When James Cook charted the east coast of Australia in the HMB Endeavour in 1770, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had lived and thrived on this continent for more than 60,000 years.
The sites, landmarks and places that Cook gave new names to during this part of the voyage already had names and histories, well before Europeans knew of the very existence of the continent. Mount Dromedary was Gulaga. Botany Bay was Gamay. Endeavour River was Waalumbal Birri. Possession Island was Bedanug, Bedhan Lag, Thunadha and Tuidin.
These places, their names, their history, their significance and their stories were well known by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities to whom they were sacred. Through oral storytelling, ceremony and language, this knowledge and these stories continue to be shared and passed down to new generations. To many, Gulaga is still Gulaga, Gamay is still Gamay, Waalumbal Birri remains Waalumbal Birri, and Possession Island will always be Bedanug, Bedhan Lag, Thunadha and Tuidin.
In collaboration with the National Museum of Australia's exhibition marking the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook's first voyage to Australia, the ABC has launched the ‘This Place: View From the Shore’ series, which focuses on the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities along Australia's east coast.
These short videos feature a range of stories and information, shared by members of these communities, allowing all Australians to learn more about the cultures and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on the east coast, including those who encountered the Endeavour 250 years ago.
Mount Gulaga and Gurung-gubba
Djiringanj Yuin knowledge-holder Warren Foster explains the sacred significance of Mount Gulaga and shares his ancestors' prescient view from the shore when Captain Cook sailed past his country.
This is Our Country
Gamay (Botany Bay) provided Gamayngal, the people belonging to Botany Bay, the resources needed to thrive for many generations. The old people taught the Gamayngal that their language is inseparable from their country.
Three Brothers Mountains
Passing what is now known as the mid-north coast of NSW, Captain Cook thought he named these mountains the Three Brothers. Unbeknownst to him, the Birpai nation had been calling them the Three Brothers Mountains for millennia.
Lake Burmeer: The Women's Lake
Dr Aileen Moreton-Robinson explains the cultural importance and recent devastation of Minjerribah's Lake Burmeer, also known as Brown Lake on North Stradbroke Island.
How Dimpuna Became Mooloomba
Quandamooka songman Josh Walker tells the fascinating story of Mooloomba, also known as Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island - a lesson for all in the tribe to follow the law of the Old Ones.
Language Remains in the Landscape
Gooreng Gooreng Traditional Owners talk about their ancestors' first encounter with Captain Cook and share the language of their landscape around what is today known as Seventeen Seventy.
Cultural Knowledge is Empowering
Young medicine man from the Bunda Bunda clan, Everett Johnson, takes us to some of the most significant and spectacular places on his country.
Mungurru the Rock Python and Waalumbal Birri
Long before being named the Endeavour River by Captain Cook, that body of water was referred to as Waalumbal Birri. This is the story of that life-giving water, and the clan boundaries it defines.
Gudang Yadhaykenu on Possession Island
Gudang Yadhaykenu Traditional Owners take us to the Captain Cook monument on Possession Island, which is where he planted the Union Jack, mistaking the island for the mainland.
Ankamuthi on Possession Island
Ankamuthi Traditional Owners explain the social and cultural significance of Possession Island for their clan group and discuss the ways in which every member of the clan had a role to play in gathering foods.
Kuarareg/Gudang Yadhaykenu on Possession Island
Kuarareg/Gudang Yadhaykenu Traditional Owners show us some of the important food sources they gathered from Possession Island.