Byron Bay was named by Captain James Cook on 15 May 1770, after John Byron, a navigator and the grandfather of the poet Lord Byron.

Vice-Admiral John Byron
"Foulweather Jack"
(1723-1786)
(Byron's Grandfather)
From a portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds
[Lord Byron]

BYRON, HON. JOHN (I72,~—I786), British vice-admiral, second son. of the 4th Lord Byron, and grandfather of the poet, was born on the 8th of November 1723. While still very young, he accompanied Anson in his voyage of discovery round the world. During many successive years he saw a great deal of hard service, and so constantly had he to contend, on his various expeditions, with adverse gales and dangerous storms, that he was nicknamed by the sailors, “Foul-weather Jack.” It is to this that Lord Byron alludes in his Epistle to Augusta:—

“A strange doom is thy father’s son’s, and past

Recalling as it lies beyond redress,

Reversed for him our grandsiie’s fate of yore,

He had no rest at sea, nor I on shore.”


Among his other expeditions was that to Louisburg ~n. 1760, where he was sent in command of a squadron to destroy the fortifications. And in 1764 in the “Dolphin” he went for a prolonged cruise in the South Seas. In 1768 he published a Narrative of some of his early adventures with Anson, which was to some extent utilized by his grandson in Don Juan. In 1769 he was appointed governor of Newfoundland.

In 1775 he
attained his flag rank, and in 1778 became a vice-admiral. In the same year he was despatched with a fleet to watch the movements of the Count d’Estaing, and in July 1779 fought an indecisive engagement with him off Grenada. He soon after returned to England, retiring into private life, and died on the 10th of April 1786.


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