On this day, 19th December 1820, Allan Cunningham arrived back in Port Jackson having sailed from Port Nelson, bringing to an end the third marine survey voyage with Phillip Parker King on HMS The Mermaid.
Notwithstanding the repairs the cutter had undergone, it was discovered that she was unfortunately not in a condition to stand any very rough weather, and from the quantity of water she made, and the near approach of the change of the monsoon, Captain King was reluctantly compelled to give up any further investigation of the north-west coast at this period. In consequence of this determination, they took leave of the coast on the 14th October, and on the 19th of December, they once more dropped anchor in Sydney Cove, having a very narrow escape from shipwreck in a violent gale that compelled them to take shelter in Botany Bay, after an almost miraculous deliverance from being driven on the rocks (which were only discovered by flashes of lightning), at Cape Banks, its northern head. [Ref 1]
Heward, Robert. “A Biographical Sketch of the Late Allan Cunningham.” The Journal of Botany Volume IV and Volume I (1842) p265 Print.
Robert Heward’s 1842 Biographical Sketch of Allan Cunningham is now out of copyright and was originally published in three parts: Part One appeared in The Journal of Botany Volume IV, printed in London 1842; and Part Two and Three appeared in The London Journal of Botany Volume I, also printed in 1842. These volumes can be located at the libraries of the University of New South Wales Library, in Sydney and the National Library of Australia Library, in Canberra (Ref: FRM F3424)