by Ida Lee
F.R.G.S and Hon. F.R.A.H.S

From the Log-Books and Journals
with maps and illustrations

First Published 1925 by
Methuen & Co Ltd
36 Essex Street WC London
Transcribed to eText by
Permission to use eText given by
Col Choat of Project Gutenburg Australia 2003
Converted to Web Enhanced eText by
J&DChallenor of The Allan Cunningham Project 2009
Table of Contents, Preface & Introduction
Chapter 1 Dampier, Cook, Banks
Chapter 2 Cook at Endeavour River
Chapter 3 The coming of Phillip
Chapter 4 Maritime Discoveries. Port Jackson
Chapter 5 The exploration of the Interior
Chapter 7 AC’s Journal Oxley’s Land Journey
Chapter 8 AC’s Jnl Oxley’s Journey completed
Chapter 9 AC’s Jnl King’s West Coast Voyage
Chapter 10 AC’s Jnl Mermaid’s Voyage 
Chapter 11 AC’s Jnl Mermaid’s Voyage Completed
Chapter 12 The 2nd Voyage of the Mermaid
Chapter 13 The 3rd Voyage of the Mermaid
Chapter 14 The Voyage of the Bathurst
Chapter 15 Cunningham Reaches Pandora’s Pass
Chapter 16 Mount Tomah, Moreton Bay and the Brisbane River. Through Pandora’s Pass
Chapter 17 Cunningham’s Northern Journey
Chapter 18 Further Explorations in Queensland
Chapter 19 Cunningham’s Last Journeys


Ida Lee devoted much of her life to historical research and her book is an achievement of epic proportions. Not so much as a literary achievement, more as an act of supreme dedication. She transcribed most of Allan Cunningham’s handwritten journals. His writing is very difficult to read and is full of botanic names. Her dedication and tenacity could only be matched by that of Allan Cunningham’s. She would have spent hours and hours bashing away at a manual typewriter with his journals beside her. Possibly sitting at a desk in London’s Natural History Museum where the precious journals are housed.

In relation to the subject of Botany: Ida says: “After a careful study of his letters, of his journal, and of his reports (extant in England) I have come to the conclusion that Cunningham himself would have preferred to be best remembered as a botanist. For this reason I decided to give some account of his botanical researches. Botany being an entirely new study to me, in dealing with the names of the plants and flowers of Australia mentioned by Cunningham. I have had the assistance of Mr. N. E. Brown, A.L.S., who has kindly given me most able help and advice.”

Thanks to Ida Lee we can read about his amazing adventures and his plant collecting straight from his journals. She became ill before her manuscript was in the form she would have preferred. Lucky for us she pulled together the information she had gathered the best way she could and has left if for us to easily access Cunningham’s journals and the history surrounding him.

Source: Diane Challenor, Editor of The Allan Cunningham Project, 2009


With regard to my own story of Cunningham’s explorations I can only add that I had proposed writing of them in a different manner from that which I have adopted, but owing to illness continually hampering my efforts I have been unable to carry out my original intentions. I therefore trust that in due course an abler writer will deal with what I have omitted and do Cunningham’s memory the justice it so richly deserves.”

Ida Lees (Mrs Charles Bruce Marriott)


IDA LOUISA LEE (1865-1943), historical geographer, was born on 11 February 1865 at Kelso, near Bathurst, New South Wales, third of eight children of George Lee, grazier, and his wife Emily Louisa, née Kite, both born at Kelso; she was a granddaughter of William Lee. With her five sisters, she grew up at Leeholme, Kelso, and rode to school; she became a keen horsewoman.

On a visit to England, Ida Lee married Charles John Bruce Marriott (1861-1936) on 14 October 1891 at the parish church, Felixstowe, Suffolk. Marriott had captained Cambridge, Blackheath and England at Rugby football. In 1892-1903 he taught and was a housemaster at Highgate School, Hampstead, where Ida’s only child was born in October 1892. She took part in school life and in 1897 published a slender volume, The Bush Fire and Other Verses. Marriott was secretary of the Rugby Football Union in 1907-24; they divided their time between London and Suffolk, where he was a small landowner. Her sister Edith married J. J. W. Power and lived in the Channel Islands.

Mrs Marriott spent her spare time delving in British libraries, notably at the Admiralty, and discovered log-books, journals and lost charts. In 1906 The Coming of the British to Australia, 1788 to 1829 appeared under her maiden name. Articles in the Tasmanian Mail, Empire Review and Geographical Journal followed. She next turned her attention to the forgotten navigator (Sir) John Hayes, and from ‘letters, family records, official notices and newspapers of the period’ compiled Commodore Sir John Hayes, his Voyage and Life (1912). In October 1913 she was elected a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London and in 1918 the second honorary fellow of the Royal Australian Historical Society.

Source : Australian Dictionary of Biography Online Edition

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