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Landing place of Captain Cook

Date: c 1855
Overall: 138 x 95 mm
Mount: 275 x 382 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Lithograph
Object No: 00000886
Related Place:Kurnell,

User Terms

    Photolithograph titled 'Landing place of Captain Cook'. The lithograph, by John Degotardi, is after an artwork by Frederic Casemero Terry who specialised in scenes of New South Wales throughout the 1850's and 1860's.
    Significance"The moment of Cook’s landing took on a great consequence for non-Indigenous Australians, from the 1820s Cook was seen as a far better set of origins than Captain Phillip and his boatloads of convicts in the First Fleet. Indeed it was Cook’s landing at Kurnell on the southern headland of Botany Bay that was the preferred moment of commemoration right through the 19th and well into the 20th century."
    - Dr Stephen Gapps
    "Commemoration and contestation at Kurnell"
    Australian National Maritime Museum, 11 May 2015
    History"The first memorialisation of Cook at Kurnell occurred in 1822. Members of the Philosophical Society, an elite group of Sydney antiquarians led by Sydney ‘luminary’ and poet Baron Field, went on a day trip to locate the landing site. According to the society, the location was ‘verified’ by an Aboriginal person who remembered watching the landing. The memorialists promptly placed a plaque on a nearby rock. Field described it as ‘the only antiquity in the whole colony’, that piece of ‘classic ground where Cook trod’. A rock certainly fitted the Philosophical Society’s notion of a classic moment — something like the famous Pilgrims landing site at Plymouth Rock in America.
    However in 1864, as the centenary of 1770 approached, the Australian Patriotic Association — who despite the name were particularly concerned with reminding Australians of their British origins — conducted an excursion to Kurnell to confirm Cook’s landing site. Armed with copies of Cook and Banks’ journals, they pronounced that the ‘actual site’ of Cook’s landing was in fact one kilometre away from the site established in 1822.

    A leading figure in the Association was Thomas Holt, local member of parliament, businessman, physical fitness and cold bath devotee, and luminary of the Acclimatisation Society — devoted to making the Australian landscape British through the introduction of European flora and fauna. Holt was so enamoured with Cook he bought the land around Cook’s landing site at Kurnell and in 1871 marked it at great personal expense with a ‘needle’ monument in the classical style.

    Holt continued to promote these annual ‘excursions’ until they were eventually enshrined as official commemorative practice by the end of the 19th century, when the government resumed the area for a public reserve.

    Cook’s connections to Australia were of great interest to late 19th century Australians trying to replace the convict origins of settlement with a better, more heroic and British one. "
    - Dr Stephen Gapps
    "Commemoration and contestation at Kurnell"
    Australian National Maritime Museum, 11 May 2015
    Related People
    Lithographer: John Degotardi

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