In August and September of 1762 if you were sailing about Newfoundland and happened into the harbours of Placentia, Harbour Grace, Carbonear or St. John’s it is likely that you would have met James Cook.
Captain James Cook, (1728-1779) was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy. He may be best known internationally for his work in the Pacific Ocean, Australia, the Hawaiian Islands, and New Zealand, but it was in Newfoundland where he cut his surveying teeth!!
James Cook first came to Newfoundland in the summer of 1762 giving six years of his life over to the survey of Newfoundland waters.
When he arrived on our shores, most of the island was known only in shadowy outline. When he left he had scientifically surveyed almost all the unknown coasts. His charts with detailed sailing directions and remarks on suitable anchoring, watering and wooding places would serve well into the 20th century.
Governor Graves of Newfoundland was so impressed by the work of Cook that he reported in 1763 that Cook’s attention to detail was “beyond my description.” He continued:
“I have no doubt in a year or two more of seeing a perfect good chart of Newfoundland and an exact survey of most of the good harbors, in which there is not perhaps a part of the world that more abounds”.
Two hundred and fifty years after Cook’s arrival in Newfoundland waters it is time to celebrate his accomplishments.
You are invited to view the charts created by Cook on exhibit at the Rooms Provincial Archives and to join the Newfoundland Historical Society for the Cook Symposium. The opening lecture of the Symposium and reception will be held at The Rooms on Friday September 28 from 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Please note that that the reception will begin at 7:00 PM with a lecture from Dr. Olaf Jenzen to follow at 8:00 p.m.
The Symposium will continue at 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning September 29th at Memorial University’s Engineering Building. Parking is free and located in parking AREA 16, adjacent to the building.
The symposium is free and registration is not required. Come for any or all of the sessions.
For more information on the Cook Symposium: www.nlhistory.ca.
Recommended Website: To view some of Cook’s Charts go to: http://www.heritage.nf.ca/exploration/cooks_charts.html
Recommended Exhibit: Visit the Rooms Provincial Archives Reference Room where five reproductions of the Cook charts are on exhibit.