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Joseph Banks & James Roberts

The servant’s journal

At just sixteen years of age, James Roberts boarded the Endeavour as servant to the young botanist Joseph Banks. Roberts’ writing shows him to be an observant traveller – as well as the poignant list of people on the Endeavour and their respective fates, Roberts’ journal recorded his weather observations, position of the ship and events on board. 

Roberts later went to live in Banks’ house in Soho Square, London, and died in 1826 aged seventy-four.

"at 6 PM departed this life Furbe Sutherland seaman of a consumtion which he had been troubled with ever since we left Streights of St. Marie"

This story has been developed with the support of the State Library of NSW Foundation.

We would like to acknowledge the generosity of the Bruce and Joy Reid Foundation.