Coastal Sydney: First contact - warrawarrawa story

Dr Shayne Williams, Senior Knowledge Holder (Gweagal Clan of the Dharawal Nation) Kurnell, June 2019.
Cultural Narrative: 

My name is Shayne Williams and I am a member of the Gweagal clan of the Dharawal nation. I want to tell you a short story about Cook’s voyage up the east coast, until he eventually arrived here in what we call Gamay which is now called Botany Bay.

Cook’s first sighting of Aboriginal presence here on the mainland was at Point Hicks in Victoria, where he seen columns of smoke going up into the air and as he turned north and travelled off the east coast he continued to see columns of fire all the way here to Gamay/Botany Bay. 

We are at kundal which is now called Kurnell and as our people saw the vessels coming up the coast we first thought they were gurru’s that's clouds but as they got closer they started to change shape so we thought they were floating islands which we call barangga’s but as the vessel turned and came in here to Gamay/Botany Bay we saw sailors actually going up and down the masts.

We thought they were guruwara’s which we call possums but then the vessel anchored and a boat with Cook and his sailors aboard attempted to land at kundal here on this side of Gamay/Botany Bay but he was soon resisted by two Gweagal warriors. The Gweagal warriors were giving hand gestures for them to go away and they were saying warra warra

A lot get warra warra confused with ‘go away’ when in fact warra warra in our language means you ‘are all dead’. So they may have been making gestures with their hands but they were saying something entirely different.

This is the first recording of an Aboriginal word and language here on the Australian mainland.

Invasion, Cook
Original Date Description: 
June 2019