Cooktown is a small town at the base of Cape York, Queensland, Australia. It was first colonised by Captain Cook in 1770 after his ship, HMS Endeavour ran aground on a nearby coral reef. The crew were able to get the ship into our Endeavour River for repairs. The colonisation took the form of their six weeks stay. Nothing much happened after this for about 100 years until gold was discovered in the Palmer River near Cooktown. The population of Australian, Chinese and many other nationalities surged to near 5000. There were 100 hotels and many other businesses necessary to support the new population of mostly adventurers and gold seekers. By the late 1880s, 60 tons of gold had been won and the gold rush was over. During this period, Cooktown was the third largest port in Queensland. The population started to diminish, helped by disastrous cyclones in 1907 and 1949 and a large fire in 1919. The first world war and the 1930-8 depression also played their part. Stability came in the 1950s and the small population has continued to grow and prosper with better roads and airservices. Cooktown still has a largely «historic town» nature and this adds to its interests for tourists. As well, the majority of the population prefer it to be a quiet country-style township. However, with the road to Cooktown getting close to being fully sealed, and with close to 100,000 tourists passing through each year, it is only a matter of time before we are dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.