The Australian Museum's Cook Collection was acquired in 1894 when it was transferred from the Government of New South Wales. At that time it consisted of 115 artifacts collected on Captain James Cook's three voyages of discovery Throughout the Pacific Ocean, during the period 1768 - 1780, along with documents and memorabilia related to these voyages. Many of the ethnographic artifacts were collected at a time of first contact between Pacific Peoples and Europeans. In 1935 most of the documents and memorabilia were transferred to the Mitchell Library in the State Library of New South Wales. The provenance of the collection shows that the objects remained in the hands of Captain James Cook's widow, Mrs Elizabeth Cook and her descendants until 1886. In this year Mr John Mackrell, the great nephew of Isaac Smith, Elizabeth Cook's cousin, organized the display of this collection at the request of the NSW Government at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition in London. In 1887 the London-based Agent-General for the New South Wales Government, Saul Samuel, bought John Mackrell's items and also acquired those items belonging to the other relatives Reverend Canon Frederick Bennett, Mrs Thomas Langton, H.M.C.Alexander and Mr William Adams. The collection remained with the Colonial Secretary of NSW until 1894, when it was transferred to the Australian Museum.