'[Captain Cook):(re-births):(Bryon Bay]'
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Terrence Maybury
During the course of 1770 Captain James Cook, botanist/entrepreneur Joseph Banks, and the crew of Her Majesty's Bark Endeavour proceeded from their circumnavigation of New Zealand's coastline to discover, explore and map the east coast of New Holland, as Australia was then known. Starting from Port Hicks near the current New South Wales/Victorian border, this famous voyage of discovery stopped at Botany Bay, eventually passing and naming Cape Byron and Mt Warning in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales (aka the Rainbow Region), and finishing its exploratory work at the top-end of Cape York in northern Australia. As Paul Carter notes, Cook has an ambivalent role in Australian history, variously exalted, ignored and vilified as a foundation figure (Botany Bay 1). More poignantly, at least according to Mark McKenna in Looking for Blackfellas' Point (a regional history of the Eden-Monaro area where Cook first sighted the Great South Land at Port Hicks), the bicentenary of the Endeavour's landing at Botany Bay on the 29th April 1970 inaugurates a "moral crisis" for the nation and is marked by indigenous Australians as a "day of mourning" (McKenna 157-158). For Carter, though, Cook is a traveller with a "propensity for coasting" (Botany Bay 2), and in our national imagination he (and possibly we) have continued to do just that right up until this day. If forgetting the historical trauma and the moral conundrum inaugurated by the Endeavour's journey is not an option, how might it be possibleto re-conceive our personal and collective understanding of it?