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Blog post from Saturday, 14 February, 2015

On this day, 14th February 1779, Captain James Cook was killed in Hawaii.

Captain James Cook completed three major voyages of discovery. On his first, departing in 1768, he commanded the ‘Endeavour’ on an expedition to chart the transit of Venus. He returned to England in 1771, having also circumnavigated the globe, including exploring and charting New Zealand and Australia’s eastern coast. On his second journey 1772-1775, he commanded the 'Resolution’ and the 'Adventure’ on an expedition to the South Pacific, disproving the rumour of a great southern continent, exploring the Antarctic Ocean, New Hebrides and New Caledonia.

On his third journey, commencing in 1776, Cook visited and named the Sandwich Islands, now known as Hawaii, and unsuccessfully sought a northwest passage along the coast of North America. Returning from this journey, he stopped at Hawaii again. After a boat was stolen by natives, he and his crew had an altercation with the Hawaiians. On 14 February 1779, Cook was speared by Hawaiian natives.

Read more - Discover Collections - State Library of New South Wales

Carved ditty box shaped like a coffin on silver stand, containing a rough watercolour sketch of the death of Cook, including a lock of Cook’s hair, ca. 1779 / carved by sailors on Cook’s last ship HMS Resolution

From the collections of the State Library of New South Wales