Botany Basics 101: with Dr Matt Renner & Dr Trevor Wilson


Dr Matt Renner and Dr Trevor Wilson

The HMB Endeavour team has partnered with the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney to bring you our first themed voyage, Botany Basics, which sets sail on 8 – 12 September.

Sailing from Sydney to Newcastle via Pittwater, this special botany themed voyage features two very special guests from the Gardens, Dr Matt Renner and Dr Trevor Wilson.

Dr Renner and Dr Wilson kindly sat with us to tell us what they were most looking forward to about their maiden voyage. Continue reading

Latest technology on an 18th Century ship

I wonder what Captain Cook would think of the latest navigation equipment we are installing on HMB Endeavour? We are getting the ship ready for September when we sail to Newcastle, and what an exciting month of sailing it will be! During the voyage, science and botany will be explored with Dr Trevor Wilson and Dr Matt Renner from the Royal Botanic Gardens, and also astronomy with Fred Watson from the Australian Astronomical Observatory on board.

Andrew Laurie along with John Holden are the brains behind putting together the new ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System) in the chart room. In the days of Captain Cook they used paper charts, (however we still do use paper charts) and along with the ECDIS comes a new Sailor Sat C, a satellite communication system to receive accurate and instant weather and traffic updates. Oh, and we also have the latest radar system available. Andrew says the safety of the crew and passengers is important. “This equipment is a priority in voyaging overseas as well as in Australian waters”.

AndrewAndrew Laurie is our Engineer and the brains behind HMB Endeavour – with a bit of a sense of humour to spice things up a bit. He joined the crew during the Circumnavigation of Australia as an Engineer, came back for the Fleet Review in 2013 and has been with us ever since.

Born in Western Australia his background is fishing, pearling, farming cattle along with square rig sailing & sail training which is his passion.

When I asked him what one of his highlights was on HMB Endeavour he said: “a day when the toilet alarm doesn’t go off and I have to fix it (the black water tank alarm)”. That’s a highlight?! “That, and also when we turn the engines off and we REALLY GO SAILING”. However the best part, he says, is arriving back at port after a long voyage with a happy crew who have had the time of their lives.

So Andrew, where do you see yourself in the next two years? “I would like to be on board the HMB Endeavour on an international voyage”.

By Rina Timpano, Voyage Coordinator, HMB Endeavour

Introduction to Endeavour

I would like to introduce myself. My name is Rina and I am the new Voyage Coordinator for HMB Endeavour. It has been two months since I started in this position and – let me just say – I am loving my work.

My day at the office

My day at the office


When I first began, I was lost in some of the nautical terms the crew were using – for example; the ‘yard’ I thought was a measurement or a backyard, rather it is a spar on the mast on which the sails are set. I have started understanding the nautical language with thanks to the Captain and crew for being patient and answering my many questions. My partner is surprised by how much of the nautical terminology I have picked up already!


Discussing the upcoming voyages while making repairs to the main yard.

Capt. John and 1st Mate Anthony Discussing the upcoming voyages while making repairs to the main yard.



HMB  Endeavour is going through some transformations at the moment before setting sail in September. During September we will be voyaging to Newcastle with two botanists from The Royal Botanic Gardens onboard. Dr’s Trevor Wilson and Matt Renner will be giving talks and searching for seeds and new species of plants. Matt Renner has been looking into the botanical collections around the Hawkesbury Bay area, and was surprised at the low number of botanical collections that have been made so far, saying that “this voyage is going to increase our knowledge of an area that we should have known more about already!” The crew onboard are quite welcome to participate in the search for new plant life in The Royal Botanic Gardens research project and who knows what they may find? They may even name a new species after one of the crew. If this or any of our voyages appeal to you please visit

I’ve never realised just how many people are drawn to Endeavour. So many people from diverse cultures and backgrounds, not forgetting the crew that treat her with love and care, through to a NASA Astronaut I met who had returned to earth on the Endeavour space shuttle.

The HMB Endeavour sits in front of the museum with pride. Why not come visit and say hello.

HMB Endeavour sitting with pride

HMB Endeavour sitting with pride

Rina Timpano

Endeavour Voyage Coordinator

National Science Week grant: Endeavouring Science

NSW 2013

2013 National Science Week on HMB Endeavour replica
Photo: A Frolows, ANMM

The museum is pleased to be a recipient of a 2014 National Science Week grant from the Federal Government’s Inspiring Australia program. Our program, Endeavouring Science, looks at how science has both evolved and remained the same from the 18th century to the 21st century, featuring a range of activities located aboard the iconic HMB Endeavour replica as well as activations across the whole museum site. It will cover themes of weather and navigation, biology and botany, signals and communication and the scientific principles that underlie these.

Continue reading

Deferred – In the footsteps of Cook, La Perouse and d’Entrecasteaux

Unfortunately, we’ve continued to have problems finalising the voyage to New Caledonia and reluctantly, we have decided to postpone it. It will occur but probably in April/May next year. In the meantime, we are negotiating with a variety of outside agencies and authorities to cement in the other elements of this year’s program.

It is likely that the ship will sail to Newcastle in September, taking an opportunity to see the coast as Cook did and to understand something of sciences of botany and astronomy. In October/November the ship will sail to Eden on the NSW south coast and participate in the Eden Whale Festival and in January/February next year Endeavour will sail to Hobart for the wooden boat festival. It is also hoped to visit Flinders Island, Maria Island, Port Arthur, Adventure Bay, Port Davey and possibly Macquarie Harbour. The intent is to learn something of the convict history of Tasmania, the hardships of operating square rigged ships in Bass Strait and of course, Cook’s voyage to that part of the world in Resolution.

As soon the details are settled, we will begin posting those voyages on our website.

John Dikkenberg

In the footsteps of Cook, La Perouse and d’Entrecasteaux

Efforts are now well underway to get Endeavour ready for her voyage to New Caledonia. You’ll note that the dates for the voyage have changed slightly. The amended dates avoid clashes with other events underway in New Caledonia and are now:

  • 27 May to 6 June Sydney to Noumea.
  • 10 June to 17 June Noumea to Noumea. Coastal sail and visit Isle of Pines.
  • 19 June to 29 June Noumea to Sydney

The program looks really exciting and for those joining, the voyage provides an opportunity to sail this wonderful ship while going to a new destination. Hopefully you’ll disembark with an appreciation of what Cook and other 18th century explorers achieved, a knowledge of square rig sailing, a love of the sea and a little French language.

If you would like to become involved in this exciting event, full details are now on our website.

Sailing programs on HMB Endeavour

Sailing programs in Cook’s Endeavour are all designed to give those joining an unforgettable experience. Unlike passengers in a cruise liner, those joining this stunning ship do not enjoy a swimming pool, a casino or an evening in the cocktail bar. In fact, the ship is dry. Those joining the ship are not even referred to as passengers but as voyage crew and supernumeraries. The 36 voyage crew help sail the ship, climb the rigging and sleep in hammocks. The four supernumeraries occupy the cabins once the home of Cook’s scientific team including Banks and Solander. Whilst not compelled to crew the ship, the four supernumeraries often find themselves drawn into the same tight knit team of true voyagers.

With no modern sailing aids onboard, crew must climb aloft up to 39 metres to unfurl and furl Endeavour's 17 sails.

With no modern sailing aids onboard, crew must climb aloft up to 39 metres to unfurl and furl Endeavour’s 17 sails.

Continue reading

International Fleet Review and Tall Ships Fesitval Wrap-up

Seventeen tall ships, more than 40 warships, 8000 navy personnel from 19 nations and almost two million visitors flooded into Sydney during the first two weeks of October for the International Fleet Review. The celebration was to commemorate the centenary of the first Royal Australian Navy fleet entry into Sydney Harbour on 4 October 1913, with activities and events spanning nine days.

A wet and overcast day did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm with large crowds venturing out to welcome the tall ships into Sydney Harbour. Lord Nelson, Lady Nelson, Spirit of New Zealand, Tecla, Europa, Coral Trekker, South Passage, Picton Castle and Yukon made the museum their base with their captains and crews a welcome addition to the museums community for the duration of the IFR and Tall Ships festivities.

HMB Endeavour with Picton Castle en route to the Australian National Maritime Museum. Photographer Milo Brogan

HMB Endeavour with Picton Castle en route to the Australian National Maritime Museum. Photographer Milo Brogan

On October 4, the anniversary of the first fleet entry, people crowded to witness seven warships follow the same route as the first Royal Australian Navy vessels into Sydney Harbour. This was an impressive sight with the namesake ships of the original seven, HMAS Sydney, HMAS Parramatta, HMAS Yarra, HMAS Darwin, HMAS Perth, HMAS Bundaberg and HMAS Diamantina, making the journey.

HMAS Sydney followed by HMAS Darwin and HMAS Perth. Photographer Milo Brogan

HMAS Sydney followed by HMAS Darwin and HMAS Perth. Photographer Milo Brogan

The formal ceremony for the fleet review occurred on the Saturday with Governor General Quentin Bryce in the role of Reviewing Officer. This was followed by impressive military displays including aerial displays and flypasts by Australian and visiting aircraft and a spectacular pyrotechnics and lightshow in the evening centred on Sydney Harbour and the Opera House.

Crowds at the Australian National Maritime Museum

Crowds at the Australian National Maritime Museum

The two main days for public access to the ships saw thousands of people visit Garden Island, Barangaroo and the museum wharves in Darling Harbour for a rare chance to get on board the vessels. Crews and hundreds of volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure each day ran smoothly with almost two million visitors enjoying the long weekend. The museum offered various sailing and ferry opportunities that allowed the public and members onto the harbour to see the vessels up close from the water. Additional entertainment was provided by the RAN Navy Band and several visiting bands from the UK, New Zealand, South Africa and Nigeria.

At the end of the review the tall ships gathered in Sydney Harbour for the 2013 Sydney to Auckland tall ship race. The challenging conditions had four vessels retire, with HMB Europa coming home strong to land first place.

Europa overtaking Picton Castle. Photographer Milo Brogan

Europa overtaking Picton Castle. Photographer Milo Brogan

With the review now over, the tall ships remain in Auckland to continue the International Tall Ship Festival and the warships have departed for training activities on the east coast of Australia. We wish all ships a safe journey home and thank all captains, crew, staff and volunteers for their hard work during the nine days of the International Fleet Review and Tall Ships Festival!

International Fleet Review 5 day voyage: Day 4

After an eventful couple of days, we resumed our voyage to Jervis Bay. Although we remain slightly short-handed, we still managed to set the fore and main courses, the fore and main topsails, the spritsail, sprit topsail, fore topmast, main topmast and mizzen staysails and the jib, with the breeze on the quarter, it was time for the crew to take in its surroundings.

Soaking up the sunshine

Soaking up the sunshine

Noting the work put in by them, the routine was relaxed a little and for a lot of the day, the voyage crew were allowed to keep their hammocks slung so they could sleep. If they weren’t all snuggled into their bunks, they took the opportunity on deck to soak up the sunshine and sea air.

Lessons on square rigged sailing

Lessons on square rigged sailing

A feature of sailing in Endeavour is the opportunity to understand square rigged sailing to a better level and the officers and watch leaders had regular sessions during the day on the use of sails and running rigging. This hopefully helped to explain to the voyage crew just what they had been doing over the last few days.

Point Perpendicular

Point Perpendicular

At approximately 1600, as we neared Point Perpendicular, the crew were all called up on deck, to hand in sail, begin furling and range the anchor cable on deck. Under the lee in the northern corner of the bay, the stream anchor was deployed with five shackles of anchor cable. Almost immediately the strong nor’easter eased and the ship settled for the night.

Main Mast

Main Mast

International Fleet Review 5 day voyage: Day 3

After a busy night furling sprits’ls at nearly midnight, wearing ship at 3am and quite lumpy weather, an exciting day was sure to come!

With the crew up and about, the morning meeting was called to let them know of today’s plan. The crew was informed that the ship would be picking up more passengers during the afternoon.

After the meeting, all hands were called for sail handling as the ship was prepared to motor into Darling Harbour. Arriving off Sydney Heads, the crew was treated to its own naval review as the ship was passed by a large number of warships leaving Australia to return home. Many had come to this country from all over the world to help celebrate the International Fleet Review.

Motoring into Darling Harbour

Motoring into Darling Harbour

Once the naval vessels had cleared the heads, Endeavour made her way through to Darling Harbour where we rendezvoused with the museum’s tender. Radio communications were established and three new voyage crew joined to enjoy some 18th century sailing.

New voyage crew joining the vessel

New voyage crew joining the vessel

We cleared the heads at about 5.30 PM and started making our way south towards Jervis Bay where we plan to anchor tomorrow night. This will give the voyage crew a well earned rest and a taste of this beautiful harbour.

All is well.