Captain Cook's Replica Ship Is Going On A Trip He Never Went On, Morrison Announces
Scott Morrison has announced a replica of Captain Cook's HMB Endeavour will circumnavigate Australia -- despite the original never having done so.
Prime Minister Morrison announced on Tuesday $6.7 million will be given to the Australian National Maritime Museum so its replica, which is currently docked in Sydney's Darling Harbour, can make its way around the country.
During a 14-month trip, the ship will make 39 stops along the coast to mark the 250th anniversary of Cook's first voyage to the island continent now called Australia.
But while there's no denying Cook's arrival on the southern land -- which had been inhabited by Indigenous people for at least 65,000 years prior -- was a catalyst of British settlement, people were quick to point out he never actually circumnavigated it.
"That voyage is the reason Australia is what it is today and it's important we take the opportunity to reflect on it," the prime minister said.
"From Far North Queensland and the Cooktown 2020 Festival across to Bunbury and down to Hobart, our Government will ensure Australians young and old can see firsthand the legacy of Captain Cook and the voyage of the Endeavour."
Speaking on ABC Radio on Tuesday morning, Morrison described the circumnavigation as a "re-enactment of the voyage" of Captain Cook.
But, as many people pointed out, it isn't exactly a re-enactment. Matthew Flinders, 30 years later, was the one to circumnavigate the country.
Ironically, Morrison is also the Member for Cook in the House of Representatives.
Cook was in command of three different voyages to the Pacific, the first of which saw him make his way up the east coast of Australia -- then referred to as New Holland -- before sailing around Cape York through Torres Strait to the Dutch East Indies and back to England.
As many pointed out on Tuesday, Flinders was actually the first person to circumnavigate the island continent after setting sail in 1801 on the HMS Investigator.
Cook did complete a circumnavigation of New Zealand, but there are no Kiwi stops scheduled so far for the Endeavour replica.
The factual recount of Captain Cook's movements has tripped up Aussie politicians before.
Last year, Nationals MP Bridget McKenzie confused January 26th, 1788 for the day "when Captain Cook stepped ashore" while arguing against calls to change the date of Australia Day.
Given Cook had died nine years prior, it was a significant blunder to make.
READ MORE: National MP Gets Australia Day History Wrong
Historical oversight aside, the HMB Endeavour replica is expected to set sail from Sydney in March 2020, before heading South to Hobart then turning around the complete a loop of Australia.
The expedition will be funded from the government's $48.7 million package to mark the anniversary of Cook's first voyage to Australia and the Pacific.
Morrison's announcement comes amid annual heated debate surrounding Australia Day celebrations and the appropriateness of their January 26th scheduling.
Marking the day the First Fleet landed in Sydney Cove in 1788, our national day commemorates what is historically the beginning of wide-spread devastation, dispossession and death for Indigenous people.