In December 1968 the Government of Queensland established a Policy Committee chaired by the Premier of Queensland, the Hon. J. Bjelke-Petersen, M.L.A., to oversee an appropriate programme of celebrations to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the discovery and exploration of the East Coast of Australia by Captain James Cook (Cabinet Decisions no. 12408 and 12412, 2/12/1968).
The inaugural meeting of the Policy Committee was held on the 23rd January 1969 which decided on an organisational structure comprised of an Organizing Committee and several sub-committees. The Department of Labour and Tourism was delegated responsibility for providing a central office and the staff necessary to assist in organising the various functions and celebrations. In this regard, Mr H.O. Muhl, M.V.O., Under Secretary, Department of Labour and Tourism was appointed Executive Officer and State Director of Celebrations (Cabinet Decision 12857, 4/4/1969).
The Organising Committee, chaired by the Hon. J.D. Herbert, Minister for Labour and Tourism, was inaugurated on 17 March 1969 and took overall responsibility for planning and organising celebrations within the guidelines set by the Policy Committee.
The Sub-Committees formed were:
Citizens’ Committee (est. 17/4/1969, Chair: Mr A.J. Stratigos, Esq., C.B.E.) - functioned to arrange pageants, re-enactments, etc.
Historical and Cultural Committee (est. 10/4/1969, Chair: Sir Raphael Cilento) – functioned to cater for appropriate celebrations in the fields of the Arts.
Voyage and Festival Committee (est. 9/4/1969, Chair: Mr K.G.N Kibble, esq.) – functioned to arrange aquatic festivals and other sea or river based celebrations, such as visiting naval vessels.
School Children’s Activities Committee (est. 12/3/1969; Chair: G.J. Black, esq.) – functioned to organise activities aimed at engaging school children, liaison with schools.
Publicity and Promotion Committee (est. 17/4/1969, Chair: Mr Allan J. Campbell, Esq., O.B.E.) – functioned to handle all publicity and promotion and to arrange for the publication of brochures etc.
Women’s Committee (est. 1/5/1969, Chair: Mrs John Wilson) – functioned to arrange appropriate events or functions involving women.
Churches Committee (est. 21/4/1969, Chair: Mr C. L. Johnson) – functioned to plan appropriate Thanksgiving Celebrations.
The celebrations began on 16 May and concluded on 24 August 1970, the period which Captain Cook spent along the Queensland coast.