With Australia being such a young country and myself such an avid fan of any subject which remotely comes under the heading of “history”, it can be rather disappointing at times that my home country is rather lacking in the history department.
It is comforting to know that we do have a limited written history, however young, much of which has been carried out on my very own doorstep.
As I cannot relate to you the history of Australia’s Medieval Days, (they didn’t exist!) the seventeen hundred’s will have to suffice.
Let me take you back in time to the month of May, in 1770.
Captain James Cook and the crew of his ship, the “Endeavour”, sailed north along the eastern coast of Australia.
After reaching the most easterly point of Australia’s landmass, which Cook named “Cape Byron”, the ship continued north to a point where they struck dangerous reefs, some three nautical miles off the coast.
The prominent mountain sighted by Cook, just a few miles inland from the sea, he named “Mount Warning” as it seemed to be a distinguishing landmark to warn sailors of the hazards in the ocean nearby.
Cook named the land along the coastline near these reefs “Point Danger”, which is said to be the site where the Captain Cook Memorial Lighthouse is situated, on the border of New South Wales and Queensland.
In his writings in the ships log, on May 16, 1770, Cook noted a small island just off the coast, which was later named “Cook Island”, in his honour.
In this photo, you can see the mouth of the Tweed River, right next to Duranbah Beach (D-bar to the locals).
In the distance is the small island sighted by Cook and named for him.
As you can see, this zoomed in photo of Cook Island is rather poor quality, although it does show the rocky and deserted land of the island.
It would be almost another eighteen years before Captain Arthur Phillip arrived in the colony of New South Wales, on January 26, 1788, with eleven ships containing convicts, the so called criminals who were expected to forge out a new life in this barren land.
Yesterday, as Australians celebrated the birthday of our country, we could only lay claim to being 223 years old!
We may be a baby country in comparison to most of the world, but I do believe our history is well worth preserving.