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Cook led a scientific expedition to observe the transit of Venus in Tahiti, circumnavigated New Zealand and established that it was two separate islands, and nearly perished when the Endeavour ran aground on the world's largest coral reef. In 1779, on his third Pacific voyage, he was killed in Hawaii.
Cook's three Pacific voyages changed contemporary understanding of the world. But they also had a dramatic impact on the lives of those who inhabited the vast regions Cook explored. For many First Nations peoples, this was merely part of a long saga of dispossession and struggle for survival. While 'Cook and the Pacific' tells the story of cooperation and cultural exchange, it also details confrontation and conflict. The book has a strong First Nations voice, reflected in the essay by John Maynard.
The Library's collections provide a window into Cook and his complex legacy. 'Cook and the Pacific' allows audiences to celebrate, debate, question and understand the voyage of the Endeavour - shedding new light on Cook, the man and the myth. It explores Cook's contribution to science and navigation as well as his contribution to knowledge of the Pacific.
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the opening of the National Library of Australia building in Canberra, and the 250th anniversary of the departure of Cook's first Endeavour voyage from England in 1768 - both important events in Australian history - this book is a companion volume to the 'Cook and the Pacific' exhibition, which will show exclusively at the National Library of Australia in Canberra from 22 September 2018 to 10 February 2019.