The brig Mercury, commanded by John Henry Cox, Esq., anchored
at the entrance of a deep bay on the south side of Van
1789 Diemen's Land, on July 3, 1789. This bay was then first discovered, and lies N. by W. ten miles from the Mewstone. The country was found to be agreeably interspersed with hills and vallies, and some of the hills were luxuriantly clothed with trees to their very summits. About four miles from the vessel, there was a stream of fresh water; and close to it stood a hut, or rather hovel, neatly constructed of branches of trees and dried leaves. "Around it were scattered a great quantity of pearl; escalop, oyster, and other shells, which had been lately roasted." The fæces of some large animal were met with in every direction; but neither the animal itself nor any of the natives could be found.
July 5. A heavy swell from the southward obliged Mr. Cox to get under way; and he worked along shore to the eastward. His intention was to put into Adventure Bay; but being set to the northward of his reckoning, on the 8th, he discovered, and came to an anchor in Oyster Bay, on the inner side of Maria's Island, the shelter there being found secure, and wood and water plentiful. This bay lies in 42° 42' south, and 148° 25' east, and not more than three or four leagues to the northward of Tasman's Frederik Hendrik's Bay; though Mr. Cox, following in the error of captain Furneaux, seems to have had no idea of this proximity.
Some communication was obtained with the inhabitants of the island; but as nothing in this, or in other respects, was found materially different to what was observed by Mons. Marion and captain Cook in the neighbouring bays, it is unnecessary to enter into the details.
The French rear-admiral, Bruny D'Entrecasteaux, made the
coast of Van Diemen's Land with the intention of procuring wood
- Observations, &c, made during a voyage in the brig Mercury; by Lieut. G. Mortimer of the Marines. London, 1791.