Endeavour’s Botany Bay voyage: Meeting of Two Cultures Ceremony

The clouds parted as the voyage crew gathered to join the HMB Endeavour replica on Tuesday morning for a three-day return voyage to Botany Bay. The voyage was timed to coincide with the 245th Anniversary Ceremony of the landing of Captain Cook and the Endeavour crew at Kurnell in Botany Bay. The voyage crew included some new crew and some ‘repeat offenders’, as the returning voyage crew have been affectionately dubbed.

The morning was spent training the voyage crew in line handling, climbing aloft and safety procedures, and in familiarising the new crew with the ship. At 1535 we slipped the mooring lines and motored out of Sydney Harbour.

The weather remained calm and clear as we motored south into a moderate southerly breeze and then wore ship and set the topsails and forecourse at 0200 under a clear starry sky. It was a fantastic effort by the new voyage crew – working the ship, climbing aloft and setting sails under the light of the half moon. All the night watches were kept busy sail handling and bracing the yards during the early morning.

We entered Botany Bay in the company of a pod of dolphins at 0800 with a Harbour Pilot embarked and picked up a mooring close to Kamay Botany Bay National Park at Kurnell, on the southern side of Botany Bay. The voyage crew went ashore to attend the ‘Meeting of Two Cultures’ ceremony, hosted by the Sutherland Shire Council at 1100 in the Park.

The ceremonial proceedings included Welcome to Country, official speeches and the raising and lowering of the Queen Anne Flag – the flag that would have been raised when Cook’s Endeavour crew landed ashore in 1770. A minute’s silence was observed while wreaths were laid in memory of lives lost at the meeting of two cultures. The Royal Australian Navy Band performed and Kurnell Public School Students sang the National Anthem in both English and Dharawal indigenous languages. Indigenous dance and didgeridoo group ‘Descendance’ also performed. HMB Endeavour was moored in the bay as a background throughout, adding a striking visual to the ceremony.

Although the skies were grey, the rain held off until the end of proceedings and there was only intermittent light rain in the afternoon. The voyage crew returned to the ship and after a delicious lunch, we slipped the mooring and sailed out of Botany Bay, between Cape Banks and Cape Solander, and north towards Sydney. We set the fore and main topsails and courses, fore and aft sails and the spritsail, and had a pleasant sail overnight with 15 knot SE breezes. After wearing ship during the night, a little early morning furling in the rain reminded us that we really were at sea – despite our proximity to Sydney.

We arrived back in Sydney Harbour on Thursday morning. It was an unusually short voyage but we managed to fit in some excellent sailing and a great time was had by all!

Paula Tinney, Steward

See our Sail the Endeavour page to learn more about joining voyages like this.

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  1. Pingback: Commemoration and contestation at Kurnell | Australian National Maritime Museum

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