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I don't think it would come as a surprise to anyone to discover that I think science is important. I wrote about some historical science in Australasian Science magazine.
There were several significant events of a scientific nature which contributed to Arthur Phillip raising the flag in Sydney Cove on January 26, 1788. (For obvious personal reasons, I'm disappointed that I can't include Nathaniel Bowditch's recalculation of navigation tables but he didn't publish his work until after 1800.)
Science was the reason that James Cook was in this part of the world in 1770. The purpose of his trip was to observe the transit of Venus across the sun on June 3, 1769. By comparing the measurements made at Tahiti with those made at Hudson Bay in Canada and North Cape in Norway it was possible to calculate the distance from the Earth to the Sun (the Astronomical Unit) with some accuracy.