250-year-old spears returned to First Nations community from UK

Four spears have been returned to First Nations traditional owners after being housed for more than 250 years at a UK University.
Four spears have been returned from the UK's Cambridge University to First Nations community in Sydney.

Four spears carved and used by the Gweagal people in Kamay (Botany Bay) were stolen by Captain James Cook and other English colonisers who came to Australia in 1770.

The spears ended up at Cambridge University in the UK a year later.

More than 250 years later, Cambridge returned the spears to the La Perouse Aboriginal Community in a formal ceremony. It featured traditional First Nations rituals.

They are the earliest artefacts taken by the British from any part of Australia that still exists.

“The spears were pretty much the first point of European contact, particularly British contact with Aboriginal Australia. I think for us it’s a momentous occasion that… the spears that were undoubtedly taken without permission are returned to the rightful people.”

Ray Ingrey, director of the Gujaga Foundation at La Perouse.

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