The initial idea of recreating Endeavour for use as a museum ship was born during the establishment of the Australian National Maritime Museum in the 1980s; the vessel was to be funded by the Bond Corporation and gifted to the nation upon completion. A specialist shipyard was established, complete with viewing platform and guided tours for the public, and construction of the vessel commenced in 1988. Two years later, work stopped because the Bond Corporation hit financial trouble; the Japanese company Yoshiya Corporation stepped in but was also forced to withdraw support because of financial problems.
Volunteers maintained the incomplete vessel until the HM Bark Endeavour Foundation was established as a charitable trust in 1991. The Endeavour replica was launched at the end of 1993 and completed in 1994. After sea trials, the replica sailed from Fremantle to Sydney where she arrived at the end of 1994. During 1995, the ship recreated Cook's voyage along eastern Australia, then visited New Zealand at the end of the year. In late 1996, the Endeavour replica set out on a circumnavigation of the world, visiting ports in South Africa, the United Kingdom, and America before returning to New Zealand in late 1999.