In 1697, William Dampier published his book A New Voyage Round The World.

An account of his extensive travels with privateers and pirates between 1679 and 1691, the book contained draught maps of geographical features, comments on the peoples encountered and the natural history of the places visited.

New Voyage was such a literary and maritime sensation, that it was translated into multiple languages. Even today, it is considered one of the great English classics and still appears as an astounding and gripping narrative. Dampier then presented an account of his second voyage including his return to New Holland, where he had intended to survey the east coast decades before James Cook.

His command HM Ship Roebuck, was not suitable, and forced him to turn back. The Roebuck sank at Ascension Island on 24th February 1701. Despite the detailed accounts of its loss, the ship has never been found. This is the story of the Western Australian Maritime Museum's 2001 expedition to find Dampier's Roebuck. The text and illustrations shown here are excerpts from Michael McCarthy and his team's report.

Book cover of the book Ascension Island

Ascension Island - wreck of the Roebuck
Image copyright WA Museum