SSEC logo Kurnell - Birthplace of Modern Australia  
home| origins| occupation| landing place| squatters, campers| towra point| early enterprises| industries| services| the village  
• Recognition
• Resumption

Landing Place Reserve

Resuption and Dedication

About 250 acres of land, including that on which the obelisk and Forby Sutherland's grave are situated, was resumed by the Government in 1899 and dedicated as the Captain Cook Landing Place Reserve for the use and enjoyment of the public for all time. A formal and public dedication by His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, the Honorable Sir Frederick Darley, was to take place on the 28th April 1899 calendar date; and 29th April by the ship's log date, being the anniversary of Captain Cook's landing. Unfortunately the state of the weather necessitated a postponement until the 6th Maythe date on which Captain Cook sailed away from Botany Bay.

Invitation to the Dedication of Captain Cook's Landing Place Reserve. NPWS, Kurnell

Steam ferries conveyed guests across Botany Bay and the party was escorted to a dais erected on the rise of the hill at the rear of the monument. After all the guests had assembled the ceremony began. The Lieutenant Governor, the Admiral and the Minister for Lands all delivered speeches. In his address Sir Joseph Carruthers, Minister for Lands, said  ". this land is at last rescued from the hands of any private individual or land corporation. What blind folly ever induced the Government of New South Wales to part with this area of land for a paltry 1 per acre? It may be mere sentiment on my part to rescue this land as a national birthright!"

Dedication Ceremony

Sir Joseph Carruthers reminded the gathering that in 1861 twenty-year-old Henry Kendall visited Kurnell with Thomas Holt, who told the poet about his finding the bones of a white man. Fired by the significance of this discovery Kendall wrote:

There tread gently gently , pilgrim; there with youthful eyes look round;
Cross thy breast and bless the silence: lo, the place is holy ground!
Holy ground forever, stranger! All the quiet silver lights
Dropping from the starry heavens thro' the soft Australian nights
Dropping on those lone grave grassescome serene, unbroken clear,
Like the love of God the Father, falling, falling, year by year!
Yea, and like a Voice supernal, there the daily wind doth blow
In the leaves above the sailor buried ninety years ago.”

Thomas George Glover's painting of Holt's obelisk at high tide, 1878.  National Library of Australia
Tree planted by the Duke of Clarence, and Holt's wharf over what is now known as Cook's Rock. Remnants of the piers remain on that rock. Mitchell Library
Old post card showing visitors to the Captain Cook Landing Place Reserve in 1905 using the wharf which Thomas Holt had built. For these Cook celebrations a Sylvania punt was brought up to the wharf to be used as a floating dock for the convenience of the visitors. Ronald Corlette Theuil
Holt's obelisk and the Isaac Smith memorial on 'Cook's Rock' (circled), 1999. Daphne Salt
Endeavour II in Botany Bay, 29th April 1970, for the 200th anniversary re-enactment of Cook's landing. Queen Elizabeth II officiated at this ceremony. George Blundell The New Endeavour in Botany Bay in on 29th April 1995 for the 225th anniversary celebrations of the landing of Captain Cook. Noeline Thomas
top of page