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Warra warra wai: Understanding Dharawal spirituality with Ray Ingrey

Held on Thursday, 5 May 2022

Join Ray Ingrey as he discusses Aboriginal spiritual systems of knowledge from which the actions and words recorded by the Endeavour officers can be understood.

On the Sand and Mud banks are Oysters, Muscles, Cockles &Ca which I beleive are the cheif support of the inhabitants who go into shoald water with their little canoes and pick them out of the sand and Mud with their hands and sometimes roast and eat them in the Canoe, having often a fire for that purpose as I suppose for I know no other it can be for
Diary of Lieutenant James Cook, 6 May 1770

The first words recorded by the Endeavour’s officers were ‘warra warra wai’ projected to them from the shore of Kundell (Kurnell). Accompanied by gestures and raised spears, it was assumed the words ‘warra warra wai’ meant ‘go away’.

Drawing from research by Dharawal people into this part of their long history, in this lecture Ray Ingrey will talk about Aboriginal spiritual systems of knowledge from which the actions and words recorded by the Endeavour officers can be understood.

About the speaker

Ray Ingrey

Ray Ingrey

Ray Ingrey is a Dharawal person from the La Perouse Aboriginal community. Ray has a number of leadership roles within his community, including Chairman of the Gujaga Foundation.

Ray believes it’s important “our young ones grow up with a solid cultural foundation and become strong with who they are and where they belong” which will put them on the right path in achieving any goal they set in the future. 


This lecture was part of the Eight Days in Kamay program provided through the Gujaga Foundation: a non-profit organisation leading Language, culture and research activities within the La Perouse Aboriginal Community.

With the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council, Gujaga Foundation, The University of Sydney, National Museum of Australia and Cambridge University's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Chau Chak Wing Museum was honoured to exhibit three spears taken from Kamay in 1770 alongside 37 contemporary spears documenting the continuing strength of culture of Sydney's First Peoples

Header image: Aerial photograph of a beach. Image via Unsplash