James Cook spots the south-eastern coast of Australia and his crew of the Endeavour becomes the first recorded Europeans to encounter its eastern coastline, 164 years after the first undisputed sighting of the western coastline by the Dutch in 1606, and 148 years after the first English sighting. (Ten days later Cook’s expedition makes landfall at a place he called Botany Bay, now known as the Kurnell Peninsula, and made contact with the Gweagal.)
Cook’s expedition is significant because, 125 days, he took possession of the whole Eastern Coast, which he called New South Wales, in the name of the Kingdom of Great Britain which, thereby, became the first European power to officially claim any area on the Australian mainland. And then, a mere 18 years later, the Kingdom of Great Britain started using it as Penal Colony, transporting convicts from the cold, damp, foggy miserable shores of the Northern landscape to the warm, dry, clear, sunny shores of the Southern Australian coastline. Talk about early logistics put to good use!