The Australian Senate has passed a motion supporting the repatriation of important artefacts to their rightful owners the Gweagal people from museums in England.
Bermagui’s Rodney Kelly, who is leading the movement, made Australian history in August after the NSW Parliament passed a motion acknowledging the Gweagal clan of the Dharawal tribe as rightful owners of the artefacts held in the British Museum and a University of Cambridge Museum.
On October 11, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues Senator Rachel Siewert successfully moved a motion in the senate requesting the Australian Government provide diplomatic assistance to Mr Kelly to assist with the return of the artefacts.
“It is a positive step for Mr Kelly’s campaign that the Australian Senate has expressed its support for repatriation of these important artefacts, and has requested the Australian Government to extend diplomatic assistance to Mr Kelly,” Senator Siewert said.
“It is core to Aboriginal belief that artefacts must be kept on country they came from.
“This has been a sustained campaign by Mr Kelly, I hope the British Museum does the right thing.”
On April 29, 1770, two members of the Gweagal people stood on the shore of Botany Bay and attempted to warn off a boat containing Captain James Cook as it approached the beach.
One of the warriors, Cooman, was shot in the leg with a bullet and lost his shield before it was picked up by the European expedition.
Mr Kelly, a descendant of Cooman, is seeking for the shield to be returned to Australia from the British Museum, where it is currently held.
More to come.