Australia before Captain Cook
The very first map of Australia was called the Dauphin Map.
After the Europeans further explored Australia, the maps they made became more detailed. Europeans named this map New Holland (Australia) from 1756.
Who was James Cook?
James Cook was an Englishman who was born in 1728. Cook came from a poor family, and was lucky to get a basic education. When Cook was 26 he joined the navy. By the time Cook was 29 he had been made a commander of a warship.
The Endeavour- 1770
James Cook was made the captain of a ship called the Endeavour. This ship was to sail to Tahiti for scientific observations.
Cook was given some secret instructions in an envelope. The instructions told him that he also had to go and explore the unknown New Holland.
After their work in Tahiti, the crew of the Endeavour continued sailing west. Cook found New Zealand and travelled right around the country.
Then, on 19 April 1770, New Holland was spotted. The Endeavour travelled north and finally landed at Botany Bay on 29 April 1770. They spent a few days here collecting plants and flowers and observing the land and the people.
Further up the coast, the ship was damaged on the coral of the Great Barrier Reef. A camp was set up so the crew could repair the ship. This place is known today as Cooktown.
When the ship was repaired, the crew continued up to the very top of Australia, Cape York. The next day they went ashore and claimed Australia for Britain. Cook named it Possession Island.