Lord Howe Island

Information about Lord Howe Island

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Many names on the island date from this time, and also from May of the same year, when four ships of the First Fleet, HMS Supply, Charlotte, Lady Penrhyn and Scarborough, visited it. Much of the plant and animal life was first recorded in the journals and diaries of visitors such as David Blackburn, Master of Supply, and Arthur Bowes Smyth, surgeon of the Lady Penrhyn. Watercolour sketches of native birds including the Lord Howe woodhen (Gallirallus sylvestris), white gallinule (Porphyrio albus), and Lord Howe pigeon (Columba vitiensis godmanae), were made by artists including George Raper and John Hunter. As the latter two birds were soon hunted to extinction, these paintings are their only remaining pictorial record. Over the next three years, the Supply returned to the island several times in search of turtles, and the island was also visited by ships of the Second and Third Fleets. Between 1789 and 1791, the Pacific whale industry was born with British and American whaling ships chasing sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) along the equator to the Gilbert and Ellice archipelago, then south into Australian and New Zealand waters. The American fleet numbered 675 ships and Lord Howe was located in a region known as the Middle Ground noted for sperm whales and southern right whales (Eubalaena australis).