Commemorating the first reconciliation

Article image - Commemorating the first reconciliation Traditional owner Fred Deeral, a direct descendant of the ‘little old man’ who initiated reconciliation with James Cook in 1770, presented the Prime Minister with a spear at the site of the original reconciliation, now called Reconciliation Rocks.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, on a visit to the far north last month, announced a boost of $5.45 million to Cooktown’s 2020 Festival to support local infrastructure.

The seven week long festival will commemorate the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s 48 day (7 week) stay on Cooktown’s Endeavour River in 1770.

Cook Shire Mayor, Peter Scott, said, “[The festival] is not a celebration of colonisation, or European arrival, but a commemoration of a pivotal time in our shared history.

“Cook’s stay here included the first recorded act of meaningful reconciliation between the Traditional Owners and Cook’s men, as well as significant scientific discoveries.”

The funding will be used to develop a place of pilgrimage and reflection at the Reconciliation Rocks precinct on Adelaide Street, implementation of the Botanic Gardens Master Plan, upgrades to the Gamaay Dreaming Track and development of the Boathouse on Charlotte Street into a cultural centre.

“This funding and these projects are incredibly important to the success of the Cooktown 2020 Festival.

“They will create employment and be an attraction in their own right, however to showcase them at the 2020 Festival, we are lobbying the State Government to follow the lead of their Federal counterparts with funding.

“Through the Cooktown 2020 Festival we want to not only commemorate our history, but also showcase our region as a national leader for reconciliation and multiculturalism.”

In addition to the 2020 Festival funding, the Prime Minister announced $6.7 million for a circumnavigation of the country by the replica HMB Endeavour, including a stop in Cooktown.