The Second Voyage of James Cook (1772 – 1775)

The Pacific In The Wake of Captain Cook with Sam Neill
Starts Monday August 27 at 7.30pm AEST


The Second Voyage of James Cook (1772 – 1775)

In 1772, Lieutenant Cook was promoted to Commander. This promotion led to a new expedition to settle once and for all the speculative existence of the Great Southern Continent by ‘prosecuting your discoveries as near to the South Pole as possible’. Two sloops, Resolution and Adventure, under the commands of Commander Cook and Lieutenant Tobias Furneaux respectively, left Sheerness in June 1772 and sailed to Cape Town. The ships became separated in the southern Indian Ocean and the Adventure sailed along the southern and eastern coasts of Van Diemen’s Land before reuniting with the Resolution at Queen Charlotte Sound in New Zealand. The ships explored the Society and Friendly Islands before they again became separated in October 1773.

The Adventure sailed on to New Zealand, where ten of Furneaux’s crew were killed by Māori. Adventure made it back England in June 1774.

Commander Cook and Resolution sailed south from New Zealand, crossing the Antarctic Circle and reaching 71°10’S, further south than any European ship had been before. It then traversed the southern Pacific Ocean, visiting Easter Island, Tahiti, the Friendly Islands, New Hebrides, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island and New Zealand. In November 1774 Cook began the homeward voyage, sailing to Chile, Patagonia, Terra del Fuego, South Georgia and Cape Town. The expedition reached England in July 1775.

Upon his return, Commander Cook was promoted to the rank of post-captain and given an honorary retirement from the Royal Navy, with a posting as an officer of the Greenwich Hospital, effectively a desk job. He reluctantly accepted, insisting that he be allowed to quit the post if an opportunity for active duty should arise.

That opportunity leave his desk at Greenwich arose in 1776.


By: R. J. Hawksworth