According to the official announcement of this stamp issue, it “commemorates the Endeavour’s voyage while recognising that Australia has a much older, rich and continuing Indigenous history at its heart. The stamps are conceived as five vertical pairs, representing the overlapping narratives of the Endeavour voyage and Indigenous culture and knowledge. The visual narrative aims to create respect, insight and understanding of the multiple stories, lives and cultures that intersected at the time of the Endeavour’s first Pacific voyage... The denomination on the stamps in each pair provides for the $1.10 base-rate of postage with the pairs presented as semi-imperforate”.
The five pairs of stamps depict
Cook is fulfilling his commission by the Royal Society of London to observe the transit of Venus across the sun. Above is the constellation of the Southern Cross, used for navigation by Europeans and holding great cultural significance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The fifth-brightest star, Ginan, represents a red dilly-bag filled with special songs of knowledge”.
Endeavour sails across the oceans to an island busy with activity. Lines show the routes of Macassan trading ships to the north and 17th-century Dutch visits in the west. The tracks across the continent show how our national highways have been shaped by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trading pathways”.
“Science and botany:
The Banksia encapsulates the many layers of understanding First Nation Peoples had from studying native plants and animals. This included using the plant as a water filter and needle. Botanist Joseph Banks and naturalist Daniel Solander are shown collecting scientific specimens of the plant, which was later named in honour of Banks”.
Depicted as an ordinary man rather than as a hero, James Cook is shown resting on a rock after making landfall on the east coast of the continent. The objects he collected, as well as the land’s connection to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, are referenced by the shield and the culturally appropriate depiction of family and ancestors”.
“The journey continues:
In late 1770, after achieving its mission of mapping and discovery, the Endeavour departed the continent through the Torres Strait. The ship’s route along the coastline of northern Australia is shown alongside a compass embedded with culture”.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 65, volume 43, number 3 (2020).