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Biographical entry Bass, George (1771 - 1803)

Born
30 January 1771
Aswarby, Lincolnshire, England
Died
1803
Occupation
Explorer and Naturalist

Summary

George Bass explored the coast of New South Wales from Botany Bay to Illawarra and to Wilson's Promontory 1797-1798. In 1798-1799 he circumnavigated Tasmania with Matthew Flinders.

Details

Born Aswarby, Lincolnshire, England, 30 January 1771. Died at sea 1803. Apprenticed to a local surgeon-apothecary, and by 1789 was a "surgeon second-rate". Postings in several ships; arrived in port Jackson on the "Reliance" 1795; explored the George's River with Matthew Flinders (q.v.) 1795 (this led to the establishment of a settlement at Banks Town); explored south of Botany Bay in "Tom Thumb" 1796; attempted unsuccessfully to cross the Blue Mountains 1796; found coal around Coalcliff 1797; explored a probable strait (later named Bass Strait) between New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land 1797-98; sailed through Bass Strait and circumnavigated Van Diemen's Land 1798-99; sailed with a trader, Charles Bishop, to England 1799-1800, naming and charting Bass Islands on the way; sailed with Bishop on the "Venus" to Port Jackson 1801; sailed to the south sea islands to buy pork for the government 1801 (some was sold to Baudin, (q.v.) for his French expedition); left for South America on the "Venus" 1803; fate unknown.

Archival resources

Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science

  • Australian Botanists - Biographies, MS 064; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details

Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales

  • George Bass - Records, 1798 - 1799, C228; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • George Bass - Records, 1803, ML DOC 1352; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • R. Else-Mitchell - Records, 1939 - 1951, ML MSS 1265; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details

Published resources

Books

  • Bowden, K. M., George Bass, 1771-1803. His Discoveries, Life and Tragic Disappearance, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1952. Details
  • Estensen, Miriam, The Life of George Bass: Surgeon and Sailor of the Enlightenment, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, 2005, 259 pp. Details

Book Sections

Journal Articles

  • Andrews, Alan E.J., 'Mount Hunter and Beyond: with Hunter, Bass, Tench, Wilson, Barrallier, Caley, King, and Macquarie, 1790-1815', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. 76, no. 1, 1990, pp. 3-15. Details
  • Coleman, Edith, 'George Bass, Victoria's First Explorer and Naturalist', Victorian Naturalist, vol. 67, 1950, pp. 3-9. Details
  • Whitley, Gilbert P., 'Some Early Naturalists and Collectors in Australia', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. xix, 1933, pp. 291-304. Details

Reviews

  • Dooley, Gillian, review of Estensen, Miriam, The Life of George Bass: Surgeon and Sailor of the Enlightenment (2005), Australian Book Review, vol. 277, 2005, p. 48. Details

Online Resources

See also

  • Steven, Margaret, First Impressions. The British Discovery of Australia, British Museum (Natural History), London, 1988, 96 pp. References on page 70. Details

McCarthy, G.J.