Captain Cook, seaman

We read in The Spectator this morning that Captain Cook has been effectively cancelled in the National Curriculum for schools. To set the record straight, there is a stirring account of Cook’s career in the very first edition of Quadrant in 1956 which appeared in 1956. This is the article, with the editor’s introduction to the venture.

For people who are too busy to read all about the details of Cook’s seamanship the editorial may be more interesting, it is worth a good look to see what was in James McAuley’s mind at the time.

Quadrant was founded as a part of the cultural fightback in the Cold War, led by the International Congress for Cultural Freedom. The flagship was the magazine Encounter and in Australia the local branch of the Congress was led by Richard Krygier, a Polish-Jewish refugee. The founding editor of Quadrant was the leading poet James McAuley and the early editions have become collectors items because he published the leading poets, essayists and critics of the day in Australia, spiced with international contributions. They stand as a monument to the spirit of freedom and the best aspects of western culture and intellectual life.

McAuley wanted the magazine “To be Australian in our orientation, because we are interested in this country, its people, its problems, its cultural life, its liberties, and its safety.” And “To publish work of interest and merit on any topic without regard to the affiliations or repute of the author, the sole requirement being that the material should be worth reading.”

Synopses of the contents of the McAuley Quadrants can be found here and the whole of the Quadrant archive can be accessed on line here if you have a subscription.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
May 1, 2023 4:26 pm

Surprisingly I am not shocked by this. Angry? Yes.
The next change to the curriculum will probably be along the lines of how the aborigines were the first to invent the wheel and also discover nuclear energy.
PS…are we up to 500 genders yet? If not, what’s the holdup? The woke idiots should easily be able to get to that number.

May 1, 2023 4:29 pm

History is an anvil on which various tools are shaped, then displayed for sale to passers by, none of whom have knowledge of the foundation on which they were hammered.

May 1, 2023 6:08 pm

Thanks for this, Rafe.

Bar Beach Swimmer
May 1, 2023 6:26 pm

Rafe, currently I’m reading Margaret Cameron-Ash’s book, Lying for the Admiralty.

And what a read it is! I have learnt so much more than the basic facts the we were told at school. What this book shows is how unfortunate and short-sighted is the removal of Cook from the history of Australia, and how much more there is to tell.

I remember some young relations telling me that all they were taught in social studies/history classes every year consisted of women’s and aboriginal studies, which resulted in them becoming thoroughly disinterested in the subject.

Yet here is a story of discovery, of heroism and of science. It is such a pity that in politics, there is no one of consequence who will make the teaching of the history of Australia their political raison d’être.

May 1, 2023 8:37 pm

I utterly repudiate the black armband/Marxist revisionist version of Australian history.

Including the BS invented by the likes of Pascoe.

May 1, 2023 9:18 pm

I recall, many, many, years ago being taught the history of NSW, including the invention of the stump-jump plough. Probably to simplify life for the kangaroos, when they were sowing their wild oats. It is an immensely sorrowful time in the life of this nation, when we have so much of which we can justifiably be proud.

Zulu Kilo Two Alpha
Zulu Kilo Two Alpha
May 1, 2023 10:47 pm

I utterly repudiate the black armband/Marxist revisionist version of Australian history.

I went to school, in Western Australia, in the 1960’s, with the offspring of some of the prominent Noongar clans.

A couple of months ago, I was told by a prominent activist that Aboriginal children weren’t allowed to go to school at that time…..

Zulu Kilo Two Alpha
Zulu Kilo Two Alpha
May 1, 2023 10:53 pm

Alan Villiers. There’s a man who did not live a little life.

May 2, 2023 8:21 am

My recollection is that Geoffrey Blainey wrote a definitive work on the genius of Cook & other seafarers. Can’t recall the title.

May 2, 2023 1:11 pm

Are there any good film/tv versions of Cook’s story? Would like to sit down with an interested 8 year old to watch together. Any recommendations appreciated, as I have limited scope for pre-vetting. How about the 1987 miniseries with Keith Michell, have the revisionists got to this one?

May 3, 2023 7:02 pm

If you want some “interesting” looks from a woke tosser, just mention, “The Triumph of the Nomads”, by Geoffrey Blainey. Try finding a copy that has escaped burning; good luck.

It followed his tidy volume on the early “European” experience getting to and living on Terra Oz, “The Tyranny of Distance”. (that’s TYRANNY, NOT ‘trannie!!)

Blainey was systematically pilloried by the LSM and Wankerdemia for years. This is an indication of how spot-on he was, as opposed to the narcissistic delusions of his opinion-shaping detractors.

Cook was no dill, nor was he a sniveling coward, unlike his modern detractors. His active part in the British capture of Quebec is an epic tale of military and maritime skill, cunning and persistence.

  1. Good rant from the Rev: Glastonbury baby, left wing hypocrite rant

  2. I gave it up aged 80 after a not very long or difficult trip on an Icelandic pony. They have…

  3. Appalling to see my old Alma Mater brought down to such a low. Mark Scott was a disastrous apoointment.

Oh, you think that, do you? Care to put it on record?x