2017 Festival Photos »

The Cooktown Discovery Festival will be complemented this year by Wild and Windy Cooktown - a community celebration offering a wide range of local activities

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About the Festival

The Cooktown Discovery Festival is a major event on the regional calendar – attracting locals from throughout the Cape to join with visitors from the broader region to join together and celebrate Cooktown’s history and heritage.

In 2017, the Discovery Festival was presented by Cook Shire Council and included a series of firsts.


The new look Cooktown Discovery and Wild and Windy Cooktown festivals lived up to their names on the weekend, with an exciting new program entertaining visitors and Cooktown’s usual blustery winter weather putting in an appearance.

Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott said the festival had a great energy to it and was delivered in a professional and creative way. “The new program elements, including the Ball, the Warrma and the Banks and Solander day at Botanic Gardens were very successful and showcased Cooktown and the community at its best,” Cr Scott said.

“As we now move into serious planning mode for Cooktown 2020 celebrations, which will mark the 250th anniversary of Cook’s arrival in Cooktown, I am buoyed by the support and feedback of both locals and visitors. We will continue to expand the Discovery Festival in the lead up to 2020, so you can expect to see even more new initiatives in next years’ Festival.”

The Mayor’s Maroon Community Ball, which was supported by the State Government as part of Queensland Day, was attended by 150 guests, many in elaborate period costumes. The Cooktown PCYC Events Centre was transformed into a ballroom for the event, which provided a fitting setting for the 2017 debutantes and the minuet dancers.

Saturday’s new events included the Banks’ Florilegium exhibition and guided tours of the Botanic Gardens, which focused on the botanic discoveries made by Banks and Solander during Cook’s exploration of Australia. In another first, Saturday night’s Warrma featured the first public telling of The Last Spear Fight, a story handed down orally to local indigenous leaders. “It was a joy to see the kids from Hope Vale State School, under the direction of Harold Ludwick, own this important part of their cultural story and share it with us,” Cr Scott said.