Carolyn Cash on the history of the Sutherland Shire.
Lieutenant (later Captain) James Cook was credited for definitely putting Australia on the map, especially the east coast. He himself never made this claim, he knew other Europeans had visited, he used their incomplete charts and maps.
This unknown southern land was known as Terra Australis, since Roman times, although Aboriginal people lived in Australia for about 70,000 years.
According to the Captain Cook Encyclopædia, it is possible Malay, Chinese or even Arab ships visited the north and west costs, as well as Dutch explorers who named the continent “New Holland”. William Janszoon discovered the west coast of Cape York Peninsula (near Weipa) in 1606; Luis Váez de Torres discovered the most northern tip of Cape York (with the Torres Strait named after him). No evidence the Dutch ever reached the east coast has survived.
Cook sailed north up Australia’s east coast, and he landed in Botany Bay on 29 April 1770. He noticed the local people were different from the Tahitians and Maoris. The indigenous people made no effort to make contact with the British.
The Gweagal clan (Dharawal tribe) were the original inhabitants. They called the point Cunnel (Kurnell). They were self-sufficient, hunting, fathering and fishing around Botany Bay.
The Gweagal watched the British arrival and viewed them with suspicion. The Endeavour anchored just off the bay’s southern point. The British rowed ashore in longboats and, as they landed, most of the Gweagal ran away. The remaining two waved spears and shouted at the strangers. The British tried talking to them, but no one could understand or be understood.
The Gweagal clan (Dharawal tribe) was the original inhabitants. They called the point Cunnel (Kurnell).
The British fired their guns and the Gweagal men threw their spears. No further direct contact took place during the remainder of their stay. The Gweagal watched and followed at a distance.
The Endeavour remained anchored for eight days. Cook and his team of scientists explored and mapped the area. The British made several excursions around the way, including one up a river on the north-side (Cooks River).
One crewman Forby Sutherland died on 1 May and was buried near the landing point. (The inner point was named after him.)
On 6 May, Cook took the Endeavour out of Botany Bay and headed north.
The landing area at Kurnell is commemorated as an important historic site.
Cook claimed the land for Britain and named it New South Wales, before sailing for Jakarta in September.
This article was originally published on 16 January 2012 on the 2ssr997fm blog, which has now been deleted.