A crowd of residents and visitors gathered at Cooktown’s William Daku Park on Wednesday (25 October), 150 years to the day since government officials named the site Cook’s Town.
Cook Shire Council threw a free community barbecue with guest speakers to mark the important occasion, despite backlash from some Indigenous residents who likened the event to celebrating genocide.
Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott said the occasion was a chance to look back on the past but also look forward to a positive future.
“Cooktown was the site of the first recorded act of reconciliation in 1770, between Cook and his crew and the Guugu Yimithirr people, and today we still have something really special here that people appreciate,” Cr Scott said.
“Even though we’re commemorating 150 years of the town in October, there is such a rich history prior to that and the beaut story of the great interaction between the Guugu Yimithirr and Cook.”
The event was attended by community members, as well as Guugu Yimithirr Elders and members of the Cairns and District Chinese Association.