Captain Cook Chased a Chook

Melbourne University Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Cultural Studies Review, 2008, History Experiments, 14 (1), pp. 43 - 54
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Captain Cook has been marked again and again as culturally and historically significant. Even mentioning his name risks a set of responses: The Great Navigator, The Original Invader, The Marker of Modern Australia and The Discoverer. One of the challenges to think history `experimentally was to consider how and why and if we could redeem aspects of the past which have fallen outside what has been monumentalised as historically significant. But equally, how could we make new kinds of interpretative spaces within well circulated and official histories such as those which simply leave Cook as a `discoverer of Australia? The challenge in attempting to interrupt Cook as only a historical figure is that he already works through replication and chaotic proliferation that solemnly monumentalise him with a fake reason and at the same time popularise him in delirious rhyme. He is the figure represented through statues and `discovery sites that invent him as a foundational national figure and he is displayed and circulated through banal activities such as Captain Cook cruises and take away shops. As Chris Healy suggests of the multiple experiences of `Captain Cooks Cottage'
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