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Video clip synopsis – Written on board the Endeavour during his trip down under in 1770, James Cook’s journal records the beginning of Australia as we know it today.
Year of production - 2004
Duration - 5min 0sec
Tags - Australian History, see all tags


Endeavour  Journal

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About the Video Clip


Endeavour Journal is an episode of the series National Treasures produced in 2004.

Endeavour Journal
What is Australia’s greatest book? In the National Library of Australia there is a 743-page volume that could lay claim to the title. It is Lieutenant James Cook’s journal, written on board the Endeavour during his trip down under in 1770. Warren Brown leafs through these precious pages to discover Cook’s first impressions and trace the beginning of Australia as we know it today.

National Treasures
Take a road-trip of discovery with the irrepressible Warren Brown – political cartoonist, columnist and history “tragic” – as he reveals a fascinating mix of national treasures drawn from public and private collections across Australia. On its own, each treasure is a priceless snapshot of an historic moment. Together, they illustrate the vitality and uniqueness of the Australian experience.

National Treasures is a Film Australia National Interest Program. Produced with the assistance of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Background Information


Captain James Cook FRS RN (October 27, 1728 – February 14, 1779) was an English explorer, navigator and cartographer. Cook made three voyages to the Pacific Ocean.

James Cook was the first European explorer to chart the east coast of Australia. Written on board the Endeavour during his 1770 trip, James Cook’s journal records his first impressions and traces the beginning of Australia as we know it today.

Classroom Activities

  1. View the video clip then discuss and write answers to the following:
    1. When does Cook’s Endeavour Journal date from?
    2. Where is it found today?
    3. Why is it located there?
    4. Why is it considered a significant item?
  2. Although we have the written record of the arrival in 1770 of the Endeavour and its crew into what became known as Botany Bay, and the excursion ashore to gather flora and fauna samples for observation, what were the first impressions of those Indigenous Australians who may have been watching their activities? Plan and write what you consider may have been an oral report presented by one of the Indigenous observation party to his community elders. You may want to prepare this activity as a play scene with dialogue, where the elders ask further questions about what has been witnessed, and make decisions about the information they are receiving.
  3. Following from the previous activity, in pairs carry out research, from records in the Endeavour Journal and elsewhere, then write an informative article of about 400–500 words, on the Europeans’ first contact with the local population in 1770. How did the two groups relate? Was contact friendly? Were there misunderstandings, problems, arguments, acts of violence?
  4. Read the interview with Tony Horwitz (see Further Resources) where he discusses Captain James Cook. Carry out further research about Cook elsewhere if required. Following this, debate in class the question of whether Cook was a “hero”, a “villain”, or somewhere in between, in his relations with Indigenous populations during his voyages of exploration.

Further Resources


Interview with Tony Horwitz, author of Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before

For more National Treasures information and video clips go to Investigating National Treasures