In 1770, Capt James Cook parked his boat in Kurnell, Botany Bay, Australia and met some local people – as you do. These locals, as a gift of friendship after noticing Cook didn’t have any, gave him a boomerang and a couple of clubs so he could hunt. These items, a significant part of Australian history, are for sale in Christies in London and are expected to fetch more than £60,000 – reports the Brisbane Times.
Now, this is terrible for a number of reasons. Firstly, that these items are such an incredibly significant part of modern Australian history – almost surely the first items from Australia ever exported. Also, incredibly culturally significant to the Aboriginal people – how often to they actually get to view something their ancestors made, hold it in their hands. To Australian historians this must represent the oldest piece of wood found from Australia, ever.. not to mention the archaeological value of such items in learning about Aboriginal culture and crafting techniques, of which so little remain. And to the Australian people this is almost, when you really think about it, the item representing the birth of Australia as a country recognised to the world.
To the rest of the world, it may just be a curved stick. To Australians, it’s so much more.
There’s been a cry for the Aussie govt to get the UK govt to buy it and gift it back to us, where it can be displayed in Botany Bay for all to see. I think Australia’s rich should band together and buy this, as a gift to the country that has provided then so much. Why don’t we just form a conglomerate, every family inthe country donates a dollar, and we’ll be sorted! It belongs back home in Australia, where it will get the respect it deserves, not rotting away in a cupboard somewhere in a private collection or buried in the bowels of the Natural History Museum in London.
Please, Aussie, make a noise about this. This one’s important. And not just to the descendants of the giver. If I had the cash, I’d buy it and gift it myself. If a conglomerate forms, let me know the details…