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6.7 What did Cook do before he left Australia?

<p>Monument commemorating James Cook’s landing on Possession Island, Torres Strait</p>

National Museum of Australia

<p>Monument commemorating James Cook’s landing on Possession Island, Torres Strait</p>

Cook sailed further north, and after proving that the Torres Strait existed, Cook climbed the summit of (newly named) Possession Island. Here he did something that would have a huge impact on Australia from this point onwards. He claimed the east coast of the Australian continent for Britain.

This is what Cook wrote in his journal:

‘Not withstand[ing] I had in the Name of his Majesty taken possession of several places upon this coast I now once more hoisted English Coulers [colours] and in the Name of His Majesty King George the Third took possession of the whole of the Eastern Coast...’

Lieutenant James Cook’s journal, 22 August 1770

Just 18 years later the British came back to Australia to set up a convict settlement, and later to take over the whole of the Australian continent.

1. In your group, discuss why Cook’s final act before leaving Australia was so important.

2. Did Cook talk to any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people before he made his claim?

3. In your group, discuss what else Cook could have done in this situation. List your ideas in the first column, and then add what might be the strengths and weaknesses of each of your ideas.

What Cook could have done Strengths Weaknesses

4. Your group now has to present part 7 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.

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