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Perspectives: Cook 2020 - Stage 2

James Cook set off from England in 1769 to observe the transit of Venus and explore the ‘unknown southern land’. On board were naturalists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander who collected and recorded information about Australian native plants.
Two hundred and fifty years later students will investigate the influence of these discoveries on modern day science and collect and record observations of their own plant species as the early naturalists did. They will also learn about Australia’s first scientists, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, by exploring knowledge sharing through stories and learn how Australia’s First Peoples utilised plants.

Learning Activities

  • Students will observe, classify and record plant species collected by Banks and Solander, using scientific methods: an early botanist’s perspective.
  • They will record and represent plant features using botanical illustration: a modern scientist’s perspective.
  • Students will also learn about plants through story: an Aboriginal perspective.


Stage 2: History, Science and Technology, Aboriginal Studies


Rathborne Lodge
The Royal Botanic Garden
Mrs Macquaries Road, Sydney


2 hours


Click here. Minimum charges apply. Discounts apply for full day programs

More information

Key Content
  • The role of the naturalists (Sir Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander) on board Captain Cook’s Endeavour. 
  • The contribution that their voyage made to scientific knowledge. 
  • The knowledge that the traditional custodians of this land, the Aboriginal people have about Australian plants. 
Syllabus Outcomes

Focus Syllabus Outcomes

  • Identifies celebrations and commemorations of significance in Australia and the world (HT2-1)
  • Describes and explains how significant individuals, groups and events contributed to changes in the local community over time (HT2-2)
  • Describes people, events and actions related to world exploration and its effects (HT2-3)
  • Applies skills of historical inquiry and communication (HT2-5)


Working scientifically: Planning and Conducting Investigations
  • Compares features and characteristics of living and non-living things (ST2-4LW-S)
Plan Your Excursion
Got a question? For all the information you need to plan your excursion with us please click here

Sustainable Development Goals

Through our education programs we aim to 
•    ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning (SDG 4)
•    demonstrate actions that work towards making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable (SDG 11)
•    inform and empower students to preserve our forests and halt biodiversity loss (SDG 15)

Through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals we promote prosperity for the whole community, while protecting our planet for future generations.


We would like to acknowledge the Cadigal people of the Eora Nation within Sydney and pay our respect to Elders past, present and future.