26 September 2023

Library opens book on Captain Cook

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The State Library of NSW has launched a new online exhibition revisiting Captain James Cook’s eight days in Kamay (Botany Bay).

Head of the Indigenous Engagement team at the Library, Damien Webb said the exhibition, Eight Days in Kamay, invited visitors to re-examine Captain Cook’s legacy and European accounts of the Endeavour’s short stay in Kamay 250 years ago.

“Cook’s time in Kamay is one of the most misunderstood events in Australia’s colonial history,” Mr Webb said.

“Two hundred and fifty years later these events are still being debated, contested, felt,” he said.

“And what is missing from almost every non-Aboriginal re-telling of Cook’s voyage is any sense of Aboriginal agency or humanity.”

Mr Webb said the online exhibition explored first contact and what those fateful eight days looked like from the perspective of the Gweagal people, with knowledge gained through community consultations in La Perouse and by senior Gweagal knowledge holder Shayne Williams.

State Librarian, John Vallance said the Library was committed to ensuring that Aboriginal voices were properly heard alongside all the others that made up Australia’s shared history.

“We are always encouraging individuals and communities to add their traditions and perspectives to the record,” Dr Vallance said.

The Library’s exhibition, Eight Days in Kamay, can be accessed at this PS News link.

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