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Canoe of the Admiralty Island

Date: 1st September 1792
Overall: 809 mm
Medium: Engraving on paper.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00001484
Place Manufactured:London

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    Engraving titled 'Canoe of the Admiralty Island' from a drawing by John Hunter. The image was used in the account of John Hunter's return voyage on the WAAKSAMHEYD from New South Wales 1791 - 1792 and published in 1793.
    SignificanceCaptain Hunter was a pivotal figure in the early colonial history of Australia. His travels and recordings both as an explorer and later Governor are a valuable insight into those early days of travel throughout a much uncharted southern hemisphere.
    HistoryCaptain Hunter had been in charge of the SIRIUS when she was disabled and wrecked in Sydney Bay, Norfolk Island on 19 March 1790. Despite the disaster for the ship, no crew were lost during the event and all managed to get to shore. Hunter and crew were left at Norfolk Island for the next 11 months until being transported back to Port Jackson in 1791. Once there, they secured a return to England aboard the Dutch vessel, WAAKSAMHEYD, under the command of Captain Deter Smit/Detmer Smith> The ship had been hired to transport supplies to the colony of New South Wales from Batavia, although there was much dismay and anger when the supplies were found to be of very poor quality and less than what had been ordered.
    By many accounts Captain Smith, who some blamed for the supply problems, was a difficult man to get along with, being referred to by the British officers on board as "distasteful and barbarous". The tension aboard the vessel on the long voyage home seemed to have lasted until she docked in Portsmouth on 22 April 1792.
    After being court martialled, Hunter was given an 'honourable acquittal' in regard to the loss of the SIRIUS and returned to Australia the following year to take up the position of Governor after the departure of Phillip.
    He published his drawings and recorings in his book 'An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, With the Discoveries That Have Been Made in New South Wales and the Southern Ocean Since the Publication of Phillip's Voyage', published in 1793.
    The Admiralty Islands are a group of eighteen islands in the Bismarck Archipelago, to the north of New Guinea in the South Pacific Ocean.
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