Kurnell ceremony marks meeting of cultures

Two cultures: Meeting of Two Cultures Ceremony recognising the 244th anniversary of the landing of Lieutenant James Cook at Kurnell in 1770. Picture: Chris LaneTHE 244th anniversary of the landing of Lieutenant James Cook at Kurnell, which sparked the first meeting of Australia’s indigenous and European cultures, was marked on Tuesday.
Nanjing Night Net

Kurranulla Aboriginal Corporation’s Deanna Schreiber welcomed participants to the Meeting of Two Cultures Ceremony at Kamay Botany Bay National Park and acknowledged the traditional owners of the land and non-indigenous brothers and sisters.

Among attendees was a descendant of James Cook, Rodney Fleck, who raised the Queen Anne flag. It was the flag of the British Navy when Lieutenant Cook, who later became Captain, stepped ashore on Sunday, April 29, 1770.

On that day he encountered an Aboriginal tribe, the Gweagal people, who are part of the Dharawal nation.

Sutherland Shire mayor Steve Simpson said no place in Australia could lay claim to having such an important place in our nation’s history.

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and federal MP for Cook Scott Morrison addressed the crowd on the importance of the first meeting of indigenous and European cultures.

Mr Morrison is pushing for a major ceremony to mark the 250th anniversary in 2020.

“There was much misunderstanding that took place on that occasion,” he said.

“The good news is that over the last 200 years we are overcoming these misunderstandings and differences.”

Mr Morrison said James Cook embraced everything about discovery and was always looking beyond the horizon.

“We are a people looking forward and today we mark the coming together of those two cultures that built a truly great nation.”

Cronulla MP Mark Speakman urged those at the ceremony to reaffirm their commitment to a shared positive future.

After observing a minute’s silence, Aboriginal performers Descendance performed the Spiritual Baptism Dance.

This dance was usually performed at traditional baptisms around a large fire where the smoke was seen to help with healing.

After the ceremony, students from Kurnell and South Cronulla public schools watched a re-enactment and learnt about bush tucker and Aboriginal tools.

What do you think sholud be done to mark the 250thanniversary of James Cook’s landing?

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