Monumental geo-politics: ocean, land and Captain Cook in interwar Australia

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This article argues that several prominent monuments dedicated to Captain James Cook in interwar Australia should be understood as geo-political acts, as well as signs of the broader cultures of memorialisation attached to prominent historical figures. The article narrates and analyses three related Cook monuments: an obelisk at Point Hicks (Cape Everard), Victoria, raised in 1925; a stone jetty at Kealakekua Bay, Hawai‘i completed in 1930; and a facsimile of the 1925 Point Hicks obelisk sent to Yorkshire in 1933. An important but previously unrecognised element of these monuments is that those who proposed and supported them were engaged in a globe-spanning geo-politics of possession, in ongoing imperialism and colonialism, in defining land and ocean, and in region-shaping.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)753-767
Number of pages15
JournalHistory Australia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Captain Cook
  • interwar Australia
  • Kealakekua Bay
  • monuments
  • Point Hicks


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