Travels with Tim and Lisa

"If my discoveries are other people's commonplaces I cannot help it – for me they retain a momentous freshness" (Elizabeth Bowen)

Captain Cook’s Memorial, Norfolk Island, June 27th 2018

Posted by Lisa Hill on June 29, 2018

There’s not the same angst about Captain Cook on Norfolk Island.  In Australia, he claimed possession of a place that had had traditional owners for 60,000 years.  Australia went on claim, spuriously, that the place was terra nullius until well into the 20th century.  But Norfolk Island was genuinely uninhabited, having been vacated for reasons unknown by the Polynesians who had lived there centuries before, so it was not morally wrong for him to claim possession of it.

So a memorial to Captain Cook’s landing on Norfolk Island doesn’t have the same historical baggage that his landing place in Australia has.  There’s a lovely park overlooking the ocean and tourists can wander about the site, marvelling at the difficulties of landing anywhere on this unhospitable coast…

According to the signage, Cook landed yonder from the large rock you can see in this photo.  We were looking at it during high tide, but even so, it seems an inadequate sort of beach for an historic moment.  There is a patch a bit further on which seems a better spot to drop anchor, but perhaps low tide would give the lie to that.

In the same memorial park, there is a cairn recording the moment, and the views are lovely.

Apologies once again for the layout of these photos…

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