Survivors of the Endeavour

Story of  Endeavour, later scuttled at Dusky Sound in 1796.

© Irene Schaffer

The Endeavour (not to be confused with Cook's Endeavour) arrived at Port Jackson from India in May 1795, with much needed stores for the colony of NSW. She carried 132 cattle, 350 tons of rice and 150 tons of dholl (a type of Indian Cajan Pea that was used to supplement the diet when grain became scarce) Most of the supply on the Endeavour was later condemned.

On 18 September 1795 the Endeavour left Port Jackson with the Fancy to return to India via New Zealand. Bad weather and the leaky conditions of the vessel forced Captain Bampton to scuttle her at Dusky Sound, on the southernmost point of New Zealand. By good fortune they found there an almost complete vessel that had been built by carpenter of the Britannia, Thomas Moore, during a sealing expedition in 1792. The vessel was in excellent condition and was soon completed by the crews of the Endeavour and the Fancy.  Captain Bampton launched the 65 tons schooner and named her the Providence.

With as many officers and people they could carry the Fancy and the Providence sailed for Norfolk Island arriving late in December 1795.  When the Endeavour left Port Jackson she was carrying 50 emancipists, plus nearly as many convicts whose time had not expired, but who had stowed away.  This gave Captain Bampton and Captain Dell and extra problem since they had to be returned to the colony of New South Wales as they were still Government prisoners.

One of the passengers on the Endeavour was James Hatherleigh (Hetherleigh) who came out on the Sirius in 1788 as ship's carpenter . He was probably returning home via India. With him was his wife (Elizabeth Bason who had arrived as a convict on the Charlotte in 1788) and their three children. James agreed to remain at Dusky Sound with the remainder of the castaways and build a boat out of the Endeavour's long boat.  Elizabeth returned in the Fancy to Norfolk Island with the children.

When the vessel was completed they named it the Assistance. Lieutenant-Governor King in his dispatch to His Grace the Duke of Portland on 19 January 1796 (PRO, reel 9 O201/18) referred to the schooner as the Resource (not the Assistance) of 60 tons being built at Dusky Sound. The name may have been changed after Bampton left for Norfolk Island.

Mr. Waine (mate off the Endeavour) sailed her to Port Jackson with as many castaways as there was space for. The Assistant was not very seaworthy and by the time she reached Port Jackson she was leaking badly and those aboard were very weak as they had consumed their small stock of rations. Those left at Dusky Sound were now in great plight and were forced to live on seals and birds.  It was not until the American ship the Mercury was on her way home from Port Jackson in 1797 found them. With these 35 poor wretches the Captain sailed for Norfolk Island. It had been 20 months since they were marooned at Dusky Sound.

[Extracts from Exiles Three Times Over, Profiles of Norfolk Islanders Exiled in VDL 1807-1813 p40. I. Schaffer& T. McKay.

Incidental History of Australasia 1792 - 1796
Dusty Sound Endeavour Wreck and the Kidnapping of Huru and Tuki by Brian Duggan. NZ


The Irish Vanguard by Barbara Hall (profiles of three of the men off the Queen, who were on the Endeavour when she was scuttled at Dusty Sound.


List of Names