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Kamay Botany Bay Environmental Education Centre

Kamay Botany Bay Environmental Education Centre

Leading Living Learning

Telephone02 9668 9889 / 0477 742 284


Stage 2 - History - First Contacts

Stage 2 history


Kamay Botany Bay EEC

Kamay Botany Bay National Park, Kurnell

Explore the original landing site where James Cook landed in 1770 at Kurnell. Students will consider the traditional use of the land by the Aboriginal people and the meeting of two cultures in 1770. Visit the new scultpures and monuments  located within the National Park. Become a botanical artist and sketch a plant just as the artist Sydney Parkinson did in 1770.  Students will record their observations in a mini magazine.

Key Inquiry Question

  • Why did James Cook make the journey?
  • What was life like for the Aboriginal people at Kamay Botany Bay before the arrival of James Cook?
  • What was the nature and consequence of the meeting of two cultures?

Key syllabus Outcomes

  • describes and explains how significant individuals, groups and events contributed to changes in the local community overtime
  • describes people, events and actions related to world exploration and its effects
  • describes and explains effects of British colonisation in Australia
  • applies skills of historical inquiry and communication.

Students will:

  • investigate the first contact between the Aboriginal people and Europeans at Botany Bay 
  • participate in a role play of the first contact between Aboriginals and James Cook
  • learn about the daily life of the Aboriginal people and Europeans 
  • explore the natural bushland, shore and monuments 
  • consider the significance of this site for Australia's history.

Cross Curriculum priorities

Perspectives of traditional Aboriginal lifestyle are integrated throughout the program.

Before the excursion

To get the most out of the excursion to Botany Bay teachers and students are encouraged to:

Disclaimer: Students will participate in a role play to understand the first contact between James Cook and the local Aboriginal men in 1770. The role play contains some confrontational aspects and teachers may need to consider if any of their students would find this to be stressful. The re-enactment is based on primary sources in particular Joseph Banks’ journal.

Download the First contacts excursion flyer

Supplementary resources

Endeavour - Eight Days in Kamay

For a virtual tour of the Endeavour go to the Australian National Maritime Museum.