George Bass | British explorer | webob.info
George Bass (), surgeon and sailor, was born on 30 January Henry Waterhouse was in command and Matthew Flinders master's mate when. George Bass was an English surgeon and sailor. Once they arrived in Australia , Bass and Matthew Flinders began exploring and charting, Did You Know?. Apr 11, Adventures of Matthew Flinders and George Bass . This met with no opposition, for the natives did not know what the powder was; but when.
He was back in eight days with specimens of the coal and a report of its abundance around Coalcliff. He was granted permission to explore the southern coast and given a well fitted whale-boat, 28 feet 7 inches long 8. In this open boat with six volunteers and six weeks provisions he left Port Jackson on 3 December In the next eleven weeks, despite boisterous weather, he travelled some miles kmfound the Shoalhaven River, Twofold Bay, Wilson's Promontory and Western Port and deduced from the great swell and the direction of the tides that a strait separated the mainland from Van Diemen's Land.
On 7 October he set out again to make sure. In the Norfolk, a ton sloop built at Norfolk Island, he sailed with Flinders and twelve weeks provisions, under orders to pass through the strait and return by the south of Van Diemen's Land.
His journal of the voyage, quoted in David CollinsAn Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, abounds in observations on Aboriginals, plants, birds and animals, and on the geographical and geological features of the islands that were visited.
Biography - Matthew Flinders - Australian Dictionary of Biography
On 1 November they found the Tamar estuary and three weeks later rounded North West Cape to breast the westerly swell of the southern Indian Ocean. They returned to Port Jackson on 12 January ; in April Bass was elected a member of the Linnean Society, London, and his scientific works on the anatomy of the wombat, the feeding habits of the swan, and the nesting behaviour of the white-capped albatross were published.
By this time Bass was tiring of poor pay, small prospects and comparative inactivity as a surgeon. He was impressed by the fortunes awaiting trading shipowners in the south Pacific, and particularly by Charles Bishop whose venturesome projects had brought him to Port Jackson in the Nautilus with a cargo of seal skins and oil which he proposed to sell in China.
Rather than wait for the Reliance to return to England, and described in the ship's muster book as medically unfit, Bass decided to sail with Bishop in May In July they found the little-known group of Bass Islands, some of which he charted and named, his work being noted in the charts dedicated to him in by Alexander Dalrymple.Fatal Shore - The Incredible Journey with Gary Kent
At Macao Bishop sold his cargo and the Nautilus at good profit and they sailed for Bombay. This chart, the first of any accuracy, was published in London in He reached England in the Woodford at the end of July There he was given twelve months leave by the Medical Board and became free to work with Bishop in organizing a commercial venture.
Bass also fell in love with Elizabeth, the eldest sister of his former captain, Henry Waterhouseand on 8 October they were married at St James's Church, Piccadilly.
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For the next ten weeks they were constantly together and she went with him in the Venus to Portsmouth. They parted sadly when the Venus sailed on 9 January Unfortunately other speculators were ahead of them.
Bishop and Bass arrived at Port Jackson to find the market glutted and their goods unsaleable. Hoping to clear their debts, Bass contracted with Governor Philip Gidley King to make a voyage to the south sea islands for pork for the government.
The London cargo was left in Sydney and they sailed for New Zealand; after leaving Dusky Bay, they discovered near Cape West some large sounds which they named the Inlets of Venus, and further north an island which they named after Bishop's friend, Lord Bolton.
At Matavai Bay, Otaheite, Bishop went ashore to set up a trading post, while Bass took the brig to buy pork and salt from the Sandwich Hawaiian Islands. With creditors still to be satisfied and his crew to be paid, Bass prepared for a whaling and sealing voyage to New Zealand, but Bishop had fallen ill and an opportunity arose to run a cargo to South America, perhaps some of his unsold London goods.
They sailed out of Port Jackson early in the morning of March 25,and stood a little off to sea, to be ready for the sea breeze. On coming in with the land in the evening, instead of being, as they expected, near Cape Solander, they found themselves under the cliffs six or seven leagues to the southward, whither the boat had been drifted by a strong current.
Not being able to land, and the sea breeze coming in early next morning from the northward, they steered for two small islets, six or seven miles further on, in order to get shelter; but, being in want of water, and seeing a place on the way where, though the boat could not land, a cask might be obtained by swimming, the attempt was made, and Bass went on shore. Whilst getting off the cask, a surf suddenly arising farther out than usual, carried the little boat before it to the beach, and left them there with their arms, ammunition, clothes, and provisions thoroughly drenched, and partly spoiled.
The boat was emptied, and launched again immediately; but it was late in the afternoon before everything was rafted off, and they proceeded to the islets. Here they found it impossible to land, and they went on to two larger isles, which proved to be Captain Cook's Red Point. The isles were inaccessible as the others, and, it being dark, the two adventurers were constrained to pass a second night in "Tom Thumb," and dropped the large stone which they used for an anchor in seven fathoms of water, under the lee of the point.
The sea breeze on the next day still opposed their return, and, learning from two natives that no water could be procured at Red Point, the voyagers accepted their offer of piloting them to a river which, they said, lay a few miles further southward, and where not only fresh water was abundant, but also fish and wild ducks.
These men were natives of Botany Bay, whence it was that Flinders and his companion understood a little of their language, whilst that of some others was altogether unintelligible. Their river proved to be nothing more than a small stream, which descended from a lagoon under Hat Hill, and forced a passage for itself through the beach, so that they entered it with difficulty even in "Tom Thumb.
After rowing a mile up the stream, and finding it to become more shallow, the explorers began to entertain doubts of securing a retreat from these people, should they be hostilely inclined, and they had at that time the reputation at Port Jackson of being exceedingly ferocious, if not cannibals. The muskets were not yet freed from rust and sand, and there was a pressing necessity to procure fresh water before attempting to return northward.
Under these embarrassments they agreed upon a plan of action, and went on shore directly to the natives.
This met with no opposition, for the natives did not know what the powder was; but when they proceeded to clean the muskets, it excited so much alarm that it was necessary to desist. On inquiring of the two friendly natives for water, they pointed upwards to the lagoon, but, after many evasions, their little barrel was filled at a hole not many yards distant.
After making careful observations of the coast, in the course of which they discovered an important stratum of coal running through the cliffs, they began to turn homeward. On the 29th, by rowing hard, they got four leagues nearer home, and at night dropped their stone under another range of cliffs. The wind, which had been unsettled and driving electric clouds in all directions, burst out that night in a gale from the south, and obliged them to get up the anchor immediately, and run before it.
In a few minutes the waves began to break, and the extreme danger to which this exposed the little barque was increased by the darkness of the night, and the uncertainty of finding any place of shelter. The shade of the cliffs over their heads, and the noise of the surfs breaking at their feet, were the directions by which their course was steered parallel to the coast.
Bass kept the sheet of the sail in his hand, drawing in a few inches occasionally, when he saw a particularly heavy sea following. His friend was steering with an oar, and it required the utmost exertion and care to prevent "broaching to" they knew that a single wrong movement, or a moment's inattention, would have sent them to the bottom.
Meanwhile, the task of the boy was to bale out the water which, in spite of every care, the sea threw in upon them. After running nearly an hour in this critical manner, some high breakers were distinguished ahead, and behind them there appeared a range of cliffs. It was necessary to determine, on the instant, what was to be done, for their barque could not live ten minutes longer.
Australian Dictionary of Biography
On coming to what appeared to be the extremity of the breakers, the boat's head was brought to the wind in a favourable moment, the mast and sail taken down, and the oars got out. Pulling them towards the reef during the intervals of the heaviest seas, they found it to terminate in a point, and in three minutes they were in smooth water under its lee.
A white appearance, further back, kept them a short time in suspense; but a nearer approach showed it to be the beach of a well-sheltered cove, in which they anchored for the rest of the night. We thought 'Providential Cove' a well-adapted name for this place; but by the natives, as we afterwards learned, it is called Watta-Mowlee.
In December of the following year, Bass was so fortunate as to obtain leave to make an expedition to the southward, and for this purpose he was furnished with a boat very much better than "Tom Thumb," but still ludicrously unadapted to the importance of the undertaking.