List of Australian places named by James Cook

This is a list of Australian places named by James Cook. James Cook was the first navigator to chart most of the Australian east coast, one of the last major coastlines in the world unknown to Europeans at the time. Cook named many bays, capes and other geographic features, nearly all of which are still gazetted,[1] and most of which are still in use today, although in some places the spelling is slightly different. This is a list of the placenames he used in his first voyage listed from south to north as described on his 1773 chart[2] and in his journals.


Name Date (1770) Reason for naming Coords Notes
Point Hicks 19 April Lieutenant Zachary Hickes, "was the first who discover'd this land"

However, there is no land feature at Cook's coordinates. In 1970, Cape Everard was re-named Point Hicks.

37°48′S 149°16′E spelled his name Hickes, Cook wrote it without the "e"
Ram Head 19 April Ramhead "go in to Plymouth Sound" 37°46′S 149°29′E
Cape Howe 20 April Richard Howe, 1st Earl Howe 37°30′S 149°58′E
Cape Dromedary (Montague Island) 21 April A point running out from under Mount Dromedary. 36°17′S 150°08′E Cook mistook Montague Island for a headland.[3]
Mount Dromedary 21 April "pretty high mountain laying near the shore which on account of its figure I named Mount Dromedary" 36°17′51″S 150°01′00″E now called Mount Gulaga
Batemans Bay 21 April 35°42′S 150°11′E
Point Upright 22 April "on account of its perpendicular Clifts" 35°37′S 150°19′E
Pigeon House 22 April "a remarkable peaked hill laying inland the top of which look'd like a Pigeon house" 35°17′S 150°17′E Marked on chart as Pidgeon House
Cape St. George 23 April discovered on St George's Day 35°10′S 150°45′E now Jervis Bay Territory
Long Nose 25 April "on account of its Figure" 34°48′S 150°40′E now called Beecroft Peninsula (to the north of Jervis Bay)
Red Point 25 April red colour 34°29′S 150°55′E
Point Solander 28 April Daniel Solander, botanist on board 34°00′S 151°14′E to the south of Botany Bay
Botany Bay 28 April – 6 May "The great quantity of plants Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander found in this place occasioned my giving it the Name of Botany Bay" 33°58′S 151°10′E originally Stingray Harbour
Cape Banks 6 May Joseph Banks 33°59′S 151°15′E to the north of Botany Bay
Port Jackson 6 May George Jackson, a secretary of the Admiralty 33°50′S 151°16′E
Broken Bay 7 May "broken land that appear'd to form a bay" 33°34′07″S 151°19′00″E Cook's Broken Bay was the area near Narrabeen Lake.
Cape Three Points 7 May "high land which projected out in 3 bluff Points" 33°29′S 151°26′E between Copacabana and Avoca Beach
Point Stephens 11 May Sir Philip Stephens, Secretary to the Admiralty (176395) 32°44′S 152°12′E On the coast near Fingal Bay, New South Wales
Port Stephens 11 May Sir Philip Stephens, Secretary to the Admiralty 32°41′46″S 152°08′30″E
Black Head 11 May 32°04′S 152°32′E SE of Tinonee
Cape Hawke 11 May Sir Edward Hawke, 1st Baron Hawke, First Lord of the Admiralty 32°12′S 152°34′E
Three Brothers 12 May "3 remarkable large high hills lying Contigious to each other... bore some resemblance to each other" 31°39′52″S 152°46′26″E called separately South Brother (31°44′37″S 152°40′15″E ), Middle Brother and North Brother
Smoakey Cape 13 May "fires that Caused a great Quantity of smoke" on the cape 30°54′S 153°06′E
Solitary Isles 15 May 29°55′S 153°23′E
Cape Byron 15 May John Byron 28°37′58″S 153°38′20″E Easternmost point of Australia
Mount Warning 16 May breakers found within sight 28°23′50″S 153°16′15″E
Point Danger 16 May Point off which shoals lie 28°10′S 153°33′E Cook's Point Danger was Fingal Head – 2n Miles South of the present-day Point Danger on the QldNSW border
Point Lookout 17 May 27°26′S 153°33′E North-eastern point of North Stradbroke Island
Morton Bay 17 May Robert Hinch, 14th Earl of Morton, was President of the Royal Society 27°15′S 153°15′E Moreton was a later misspelling of Morton. What Cook named Morton Bay comprised the Pacific Ocean side of what is now called Moreton Island. The name Moreton Bay is now applied to larger expanse of water on the inland side of Moreton and Stradbroke Islands, comprising the mouth of the Brisbane River.
Cape Morton 17 May James Douglas, 14th Earl of Morton 27°01′S 153°28′E Northern end of Moreton Island
Glasshouse Bay 17 May 27°04′S 153°17′E Cook did not realise it was part of Moreton Bay; between Moreton Island and Bribie Island
The Glass Houses 17 May hills resemble glass houses 26°55′S 152°56′E Now called The Glass House Mountains
Double Island Point 18 May "on account of its figure... the point itself is of such an unequal Height that it looks like 2 Small Islands laying under the land" 25°55′57″S 153°11′12″E
Wide Bay 18 May large open bay 25°54′S 153°08′E Wide Bay–Burnett is used as the region name for the larger surrounding area today. Rainbow Beach is on the bay.
Indian Head 19 May "a number of the Natives were Assembled" there 25°00′S 153°22′E Eastern point of Fraser Island
Sandy Cape 20 May sand 24°41′52″S 153°15′21″E Northern point of Fraser Island
Break Sea Spit 21 May "now we had smooth water, whereas upon the whole Coast to the Southward of it we had always a high Sea or swell from the South-East." 24°25′S 153°13′E shoal projecting north from the north tip of Fraser Island
Herveys Bay 21 May Augustus Hervey, 3rd Earl of Bristol 25°17′7″S 152°52′22″E
South Head 23 May South head of Bustard Bay 24°08′54″S 151°53′09″E Now known as Round Hill Head. Village of 1770 located there, Cook's first landing in Queensland and second in Australia.
Bustard Bay 23 May bustard (bird) 24°06′S 151°49′E
North Head 23 May North head of Bustard Bay 24°01′S 151°46′E Now known as Bustard Head
Cape Capricorn 25 May Tropic of Capricorn 23°28′S 151°13′E NE point of Curtis Island
Keppel Isles 26 May Augustus Keppel, 1st Viscount Keppel 23°10′30″S 150°57′40″E Great Keppel Island largest of the group
Keppel Bay 27 May Augustus Keppel, 1st Viscount Keppel 23°23′S 150°53′E
Cape Manyfold 27 May "from the Number of high Hills over it" 22°41′S 150°50′E
The Two Brothers 28 May 22°42′S 150°59′E
Island Head 28 May 22°20′S 150°39′E
Cape Townshend 28 May Charles Townshend, Lord of the Admiralty 1765-1770[4] 22°12′S 150°29′E northern tip of Townshend Island
Shoal Water Bay 28 May Shoal water 22°22′S 150°22′E
Northumberland Isles 28 May 21°40′S 150°10′E
Thirsty Sound 30 May "by reason we could find no fresh Water" 22°10′S 149°58′E
Bay of Inlets 1 June "the Number of Inlets, Creeks, etc., in it." 22°19′S 149°50′E Named a 100 km region of coastline from Cape Palmerston (south of Mackay) to Cape Townshend (name no longer in use)
Long Isle 1 June 22°07′S 149°54′E
Broad Sound 1 June 22°10′S 149°45′E
Cape Palmerston 1 June Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, Lord of the Admiralty, 176678 21°01′S 149°29′E SE of Carmila
Slade Point 2 June 21°03′S 149°13′E
Cape Hillsborough 2 June Wills Hill, 1st Marquess of Downshire (the Earl of Hillsborough); First Secretary of State for the Colonies, and President of the Board of Trade 20°54′S 149°02′E 30 km NNW of Mackay
Repulse Bay 3 June 20°33′S 148°45′E
Cape Conway 3 June General Henry Seymour Conway, Secretary of State 176568 20°31′S 148°54′E
Whitsundays Passage 4 June discovered on Whitsunday 20°17′S 148°52′E between Hamilton Island, Whitsunday Island and the mainland
Cumberland Isles 4 June Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn, 20°34′S 149°08′E Originally the name for what are now called the Whitsunday Islands; Cook only called the passage Whitsundays.
Cape Gloucester 4 June Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh 20°00′55″S 148°27′18″E Actually an island
Holburn Isle 4 June Admiral Francis Holburne 19°43′S 148°21′E
Edgecumbe Bay 4 June Captain George Edgcumbe, 1st Earl of Mount Edgcumbe commanded the Lancaster in the fleet in North America in 1758 in which Cook served. 20°06′S 148°23′E
Mount Upstart 5 June "because being surrounded with low land it starts or rises up singley at the first making of it" 19°44′S 147°48′E
Cape Bowling Green 5 June 19°18′S 147°24′E
Cape Cleveland 6 June either in honour of a John Clevland the Secretary to the Admiralty around that time, or after Cleveland, England where he was born.[5] 19°10′S 147°00′E Cook spelled the name with an "e", adding to the confusion
Cleveland Bay 6 June 19°13′S 146°55′E
Magnetical Island 6 June "the Compass did not traverse well when near it" 19°08′S 146°50′E Now called Magnetic Island
Palm Isles 6 June 18°44′S 146°35′E
Halifax Bay 8 June George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax was Secretary of State 176365 18°50′S 146°30′E
Point Hillock 8 June 18°25′S 146°21′E on Hinchinbrook Island
Cape Sandwich 8 June John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich 18°14′S 146°17′E on Hinchinbrook Island
Family Islands 8 June 18°01′S 146°10′E
Dunk Island 8 June George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax 17°56′48″S 146°09′22″E
Rockingham Bay 8 June Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham 18°08′S 146°04′E
Double Point 8 June 17°40′S 146°09′E
Frankland Islands 9 June Admiral Sir Thomas Frankland, 5th Baronet 17°09′49″S 146°00′42″E
Cape Grafton 9 June Augustus FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton was Prime Minister when Cook sailed 16°51′55″S 145°55′00″E
Fitzroy Island 9 June 16°56′S 146°00′E
Green Island 10 June "a Low green woody Island" 16°45′S 145°58′E
Trinity Bay 10 June discovered on Trinity Sunday 16°54′S 145°47′E
Cape Tribulation 10 June "because here began all our Troubles" 16°04′S 145°28′E Cook hit a reef here, before changing course, and later that night hitting Endeavour Reef.
Hope Island 13 June "we were always in hopes of being able to reach these Islands" 15°43′S 145°27′E
Weary Bay 13 June 15°54′S 145°22′E
Endeavour River 14 June – 4 August HM Bark Endeavour 15°27′30″S 145°14′00″E Ship beached while repairs conducted, near modern-day Cooktown
Cape Bedford 4 August Probably after John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford, who had been First Lord of the Admiralty, 174447 15°13′S 145°20′E
Cape Flattery 10 August "We now judged ourselves to be clear of all Danger, having, as we thought, a Clear, open Sea before us; but this we soon found otherwise" 14°56′S 145°21′E
Islands of Direction 10 August 14°44′S 145°30′E South Direction Island and North Direction Island
Point Lookout 11 August 14°49′S 145°13′E Not to be confused with the Point Lookout which Cook had earlier so named, being the north-eastern point of North Stradbroke Island.
Lizard Island 12 August "only land Animals we saw here were Lizards, and these seem'd to be pretty Plenty" 14°40′S 145°27′E Lizard Island still enjoys a substantial population of huge monitor lizards.
Eagle Island 12 August "We found on this Island a pretty number of Birds, the most of them sea Fowl, except Eagles; 2 of the Latter we shott and some of the others" 14°41′S 145°22′E
Providential Channel 17 August providence 12°36′S 143°49′E
Cape Weymouth 17 August Thomas Thynne, 1st Marquess of Bath, Viscount Weymouth was one of the Secretaries of State when the Endeavour sailed 12°36′S 143°26′E
Weymouth Bay 17 August Thomas Thynne, 1st Marquess of Bath 12°29′S 143°20′E
Forbes Islands 19 August Admiral John Forbes was a Commissioner of Longitude in 1768, and had been a Lord of the Admiralty 175663 12°17′S 143°24′E
Bolt Head 19 August 12°15′S 143°06′E
Sir Charles Hardy's Isles 18 August 11°55′S 143°28′E
Temple Bay 19 August Richard Grenville-Temple, 2nd Earl Temple, brother of George Grenville, was First Lord of the Admiralty in 1756 12°18′S 143°08′E
Cockburn Islands 19 August Admiral George Cockburn was a Commissioner of Longitude and Comptroller of the Navy when Cook left England. 11°51′S 143°18′E
Cape Grenville 19 August George Grenville 11°58′S 143°15′E
Shelburne Bay 20 August 11°49′S 142°58′E
Orfordness 20 August 11°17′S 142°49′E
New Castle Bay 21 August 10°53′S 142°36′E
York Cape 21 August Prince Edward, Duke of York and Albany 10°41′S 142°31′E Although Cook applied the name York Cape only to the northern tip, the name Cape York Peninsula is now applied to the entire promontory between the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Coral Sea (Pacific Ocean).
York Isles 21 August Prince Edward, Duke of York and Albany 10°41′S 142°31′E
Possession Island 22 August "in the Name of His Majesty King George the Third took possession of the whole Eastern coast from the above Latitude [38°S] down to this place by the Name of New Wales1"

However, the Admiralty's instructions [6] did not authorized Cook to annex New Holland (Australia), so there was no possession ceremony. Cook re-wrote his hilltop signalling drill as a possession ceremony when he learnt that the French had preceded him across the Pacific.[7]

10°43′36″S 142°23′49″E 1"The Admiralty copy, as well as that belonging to Her Majesty, calls it New South Wales."
Prince of Wales's Isles 22 August George Augustus Frederick, Prince of Wales 10°41′02″S 142°11′06″E
Cape Cornwall 22 August 10°46′S 142°11′E SW point of Prince of Wales Island
Wallis Isles 23 August probably after Captain Samuel Wallis, who made a voyage across the Pacific in the Dolphin in 1767, and discovered Tahiti 10°52′S 141°57′E
Endeavours Strait 23 August HMB Endeavour 10°49′S 142°06′E
Booby Island 23 August "mostly a barren rock frequented by Birds, such as Boobies" 10°36′S 141°54′E

See also


  1. Geoscience Australia, place name search
  2. A Chart of New South Wales, or the east coast of New Holland. Cook, James, 1728–1779
  3. Flinders, Matthew (1814), A Voyage to Terra Australis, London: G. and W. Nicol, entry for 3 February 1798
  4. Beaglehole, J.C., ed. (1968). The Journals of Captain James Cook on His Voyages of Discovery, vol. I:The Voyage of the Endeavour 1768–1771. Cambridge University Press. p. 329. OCLC 223185477.
  5. "Gazetteer". Archived from the original on 15 October 2008. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
  6. Beaglehole, J.C. (1968). Cook Journals vol.1. Cambridge: Hakluyt Society. p. cclxxxiii. ISBN 0851157440.
  7. Cameron-Ash, M. (2018). Lying for the Admiralty: Captain Cook's Endeavour Vovage. Rosenberg. p. 183, 190-195. ISBN 9780648043966.
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