In 1768 Lieutenant James Cook, RN, set sail in Endeavour on a voyage of exploration and scientific investigation. After observing the transit of Venus across the sun at Otaheite in the Pacific, Cook sailed south-west to disprove or otherwise the existence of a 'Great South Land'.
By 1770 Cook had reached New Zealand. He circumnavigated and completely charted the north and south islands before continuing west. In April, he sighted the east coast of New Holland (now called Australia) and sailed north along the coast before anchoring in what he named Botany Bay.
He then continued north to Cape York and on to Batavia in the then Dutch East Indies (Jakarta, Indonesia). During the four months voyage along the coast Cook charted the coastline from Point Hicks (Victoria) to Cape York (Queensland) and proclaimed the eastern part of the continent for Great Britain.