The Big Captain Cook is a 10 metre statue of Captain James Cook, built in 1972 on Captain Cook Highway (Sheridan Street) in Cairns.
It was originally built for The Captain Cook Motel which has since been demolished. It now serves as advertising for the Cock & Bull Tavern located around the corner in Grove Street.
The advertising suggests the top three must see items is The Great Barrier Reef, Cairns Game Fishing Club, and Cock n Bull Tavern.
The future of the Big Captain Cook has been debated, whether it should be repainted, dismantled, or relocated. James Cook University was one location it could have gone to.
It has had a repaint at some stage as the coat used to be blue, and the shade of blue changed between dark and light before that.
The debate has also asked about its appropriateness, with The Big Captain Cook saluting in what is seen as disrespectful to the Aboriginal community. In 2017, a large sign with the word ‘Sorry’ was draped on the front of the statue for a short while on Australia Day.
The day prior, a local indigenous artist Munganbana Norman Miller proposed the Big Captain Cook should have a boomerang in his hand to symbolise the joining of European and indigenous cultures.
To Get There
From the Cairns Visitor Information Centre, head 500m west on Alpin St to Sheridan St. Turn right and follow for 1.4km and the Big Captain Cook is on the right. It is on the opposite side of the highway, to make it easier to get too, turn into Grove St before it.