When John Bertrand successfully skippered Australia II to victory at Newport, Rhode Island (USA) in 1983, he did not know the race finish line was close to the final resting place of The Endeavour. Neither did Bertrand’s financier know, although Alan Bond was captivated by Cook’s story. Cook’s official portrait adorned Mr Bond’s boardroom at the time.
Within 16 years, the shipwreck was discovered by Dr Kathy Abbass, US marine archaeologist.
Two years hence, the Australian journalist John Mulcair tracked down spears and shields that were collected by Cook at Kurnell, during England’s first encounter with Aboriginal people in 1770. These artefacts reside with the British Museum and with the University of Cambridge.
The Endeavour Sestercentenary Project invites the Australian public to share in the journey of discovery, to reclaim these important historical relics. As a public fundraising initiative, it invites ordinary Australians to help finance this important cause, as the 250th anniversary of Cook’s journey approaches.
The objective of the Endeavour Sestercentenary Project is to have spears and shields, and parts of The Endeavour repatriated from Britain and the United States. The Project aims to have these relics placed on permanent loan to the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) in Sydney, in time for the 250th anniversary celebrations in 2020.
By contributing to a public fundraising drive, all Australians can participate in an important milestone, capturing the spirit of celebration that marked Australia’s victory in the America’s Cup Yacht Race in 1983. The project will deliver some very tangible symbols of Australia’s commitment to reconciliation, and a moment in which all Australians can share.