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By Maria Nugent

Botany Bay is well known because the website of Captain Cook's first touchdown at the east coast of latest Holland in 1770, notorious because the position selected by means of the British as a dumping flooring for convicts, and celebrated because the birthplace of Australia. Drawing on tales, gadgets, photographs, stories, and the panorama itself, this paintings offers Botany Bay in all of its complicated importance whereas investigating the jobs that Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal histories play in growing and maintaining neighborhood and nationwide groups.

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By the time the claim of direct descent from those who saw Cook arrive in 1770 was being made public by local Aboriginal people, which, according to archival traces, was in the late nineteenth century (although this was not necessarily when the claim originated), Captain Cook had become the focus for more visible commemoration at Botany Bay, in part because he had begun to achieve national forefather status (discussed in detail in Chapter 3). Local Aboriginal people’s status in the national story and in the national community was, in contrast, peripheral and precarious.

They reject historical representations that overlook, or play down, an Aboriginal presence at Botany Bay in the period between the late eighteenth century and the late nineteenth century. And they seek to challenge accounts that the Aboriginal settlement was almost completely the product of a shift in government practice, or which mistakenly conflate the camp’s origins with the removal of Aborigines from Sydney. In these types of historical analyses, government practice is privileged, which obscures Aborigines’ own efforts to make a place for themselves in the colonised landscape.

In terms of this development, the extension of the tramline was a significant boon. Crowds came to swim in the sea under the lee of a hillside, which in time would be covered in headstones. 43 The gaol was situated next door to the Coast Hospital, making the incarcerated and the infected close neighbours. Situated side by side, the two institutions heralded the very outer limits of turn-of-the-century Sydney. The ‘abject’ suburb Cursed with a poor reputation in the late eighteenth century, one that was reactivated and reinforced in the late nineteenth century, Botany Bay (and especially some sections of it) has ever since failed 60 BOTANY BAY to rid itself of its marginal status in the Sydney landscape—a fact perceptively observed by travel writer Jan Morris.

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