Henry Barber (sea captain)


Henry Barber (sea captain)

Henry Barber was an eighteenth century British sea captain, credited with the discovery of McKean Island, in the Phoenix group in the Pacific Ocean.

ailing history

Barber operated merchant routes from India and America to the new settlement at Port Jackson, New South Wales. He made his first journey from Bengal in 1794, aboard the 85-ton snow "Arthur", carrying foodstuffs and calico.Maude, p 109]

Discovery of McKean Island

While captaining the British ship "Arthur" on a journey from Botany Bay, New South Wales to the north-west coast of America in 1794, Barber discovered what is believed to be McKean Island. [Quanchi & Robson, p 11] Sighting the uninhabited island on 28 May, Barber named it "Drummond's Island", plotting it at 3°40'S, 176°51'W. The "Albany Sentinel" reported that the "small sandy island...is very low and cannot be seen from the deck of a vessel more than five or six miles". ["The Albany Sentinel", 28.8.1797, quoted in Maude, p 109] It was later named 'Arthur Island' and appeared as such in Arrowsmith's charts of the time located at 3°30'S, 176°0'W.Sharp, p 210] The closest island to these coordinates is McKean Island at 3°35'S, 174°02'W, which was renamed and mapped by Charles Wilkes of the United States Exploring Expedition 1838-1842. However, Arthur Island remained suspected and 'in need of confirmation' until at least 1871, when it was listed in "Findlay's Directory", using the charts of cartographer John Arrowsmith.

Notes

References

* Maude, H.E., (1968) "Of Islands and Men: Studies in Pacific History", Melbourne: Oxford University Press
* Quanchi, Max & Robson, John, (2005); "Historical Dictionary of the Discovery and Exploration of the Pacific Islands", USA: Scarecrow Press, ISBN 0810853957
* Sharp, Andrew (1960); "The Discovery of the Pacific Islands", Oxford:Oxford University Press,


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