Endeavour: Seven Times A Supernumerary

Marie-Antoinette Burton. Image: ANMM.

Marie-Antoinette Burton. Image: ANMM.

A blog series from on board the Australian National Maritime Museum’s HMB Endeavour replica as it sails from Adelaide to Port Lincoln. See our Sail the Endeavour page to learn more about joining voyages like this.

Marie-Antoinette Burton, born in St Helen’s, Lancs, is an eight times voyager on HMB Endeavour, seven times as a Supernumerary.

Her love of the sea began in 1957, at the age of six, when she emigrated with her parents aboard the SS Australia. It was the expanse of the sea and sky, the motion of the ship and the excitement of it all that sparked a love that took a few decades to finally find fulfilment.


Life intervened, growing up in Brisbane she graduated from the University of Queensland in 1975 with an Undergraduate Degree in Medicine and worked up and down the Queensland coast from Brisbane to Nambour, Rockhampton and Tully. She married her husband Keith, a Neurologist, at Innisfail in 1977 and relocating to Newcastle so that Keith could complete his Post-graduate training. Marie obtained her Post-graduate Degree in Medical Administration from the Royal Australian College of Administrators. Melbourne, in 1992 and a Masters in Bio-ethics from Monash University in 1997.

Her love of sea the developed over the years mainly in the area of watersports and in cruises around the Greek Islands and along the Alaskan coast but it was a trip on a catamaran through the Barrier Reef in 1990 that really cemented her love of sailing and of the sea.

An advertisement in 2012 for the circumnavigation of Australia aboard HMB Endeavour was her introduction to what has become a long-term relationship. Unfortunately all the berths had booked out before she was able to make contact but she was determined that she was going to sail on the Endeavour. It was in 2014 that this desire was fulfilled with 3 voyages along the NSW coast.

The first one was as a Supernumerary sailing to Pittwater and Off-shore, the next one was Newcastle to Port Stevens to Sydney as a Voyage Crew and the third one was Sydney to Eden for the Whale Festival as a Supernumerary. Having experienced both Supernumerary and Voyage Crew, Marie decided that she would prefer to travel as a Supernumerary, which she has done another five times; Hobart to Sydney in 2015 and this year, Sydney to Geelong, Geelong to Adelaide, Adelaide to Port Lincoln and Port Lincoln to Portland.

The reasons Marie keeps coming back to the Endeavour are that she loves the ship, the ship’s company, Fellow voyagers, being at sea, the fresh air, being surrounded by the sky and the water, which she finds therapeutic. Having slept in both Solander’s cabin and Banks’ cabin she prefers the Banks cabin but Marie misses the portholes as they bring the sea to you when you are below deck.

Travelling as a Supernumerary, for Marie, is fun particularly as you can be involved in every aspect of sailing the Endeavour or not as you wish.

Another reason as to why Marie keeps returning is that on the Geelong- Adelaide leg she celebrated her 65th birthday and her own words “it was the best birthday ever” notwithstanding a beautiful birthday cake that Alan, the Chief Cook, baked for her.

Marie is determined to continue sailing aboard the Endeavour and is looking forward to the next voyage, no matter where it is going to.

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