James Cook Historical Museum Cooktown

Cooktown, Cook Area

The James Cook Historical Museum is housed in the former St Mary's Convent for the Sisters of Mercy, built in 1888-9.

Cooktown's economy was buoyant due to the town's role as a port for the region's mineral wealth, dominated by the Palmer River goldmines. The local Catholic Priest was appointed Bishop in 1887, and prioritised the establishment of the convent, day and boarding school for girls. Financed by his Irish relatives, the building was designed by former colonial architect FDG Stanley.

As gold production declined so did Cooktown. Businesses that were not prospering didn't rebuild after the destruction of the 1907 cyclone. St Mary's continued to operate until the 1930s. It was occupied by the US military during World War Two and then abandoned and earmarked for demolition.

The building was saved and donated to the National Trust for use as the James Cook Historical Museum. The grounds have been landscaped as the Joseph Banks Memorial Garden, planted with species identified by Banks and Dr Solander during their seven week stay at the Endeavour River in 1770. The museum holds many items related to the large Chinese population of Cooktown, including items from a temple formerly located on Charlotte Street.

Entry Costs

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Indicative Prices $10 - $10

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Whitsunday Region

Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area
In the heart of Queensland's Great Barrier Reef lie the Whitsundays, 74 islands floating like jewels in the tropical waters of the Coral Sea. Discovering the Great Barrier Reef is one of life's must-dos and it's easily accessible from Airlie Beach or directly from the islands.

Shute Harbour

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Conway Beach

Conway Beach, Whitsunday Area
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Proserpine, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
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Proserpine

Proserpine, Whitsunday Area
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Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
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Jubilee Pocket, Whitsunday Area
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Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Area
Airlie Beach is the vibrant hub of the Whitsundays and the ideal mainland base for fun and adventure in the Whitsundays. It is the perfect launching pad for activities on the water and in the lush, green rainforest of the Whitsunday Coast.

Long Island

Long Island, Whitsunday Area
With 13 kilometres of extensive walking tracks, stunning lookouts, protected bays and beautiful secluded beaches, Long Island is well worth a visit. Much of the island is national park and you can enjoy bush walks, exploring the fringing coral reef, snorkelling off the beaches or relaxing under the coconut palms.

Conway National Park

Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Conway National Park is a peaceful coastal park with rainforest-clad hills, secluded beaches and panoramic outlooks over the scenic Whitsunday area. This park includes the rainforest-clad Conway Peninsula and protects the largest area of lowland tropical rainforest in Queensland outside Tropical North Queensland.
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