Because the only way the Australian government can do history is by hurling money at weird pantomime that is almost certainly going to do little but stir up culture war, Scott Morrison has announced $6.7 million in funding for a 14-month voyage of a replica of the Endeavour. Cool?
The trip, which will mark 250 years since James Cook‘s arrival on the continent now called Australia, will feature 39 stops around the coast, with local events marking each stop.
Morrison said that Cook’s voyage is “the reason Australia is what it is today” and should be commemorated. Strangely, he also told ABC radio that the replica trip would be a reenactment of Cook’s voyage, even though Cook did not circumnavigate Australia.
(He circumnavigated New Zealand, but the ship is not going there.)
“As the 250th anniversary nears we want to help Australians better understand Captain Cook’s historic voyage and its legacy for exploration, science and reconciliation,” Morrison said in a statement. “That voyage is the reason Australia is what it is today and it’s important we take the opportunity to reflect on it.”
The journey will start in Sydney in March 2020, and end in May 2021. The ship in question is the HMB Endeavour, which the website for the National Maritime Museum describes as “one of the world’s most accurate maritime replica vessels.” It goes out for a few shorter voyages a few times a year.
The $6.7 million in funding for the Endeavour trip is part of the so-called Cooktown 2020 festivities, all celebrating the 250-year anniversary. The entire funding package for Cooktown is $48.7 million.
According to the government, some of Cooktown 2020’s festivities and projects will centre around Indigenous history and preservation. A nice little bone to throw considering Cook’s voyage did indeed directly preface centuries of violence, murder and dispossession.
There you go, though! A $6.7 million boat trip. You’re welcome.