On the 16th of June 1770, the Endeavour entered the mouth of the Endeavour River, shortly after being holed on the Great Barrier Reef. The ship was beached whilst repairs were effected, a task completed by the 6th of July. Unfavourable weather prevented departure, and Cook and his party remained there until the 4th of August.
This area is now the site of Cooktown, Australia, and each year, the Cooktown Re-enactment Committee commemorates Cook's landing and lengthy stay by restating the landing. The re-enactment involves about thirty local people costumed as Cook, Hicks, Banks, Solander, Monkhouse and various other crew. The party lands in two whaleboats, the first containing marines, and the second the remainder of the party.
The ceremony has taken place annually since 1960, including a special performance in 1970 for Queen Elizabeth during the Cook Bicentennial celebrations.
The ceremony takes place on a long weekend in early June, and other events that take place during the weekend include a parade, re-enactment ball, fishing and tug-of-war competitions and the National Tiss Tott Championships (a novelty beer drinking competition).
Since 1979, the Committee has produced covers to mark the event, using the Cooktown cancel. These covers are sold to raise funds which are used to purchase muskets and other items for use in the ceremony.
Michael Blinman and David Seymour
From information supplied by Loretta Sullivan (President of the Queensland Committee).
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 287, volume 7, number 3 (1984).