The Morrison Government is investing almost $10 million to extend the Return of Cultural Heritage (RoCH) Initiative, led by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), to 2024.
The encounters between the crew of the Endeavour and Indigenous Australians saw a collision of cultures. The ways of knowing and being—connection between place and people—in the culture and kinship systems of Indigenous Australians are at the heart of those colliding worlds.
Three bronze sculptures have been installed at Kurnell to mark the 250th anniversary of the first encounter between the Gweagal people, James Cook and the crew of the HMB Endeavour at Kamay Botany Bay in 1770.
The sculptures commemorate the meeting of two cultures and help to interpret the cultural heritage and significance of Kamay Botany Bay National Park.
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.
Natural history artist
Sydney Parkinson was employed by Sir Joseph Banks to travel with him on the Endeavour voyage. Parkinson was the first European artist to visit Australia, New Zealand and Tahiti.
Indigenous Australian art is the world’s longest unbroken art tradition. It is used to record events, teach, communicate, and to express culture and identity. It also provides us with a record of the long and rich history of our nation, as well as the many interactions and experiences of Indigenous Australians over the years. By protecting and investing in Indigenous art we protect our cultural heritage.
Just as the construction of a tall ship’s mast begins with a single tree, so too did Cook’s crew for the Endeavour voyage begin with just a single man. John Satterley. Master carpenter. Valued crew member. Highly-respected man.
Born in Chatham, Kent, Satterley was no stranger to the sea, having previously served on British ship the Prince Edward. On 22 April 1768, he was appointed ‘Carpenter’ of the Endeavour, making him the first member of the ship’s 94-strong crew.
In June 1770, the HMB Endeavour continued its passage northwards along the east coast of Australia, near what is now called far north Queensland.
Although the decision to sail at night in such waters was uncommon, it was not unheard of during the Endeavour voyage. On 11 June, Cook records in his journal that ‘having the advantage of a fine breeze of wind and a clear moonlight night’ he decided to keep sailing.