Captain Cook’s Cottage
Not far from Melbourne’s Parliament station is Fitzroy Gardens, a spacious area with acres of elms, native flora, a conservatory, former caretaker’s cottage and the family cottage of Captain James Cook who made the first of three voyages to Australia and New Zealand in 1768.
Cook was born in Marton, Yorkshire, and joined the Royal Navy at 19, sailing into St. Lawrence River. He was commissioned to command an expedition to the South Pacific, sailing on the HMS Bark Endeavor.
On his first voyage to the South Pacific, Cook circumnavigated New Zealand and charted the east coat of Australia. He sailed into Botany Bay where the Sydney airport is located and Sydney Harbor which they explored and named Port Jackson.
Captain Cook’s Cottage
The British government dismantled the Cook Yorkshire family cottage and shipped it in crates and barrels and reassembled it in Fitzroy Garden in 1934.
Captain Cook’s Cottage is a bit rustic, with cozy kitchen, fireplace, closet-sized bedrooms, and a small library with 18th century books and pamphlets. The cottage is two-story with a narrow winding staircase leading to the kitchen.
Outside was an English cottage garden with herbs and plants Cook took on his voyages to prevent his sailors from contracting scurvy. A statue to Cook is at the entrance to the gardens.
Voyages of Captain Cook
A Discovery room at the cottage sells books, postcards, maps and souvenirs of Cook’s voyage. An interactive map highlights the three Cook voyages to the South Pacific and Arctic, much of which had never been mapped.
Cook explored many Pacific islands including Cook Islands (Hawaii) where he was killed by native islanders on February 14, 1779 during a misunderstanding.
Cook is credited with making hard life a bit easier for his sailors, bringing fresh water and fruit aboard every time they landed on remote islands. His concern for their health and safety was highly regarded back home. He is also credited with many navigation tools and maps used by future South Pacific explorers.
Fitzroy Gardens is a spacious gardens just a block from Parliament Station and the financial district. It has many shady paths with ponds, statues, a cafe, and many colorful songbirds to soothe urban Melbourners.
A conservatory with native flowers was a relaxing place to stop and relax, listening to classical music playing in the background. Everyone we saw passing through couldn’t resist snapping pictures.
We learned a lot visiting Captain Cook’s cottage and admired the decision to transport the family’s Yorkshire cottage thousands of miles to Australia where James Cook made his many discoveries.
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Next: Aboriginal Art from Melbourne’s Victoria Museum
As many of you know, I also write mysteries and romantic suspense novels.
I recently published my first international thriller, Thirteen Days in Milan, which is available on Kindle as well as other ereaders, tablets, and smartphones.
I’m back in Europe for the summer to hire a translator and to research my next book which will also be a thriller based in Milan. I’ll be posting along the way from Milan, Stresa, Zurich and other locations.
I have a few posts on another blog, Anatomy of a Thriller, where I write about the process of researching and writing an international thriller. I’ll add more posts there as well.
Please share these links with writers or readers who might be interested.