Stuart Hetherington reviews “Lying for the Admiralty,” a review of Captain Cook’s voyages of exploration by Margaret Cameron-Ash, and “Sailor Mercenary Governor Spy” by Michael Pembroke.
Cameron-Ash’s book poses the intriguing question – how could Captain Cook, “supposedly the greatest navigator of his age have missed coastal features that even the dullest sailor would have discovered, features as obvious as the Bass Strait?”
Meanwhile Pembroke reveals the astonishing career of Arthur Phillip, a man who held a wide variety of titles including Admiral and Governor. He famously founded the penal colony that later became Sydney.
Pembroke also discusses the intrigue of the day: “spying on each other’s navies was the “great game of the late eighteenth century,” he writes.
Phillip also moved to secure Norfolk Island as quickly as possible after its arrival so as “to prevent it been occupied by subjects of other European powers”.