James Cook left his mark on Australia in more ways than one.
IN THE 248 YEARS SINCE James Cook first sighted land after his circumnavigation of New Zealand in 1770, new generations have added layers of interpretation to that event. Once praised as a hero for his bravery and supreme navigation skills, Cook’s colonial ambitions are now villainised by some. This is a historical debate that’s living into the present, with treasurer Scott Morrison’s announcement earlier this year of a $3 million monument to Captain Cook at Botany Bay greeted with outrage by those who seek to highlight his legacy of violence and murder. Even Cook’s naming and mapping of geographical features, wiping out their original Indigenous names, is also now problematic – but for good or ill, this too is now part of Australia’s history. These are some of the places named by or for the man whose legacy is nothing less than modern Australia, in all its complexity.
NEW SOUTH WALES QUEENSLAND
James Cook didn’t formally name Bare Island when he landed at Botany Bay, but he did describe it in his journals as a “small bare island” – and the name stuck.