Indigenous story-telling of Cook's landing has transformed the way we understand his legacy in Australia. And the way he came ashore set some of the terms for future colonial-Indigenous relations.
250 years since Captain Cook landed in Australia, it’s time to acknowledge the violence of first encounters.
The Conversation, CC BY 63 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
For too long, Cook was a promise recollected in pigment, bronze and stone. Contemporary First Nations artists are challenging this imagery.
Feature artwork: Great Spirit and Rainbow Serpent – Jeffrey Samuels (used with permission, no re-use)
Explore Cook's journey through the Pacific, the orders that brought him in search of the 'Great Southern Land' and the impact of his arrival in our new interactive.
Portrait of Mai, also known as Omai or Omai of the Friendly Isles.
Both islanders played a central role in Cook's three voyages across the Pacific, but their contributions have largely been overshadowed in what is generally thought of as era of European exploration.
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
To find out how the teaching of Captain Cook in Australian schools has changed, I examined textbooks used in the 1950s until today.
The South Georgia pintail duck scavenges on dead seals.
On one of the world's most remote islands, a species of duck has learned to scavenge on dead seals.
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
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.
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.
Australians have gazed in wonder at the Milky Way since long before Captain Cook’s time.
Christian Reusch/Wikimedia Commons
What did Isaac Newton, Captain Cook and Eddie Mabo all have in common? Each, in their own way, looked to the heavens to make sense of the world, and the importance of their place in it.
History lesson: Sydney’s Daily Telegraph goes to war on political correctness.
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
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…