Not A Memorial To Captain Cook After All

Captain Cook Memorial 1964 copy

This week, with Australia Day rapidly approaching, it seemed the perfect time to share an image of the ‘Captain Cook Memorial’, as the reverse of the card states, at Kurnell.

Last year, The Past Present shared an image which bore a similar caption from 1906, but the image above, which  dates from 1964, shows what appears to be quite a different memorial. The original memorial, shown on the card from 1906 still exists, as does the one featured on the photo above. In addition, both are found on the shores of Botany Bay National Park. This raises the question – are there really two memorials to Captain Cook so close together? The answer is no. The 1906 postcard does indeed show the monument to Captain Cooks Landing Place, and to Captain Cook himself. However, the 1964 image is mislabelled. The memorial does acknowledge both Captain Cook and Joseph Banks, but it is specifically dedicated to a man who accompanied them on their 1770 landing, Daniel Solander.

Solander was a Swedish naturalist, who was taught by and followed the methods of the famous Carl Linnaeus. Like Joseph Banks, he was a botanist, and it was the pair of them who inspired the name ‘Botanist Bay’ (later Botany Bay). Yet Solander had one particularly striking difference to Banks – he was actually a university educated scientist, the first to set foot on Australian land. The memorial to Solander was erected in 1914.

Tessa The Golden Guide Dog


This week, The Past Present is focussing on something a little different. Many postcards focus on a place; a street, a building, a beach, even an industrial site. Yet there are those postcards which focus on something else, in the case of the card above, a monument. This card makes no mention of the location of the monument, the focus is the statue and the implied story behind it.

The monument is located in Newcastle, in Stockton to be precise, at the Lynn Oval. Where many monuments honour a person or an event, this one honours an animal who, in her lifetime, did amazing work, not just for her owner, but for all blind people. Tessa, the dog in the photo, was a guide dog, and between 1958 and her death in 1971 she was owned by Mrs Jean Dowsett. So what was it which made this dog so special? Tessa and her blind owner were a world record breaking fundraising team! They would make the journey from their home to the Stockton Ferry Wharf, where they would ask passengers for donations to support the blind. In their years of service, they were able to raise $45000 which, at the time, was more than any other dog and owner worldwide! After Tessa died her owner wanted a monument to be created to remember the amazing dog and the Stockton Lions Club honoured this request, erecting a statue to ‘Tessa The Golden Guide Dog’ in the years following Tessa’s death.