About BOTANY BAY

 

 

Long ago Botany Bay was a large coastal lagoon, fed by both the Georges and Cooks rivers, water flowed into the ocean from an area near to modern day Cronulla beach. When the sea levels rose, some 6,000 years ago the sand dunes that closed the two headlands were opened.

 

Today, Scientists believe that human settlement has been present in the area for 5,000 years but many of the local indigenous people dispute those numbers. The Yuin nation inhabited a vast section of the east coast from Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) to Merimbula, some 355 kilometres to the south, all the way to the Great Dividing Range in the west. These nomadic people traded and intermarried amongst themselves, following the migrations of game, fish and whales.

 

This free and isolated existence continued for hundreds of generations but then something happened that would change the world these people knew forever. White man arrived in their floating villages bringing with them their guns, germs and steel.

 

The famous explorer Captain James Cook arrived in 1770 to find a massive land mass filled with forests, minerals and just a scattered collection of native people. It was a place ripe for the picking and life would never be the same for the Yuin people or for any natives of this land.

 

Eighteen years later, on a sweltering summer's day in 1788 Governor Phillip and his First Fleet of eleven ships sailed into Botany Bay to begin the forced colonization of the 'Great Southern Land' with his convict cargo.

 

They were told to 'go away' by the local people just as Captain Cook had done but this ragtag fleet of convicts and their Redcoat guards were here to stay.

 

They anchored close to shore with a 'small, bare island' off to starboard but the glowing reports issued by Cook and Sir Joseph Banks proved unfounded. The bay was too open to the elements and shallow, the soil was unfit for cultivation and there was no permanent water supply. Phillip and his Officers would explore further north in search of a more protected harbour with a dependable source of fresh water.

 

White man had entered this bay just twice since time immortal but as fate would have it two ships were spotted entering the heads from the south six days later. It was inconceivable that such a coincidence could occur, but it did. The ships, L'Astrolabe and La Boussole, were under the command of Jean-Francois de Galaup, comte de Laperouse, a French explorer. He had sailed into the Pacific, under orders from King Louis XVI, to emulate the great journeys of the famous Captain Cook himself.

 

He dropped anchor in a small cove to the west of the English that became known as Frenchman's Bay. The British expedition were cordial and followed correct protocol offering assistance to La Perouse and his ships in any way they could. La Perouse subsequently sent his journals and letters back to Europe aboard the British ship, the Sirius. After six weeks in Botany Bay La Perouse sailed for the Santa Cruz group and he and his crew were never seen again.

 

In 1964 wreckage of the two ships were found in a reef off Vanikoro in the Solomon Islands.

 

Today, La Perouse, the suburb, is still a diverse cross section of old and new with the area home to several relics from our colonial past. Still standing is the Custom Tower, built in 1822 to prevent smugglers and the La Perouse Monument, erected in 1825 by the French. Bare Island was fortified in 1885 after concern of a Russian invasion and it is open to the public for tours every Sunday. While the La Perouse Museum, formally a cable station, is home to a large collection of nautical antiques.

 

In 1886 a large section of mission lands were set aside for the Indigenous population and the descendants of those people still shape the suburb and give it its distinct character. Champion sportsmen abound, having produced Rugby greats such as the Ella brothers and Lloyd Walker, Rugby League's Graham Lyons and boxers Kevin and Glen Kelly.

 

Like many beachside suburbs, La Perouse began as a place for day-trippers and ocean bathers but when the tram line linked it with Maroubra Junction and Malabar in 1900 residential growth soon followed.

 

Modern-day La Perouse is an affluent area with grand homes, a world class golf course and exceptional dining. Tours of Bare Island are offered on Sundays with a reptile show is held on weekends. The suburb is also home to world class seafood Restaurants, pristine beaches and wonderful walking trails.

 

La Perouse is a piece of 'old Sydney Town' in the middle of a modern metropolis and can be considered our first suburb.

Testimonials

"Kadoo Tours were professional, informative, engaging and extremely good with the kids. It was a wonderful learning opportunity...."

David Mugridge. Trinity Grammar School,Summer Hill, Sydney

"I found the tour to be a fantastic introduction to indigenous and bush life. The guides were friendly and......."

Chaim Moshe Ben Naftale Zev

Tel Aviv, Israel

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