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Saturday, August 27, 2005
Captain Cook Day 2005


Society flags national Captain Cook Day, Canberra Times, 23/08/05

Yesterday marked 235 years since Captain Cook changed the course of Australian history by declaring “the whole eastern coast” in British possession, making way for European settlement and today’s progressive nation.

It’s a date the Australian Flag Society believes should be commemorated by making August 22 Captain Cook Day.

President Nigel Morris said it was important Australians were aware of the explorer’s impact on our nation.

“Because Cook discovered the east coast of Australia, within less than 200 years there was a modern Western nation established here. I think that’s the real significance of it.”

Captain Cook charted the Australian coast in HM Bark Endeavour in 1770. On August 22 he laid claim to the coast from Possession Island on behalf of King George III of England, naming eastern Australia New South Wales.

Mr Morris said the act facilitated the arrival of the First Fleet in January 1788.

Mr Morris has written to every politician in Australia about the concept of Captain Cook Day. While the majority of responses had been positive, a politician from Western Australia believed it would be disrespectful to the indigenous people of Australia.

Mr Morris said the society had discussed the issue and discovered through Cook’s journals that he was a man “who tried to see beyond his own culture”.

The society did not want to impose the commemoration on the community, instead it planned to promote the day over a number of years until the level of support could be gauged.

The first commemoration will be held next year at “Captain Cook’s Landing Place” at Kurnell, NSW.

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