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The PANDORA's tender pushing over the reef between New Holland and New Guinea in the year 1791

Date: 1827
Overall: 522 x 543 mm, 3.3 kg
Medium: Watercolour paint, paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Watercolour
Object No: 00006719
Related Place:Torres Strait,

User Terms

    This watercolour attributed to George Tobin of HMS PANDORA depicts the schooner MATAVAI making its way through the Torres Strait in 1791. Originally built on the beach at Matavai Bay, Tahiti by BOUNTY mutineer James Morrison, the schooner was used as a tender to HMS PANDORA during its search of the Pacific Islands for any trace of the BOUNTY.
    SignificanceThis watercolour is significant as a depiction of the schooner MATAVAI built at Tahiti by mutineer James Morrison - boatswain's mate aboard the BOUNTY. It is attributed to George Tobin who sailed as Third Lieutenant on HMS PROVIDENCE on Bligh's second breadfruit voyage.
    HistoryOn 24 May 1789, while under the command of Captain William Bligh, His Majesty's Armed Vessel BOUNTY was taken over by 25 mutinous crew members, led by Fletcher Christian. Bligh was placed with 18 of his supporters in one of the ship's boats and cast adrift in the South Seas near Tonga. Once news of the BOUNTY mutiny reached England in March 1790 the Admiralty dispatched the frigate HMS PANDORA under the command of Captain Edward Edwards to search, locate and apprehend the 25 mutineers.

    The MATAVAI, originally named the RESOLUTION, was built at Tahiti by mutineers from the BOUNTY. After the departure from the Island on 23 September 1789 of Fletcher Christian and the BOUNTY, the remaining men began construction of a schooner. Former boatswain's mate of the BOUNTY James Morrison took charge of the project. Unfortunately for the mutineers, the RESOLUTION was still at Tahiti when HMS PANDORA arrived. Captain Edwards of PANDORA took the RESOLUTION as his tender and renamed it MATAVAI. It was outfitted with new sails and rigging, and manned by a master's mate, a midshipman, a quartermaster and six crewmen.

    The PANDORA and MATAVAI continued sailing west in search of the remaining mutineers and the missing BOUNTY. Six weeks after leaving Tahiti, MATAVAI became separated from PANDORA off the Samoan Islands. While attempting to enter the Great Barrier Reef near Cape York in August 1791, PANDORA ran aground and sank. Thirty-five men died including four of the mutineers, and the remaining survivors sailed the ship's boats to Batavia. En route to Batavia, Captain Edwards was surprised to be reunited with the missing MATAVAI and its crew who had successfully transited the Torres Strait, only to be arrested by Dutch authorities at Coupang as BOUNTY mutineers!

    Additional Titles

    Web title: The PANDORA's tender pushing over the reef between New Holland and New Guinea in the year 1791

    Primary title: The PANDORA'S tender pushing over the reef between New Holland and New Guinea in the year 1791, attributed to George Tobin

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