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Senator the Hon. Robert Hill
Minister for the Environment
and Heritage
The Hon Peter McGauran MP
Minister for the Arts and
the Centenary of Federation

22 November 1999


The Howard Government has indicated the search for Captain Cook's ship of discovery, HMB Endeavour will continue, despite the first underwater dive proving unsuccessful in locating the wreck.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Robert Hill and Federal Minister for the Arts, Peter McGauran funded a four-week field study undertaken by the Australian National Maritime Museum which aimed to formally identify the last resting place of the Endeavour at Newport, Rhode Island, off the west coast of the USA.

Scientific tests of stone ballast, coal and timber collected by three marine archaeologists from Newport Harbour have now revealed the wreck they were diving on is not the Endeavour.

"It's disappointing this initial search has not been successful, but the four-week excavation has obviously narrowed down the hunt," Senator Hill said.

"Museum staff remain convinced the Endeavour is one of the 12 remaining vessels yet to be surveyed and the historical evidence in this regard is beyond question."

Mr McGauran said the Federal Government looked forward to continue working with the museum as it considers plans for a further archaeological dive in Newport Harbour.

"The museum has already expressed an interest in continuing its search next year and the experience gained by its team of archaeologists will be invaluable in what will undoubtably be an ongoing hunt for the Holy Grail of Australian Maritime history.

"There has been tremendous public interest in this historical venture and I am certain all Australians would welcome further research and surveys to find conclusive evidence.

"It's anticipated future studies of the area will be an international cooperative effort, hopefully with the National Maritime Museum playing a significant leadership role," Mr McGauran said.

"The Endeavour is one of the most important ships in Australia's history. It carried Captain James Cook and his crew from England to Australia and the South Pacific more than 230 years ago," Senator Hill said.

"It's believed that the Endeavour was scuttled in Newport Harbour, Rhode Island during the American War of Independence to prevent it and a number of other vessels from falling into enemy hands."

Jane Henschke, Mr McGauran's Office, 02 6277 7350
Rod Bruem, Senator Hill's Office 02 6277 7640

Commonwealth of Australia