Captain Cook's Pacific with Sam Neill

Endeavour and Australia

Series 1 - Episode 3 Endeavour and Australia



When James Cook pitched up off Australia’s Botany Bay in 1770, he didn’t know what to expect. In Tahiti and New Zealand, he’d encountered seafaring Polynesians willing to trade with the new arrivals, but in Australia, the indigenous population, who’d lived there for some 60,000 years, weren’t so friendly. As one Aboriginal historian tells Sam Neill, they viewed the Endeavour as “an unidentified floating object”, and understandably just wanted the British to go away. But Cook and co weren’t so easily dissuaded, and continued blundering their way up the east coast, offending local sensibilities at every turn, while admiring the local flora and fauna. It’s a sorry first contact story, and Neill looks suitably abashed.


Sam Neill travels to Australia, from Botany Bay up the east coast to Cooktown, where he explores the myth of Terra Nullius and the culture that Cook would have experienced.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Sam Neill
Lifestyle History