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The north shore of Botany Bay is just a few kilometers from our home SE of downtown Sydney. We explored this historic area by driving around the perimeter. We stopped along the way to look for birds, walk along the shore, take a swim, and have a picnic.

This rock is said to be where Captain Cook’s crew stepped ashore in 1770, the first Europeans known to have landed in Australia (there were probably earlier unrecorded sailors). Cook’s stop led to Britain’s establishing their penal colony nearby, and the rest…is history. I’ve just finished reading, A Commonwealth of Thieves, by Thomas Keneally, describing the founding of Australia and the very early years. It’s remarkable that anyone survived the journey to Australia, and then survived living there in the early days where there was never enough food.

Botany Bay was the destination of the first fleet sailing to Australia, but it proved to be a less useful harbor than the inlet to the north, named Port Jackson, that is now Sydney Harbor. Botany Bay today is lined with huge wharves along the north side and with popular parks and beaches on the west and south. The water is relatively warm and shallow, and we saw everything you can imagine at the beach: sailing, windsurfing, motorboats, jet skis whizzing along, people fishing from boats and from the shore, swimmers, even a few parasailers in the distance. And dogs, lots of dogs accompanying families that set up their sunshades for a day at the beach. Beachcombing turned up a few interesting items, too.