As the weekend of January 26 comes to a close, the 250th anniversary of Captain James Cook’s landing in Australia draws nearer.
Intended to mark 250 years since Cook incorrectly declared ‘Terra nullius’ on land with over 60,000 years of heritage, the Morrison Government last year allotted $60 million to commemorate the start of Australia’s colonisation.
The Prime Minister declared some of that money would be used to fund the Australian National Maritime Museum’s replica of the HMS Endeavour to circumnavigate the country in a commemorative voyage.
The March 2020 to May 2021 journey has 39 proposed stops, each with scheduled activities.
What Morrison has wrong though, was that Cook never circumnavigated Australia. He only sailed along the country’s east coast.
Co-Chair of the Voice to Parliament Senior Advisory Group, Professor Dr Marcia Langton, took aim at Morrison for not knowing the basic history of the country he is running.
“The Endeavour never circumnavigated Australia,” Professor Dr Langton told HuffPost.
“None of [the government] know their history; they’re just mishmashing everything together in this white supremacist orgy.”
Knowledge which is taught from Year 4 in the Australian Curriculum, the circumnavigation of Australia by a British explorer was not undertaken until Matthew Flinders embarked on the journey in 1801 on the Norfolk.
Flinders journey was significantly assisted by Aboriginal man Bungaree, the first Indigenous person to circumnavigate Australia.
Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman, is also known to have circumnavigated Australia in the mid-1600s, only more widely.
The Prime Minister later clarified the ship’s journey was not a “re-enactment” but that the Endeavour would be “retracing” Cook’s voyage along the east coast.
Morrison said the commemorative voyage was important in marking the 250-year anniversary.
“As the 250th anniversary nears we want to help Australians better understand Captain Cook’s historic voyage and its legacy for exploration, science and reconciliation,” the Prime Minister said, announcing the voyage last year.
“That voyage is the reason Australia is what it is today and it’s important we take the opportunity to reflect on it.”
By Hannah Cross