Curently seeking donations for the
Bring Home the Gweagal Shield campaign
Travel funds needed to take a delegation to the uk travelling to institutions that house aboriginal human remains and artifacts
and demand our stolen artifacts and human remains be returned
: Travelling Expenses
: Legal cost
What is the Gweagal Shield?
The Gweagal Shield is the shield taken by James Cook and his companions when they first stood on Australian soil at Botany Bay in 1770. As they approached the shore Cook and his crew were warned-off by two Gweagal men shaking spears at them and shouting. In the exchange that followed the shield’s owner, Cooman, was shot in the leg by Cook and ran for cover. The shield was then taken by Cook from where it was left.
How do we know James Cook took the shield?
These events are recorded in the diaries of James Cook, Joseph Banks and Sydney Parkinson made during the voyage of the Endeavour in 1770. The story has also been passed down through the generations by the Gweagal people.
Cook took the shield back to England as well as 40 to 50 Gweagal spears that were taken that day. The shield has been held by the British Museum ever since. Some of the spears are currently in the collection of Cambridge University.
Who are the Gweagal people?
The Gweagal are a clan of the Dhurawal Aboriginal people whose country covers the Southern shores of Botany Bay and extends out towards Liverpool in the West and towards the Shoalhaven in the South.
Why is this important?
In Aboriginal cultural belief and practice all artefacts must be kept on the Country they came from. They always remain an integral part of the story of that Country. State laws covering Aboriginal cultural heritage in New South Wales recognise this fact.
It is very disrespectful to keep artefacts such as the Gweagal Shield away from their home.
What do we want?
This protest and campaign seeks to bring the Gweagal Shield back to Country in the Sydney region and placed in an appropriate keeping place or museum.
Who is Rodney Kelly?
Rodney is a sixth generation descendant of the shield’s owner Cooman and is committed to seeing the shield returned to its home Country in Sydney.
We demand that the British Museum return the shield to its people and its home
Return the Gweagal shield Petition
with more information