George Bass Expedition Memorial – Bass, Australia - Atlas Obscura

George Bass Expedition Memorial

Dedicated to a surgeon who made several natural discoveries across Australia.  


Tucked away in the small rural town of Bass, 70 miles South East of Melbourne, lies the George Bass Expedition Memorial. Bass was a British naval surgeon and is known for being one of the most prominent initial European explorers to travel to Australia. Bass was born in 1771 in a village named Aswarby in England. After training in medicine and signing up for the Royal Navy as a surgeon, he made his maiden voyage to the vastly unknown land of Australia after boarding HMS Reliance in September 1795. 

In addition to being a highly skilled surgeon, Bass was a keen botanist and naturalist and made many botanical discoveries of both plants and animal species across Australia. His coastal discoveries led to his name being used for many geographical locations and landmarks such as the Bass Strait. 

There is much speculation about the ultimate fate of Bass and his name is part of a list of many voyagers around this time who lost their lives at sea. It is known that he set sail on his last journey aboard the Venus in February 1803. It is noted in historical records that his plan was to sail to South America to buy provisions. However, he never returned home to England or Australia. 

This memorial stone commemorates the visit of Bass and his party of six after they rowed in an open whaleboat from Port Jackson, New South Wales in January 1798 before landing near the town of Bass, Victoria.

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October 27, 2022

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