In 1770, as Lieutenant James Cook and his crew sailed up the east coast of Australia, they landed at only three places. Two are well-known: first at Botany Bay, where the British flag was unfurled and then at the mouth of the Endeavour River in northern Queensland, where their ship HMB Endeavour needed repairs after hitting a coral reef.
In between these two places was Round Hill Head, also on the Queensland Coast at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. On 24th May 1770, Cook came ashore to explore this beautiful beach, where the bush meets the ocean in a protected inlet.
While they were there, the crew killed and ate a large bustard. It was the best meal they’d eaten on the voyage and Cook named the inlet Bustard Bay in its honour.
Since then, the only change along this stretch of scenic coastline is the development of the small town of Seventeen Seventy, named after this conspicuous date and situated a little further round the bay.
As I sat on the beach, alone and feeling contemplative, I tried to imagine what it must have been like for those intrepid sailors from long ago. When they stepped onto the gleaming white sand on a warm, cloudless day much like the day I was there, what were their thoughts?
If I had been there, I would have been tempted to jump ship and stay forever.