Contributed from Victoria
Today 14 February, marks the anniversary when Captain Cook was killed at Kealakekua Bay, in Hawaii.
His demise came about because in typical British imperial fashion, he insulted a people who had welcome him earlier.
He had also been the first man to impose the British flag on Australian soil, without a hint of consideration for those who were living here already.
While for a time, Cook was celebrated by some as a hero, he was never mistaken for one by the original Australians. His coming marked the beginning of an era of genocide and dispossession. Today, Captain Cook is almost an official embarrassment.
But it should never be forgotten that Cook’s arrival was not the action of one man. He was only the representative of a nation building an empire to exploit millions around the world and create fabulous fortunes for a very privileged minority. The Australian colonies were at first seen as a means to dispose of troublesome individuals, then used to exploit the whale trade and help penetrate Asia, and finally, to send wool the mills of the British industrial revolution.
There was money to be made, and the traditional Aboriginal economy and society got in the way. It had to go.
Despite the crimes committed against the first Australians, they have survived and wage an ongoing battle for recognition, basic human rights and the power to decide their own destiny. The tide of public opinion from other Australians od with them.
What all Australians should note on the anniversary of Captain Cook’s death is that justice wins out in the end.