Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian National Maritime Museum acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora nation as the Traditional Custodians of the bamal (earth) and badu (waters) on which we work.

We also acknowledge all Traditional Custodians of the land and waters throughout Australia and pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to Elders past and present.

2020 marks 250 years since Captain James Cook and the HMB Endeavour charted the East Coast of Australia. Encounters 2020 is a program designed to recognise both the achievements of Cook’s 1770 scientific voyage and its lasting impact on Australia’s First Peoples as well as the nation as a whole.

For the First Peoples of Australia, custodians of the continent for over 60,000 years, Cook’s journey was the most consequential encounter by early Western voyagers as it heralded the beginning of a fundamental change to their way of life.

This anniversary offers a unique opportunity for all Australians to reflect on, discuss and re-evaluate the lasting impact this pivotal event has had on us all and, in particular, the repercussions on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Encounters 2020 will utilise this historic event to examine both its significance in Australian history and its enduring legacy - from the dual perspectives of from the ship and from the shore and will encourage community engagement, discussion and debate about our past and our future.

"In the 250 years since Cook arrived we really have only looked at it from one perspective, that from the ship. We want to take this opportunity to also look at it from the perspective of the First Australians on the shore. We want to separate myth from fact. We can acknowledge Cook’s achievements and impacts, and clarify the role he played in Australian history."

Kevin Sumption PSM - Australian National Maritime Museum Director & CEO

The Program

The aim of Encounters 2020 is to engage all Australians and foster a respectful discussion about our past. The program includes exhibitions, new educational resources, film and digital projects. The planned voyages for 2020 have been suspended due to Covid-19. See full statement here.

Endeavour 250 To find out more about other events and activities marking the anniversary around Australia, visit the Australian Government’s official Endeavour 250 website   


Contact Us

If you would like further information about the program please email us at: