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THE JAMES COOK LANDING RE-ENACTMENT 2013 – COOKTOWN FNQ

RE-ENACTMENT CAST TAKE A BOW
RE-ENACTMENT CAST TAKE A BOW

In June of 1770, the British vessel HMS Endeavour was sailing along the far north Queensland coast. Captain James Cook and his crew had travelled far since leaving England in August 1768. Their luck was not with them this day and the Endeavour struck a reef north of Cape Tribulation. Many place names in the area derive from this story: Mount Sorrow, Endeavour Reef, and Cape Tribulation.

Cook and his crew nursed the Endeavour up the coast to an inviting river mouth and beached the ship at what is now Cooktown. Repairs were made, and then they waited for favourable weather in which to set sail for England. In all, the Englishmen stayed almost seven weeks at Cooktown. The local indigenous people, the Guugu Yimithirr, had seen them coming and kept their distance, but they eventually made contact with these strange, pale visitors. There was curiosity on both sides of the encounter, conflict, and the first act of reconciliation between indigenous Australians and Europeans. And it’s the first time the word “kangaroo” entered the English language. Botanist Joseph Banks recorded it in his diary, having asked the name of a local creature that baffled the Englishmen. Gangurru is the Guugu Yimithirr word for “grey kangaroo”.

Every June since 1960, on the Queen’s Birthday weekend, the people of Cooktown re-enact the events of 1770. The Queen saw it herself in 1970, during the Cook bicentennial. The event is the centre-piece of the annual Cooktown Discovery Festival

The re-enactment has changed considerably in its 54 years. It’s a faithful telling of Cook’s own account, recorded in his journals, and has more recently included an indigenous perspective, drawn from Guugu Yimithirr oral history. The result is an engaging and informative spectacle, complete with costumes, musket fire and an enormous kangaroo. And it takes place right where the events depicted really occured, 243 years ago.

More about Cooktown http://www.tourismcapeyork.com/

Read about the James Cook Museum in Cooktown http://www.nationaltrust.org.au/qld/james-cook-museum

Listen to highlights of the 54th re-enactment of the Cook landing.

 

THE AREA WAS HOME TO GUUGU YIMITHIRR PEOPLE LONG BEFORE 1770 GUUGU YIMITHIRR BEFORE EUROPEAN CONTACT WORD COMES OF A STRANGE BOAT HEADING FOR THE RIVER WATCHING CLOSELY AS THE BOAT STRUGGLES UP THE RIVER MARINES COME ASHORE FROM THE BEACHED HMS ENDEAVOUR COOK'S CREW DRAG THE DAMAGED ENDEAVOUR AGROUND BOTANIST JOSEPH BANKS STUDIES THE LOCAL FAUNA JAMES COOK HEARS CREW REPORTS OF THE SURROUNDING AREA THERE WAS MUCH TO DO - SHIP REPAIRS AND FINDING FOOD THE ENDEAVOUR CREW SET UP CAMP ALL THE MILITARY TRADITIONS WERE OBSERVED DESPITE THEIR PLIGHT LOCAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLE APPROACH FOR A CLOSER LOOK AT THESE PALE STRANGERS COOK AND CREW SIGNAL THE INDIGENOUS MEN TO COME ABOARD ENDEAVOUR LOCAL MEN DRAW CAUTIOUSLY CLOSER FIRST MEETING BETWEEN INDIGENOUS MEN AND THE BRITISH SAILORS COOK TRIES TO EXCHANGE GIFTS - AN IMAGE OF KING GEORGE III DINNER TIME - THE WORD KANGAROO BECAME PART OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE LOCAL MEN BECOME CONCERNED AT COOK'S BIG CATCH OF TURTLES COOK'S MEN DO NOT UNDERSTAND THEY HAVE BROKEN LOCAL LAW CONFLICT ENSUES WHEN COOK REFUSES TO RETURN THE TURTLES A FIGHT DEVELOPS. COOK'S MEN TAKE AWAY INDIGENOUS SPEARS LATER COOK RETURNS THE SPEARS RECONCILIATION BEGINS. SWEAT IS BLOWN TOWARD COOK AS HE RETURNS THE SPEARS Australia's first act of reconciliation between indigenous people and Europeans - June 1770
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