1. European Discovery of Wilsons Promontory
The European history of Wilsons Promontory began on the morning of 2nd January, 1798.
On that date George Bass and his six companions, on their famous whaleboat expedition from Port Jackson to Western Port, sighted the ‘high, hummocky land’ which was considered to be that described by Tobias Furneaux who, in the Adventure, had become separated from Cook during the great Second Voyage in 1773. Surely it could be nothing other than the eastward aspect of Furneaux Land!
On the return journey from Western Port easterly gales forced them to shelter in a small, quiet bay which Bass named Sealers Cove. His use of the appellation ‘Sealers’ rather than ‘Seal’ suggests that, perhaps, Bass was not the first mariner to have entered the Cove. Was it so named because he recognised it as a place suited to the needs of a future sealing industry or because he had seen some evidence that sealers already knew the place?
Van Diemens Land sealers and Yankee whalers were, even at that time, busy in the waters of the Southern Ocean and had bases in Van Diemen’s Land. The east coast of this promontory was almost certainly known to some seafarers—sealers among them—but their interests would have been centred on matters other than marine and land surveying and such official activities…
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