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Blog post from Wednesday, 4 June, 2014


The Royal Society accepted James Cook to convey the scientific staff of the expedition to observe the transit of Venus due to occur on 3rd June 1769. Cook left England on Aug. 12, 1768 and, after the momentous discovery of New South Wales, arrived at Otaheite [i.e. Tahiti] on April 13, 1769 in plenty of time to build an observatory to carefully measure the transit across the Sun’s sphere on June 3, an event which occurs only twice within 8 years once every 120 years.

The State Library of New South Wales holds a number of maps relating to this observatory including

A plan of King Georges Island or Otaheite lying in the South Sea, by Lieutenant I. Cook; discovr’d by Captn. Wallice the 19th June, 1767 [cartographic material]