Statue of Captain James Cook RN | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Statue of Captain James Cook RN

Item details

Name of item: Statue of Captain James Cook RN
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Monuments and Memorials
Category: Monuments
Primary address: Belmore Road, Randwick, NSW 2031
Local govt. area: Randwick
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Belmore RoadRandwickRandwick  Primary Address
Avoca StreetRandwickRandwick  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Randwick City CouncilLocal Government 

Statement of significance:

The Captain Cook monument has historical significance for its association with a major event in Australian history. It has a high degree of aesthetic significance, being the work of one of the leading sculptors stonemason of the period, Walter Mr. Gill. It occupies a landmark position in the Randwick Town Centre & the city of Randwick. The degree of community awareness of & concern for the statue, is evidence of its social significance.

The monument may be the first statue of cook in NSW & could there fore be of state, if not national significance.
Date significance updated: 11 May 00
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Builder/Maker: Carved by Walter Mc Gill
Construction years: 1874-1874
Physical description: An over life size statue of Captain James Cook about twelve feet in height on a base of about the same height. Both in Pyrmont sandstone, situated on a small triangular piece of land, surrounded by an iron railing set on a sandstone base. Cook is in navel uniform & caring a telescope. Beside him is an anchor & rope, a terrestrial globe, half draped with a flag and a sextant. The four sides of the base are inscribed with details of cook's career details of the death of Commodore Goodenough RN, who unveiled the statue in 1874 and was killed at Santa Cruz in 1875, the name of the donor, Captain Thomas Watson and later plaque noting that the statue was presented to Randwick Municipality in 1910 by H Gibson of Greenstead. Source: SMOCM survey
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The monument is in deteriorated condition with surface & in grained carbon & water staining crumbling and loss of sandstone is occuring. The inscription is extremely abraded.
Date condition updated:11 May 00
Modifications and dates: The date of the iron railing surrounding the statue is not clear, but appears in a photograph, dating former 1885. The concrete paving around the base is for fairly recent origin.
Current use: Statue
Former use: Statue


Historical notes: Possibly the first statue of Cook to be erected in Australia. Walter Mc Gill was commissioned by Thomas Watson to carve the statue and was paid a fee of 700 pounds. It was erected on 27/10/1874, the anniversary of Cook's birthday in the grounds of Watson's residence "Cooks Lodge". Mc Gill was a Sydney sculptor whose other work in Randwick includes the St Jude's fountain base, now in Alison Road and he also did the lettering on the Cook Statue in Hyde Park.

The statue of Cook faces Botany Bay and is located at the cross roads of Avoca Street and Belmore Road. These roads were originally an Aboriginal walking track and then became an early trading route.

The Randwick Historical Society placed a commemorate plaque on the statue's base for the bicentennial of Cook's landing at Botany Bay in 1770.

On 27 November 1995 the sculpture was wrapped in muslin as a publicity event to help promote community awareness of Randwick's cultural heritage. Organised by New Work Opportunity Program; Sculpture, Monuments and Outdoor Cultural Material (SMOCM); jointly funded by DEET, Art Gallery of NSW and YMCA of Sydney.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Exploration-Activities associated with making places previously unknown to a cultural group known to them. (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The item may be the first statue in New South Wales erected in memory of Cook. Holt's 1870 memorial at Kurnell is in the form of an obelisk. The statue of Cook in Hyde Park, Sydney, dates from 1879. The statue commemorates the beginning of far-reaching European influence on the Australian continent and its original inhabitants.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The statue is the product of an accomplished sculptor, well skilled in the use of local Sydney stone. It considerably enhances the character of the public space in which it stands, and the numerous heritage building in its vicinity. It originally commanded a view all the way to Botany Bay from its ridge-top location.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The statue is a Colonial commemoration of the beginnings of British settlement of the continent. It is a reminder of the origins of rural and urban settlement in the Randwick area and is highly valued by the local community.
SHR Criteria f)
The monument may be the first statue of Cook in NSW. It is the only statue in the collection of 28 sculptures and monuments under the jurisdiction of Randwick City Council.
SHR Criteria g)
The statue is representative of a period of Colonial pride in the origins of the settlement of New South Wales. It represents the vision of an early resident to commemorate Cook in a fitting manner.
Integrity/Intactness: The monument is intact, but in deteriorated condition, requiring conservation works including cleaning, consolidation, restoration and protection.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan 0010205 Mar 93 021916

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenArt Gallery of New South Wales1995Sculpters, Monuments andoutdoor cultural material (SMOCM) Survey Form
WrittenArtface International Conservation1998Sculpture & Monument Management Plan Randwick City Council
WrittenLorraine Simpson1999NSW State Heritage Inventory Form
Graphicunknown1990Photogarph of Belmore Road and Avoca Street
PhotographUnknown1885Photograph of Captain Cook monument
WrittenUnknown Register of the National Esate database

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Gazette NSW Statutory Listings
Database number: 13523
File number: H99/00246/01

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