Endeavour – Eight Days in Kamay

When the HMB Endeavour arrived in Kamay Botany Bay on the east coast of New Holland 250 years ago today it was an historic meeting of cultures.

29 April 2020
A artwork depicting the first encounters between Aboriginal Australians and the crew of the Endeavor using traditional dot painting techniques.
Image: ‘Kamay 1770’ by Kamilaroi woman Jenaya Hardy, a member of the Endeavour – Eight Days in Kamay project team. “This artwork gives the perspective from the shore looking out to sea at Kamay, 1770. The morning sunrise is so bright, the Indigenous people cannot see ‘what is to come’. The guiding path for the Endeavour is lit from the sun's reflection on the water. This enables James Cook and his crew to see that there is safety upon the land ahead.”

In 1770 the English vessel, led by Lieutenant James Cook, spent eight days in Kamay Botany Bay, the first encounter between Europeans and the Aboriginal people of the land, the Gweagal.

The NSW Department of Education has produced a suite of student learning resources to commemorate the event, guided by the principles of truth, respect, story and balance.

Endeavour - Eight Days in Kamay’, developed by the secondary education directorate, explores this significant event from different perspectives. It encourages critical thinking and inquiry-based investigation of evidence from online resources, collections and museums in NSW, Australia and worldwide.

Students can consider the view from the ship and the view from the shore by taking a virtual tour of Cook’s landing site at Kurnell and around Cape Solander. Interactive tools, videos, historic documents, images and material from institutions and collections worldwide create an immersive experience addressing a wide range of learning areas, capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities.

Project contributor and reviewer Bruce Howell is a former high school teacher of Wiradjuri descent and a member of the Sutherland Shire Council Aboriginal Advisory Committee.

Mr Howell approached his role in the review process in a manner instilled during his university studies of pure mathematics.

“We have attempted wherever possible to draw upon the available primary sources and to examine them with an almost scientific rigour, before arriving at any conclusions,” he said.

“At the same time, various other sources must necessarily be included to provide the balance that is so important at this time and into the future.

“We also remain open-minded to the materials evolving further as the need arises - now is the time for these discussions and Endeavour - Eight days in Kamay has been developed with a view to providing accuracy and sensitivity, and to support informed, constructive conversation.”

Tailored for students from Kindergarten to Year 10, the resources are arranged by stage and include explicit links to NSW syllabuses and the Australian Curriculum. Topics are suitable for teachers and students of history, geography, HSIE, science, English and PDPHE and encourage critical and transformative thinking.

Consultation on the development of Endeavour - Eight days in Kamay included the Sutherland Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, the State Library, Australian Museum, National Maritime Museum and National Museum of Australia. The department’s Aboriginal Education and Communities Directorate and local Aboriginal people reviewed curriculum resources for accuracy, tone and cultural safety.


Any questions or feedback can be emailed to endeavour@det.nsw.edu.au.

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