La Perouse is located about 13 kms south of the Sydney CBD. The area was settled for many thousands of years by the Tharawal and Eora Aboriginal peoples. On 29 April 1770, James Cook, aboard HMS Endeavour, landed in Botany Bay.
Later the British planned Botany Bay as the site for its first penal colony in Australia. This was later changed to Sydney Cove due to insufficient freshwater supply. The La Perouse Memorial often gets confused as a monument to Captain Cook.
The tall Doric column was erected in honour of French explorer La Perouse. La Perouse had arrived at Botany Bay shortly after the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 on a scientific voyage but later vanished without a trace.