Prime Minister Scott Morrison is asking Australians to help make sure that celebrations of today’s 250th anniversary of the landing of Captain James Cook on Australia’s eastern seaboard go ahead despite the coronavirus lockdown.
“I and the rest of my government recognise that we can’t have the big events we originally had planned to mark the occasion when Captain Cook landed at Kurnell Point in Botany Bay in my electorate which, coincidentally, carries his name,” Mr Morrison said.
“I know I speak for all Australians when I say there is so much to celebrate about Cook’s landing and all the wonderful things that flowed from that moment on to all who followed him to settle and exploit this wide, brown, and previously economically undeveloped land after he took possession of it as part of the British Empire.
“We should stop today and take the time to recognise the glorious contributions to our nation made by those who took such a huge risk by sailing in rickety old boats – many filled with wretches expelled forever from their own homelands – on such great and dangerous journeys to reach our shores and help build a new life in a new nation that we are now so proud to call home.
“It’s a great pity that we currently have a national lockdown otherwise I can just imagine the type of national pride we might have otherwise seen in and around Cook’s landing place, especially at nearby places like Cronulla Beach.
“But in the current circumstances I’m asking all true blue Australians to help mark this momentous occasion by arranging their own celebrations at their own homes today.
“Just like Anzac Day when people held their own small events in their driveways, so too we can mark Captain Cook’s arrival in the same simple way.
“I’m urging all Australians to take a few moments during today to gather their family and stand at the end of their driveways and re-enact Cook’s landing.
“You could perhaps have on hand a Union Jack and use it to take possession of Australia all over again.
“If one or two of your kids want to get dressed up, or undressed perhaps, and put some boot polish on their faces, they can take the role of the Aborigines who history tells us welcomed the good Captain with open arms.
“And seeing history also tells us that Cook’s landing party greeted the local Aborigines with their own arms, the kids can decide who gets to ham it up more after being wounded from some harmless warning musket fire or grapeshot that was never meant to harm them, weapons being as accurate as they were back then.
“But there’s no need to wallow in some ‘black armband’ version of these historic events when we have so many positive things to celebrate about this momentous event.
“To ensure Cook’s landing and even today’s 250th anniversary is not forgotten, Australians might like to plant a native.
“That would be a fitting way to memorialise this great event in our nation’s history,” Mr Morrison said.