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Reconciliation Rocks

Place of first recorded reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians is being nominated to Australia’s National Heritage List.

18 years before settlement, in Cooktown in the far north of Queensland, the first recorded act of reconciliation to took place between the Bama (the local indigenous community) and Cook’s Endeavour crew. The Bama and the National Trust of Australia (Queensland) are nominating the extraordinary place where this occurred to Australia’s National Heritage List.

Bama man Harold Ludwick says:

“Cooktown shows a story of [the] humanity of our people when they met with Captain Cook. They instigated meetings with Captain Cook…and it was that understanding from both cultures that made that ground zero for the birth of Australia.” 

He goes on to explain why this story is so significant for Australia:
“It is vitally important because we have been working hard to mend this country…it is the pedestal for both cultures to unite in a way that Australia hasn’t united since 1770.  This could be the nucleus for other places to take notice of what can be achieved for the grandchildren and great-grandchildren…These cultures should exist side by side, as it should be in this nation.”

“We can’t change the past, we all have a history,” adds Cooktown Bama Aunty Alberta Hornsby, “But here in Cooktown we have chosen to show a balance.” 

In 1770, as passed down by Indigenous oral tradition and as recorded in the journals of Cook and Banks, Australia’s first reconciliation occurred. This story of reconciliation and the place where that reconciliation happened is of outstanding value to Australia - it can contribute to our national identity and should be celebrated by Australians.

National Trust Advocacy Manager Jane Alexander explains why the place where this reconciliation occurred is being nominated:
“There are only 116 places on the National Heritage List. The List aims to encompass places that reveal the richness of Australia's extraordinarily diverse heritage and that contribute to our national identity. This nomination aims to fill a gap in the list with regards to places of Indigenous heritage and places that represent reconciliation and mutual understanding between cultures. Reconciliation Rocks is a very special place that makes us consider what reconciliation means to us as individuals and why it is so important for the future of our country.”

This short video below explains the story and shows why it is important.


Fill out the form in the link below to support this nomination and complete and send to

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You can also learn more about Reconciliation Rocks at the Queensland State Library's new exhibition - Spoken. Learn more here >>