Guide to the Journal of Captain James Cook (as filmed by AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

Cook, James, Captain, 1728-1779
Journal of Captain James Cook (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
9 April 1772 - 19 July 1775
Collection Number
2 items
Language of Materials
Australian Joint Copying Project
The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) Online Portal was created with the assistance of the Australian Public Service Modernisation Fund, 2017-2020. The National Library of Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the other foundation AJCP partners, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK, and all other organisations which supported the work of the AJCP, the world's most extensive collaborative copying project, operating from 1948 to 1997.


Scope and Contents

Copy of Journal of Captain James Cook kept on HMS Resolution on his second voyage to the Pacific, 9 April 1772 – 19 July 1775, in two folio volumes (416 and 558 pages).

The inscription on the title page reads "A Journal of the proceedings of His Majesty's sloop the Resolution in a voyage on Discoveries towards the South Pole and round the World by Captain James Cook 1772, 3, 4, and 5.

Conditions Governing Access

Available for Access.

Conditions Governing Use

Many of the records digitised as part of the AJCP are still in copyright. Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the owner of the original material.

Preferred Citation

Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the location of the original material and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.Items from this collection should include references to the location of the original material and to the AJCP nla.obj number, which serves as the online identifier for the digital copy.

Example: M Series: Journal of Capt. James Cook, 18 February-23 September 1770, British Library Add. MS 27885 (AJCP ref:

Archival History

The journal was part of the collection of Dr Jasper Robert Joly (1819-1892), the vicar of Tuam, and was presented to the Royal Dublin Society in 1863. His collection formed part of the foundation collections of the National Library of Ireland in 1877.

Filmed at the National Library of Ireland, Dublin, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1969 (AJCP Reel: M722). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

The National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin. Collection Reference: MSJ 7 (Vol 1) and MSJ8 (Vol 2). For further information see, Captain James Cook at the National Library of Ireland []

The manuscript in the National Library of Ireland closely resembles the journal in the National Maritime Museum, London. It appears to be in the hand of Alexander Dewar, the clerk on HMS Adventure.

Existence and Location of Copies

The original AJCP microfilm of the records filmed from this collection is available at the National Library of Australia [] as well as other institutions holding AJCP microfilm.

Cook's holograph journals of his second voyage to the Pacific are held in the British Library (Add MSS 27886, 27888). They have been filmed by the Australian Joint Copying Project Reel: M1580 ( Other versions of the journal, written by William Dawson, the clerk on HMS Resolution, are in The National Archives of the UK and the National Maritime Museum (UK).

Finding Aid Note

This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP), published by the National Library of Australia in 2019. The original AJCP finding aids were unpublished typescripts or photocopies available from libraries that held copies of the original microfilm.

Dates used in this finding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.

Advisory Statement

Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this Finding Aid contains material and descriptive information which may be considered culturally sensitive and may cause distress, including names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. This Finding Aid contains terms that reflect authors' views or those of the historical period, but which may not be considered appropriate today. While the information may not reflect current understanding, it is provided in an historical context.


Adventure, HMS; Antarctica; Cook, James, Capt.; Exploration: maritime; Naval officers; Pacific Ocean; Resolution,HMS; Royal Navy: exploration and surveys; Royal Navy: voyages


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 111, p40.

Biographical / Historical

James Cook (1728-1779) was born at Merton, Yorkshire and grew up on a farm at Ayton. In 1747 he moved to Whitby and joined the merchant navy, working on colliers and other ships in the coastal trade and later in the Baltic Sea. In 1755 he joined the Royal Navy and in 1757 he qualified as a master. He served in North America during the Seven Years War, taking part in the capture of Louisburg and Quebec, and as master of HMS Grenville he spent five years surveying the coasts of Newfoundland.

In 1768 Cook was promoted to lieutenant and given command of HMS Endeavour on its voyage to the South Pacific. After visiting Tahiti and observing the transit of Venus (the ostensible purpose of the expedition), Cook mapped the entire coasts of New Zealand and the eastern coast of Australia. He returned to England in July 1771 and was immediately promoted to the rank of captain. In 1772 he was commissioned by the Royal Society to search for a southern continent that many believed lay in the high latitudes of the South Pacific. HMS Resolution, accompanied by HMS Adventure, spent nearly three years exploring the extreme latitudes of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans, twice crossing the Antarctic Circle. Using bases in New Zealand and Tahiti, Cook also explored much of the South Pacific, including the Friendly Islands (Tonga), Easter Island, the New Hebrides, New Caledonia and Norfolk Island. In July 1776 Cook, again commanding HMS Resolution, set off on his third great voyage with the aim of exploring the North Pacific and discovering the North West Passage. He discovered the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) and explored the north-western coast of America as far as the Bering Strait. Returning to the Sandwich Islands, he was killed in a skirmish with the Hawaiians in February 1779.

Item Descriptions

Series. Journal of Captain James Cook kept on HMS Resolution on his second voyage to the Pacific, 9 April 1772 - 19 July 1775

2 items

The journal commences when the Resolution was being fitted out at Deptford. It sailed from Plymouth on 13 July 1772 and visited Cape Town (October 1772), Dusky Bay, New Zealand (March-May 1773), Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand (May-June 1773), Tahiti (August-September 1773), the Friendly Islands (October 1773), Queen Charlotte Sound (November 1773), Easter Island (March 1774), Tahiti (April-June 1774), the Friendly Islands (June 1774), the New Hebrides (July-August 1774), Norfolk Island (October 1774), Queen Charlotte Sound (October 1774), Tierra del Fuego (December 1774-January 1775), Cape Town (March-April 1775) and St Helena (April-May 1775). It returned to Portsmouth on 29 July 1775.

The journal contains no original maps or sketches, but 12 engraved charts have been inserted. They include charts of Dusky Bay, the Friendly Islands, Easter Island and Marquesa de Mendoza.

The entries when the ship was at sea, including the lengthy periods in the Southern Ocean, are relatively brief. In contrast, the descriptions of the lands and islands that were visited, and the peoples who were encountered, are substantial. In particular, following his practice in the journal of his first voyage, Cook set down his impressions of the topography, fauna and flora, and resources of the places that he visited and the appearance, manners, customs and artefacts of the indigenous peoples.

Entries of Impressions set down by Cook of particular importance:
  1. 11 May 1773: Dusky Bay
  2. 17 September 1773: Tahiti
  3. 7 October 1773: Friendly Islands (Tonga)
  4. 17 March 1774: Easter Island, including short vocabulary
  5. 12 April 1774: Marquesas
  6. 14 May 1774: Tahiti
  7. 1 July 1774: Friendly Islands (Tonga)
  8. 23 July 1774: Malekula (Vanuatu)
  9. 20 August 1774: Tana (Vanuatu)
  10. 31 August 1774: New Hebrides (Vanuatu)
  11. 13 September 1774: Balade (New Caledonia)
  12. 3 January 1775: Tierra del Fuego (Strait of Magellan)
  13. 21 February 1775: Completion of voyage at high latitudes
  14. 6 April 1775: St Helena
  15. 13 June 1775: Azores

Volume 1 (416 pp.), 9 April 1772 - 14 May 1774 (File)

Volume 2 (458 pp.), 15 May 1774 - 19 July 1775 (File)