Captain Cook’s Landing in Botany Bay

April 26, 2019

On 29 April 1770, Lieutenant (later Captain) James Cook, botanist Joseph Banks and the crew of their tall sailing ship “HMS Endeavour” made their first landing on Australian soil – at (now) Kurnell Peninsula in Botany Bay, NSW.

Cook first named the bay “Stingrays Harbour” but later renamed it “Botany Bay” after Banks retrieved an incredible range of unique botanical specimens from the area.

Cook's first southern expedition of 1768-71 rounded Cape Horn (the southern tip of South America) to observe the Transit of Venus at Tahiti, near the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Cook also held a commission to search further west in the south Pacific for “Terra Australis” – the legendary rich and great southern land.

After finding, circumnavigating and accurately mapping New Zealand (to confirm it was not Terra Australis), Cook sailed west across the Tasman Sea. He first sighted the Australian continent near Point Hicks (far-eastern Gippsland) before heading north and mapping the coastline until sailing into Botany Bay around 10 days later. Whilst they first saw Aborigines near Bawley Point (between Ulladulla and Bateman’s Bay) a few days prior, Botany Bay was where Cook and his crew first made contact with a local 'Gweagal' tribe.

Cook’s expedition was the first recorded observation and landing of the east coast of the Australian continent (New Holland) by Europeans. It also kicked off Britain’s interest in Australia, sowing the seeds for our eventual colonisation, Western-Christian institutions and proud nationhood.

Cook’s fine leadership, mapping and discoveries (both scientific and geographic) helped expand the British Empire to Australia and across the globe.

Commemorate Cook’s historic 29 April 1770 landing in Botany Bay by:

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