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Blog post from Wednesday, 10 December, 2014

Arthur Bowes Smyth - drawings from his journal `A Journal of a Voyage from Portsmouth to New South Wales and China in the Lady Penrhyn …’, 1787-1789

Sir Joseph Banks – Endeavour journal, 15 August 1769 - 12 July 1771

The first known recorded use of the word kangaroo in the English Language

In the margin of the pages seen above the word “kanguru” can be seen. This is said to be the first recorded instance of the word “Kangaroo” being used in the English language. It was written by botanist Joseph Banks on board the Endeavour on 12th July 1770 near Cooktown in North Queensland. The HMS Endeavour was under the command of Lieutenant James Cook and was beached for almost seven weeks to repair damage sustained on the Great Barrier Reef. During this time Sir Joseph Banks interacted with the local Guugu Yimithirr people.

This is the one of the earliest known recordings of an Indigenous language from Australia, made available through the Rediscovering Indigenous Languages project. Click here to visit the website and discover more language material kept in the Mitchell Library.

To find more about Sir Joseph Banks’ Endeavour Journal in the State Library of New South Wales’ catalogue, click here.