How did Cook’s Endeavour voyage change Australia forever?
Investigation 6: The story
6.1 What was the purpose of the voyage of the Endeavour?
The 1768–71 voyage of HMB Endeavour, led by Lieutenant James Cook had two main purposes. Scientists wanted to work out the distance from the Earth to the Sun. They needed go to Tahiti and measure the ‘transit’ of the planet Venus, as it moved across the face of the Sun. Britain also wanted more influence in the world. It was believed that there was an unknown ‘Great South Land’ and Cook was told to search for it and claim it for Britain.
1. Do some research to find out why working out the distance from the Earth to the Sun was important. What would it help with? Hint: It has something to do with the solar system.
2. Cook didn’t discover a ‘Great South Land’ — a continent the size of America for example — because it didn’t exist. But he was the first to map the east coast of Australia, and he claimed it for Britain so that the British could decide to return later and use it.
Look at some different reasons the British might have wanted to come back to Australia. Discuss these reasons in your group and complete the table.
|Use||Why might this have been useful to the British Government in the 1780s?|
|As a place to bring criminals (called convicts) from Britain|
|To grow crops|
|To farm animals|
|To dig up minerals|
|To set up a military base|
3. Your group now has to present part 1 of the ‘Cook claims Australia’ story to the rest of the class. Choose what you think are the most important things you have found out and then work out a creative way of presenting that information.