Forby Sutherland

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Forby Sutherland was a member of the crew of the Endeavour during Lieutenant (later- Captain) Cook's voyage to New South Wales. He died while the ship was in Botany Bay, making him the first British subject to die in Australia and the first European to die in New South Wales.

Life and Death in Australia[edit]

Memorial Stone to Forby Sutherland

Cook logged that Forby Sutherland died of consumption on the evening of 30 April 1770 while the ship was anchored in the Bay, and was buried ashore at Kurnell the following morning.[1] He had been afflicted by that condition ever since leaving the Le Maire Strait.[2] The actual date of burial was 2 May.

Sutherland was an able seaman and also the ship's poulterer (which meant he prepared game birds for the table, including for instance those shot by Joseph Banks and Lieutenant Gore).[3]


Near the landing place, in Kurnell there is a memorial stone, noting that Forby Sutherland was the first British subject to die on Australian soil. The memorial was unveiled on the 29 April 1933.[4]

Henry Kendall wrote a poem called "Sutherland's Grave", in remembrance of Forby Sutherland and his burial in Australia.[5]

Some attribute the name of the Sutherland area as his legacy.[6] Forby Sutherland Memorial Park (34°01′44″S 151°03′14″E / 34.029°S 151.054°E / -34.029; 151.054 (Forby Sutherland Memorial Park)) is in the suburb of Sutherland.[7]

Sutherland Point[edit]

Sutherland Point (34°00′07″S 151°13′19″E / 34.002°S 151.222°E / -34.002; 151.222 (Sutherland Point)) is the headland at the eastern end of Kurnell beach inside Botany Bay, Australia.[8]

The point was named Point Sutherland by Captain Cook, for crewman Forby Sutherland.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Journal of Master's Mate Richard Pickersgill, reproduced in Parkin above
  3. ^ Ray Parkin, H. M. Bark Endeavour, Miegunyah Press, second edition 2003, ISBN 0-522-85093-6
  4. ^ "Memorial Stone at Kurnell". The Sydney Morning Herald. 27 April 1933. p. 12. 
  5. ^ Henry Kendall. The Poems Of Henry Kendall. p. 164. 
  6. ^ "Origin of the names of suburbs and other places". Sutherland Shire Council. Sutherland Shire Council. October 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2016. 
  7. ^ "Forby Sutherland Memorial Park". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. 
  8. ^ Sutherland Point page at Geoscience Australia

Further reading[edit]

  • Walker, John (1968). Forby Sutherland. Sutherland Shire, N.S.W.: Sutherland Shire Historical Society.