Drawing on the extensive collections of the National Museum of Australia, the National Library of Australia and the Australian National Maritime Museum, these Shared histories pages explore different perspectives on the Endeavour voyage.

Navigate through Shared histories to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and the context for European search for a southern land and exploration in the Pacific. Discover more about Cook’s three Pacific voyages and the impact of these voyages on Indigenous people and cultures. Reflect on the intertwined Indigenous and non-Indigenous experiences of life on the Australian continent.

Cultures and context


Australia is an ancient land. For tens of thousands of years, Australia’s Indigenous peoples lived and thrived on this continent. Their complex Dreaming stories connect plants, animals, people and landscape. There was little knowledge of the continent or its’ inhabitants in the European world. This changed forever 250 years ago.

Click on one of the pages below to read more about the cultures and context of Australia:

Many nations

Searching for a southern land

Voyages and encounters


James Cook led three major voyages to the Pacific for the Royal Navy: the first voyage, in Endeavour (1768–71); the second voyage, in Resolution with Adventure (1772–75); and the third voyage, in Resolution with Discovery (1776–80), completed without Cook after his death in Hawaii in 1779.

Click on one of the pages below to read more about the voyages and encounters:

Documenting the Pacific

Voyage one - Endeavour, 1768-1771

Voyage two - Resolution and Adventure, 1772-1775

Voyage three - Resolution and Discovery, 1776-1780

The impact


The Endeavour voyage marked the beginning of British incursions into the region, which had a significant and long-lasting impact upon Indigenous Australia. From 1788, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suffered dispossession of their land and faced hostility, which led to vast disruption of their culture and way of life. During the 19th and 20th centuries, protectionism policies forced Indigenous Australians to feel like aliens in their own land.

Click on one of the pages below to read more about the impact:


Resistance and resilience



Navigate Australia’s history through the Shared histories timeline, which explores pivotal moments and events ranging from more than 60,000 years ago to the present day.

Learn about the first arrivals on the continent, James Cook’s three Pacific voyages, European settlement to the present, and some of the events that have shaped modern Australia.

Click here to visit the timeline