Uncle Fred Deeral as little old man in the film The Message, by Zakpage, to be shown at the National Museum of Australia in April. Nik Lachajczak of Zakpage
An honest reckoning with Captain Cook’s legacy won’t heal things overnight. But it’s a start.
The Conversation 41.4 MB (download)
The impact of 1770 has never eased for Aboriginal people. It was a collision of catastrophic proportions.
A scene from the author’s film The Message, commissioned by the National Museum of Australia. At the first encounter in Botany Bay, two Gweagal warriors threw stones and spears at Cook, saying ‘warrawarrawa’, meaning ‘they are all dead’.
Nik Lachajczak of Zakpage
Incidents from Cook’s first voyage highlight themes relevant in Indigenous-settler relations today: environmental care, reconciliation and governance. This collision of beliefs, it seems, wasn’t lost on Cook.
Nicholas Chevalier, Mallee scrub, Murray River, NSW, watercolour, 1871.
National Library of Australia
Captain Cook’s 1770 voyage is well known. But at this time, Indigenous Australians also travelled great distances - let’s recognise this in the 2020 commemorations.
A replica of HMB Endeavour in 2011.
As the first European seafaring vessel to reach the east coast of Australia, the Endeavour – much like James Cook himself – has become part of Australia’s national mythology.
Aboriginal elder Major Sumner sits outside Liverpool’s World Museum with a box containing the skull of an Australian indigenous person, taken from Australia between 1902 and 1904.
The question of repatriating objects is clearly more complex than returning human remains. It needs more debate, and more creative interventions to move beyond the current impasse.