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Guugu Yimithirr country


Caution: This website may include images and names of deceased people that may cause distress to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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Guugu Yimithirr country

Did you know that Captain Cook did not 'discover' Australia? Children were once taught that Cook did, but Aboriginal people had lived on the continent for thousands of years before Cook's arrival.

Other Europeans had also visited before Cook, including Dutch explorers and traders. Indonesian people from Macassar had also been visiting Australia since about 1700, collecting sea cucumbers (trepang) and trading with Aboriginal people.

Meeting at Endeavour River

When the Endeavour was damaged on the reef, Captain Cook was lucky to find a suitable river to beach and repair the ship nearby. Now called the Endeavour River, it is part of an area which had been home to the local Aboriginal people, the Guugu Yimithirr, for tens of thousands of years. They call the river Waalumbaal Birri.

The Guugu Yimithirr had several peaceful encounters with Cook and his men. Disagreement over the ownership of turtles collected by Cook's crew led to conflict. This was followed by a symbolic truce, or what is now seen as an early act of reconciliation between the two peoples.

Click on the photos below for more information

  • Aerial photograph of a river winding its way through lush green countryside. Several boats are moored on the river.
    Endeavour River
  • Detail image showing long green blades of grass.
    Grass for weaving
  • Colour photograph of a basket with handle at top and conical-shaped base.
    Woven basket
  • Colour photograph of a river bank.
    Endeavour landing place
  • Black and white sketch of a ship resting on its side at the edge of a river. A smaller boat is rowed by eight people in the foreground.
    Endeavour aground at Cooktown
  • Aerial phorograph showing a town laid out alongside a river and extending to a headland.
  • A turtle shell resting on floorboards.
    Conflict and reconciliation
  • A painting of Aboriginal men holding spears.
    The Coming of the First Missionary
  • Sir Joseph Banks
    Sir Joseph Banks
  • Colour illustration of a plant  with serrated leaves, cylindrical flower head and seed pod.
  • Sydney Parkinson
    Sydney Parkinson
  • Rought sketch of a kangaroo.
    First kangaroo sketch
  • Statue of Captain Cook in naval dress and holding charts atop a stone base and a plaque headed 'Captain James Cook'.
    Captain Cook monument
  • Exterior photoraph of the James Cook Museum
    James Cook Museum
  • Two women working on Aboriginal paintings.
    Guugu Yimithirr artists


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