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Aboriginal families from Kamay remember their ancestors who lived through the early years of the Sydney colony.

Interacting with Colonial Sydney 05:31

The Gujaga Research Team has compiled an album of Coastal Sydney’s Aboriginal people. Photos and family history provided by Gujaga Foundation and the La Perouse community. Read the album transcript

Chris Ingrey, Dharawal:

Our history is documented in the boomerangs and artefacts our ancestors made.

Wooden boomerang featuring illustrations incised onto the surface. The illustrations feature images of plants and animals, a ship with a rowboat nearby and people with spears.
'Endeavour in Botany Bay' by John Simms
Small pink baby shoes decorated with yellow-brown shells.
Baby shoes with shellwork decoration by an unknown maker

Artists and entrepreneurs

Esme Timbery, Bidjigal:

My family has maintained a deep connection to Kamay Bay. My dad was a fisherman, he’d sit on the hill at La Pa and keep lookout for the fish. We’d pull the net in and have a lovely feed of fish.

Our family are artists, Dad and his brothers made boomerangs and the women made shellwork.

I learnt to do shellwork from Mum and my aunties. We spent a lot of time at Kurnell, I really enjoyed travelling over on the ferry. We would go as a family and we would collect shells for Mum to do her shellwork. Mum and I would collect shells at Kurnell Beach and dad and my brother Joe Bud would walk to Cronulla with a hessian bag to collect shells.

Joe Bud and I loved to play at Kurnell, we’d climb the tree’s and play at the beach. We’d often get the last ferry back to La Pa. When we got home, Mum would put the blanket on the ground and start shellworking. We’d sit down the loop and sell our shellwork and artefacts to the tourists, I have beautiful memories of our times at the loop, because we were all together.

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