Kamay spears on display at the museum during the 2022 exhibition

Kamay spears to be repatriated to La Perouse

3 March 2023

Four spears taken by Lieutenant James Cook in 1770 are to be returned to the local Indigenous community after more than 250 years.

The Chau Chak Wing Museum is thrilled to learn of Trinity College’s decision to permanently return the Kamay Spears to the La Perouse Aboriginal community in response to their formal repatriation request.

The spears were taken from a campsite at Kamay (Botany Bay) on April 29 1770, when the Endeavour voyagers removed a large quantity of spears after Gweagal men resisted a landing party.

The Chau Chak Wing Museum was honoured to have hosted the Kamay Spears in 2022, on short-term loan for their first return visit to Country in over 250 years, representing an important stepping stone in their eventual permanent journey home.

I will never forget how powerful it was to witness the Kamay Spears being welcomed home by the descendants of the people who made them.
Marika Duczynski, Curator of Indigenous Heritage, Chau Chak Wing Museum

"The permanent return of the spears is a testament to the strength and resolve of the La Perouse Aboriginal community and marks an important step forward for museums working with First Nations communities to navigate colonial legacies in meaningful ways,” said Marika Duczynski, Curator of Indigenous Heritage.

Their return has only been made possible through the sustained advocacy of the La Perouse Aboriginal community spanning the last twenty years and the commitment of partnering institutions, including the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council, the Gujaga Foundation, the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Trinity College and the National Museum of Australia who have worked together to achieve this outcome.

“The Chau Chak Wing Museum was privileged to host the Kamay Spears last year and all parties are to be congratulated in negotiating this momentous cultural outcome of return to Country,” said Dr Paul Donnelly, Deputy Director Chau Chak Wing Museum. 

Header image: Kamay spears.on display at Chau Chak Wing Museum in 2022.

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