Before the cottage was taken to Australia, the Government of Victoria wished to place a memorial on this site. The initial idea was for a block of stone from the promontory of Point Hicks, believed to be where Lieutenant Zachary Hicks of the Endeavour first sighted the new continent.
It was then decided to erect a replica of the granite obelisk which stood on the promontory. Point Hicks was later named Cape Everard but reverted to its original name in 1970.
The 39 stones for the obelisk were shipped to London, and then on to Hull, in some of the packing cases used to take the cottage to Australia. The final stage of the journey was by train to Ayton. Given how Great Ayton had ignored the sale of the cottage, and neglected to maintain the Captain Cook Monument on Easby Moor, the Australians were concerned that their obelisk might also be neglected. Therefore, they arranged for Middlesbrough Corporation to acquire the site, which was donated by the Dixon family, and to maintain it as a commemorative garden, much to the annoyance of Great Ayton.
At a ceremony on 15 October 1934, organised by Middlesbrough Corporation, Mrs Linton, wife of the Agent-General for Victoria, unveiled this obelisk. Great Ayton Parish Council took exception to the wording on the lower plaque, which referred to ‘Captain Cook’s cottage’ and publicly denied that he had ever lived in the cottage. All but one refused to attend the unveiling ceremony.
Until 2004, Middlesbrough Council regularly sent gardeners to tend the site. Then, after a 30-year campaign, ownership of the obelisk and garden was transferred to Great Ayton. In 2018 the Parish Council was awarded a grant from the European Union LEADER Fund to restore the garden and erect information panels.
Great Ayton Parish Council would like to thank gratefully the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the LEADER Fund for their incredibly kind support throughout our Cook Family Memorial Garden refurbishment project.