Botany Bay is a bay in Sydney, New South Wales, a few kilometres south of the Sydney central
business district. The Cooks River and the Georges River are the two major tributaries that flow into the
bay. Two runways of Sydney Airport extend into the bay.
April 1770, Botany Bay was the site of James
Cook's first landing of HMS
Endeavour on the continent of Australia, after his extensive navigation of
Image of Botany Bay by SPOT
Later the British planned Botany Bay as the
site for a penal colony
. Out of these plans
came the first European habitation of Australia at Sydney Cove.
Black-eyed Sue and Sweet Poll of
Plymouth, England mourning their lovers who are soon to be
transported to Botany Bay, 1792
Archaelogical evidence from the shores of Botany Bay has yielded
evidence of Aboriginal settlement dating back 5,000 years. The
Aboriginal people of Sydney were known as the Eora with sub-groups
derived from the languages they spoke. The people living
between the Cooks
River and the Georges River were the Bidgigal.
On the southern shores of
the bay were the Gweagal. On the northern shore it was the
James Cook's landing
James Cook's landing marked the beginning of
Britain's interest in Australia and in the eventual
colonisation of this new Southern
Initially the name Sting Ray
was used by Cook and other journal keepers on his
expedition, for the stingrays
That name was recorded on an Admiralty chart too. Cook's log for 6
May 1770 records "The great quantity of these sort of fish found in
this place occasioned my giving it the name of Stingrays Harbour".
However, in his journal (prepared later from his log), he changed
to "The great quantity of plants Mr.
and Dr. Solander
this place occasioned my giving it the Name of Botany Bay".
Initially the name Botanist Bay
was also sometimes
First Fleet arrives
Governor Arthur Phillip
Armed Tender "Supply" into the bay on 18 January 1788. Two days
later the remaining ships of the First
had arrived to found the planned penal colony
. Finding that the sandy infertile soil of
the site in fact rendered it most unsuitable for settlement,
Phillip decided instead to move to the excellent natural harbour of
Jackson to the north. On the morning of 24
January the French exploratory
expedition of Jean-François
de La Pérouse was seen outside Botany Bay.
January, the "Supply" left the bay to move up to Port Jackson.
anchored in Sydney
Cove and the British Flag "Queen Ann" was hoisted on
On the afternoon of 26 January, the remaining ships
of First Fleet arrived at Sydney Cove. The good supply of fresh water
in the area led to the expansion of
its population in the 19th century.
Sydney Airport, Australia's largest airport, sits on north-western
side of the bay Botany Bay.
Land was reclaimed from the bay
to extend its first north-south runway and build a second one
parallel to it. Port Botany, to the east of the airport, was built in 1930 and
is the largest container terminal
The land around the headlands of the bay is protected by the
National Parks and
Bay National Park
. On the northern side of the mouth of the bay
is the historic site of La Perouse and to the south is Kurnell. The western shores of the bay feature many
popular swimming beaches including Brighton-Le-Sands On the southern side of the bay, a section of water
has been fenced off under the authority of the National Parks and
Wildlife Service at Towra Point for environmental conservation
Despite being such a busy port, Botany Bay has a diverse marine
population and the area around its entrance is some of the best
scuba diving in the Sydney Metropolitan Area. In recent times the
Botany Bay Watch Project has begun with volunteers assisting to
monitor and protect the Bay Catchment and its unique marine
The world's largest population of Weedy
ever surveyed is found at the ‘Steps’ dive site, on
the southern side (Kurnell) of the Botany Bay National Park. Weedy
Sea-Dragons are just one of hundreds of territorial marine
creatures that are found within Botany Bay. The Eastern Blue
Grouper is the state fish of New South Wales. They are commonly
found following divers along the shore line of Botany Bay.
The mouth of Botany Bay from the air
- Pictorial Memories ST. George: Rockdale, Kogarah, Hurstville
Joan Lawrence, Kingsclear Books, 1996, Published in Australia ISBN
0-908272-45-6, page 3
- http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/about/coll/maps/hist/aus/bb Captain
Cook's map of Botany Bay
- , editor W. J. L. Wharton's footnote to 6 May 1770.
- Ray Parkin,
H. M. Bark Endeavour, Miegunyah Press, second edition 2003, ISBN
0-522-85093-6, page 203.
- Expédition à Botany Bay, La fondation de l'Australie
coloniale, Watkin Tench, préface d'Isabelle Merle, 2006,
- George Forster, Neuholland und die brittische Colonie in
Botany-Bay/New Holland and the British colony at Botany Bay,
translated into English by Robert J. King, Originally published in
Allgemeines historisches Taschenbuch, oder, Abriss der
merkwuridgsten neuen Welt Begebenheiten enthaltend fur 1787,
National Library of Australia, Canberra, 2008, SR 909.7 S768.
- Le texte fondateur de l'Australie, récit de voyage d'un
capitaine de la First Fleet durant l'Expédition à Botany Bay.