Marking History Sharing Culture

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NAIDOC Week

On Australia Day, 1938, a crowd of over a thousand people marched through the streets of Sydney. The crowd was responding the 150th anniversary of the landing of the First Fleet - declaring it the first Day of Mourning, to protest against the treatment of Aboriginal Australians. The group declared:

Cook's final impressions

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Born to humble beginnings, Cook received recognition during his life for his many achievements but would likely be surprised at the extent and longevity of his legacy.

For two centuries the dominant narrative about Cook has seen him simultaneously revered and reviled. For some he is a hero, for others he is quite the opposite.

There is no denying Cook occupies a central role in the history of modern Australia and the challenge today is how best to tell and hear that story as the complex narrative it is.

60,000 years of living culture

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Australia has been under Indigenous custodianship for more than 60,000 years. The country is home to sites and artefacts that have been preserved for thousands of years and that can be appreciated today as significant to the history of the whole of humanity.

Archaeology in Australia

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples believe that archaeological sites are not just capsules of the past, but also represent a continuation from the past to the present. This belief influences present-day research and investigation into Australia’s archaeological past.

Astronomy and the Endeavour

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In the 18th century one of the biggest mysteries facing astronomers was the size of the solar system. They knew the relative spacing of some of the planets that orbited the sun but had yet to establish the absolute distances between them.

As part of an ambitious project to better understand the solar system, the HMB Endeavour set sail to Tahiti in the South Pacific, under the command of Lieutenant James Cook.

Indigenous Australians' astronomy

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People find common ground in looking to the stars. Many cultures use the sun, moon and stars to tell stories, share knowledge and understand the world around them.

For long distance voyagers such as Captain James Cook, knowledge of the stars was essential in charting a course to distant lands and to sail back home again. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the sun, moon, stars and planets were used to explain the relationships between people, nature and the sky for thousands of years.

Endeavour's forgotten third naturalist

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Herman Diedrich Spöring

It is a little known fact that Joseph Banks hired two other naturalists to be part of his scientific team for the HMB Endeavour voyage. Banks and Daniel Solander’s contributions to science have been widely recognised but much less is known about the third naturalist, Herman Diedrich Spöring.

Yet, without Spöring, it is possible the expedition may not have achieved its primary objective — to observe and chart the 1769 transit of Venus across the sun.

Daniel Solander

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The Swedish naturalist made famous by the HMB Endeavour voyage

Daniel Solander joined the HMB Endeavour as a renowned naturalist and is best known for his precise and detailed botanical work on the expedition—collecting and describing specimens using a new classification system developed by the famous naturalist, Carl Linnaeus.