An image of the Commonwealth Brigde, Captain Cook Memorial Jet and Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra
Captain Cook Memorial Globe

Operating 11am – 2pm daily

Captain James Cook was born on 27 October 1728 in Yorkshire (United Kingdom) and died on 14 February 1779 in Hawaii. He was an outstanding sea captain, navigator, cartographer and practical dietician.

In 1769, Cook circumnavigated and charted the North and South Islands of New Zealand, sighted the southeast coast of Australia on 19 April 1770, and successfully navigated the Great Barrier Reef. During this voyage, none of his crew died of scurvy. His use of fruit to avoid the disease made him famous in his home country and around the world.

After this successful first voyage, Cook embarked on another, more ambitious venture of exploration and discovery in 1772 - crossing the Antarctic Circle for the first time. Cook's last voyage was an unsuccessful effort to discover a passage connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This ill-fated voyage led to Cook's death after an argument with Hawaiians over the stealing of a cutter. Cook was slain on the beach at Kealakekua by the local inhabitants.

On his three global voyages, Cook mapped more of the Pacific, South Atlantic, the southern Indian, the Arctic and Antarctic oceans than had been seen or imagined by any European navigators during the preceding two and a half centuries. He also exhibited, as one biographer has written, an entirely new and refreshingly civilised attitude' to the Indigenous inhabitants of all the lands he visited.

Captain Cook Memorial Jet

Located in the Central Basin of Lake Burley Griffin, directly in front of the National Capital Exhibition at Regatta Point, the Captain Cook Memorial Jet sends water to a maximum height of 152 metres, pumping it from, and returning it to, the lake. The exit velocity of water leaving the nozzle is 260 kilometres an hour. About six tonnes of water is in the air at any one moment when the main nozzle is in use, discharging 500 litres per second.

Water is drawn from the lake through a 50 metre-long intake tunnel, to the base of the underground pump house. The Jet has two pumps, each capable of pumping 250 litres per second. It can be controlled either manually or automatically. Automatic control equipment permits the Jet to operate according to a program that governs the time and duty cycle of each pump. Physical limitations on the operation of the Jet consist of wind speed, wind direction and also the lake water level. The Jet is automatically turned off during high winds.

The design of the main nozzle is the same as the Jet D'Eau in Geneva, Switzerland. The city of Geneva allowed the same design to be used after high-level diplomatic negotiations.

A much photographed and popular landmark, the Captain Cook Memorial Jet operates daily from 11am to 2pm. It is often turned on or coloured for special occasions and the best location from which to take photographs is the National Capital Exhibition at Regatta Point.

Captain Cook Memorial Globe

The Terrestrial Globe is about three metres in diameter and shows the three routes of Cook's voyages, which are described on the surrounding handrail. Meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude form this open-cage globe, with landmasses depicted in beaten bas-relief copper.

The architectural firm of Bunning Madden, which designed the National Library, located on the other side of Lake Burley Griffin, also designed the Captain Cook Water Jet and Globe.