John Hunter (August 29, 1737 – March 13 1821) was an officer of the Royal Navy, surveyor, and scholar, who served as the second governor of New South Wales, Australia from 1795 to 1800. He was instrumental in a number of early explorations of Australia, including the production of the first chart of Port Jackson. He was born in Scotland to a captain in the merchant service; he received the classical education of the time and was sent to the University of Edinburgh, but soon left it to join the navy as a captain's servant. The onset of the Seven Years' War found him an able seaman on HMS Centaur. He soon became a midshipman and would see action during the 1757 Raid on Rochefort, and the 1759 capture of Quebec. He served as midshipman on several of Admiral Philip Durell's flagships throughout the war, and passed his examinations to qualify for promotion to lieutenant in February 1760. Despite his apparent ability and qualifications, he was not appointed lieutenant, instead serving as master's mate, and eventually as ship's master in the West Indies. There he would produce a number of charts and plans of Spanish harbors and fortifications at Havana. During the American Revolution, he served under Admiral Howe, effectively acting as master of the fleet. Despite serving well, his association with Howe would not serve him well on the Admiral's recall: Hunter was still refused promotion to lieutenant. Undeterred, he continued in service as a volunteer - being appointed lieutenant in the field only to have the Admiralty refuse to confirm the appointment. Finally, in 1782 Howe appointed him third lieutenant of his flagship HMS Victory, swiftly advancing to first lieutenant: this time, the honor was confirmed. He would be promoted to post captain in 1786, and appointed to command HMS Sirius, under the overall command of Commodore Arthur Phillip for the founding of the colony of New South Wales. On arrival in Port Jackson in January 1788, Hunter explored and charted the harbor and the Parramatta River, resulting in the first European chart of those waters. He would go on to circumnavigate the globe, and would publish his journal of the Australia expedition. The first edition of his work contains the earliest reference to the existence of a strait between the mainland and Tasmania. During The French Revolutionary Wars Hunter was present at the Glorious First of June (the Fourth Battle of Ushant, in 1794) and remained in service until 1795. Following Phillip's resignation from the governorship of New South Wales in July 1793, Hunter would take up the office - encouraging exploration of the continent during his tenure and continuing his engagement with Australia long after he left office. The discovery of the platypus was announced in with a pelt and sketch sent back to the United Kingdom by John Hunter.

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