Home Australia Aboriginal spears are sent back to Australia after being brought to Britain by Captain Cook 250 years ago

Aboriginal spears are sent back to Australia after being brought to Britain by Captain Cook 250 years ago

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(LR)Elisabeth Bowes, Leonard Hill, Stephen Smith and Noeleen Timbery with four Aboriginal spears that were brought to England by Captain James Cook more than 250 years ago and have now been repatriated to Australia in a ceremony at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Aboriginal spears brought to England by Captain James Cook more than 250 years ago have been repatriated to Australia.

The four weapons were unveiled at the Wren Library at Trinity College, University of Cambridge for the “historical day”, with the three Australian flags displayed at the front of the room.

The permanent return of the spears to the Aboriginal community of La Perouse was agreed in March last year, following a campaign and a formal request for repatriation.

However, he faces backlash from scrutiny over Captain Cook’s 18th-century exploration methods, with many divided over whether he should be remembered as a heroic explorer who “epitomized the Age of Enlightenment in which he lived” or whether it should be seen as a symbol of colonial oppression.

(LR)Elisabeth Bowes, Leonard Hill, Stephen Smith and Noeleen Timbery with four Aboriginal spears that were brought to England by Captain James Cook more than 250 years ago and have now been repatriated to Australia in a ceremony at Trinity College, Cambridge.

The permanent return of the spears to the Aboriginal community of La Perouse was agreed in March last year, following a campaign and a formal request for repatriation.

The permanent return of the spears to the Aboriginal community of La Perouse was agreed in March last year, following a campaign and a formal request for repatriation.

When Cook landed on the shores of Kamay (Botany Bay) in 1770, Gweagal's men resisted his arrival. Shortly afterwards, the British crew took 40 spears from a local camp, of which four were delivered to Trinity College, Cambridge.

When Cook landed on the shores of Kamay (Botany Bay) in 1770, Gweagal’s men resisted his arrival. Shortly afterwards, the British crew took 40 spears from a local camp, of which four were delivered to Trinity College, Cambridge.

When Cook landed on the shores of Kamay (Botany Bay) in 1770, his arrival was resisted by the Gweagal men, the indigenous Australians of the area.

Shortly afterwards, the British crew took 40 spears from a local camp, of which four were later delivered to Trinity College, Cambridge.

They have been part of the university’s collection ever since and from 1914 were in the care of the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology (MAA) in Cambridge.

Captain Cook, who was born in the Marton area of ​​Middlesbrough, was the first European explorer to set foot in Australia.

He also mapped areas such as New Zealand and Hawaii, where he was stabbed to death after an altercation with islanders in 1779.

However, Dame Sally Davies, Mistress of Trinity, agreed that it was the “right decision” to return the spears.

He added that Trinity College was “committed to revisiting the complex legacies of the British empire, not least in our collections.”

The four spears, which are all that remain of the original 40 spears, are considered by the Gweagal to be national treasures and the tribe still uses a very similar multi-pronged spear for fishing today.

Members of the La Perouse Aboriginal community receive the so-called Gweagal spears, in the presence of the Australian High Commissioner and representatives of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

Members of the La Perouse Aboriginal community receive the so-called Gweagal spears, in the presence of the Australian High Commissioner and representatives of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

They have been part of the university's collection ever since and, from 1914, were in the care of the Cambridge Museum of Archeology and Anthropology.

They have been part of the university’s collection ever since and, from 1914, were in the care of the Cambridge Museum of Archeology and Anthropology.

Noeleen Timbery, La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council and Dame Sally Davies, Trinity Teacher, watch the Gweagal Spears

Noeleen Timbery, La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council and Dame Sally Davies, Trinity Teacher, watch the Gweagal Spears

Ray Ingrey, of La Perouse Aboriginal community group the Gujaga Foundation, said it was a “momentous occasion for our community”.

He said there was a “long campaign to get the spears returned, there have been about three generations working on this.”

‘We’re finally here after all that time. We look forward to bringing them home.”

Stephen Smith, Australian High Commissioner to the UK, said it was “a historic day”.

He continued: ‘In the modern era, fundraising institutions are much more receptive to conversations with Indigenous communities, whether in Australia or elsewhere.

“It’s been a great feature of the time I’ve spent in the Australian community that many collecting institutions in the UK are willing to participate in those discussions about the return of artefacts or the repatriation of remains.”

Professor Nicholas Thomas, director of the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology and a Trinity Fellow, said the spears were of “exceptional importance” and were “taken without the consent of the people”.

“It’s now that they come back,” he said.

“They will mean more, their importance will increase when they return to Australia.”

The Gweagal Spears are on display at Trinity College, Cambridge. Professor Nicholas Thomas, director of the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology and a Trinity Fellow, said the spears had a

The Gweagal Spears are on display at Trinity College, Cambridge. Professor Nicholas Thomas, director of the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology and a Trinity Fellow, said the spears were of “exceptional importance” and were “taken without the consent of the people”.

The Gweagal Spears are on display at Trinity College, Cambridge. Some of the spears were temporarily returned to Australia in 2015, and again in 2020, for the first time since they were taken by Captain Cook.

The Gweagal Spears are on display at Trinity College, Cambridge. Some of the spears were temporarily returned to Australia in 2015, and again in 2020, for the first time since they were taken by Captain Cook.

Members of the La Perouse Aboriginal community receive Gweagal spears. The spears will now be displayed in a new visitor center to be built in Kurnell, Kamay.

Members of the La Perouse Aboriginal community receive Gweagal spears. The spears will now be displayed in a new visitor center to be built in Kurnell, Kamay.

Some of the spears were temporarily returned to Australia in 2015, and again in 2020, for the first time since they were taken by Captain Cook.

They were displayed at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra, as part of two exhibitions exploring border encounters.

The spears will now be displayed in a new visitor center to be built in Kurnell, Kamay.

Earlier this year, the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum signed agreements for the temporary return to Ghana of 32 objects which they say are “indelibly linked to British colonial history”.

Experts believe the agreement could become a formula for delivering other disputed works, such as the loan of the Elgin Marbles to Athens.

The adventures of Captain Cook have been criticized in recent years and statues of the explorer have been torn down in both Australia and Canada during protests against colonialism.

However, he remains a highly respected person among some; British academic Robert Tombs said that Cook “personified the Age of Enlightenment in which he lived.”

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