Skip to content
  • Open today 9am–5pm
  • Free general admission

1770

Join us on a time travelling adventure as we visit Captain Cook and his crew repairing the Endeavour in Guugu Yimithirr country on the banks of what is now the Endeavour River in Queensland. Click on the images below for photos, videos and more information. Suitable for years 3 to 6.

Endeavour runs aground

Stranded on the Great Barrier Reef

Captain James Cook left England on the Endeavour in 1768 with a large crew and several scientists and artists on board. It was Cook's first journey to the Pacific. He sailed to Tahiti then on to search for the 'unknown southern land'.

Cook first saw the mainland of Australia in 1770 and sailed up the east coast. The Endeavour became stuck on a reef off the coast of what we now know as Queensland.

Cook's crew threw objects, including six cannon, overboard to lighten the load and raise the ship from the reef. The Endeavour was sailed into a river for repairs, and to collect food and water.

Did you know?

Did you know there was a goat, cat and greyhounds on the Endeavour?

The cat helped control rats and mice. Sheep, chickens, pigs and a goat provided the crew with meat, eggs and milk. And naturalist Joseph Banks took two greyhounds, which he used for hunting.

Guugu Yimithirr country

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.

Did you know?

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.

Take the quiz

How much do you know about Captain Cook’s stay on the Endeavour River? Check out the Kids learning space pages above, then see how many answers you can get right!

Start the Endeavour River
online quiz

Watch the video

Join the old ladies (gamba gamba) of Hopevale, who are passing on their Guugu Yimithirr culture through stories and art.

Guugu Yimithirr culture 3:32

Hopevale Arts and Cultural Centre

Listen to 'Endeavour' journal audio readings

'Newcomers explore an ancient land' on the ABC Education website
Hear a passage about Banks and Gore's exploration in the Endeavour River area in 1770. Duration: 2:26.

'Getting to know the locals' on the ABC Education website
Hear a passage about a meeting with Guugu Yimithirr men in 1770. Duration: 1:54.

'Trouble over turtles' on the ABC Education website
Hear a passage about strained relations between Cook's crew and the Guugu Yimithirr people. Duration: 2:16.

'Dogs that hop along on two legs?' on the ABC Education website
Hear a passage about animals observed by the British crew around the Endeavour River in 1770. Duration: 2:12.

'Harvests and hazards in the seas' on the ABC Education website
Hear a passage about sea life observed around the Endeavour River. Duration: 1:21.

Additional resources

Collection highlights

Return to Top