Madam Deputy Speaker, let me take you back to 1770 when Cook's crew first set foot upon the rugged and exotic shores of Australia.
We all know the story of Captain Cook landing in Botany Bay, but less well known is what happened after he left and sailed north. In a mariner's worst nightmare the ship Endeavour ran aground on a shoal of the Great Barrier Reef late in the night on 10 June 1770—it is not too long from now, actually, when it happened. She limped ashore and was beached in a sheltered inlet for repairs at the site which is now the vibrant regional centre of Cooktown.
There, Cook and his crew met with the local Aboriginal people, the Guugu Yimithirr, documented over 200 new species of plants and made the first recorded European sighting of one of our country's iconic emblems, the kangaroo. It is also acknowledged as the place where the first act of reconciliation actually occurred. It is a significant chapter in Australia's 40,000-year history, and one that the Cooktown Re-enactment Association is passionate about promoting. After all, if Cook's ship were unable to be repaired or had sunk, how would this have changed the course of our country's history?
The Cooktown Re-enactment Association was formed in 1959 by a group of locals who decided to re-enact the landing of Captain Cook on their shore, to attract more visitors to the community. The event is now an annual festival, one which I am excited to be attending this coming weekend, when Ricky Ashworth and his team of scurvy sailors will take on the roles of Captain Cook and his crew.
I congratulate the association for actively promoting Cooktown's history in a new and innovative way. They are fundraising to sell Cook souvenir spring water. I am hoping that all visitors will buy a bottle and help spread the word about Cooktown.
In April this year well-known local historians Alberta Hornsby and Loretta Sullivan travelled to Melbourne to present a lecture on the historic event at Melbourne University. They also received support from the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, which runs the HMB Endeavour replica program. I am very much looking forward to the grand opening and launch of the '48 Days of Shared History' mural project on this Friday, with 13 murals by the highly-talented local artist, Jane Dennis, depicting the 48 days spent by Captain Cook and his crew on the Endeavour Riverin 1770.
It is certainly a very exciting time for Cooktown, and I am pleased that it is starting to receive the recognition that it well and truly deserves. I have to say that what is great about the Cooktown re-enactment and also the festival that they have there over the Queen's Birthday weekend is that there is great participation by the local Indigenous population as well as by the broader local population.
It is a celebration for all in Cooktown, and I certainly embrace the way in which they are able to bring the community together in a very exciting and sometimes very novel way. I encourage anybody to go to Cooktown for the long weekend in June. Please jump on up. It is easy to get to, you will have a great time and you will not forget you have been there.