Aborigines more popular than Captain Cook?

by Ann McGrath

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Professor Ann McGrath AM says Captain Cook was not always popular with the Australian public.

The crowd celebrating Australian federation in 1901, at the re-enactment of Cook’s 1770 Landing, actually cheered for his opponents.

Waiting for the landing show to begin on 7 January, many in the 5,000-strong audience tired of standing in the hot sun. To amuse themselves, they drank and let off fireworks.

Then suddenly, many stormed the roped-off VIP area, grabbing the best seats. Others snatched fine foods. One man was seen gnawing at a huge turkey skeleton.