George Bass

1771 - 1803

George Bass' Life

George Bass was born on the 30th January 1771 at Aswarby, Lincolnshire, England.  He was an only child and his father was a farmer. His father died in 1777 when George was 6. George Bass became an apprentice surgeon while he was a teenager and in 1789, aged 18, he was accepted as a member of the Company of Surgeons, in England.  In 1794, aged 23, he joined the Royal Navy as a surgeon.He arrived in Sydney, New South Wales onboard the ‘Reliance’ on the 7th September 1795.   Bass brought a small boat with him on his journey to Australia.  This boat became the famous 'Tom Thumb'.George Bass met Matthew Flinders on this journey.  It was the first of many journeys of exploration that they took together.George married Elizabeth Westminster in 1800.  In 1803, George Bass disappeared after he sailed into the Pacific Ocean with goods that he wanted to sell in South America. 

Two Voyages on Tom Thumb

Shortly after arriving in Sydney, Bass along with Matthew Flinders and William Martin sailed ‘Tom Thumb’ out of Port Jackson to Botany Bay and explored the Georges River further upstream than had been done before. Their reports on their return led to the settlement of Banks' Town. Five months later Bass, Flinders and Martin embarked on a second voyage in a similar small boat, which they also called the Tom Thumb. During this trip they travelled south to Lake Illawarra, which they called Tom Thumb Lagoon. They discovered and explored Port Hacking.