New Zealand Railways Magazine vol:ll issue:12 March 1st 1937
  10. There have been suggestions that Captain Brampton had plans to scuttle Endeavour in Dusky Bay see Dusky Sound Looms Large in Otago Daily Times 19th April 2019 informing the reader that this story came from researcher Robert McNab who had discovered the log of Captain Robert Murry fourth officer of the Britannia held at the Essex Institute in Salem, Massachusetts.
  11. "Captain Fairchild, of the New Zealand Government steamer Hinemoa, who visited the wreck in 1878, said the Endeavour was in a little nook, or pocket, so small that it was impossible for her to sail in. She must have been hauled in by ropes made fast to trees." Dive Pacific : Endeavour Wreck 1795 by Sophie Fraser
  12. These guns were salvaged by Kelly Tarlton in 1984 and a report was completed following the research conducted by Sarah Kenderdine and Angela Boocock, who are both maritime archaeologists. MAANZ Maritime Archaeology
  13. The captain's report would record that on the 25th October, Endeavour was set adrift, and on the 27th struck a rock and sank in Facile Bay. Notable Events at Dusky Sound - Some Famous Old Ships and their Story by A. Shanks in The New Zealand Railways Magazine vol:ll issue:12 March 1st 1937
  14. Wikipedia : Dusky Sound
  15. Otago Daily Times 18th April 2019
  16. Providence is said to have been lost in Batavia Notable Events at Dusky Sound - Some Famous Old Ships and their Story by A. Shanks in The New Zealand Railways Magazine vol:ll issue:12 March 1st 1937
  17. Historical Records of New Zealand South : Dusky Sound
  18. Historical Records of New Zealand South : Dusky Sound
  19. Wikipedia : Prior to 1800 in New Zealand
  20. Historical Records of New Zealand South : Dusky Sound
  21. Encyclopaedia of N.Z. : Dusky Sound


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Created Category: Australia, Convict Stowaways and added it. I've seen a few other stories of convicts trying to escape in this way. Also, well done finding the Underwoods Valerie!
posted by [Living Turner]