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250 years since Captain Cook landed in Australia, it’s time to acknowledge the violence of first encounters

250 years since Captain Cook landed in Australia, it’s time to acknowledge the violence of first encounters. The Conversation, CC BY63 MB (download)
The way Australia has commemorated Cook's arrival has changed over time – from military displays in 1870 to waning interest in Cook in the 1950s, followed by the fever pitch celebrations of 1970.
Vincent Namatjira, Western Arrernte people, Northern Territory, born 1983, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Close Contact, 2018, Indulkana, South Australia, synthetic polymer paint on plywood; Gift of the James & Diana Ramsay Foundation for the Ramsay Art Prize 2019. Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, photo: Grant Hancock

Terra nullius interruptus: Captain James Cook and absent presence in First Nations art

For too long, Cook was a promise recollected in pigment, bronze and stone. Contemporary First Nations artists are challenging this imagery.
A picture titled ‘Captain Cook taking possession of the Australian continent on behalf of the British crown, AD 1770’. Drawn and engraved by Samuel Calvert from an historical painting by Gilfillan in the possession of the Royal Society of Victoria. Trove/National Library of Australia

Captain Cook ‘discovered’ Australia, and other myths from old school text books

To find out how the teaching of Captain Cook in Australian schools has changed, I examined textbooks used in the 1950s until today.
A large bowl or pan thought to have been made in Sydney by the potter Thomas Ball between 1801 and 1823. Courtesy of Casey & Lowe, photo by Russell Workman

How clay helped shape colonial Sydney

Though the Indigenous inhabitants were using white clay long before them, Sydney-made pottery helped colonists maintain different aspects of 'civilised' behaviour.
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. Phil Noble/Reuters

Museums are returning indigenous human remains but progress on repatriating objects is slow

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.
History lesson: Sydney’s Daily Telegraph goes to war on political correctness.

Australia’s ‘history wars’ reignite

Debate over 'discovery' of Australia is alive and well – in the mind of one Sydney newspaper editor.
Early prototype of Skippy. Kangaroo Private Collection Courtesy of Nevill Keating Pictures Ltd

It’s Australia v England, in battle over Stubbs masterpieces

Not for the first time Britain and Australia are at loggerheads over cultural heritage. At issue this time are two images of genuine historical significance to both countries: Kongouro from New Holland…

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