This 1989 fifty cent dodecagonal coin in sterling silver was issued to commemorate Captain Cook navigating the Eastern
coastline of Australia. This was the first
This coin commemorating James Cook within "The Explorers" set released in 1993, from which the remaining four coins commemorate the explorations carried out by Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth, Tasman, Flinders and of course the first explorers of the continent, the Aborigines. The five coins that make up the second half, released in 1994 commemorate explorers Sturt, Leichhardt, McDouall-Stuart, Forrest and Mawson.
James Cook grew up in England and was enrolled in the Royal Navy. There he learned to survey and navigate the water and quickly began to work his way up through the ranks. An expedition to observe a rare sighting of the planet Venus passing in front of the sun was combined with a slightly more secretive expedition to search for a southern continent, of which there had been rumours. His vessel, named Endeavour reached New Zealand before continuing to find and sail along the length of the East Coast of Australia in 1770. This was the first time a European had reached this point and Cook named the land New South Wales and claimed it as British territory. From this point British settlers began to arrive on the continent and further exploration followed. Cook is credited for changing the perceptions of the Western World regarding world geography through his extensive and highly accurate mapping.
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