- Hordern, Marsden
- History - pre-Federation
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- December 1992 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Three lines of Ian Mudie’s poem ‘Transit of Venus’ might have been especially written for Stokes:
And Cook, wise Cook, was following a star,
None shall find his own heart ever, wise or simple,
Who no star follows.
It was in Australia that Stokes followed his star and found his heart.
A great Circle is a geometric figure and an ideal way to journey from a departure to a distant landfall. But although ideals are not always realised, Stokes’s life was in a way a great circle. After long years of service to his country, the navy and his fellow man, and many desperate adventures, he died at Scotchwell, the house in which he had been born. His coffin was carried down the aisle of St. David’s church Prendergast to the accompaniment of Handel’s ‘Dead March in Saul’, and he was buried in the churchyard a few feet from the font where he had been baptised.
On his white marble tomb are inscribed the words familiar to many a seafaring man who has served the Crown;
‘Sacred to the dear memory of John Lort Stokes, Admiral Royal Navy.. .They that go down to the sea in ships.. .these men see the works of the Lord and his wonders in the deep’.
1. Scott, Ernest Terre Napoleon p.21, London, Methuen, 1910
2. Hordern, M Mariners are Warned! p.297, MUP, 1989
3. King, P.P. On the Maritime Geography of Australia. Paper, Philosophical Society of Australia, read 2 October 1822
4. Clark, Manning, A discovery of Australia p.47, ABC 1976
5. Sydney Morning Herald, Australia Day Supplement 1938