Captain James Cook Memorial Water Jet and Globe

The Captain James Cook Memorial, incorporating the Water Jet and Globe, was constructed by the Commonwealth Government to commemorate the Bicentenary of Captain James Cook’s first sighting of the east coast of Australia in 1770. The Memorial was officially inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II on the 200th anniversary of the Cook’s discovery.

Located in the Central Basin of Lake Burley Griffin, directly in front of the National Capital Exhibition at Regatta Point, the Captain Cook Memorial Jet sends water to a maximum height of 147 metres, pumping it from, and returning it to, the lake.

The exit velocity of water leaving the nozzle is 260 kilometres an hour. About six tonnes of water is in the air at any one moment when the main nozzle is in use, discharging 500 litres per second. The Terrestrial Globe is about three metres in diameter and shows the three routes of Cook’s voyages, which are described on the surrounding handrail. Meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude form this open-cage globe, with landmasses depicted in beaten bas-relief copper. The parkland surrounding the memorial is a popular picnic spot and area where children can burn off some energy.

Location: Regatta Point, Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra City. How to get there: by car or on foot from City Centre, proceed to Commonwealth Park, left into Barrine Drive off Commonwealth Avenue.

About James Cook

The British barque Endeavour, under Lieut James Cook, saild from Plymouth on 26th August 1768 with the primary mission of observing the transit of Venus while in Tahiti. After the observation, the expedition leaves Tahiti. On 7th October 1769 land on the eastern side of New Zealand’s North Island was sighted. Cook plots the coastline that Tasman has barely touched. By mid March, after extensive exploration of the South Island, Cook then plotted a course for Van Dieman’s Land. The first sighting of the Australian mainland occurred on 19th April 1770 west of the south eastern prominence of the continent. Sailing north, Cook reached and enterd Botany Bay on 29th April. A cairn marks the place where they come ashore. After two weeks of exploration, Cook continued northward, naming features.

Endeavour grounded on a reef on 10th June. Cannon, gear and ballast were jettisoned and after 23 hours, the Endeavour was floated free. The ship eventually brought to safety at the mouth of a river which Cook names after her. The Endeavour was beached and during a seven week sojourn, the hull is repaired. When the Endeavour finally set sail, and escaped away from the mainland and into the sea beyond the Reef. On Tuesday, 21st August 1770, Cook reached the peninsula tip. The next day he went ashore on an island in the York group (Possession Island). At Possession Island, Queensland, Cook claimd the lands he had discovered in the name of King George III, taking possession of the whole of the east coast of Australia from Point Hicks to Cape York, and naming it New Wales, later changing it to New South Wales. Cook then passed out of the reef and into Torres Strait towards the coast of New Guinea, then west along the southern coast of Java and around the west end of the island into Batavia (Jakarta, Indonesia).

Though Cook is often referred to as Captain Cook, he was never bestowed the rank of Captain by the British Navy, even though he performed what are considered to be the duties of captain, and ‘captained’ the expedition of 1770 to New South Wales. During that visit, his rank was Lieutenant.

Lieut. James Cook