• The replica of Captain Cook's ship Endeavour at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney. (Getty)Source: Getty
Ken Wyatt says it is important to provide a view from the shore when a replica of James Cook's ship HMS Endeavour sails around the country.
NITV Staff Writer

22 Aug 2019 - 3:15 PM  UPDATED 22 Aug 2019 - 3:15 PM

The minister for Indigenous Australians has said that sailing a replica of James Cook's ship the HMS Endeavour around the country will allow Australians to reflect and discuss the lasting impact of the original voyage.

The 14-month program, due to begin in March 2020, will mark the 250th anniversary of the British explorer's first voyage to Australia and the Pacific.

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

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.

Speaking at the project launch on Wednesday at the National Maritime Museum in Sydney, he said it was important that the project provide a view from the ship and the shore.

"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," Mr Wyatt said.

"Truth telling is critical if we are to have a shared future that takes us in a direction that is of a healing nature, that reconciles two significant nations of people, Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians."

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.

The circumnavigation is being funded from the existing nearly $50 million set aside to mark the anniversary.

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

"We have long recognised that the idea that Cook discovered Australia is a flawed idea," he said.

"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."

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.

Alison Page, a museum board member and a descendant of the Walbanga and Wadi Wadi people of the Yuin Nation, said that part of Australia’s origin story had always been missing – the voices of Aboriginal peoples.

"As part of the Indigenous community at Botany Bay I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of what I believe could be one of the most important and challenging moments in Australia’s history because it’s going to be the first time that we all come together as a whole nation to learn our true history," Ms Page said.

“The first part of that truth is that our history has been largely untold. Until now we have primarily looked at Cook’s voyage from one point of view and now, for the first time, we are adding the stories of Australia’s first people to that narrative.”

With AAP

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