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Possession Island National Park is at the very tip of Far North Queensland, Australia.


Captain Cook raises the Union Flag on Possession Island, 22 August 1770

This island is locally known as Bedanug and Bedhan Lag. In 2001 the Kaurareg people successfully claimed native title rights over the island, and other nearby islands.


Here Captain Cook claimed possession of the entire east coast he had explored for Britain, on 22 August 1770. Endeavour had reached the northernmost tip of the coast and, without disembarking, Cook named the last seen mainland Cape York. Leaving the Australian east coast, the battered ship turned west and nursed his way through the dangerously shallow waters of Torres Strait. Searching for a vantage point, Cook saw a steep hill on a nearby island, from the top of which he hoped to see "a passage into the Indian Seas". He disembarked, named the island "Possession Island", and claimed the entire coastline that he had just explored as British territory.

In his journal, he wrote: "I now once more hoisted English Coulers and in the Name of His Majesty King George the Third took possession of the whole Eastern the name New South Wales, together with all the Bays, Harbours Rivers and Islands situate upon the said coast".

Today, it's the centre of a National Park, an area of 5.10 km2 (1.97 sq mi), established as a Protected Area in 1977, and managed by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.


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