Endeavour trip to 'promote reconciliation'

Ken Wyatt, the Minister for Indigenous Australians, at the launch at the Australian National Maritime Museum of the Encounters 2020 program. It will mark 250 years since Cook's 1770 voyage with stories from Indigenous Australians.
Ken Wyatt, the Minister for Indigenous Australians, at the launch at the Australian National Maritime Museum of the Encounters 2020 program. It will mark 250 years since Cook's 1770 voyage with stories from Indigenous Australians.

Sailing a replica of Captain James Cook's ship the HMS Endeavour around the country to mark 250 years since his original voyage will help people realise it's "flawed" to think the explorer discovered Australia, a federal minister says.

The 14-month program, due to begin ear, will mark the 250th anniversary of the British explorer's first voyage to the antipodes.

It will feature activities and exhibitions which aim to offer a glimpse of how indigenous Australians may have viewed the trip.

Federal Arts Minister Paul Fletcher on Wednesday said the voyage would bring Australians together to learn about the nation's history.

Sailing a replica Endeavour around Australia will mark 250 years since Cook's antipodes voyage.

Sailing a replica Endeavour around Australia will mark 250 years since Cook's antipodes voyage.

"We have long recognised that the idea that Cook discovered Australia is a flawed idea," Mr Fletcher said at the project launch at the National Maritime Museum in Sydney.

"He did not. Our country has a 60,000-year human history.

"It's the government's aim that these commemorations promote the spirit of reconciliation across our entire country."

Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt said for many the voyage represents a scientific journey of discovery but, for others, it symbolises a loss of country, language and culture.

The 2020 project will allow Australians to reflect and discuss the lasting impact Captain Cook's voyage had, the minister said on Wednesday.

"It provides an opportunity for all of us to be better informed about our nation's history from multiple perspectives and to understand the impact the arrival of Captain Cook had on indigenous Australians."

Museum chief executive Kevin Sumption hopes the program will separate myth from fact and share the perspective of first Australians who were onshore at the time of the voyage.

"We have brought together different culture views - indigenous and non-indigenous - to give, for the first time, a view from the shore of this momentous voyage," he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier in the year announced $6.7 million in funding for the replica ship to journey around Australia stopping at 39 locations along the coast.

Australian Associated Press