You’ll forgive Aboriginal people for not jumping over the moon today at the Transit of Venus. One of the last times the ‘Evening Star’ got between the Earth and Sun, it was used as the pretext for invasion.
Ever a suspicious lot, the British had long wanted to claim the ‘Great Southern Land’ for themselves, which they were sure existed thanks to the hard work of explorers from other countries. But they didn’t want to tip off other countries to what they were doing.
So they bought themselves a small ship, did it up a bit, renamed it The Endeavour, then hired a non-descript but intelligent junior naval officer named James Cook.
Rather than instructions to go forth and expand the glorious Empire, he and 93 others set sail with orders to view the Transit of Venus.
Cook and his crew duly headed for Tahiti, viewed the Transit and then opened their sealed second orders.
They were to head south, to find ‘Terra Australis’.
And find it they did, although of course it had already been ‘discovered’ some 60,000 years earlier, and was inhabited by hundreds of nations of Aboriginal people.
The rest, as they say, is history, black armband view or otherwise.