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Captain Cook landed at Botany Bay 250 years ago today

Michael is joined by Margaret Cameron-Ash, author of ‘Lying For The Admiralty’, to learn more of Captain James Cook who landed at Botany Bay 250 years ago.

 

On 25 May 1768, the Admiralty commissioned Cook to command a scientific voyage to the Pacific Ocean.

 

The purpose of the voyage was to observe and record the 1769 transit of Venus across the Sun which, when combined with observations from other places, would help to determine the distance of the Earth from the Sun.

 

Cook, at age 39, reached the southeastern coast of Australia on 19 April 1770, and in doing so his expedition became the first recorded Europeans to have encountered its eastern coastline.

 

On 29 April, Cook and crew made their first landfall on the mainland of the continent at a place now known as the Kurnell Peninsula.

 

Initially the name Stingrays Harbour was used by Cook and other journal keepers on his expedition, for the stingrays they caught.

 

That name was also recorded on an Admiralty chart. However, in the journal prepared later from his log, Cook wrote instead: “The great quantity of plants Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander found in this place occasioned my giving it the name of (Botanist) Botany Bay”.

 

Cook’s landing marked the beginning of Britain’s interest in Australia and in the eventual colonisation of this new “southern continent”.

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