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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

25 February 2005

A defining moment in Australia's history

On 29 April 1770, Lieutenant (later Captain) James Cook stepped ashore at Kurnell Peninsula and changed the history of the Australian continent forever. Kurnell Peninsula Headland, a signal point on the path to modern Australia, has now been included on the Australian Government's National Heritage List.

The decision to list the area, including Captain Cook's Landing Place, was announced today by the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell.

"Kurnell Peninsula Headland symbolises a defining moment for Australia," Senator Campbell said.

"It was here that James Cook first stood on Australian soil and made first contact with Australia's Indigenous people.

"Cook's landing at Kurnell laid the foundation for the first wave of European immigration to Australia and set the stage for future relations with Indigenous Australians.

"The name Cook gave to the area of Botany Bay is synonymous with our convict heritage, just as it has been a part of the bigger story of Australia's immigration history.

"Our nation's culture, economy and society have been greatly enriched by the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who have sought a new future and home in Australia. It is appropriate that this place, which tells the beginning of their story, should be included on the National Heritage List.

"Cook's expedition also opened up the world's understanding of this unique new land. The specimens and samples collected by the Endeavour's botanists, Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, contributed to the world's scientific understanding of the continent's unique flora and caused an explosion of European scientific curiosity in this new world. This, in turn, led to the understanding and appreciation of Australia's unique biodiversity, knowledge that continues to be expanded today," Senator Campbell said.

Kurnell Peninsula was entered on the National Heritage List under the emergency listing provision, on application by the Federal Member for Cook, the Honourable Bruce Baird MP in September 2004.

Places listed on the National Heritage List must be of exceptional value and importance to the nation as a whole.
More than 60 places have been nominated to the list, including many natural, Indigenous and historic sites.
For more information on the National Heritage List visit

Media contact:
Renae Stoikos (Senator Campbell's Office) 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

Commonwealth of Australia