The Guardian, November 8, 2016
Rodney Kelly, the sixth-time great grandson of warrior Cooman who stood his ground as Cook’s HMS Endeavour landed at Botany Bay more than 200 years ago, has made a formal claim for the repatriation of the Gweagal Shield that once belonged to his ancestor.
Cook’s diaries, and sketches made by the crew, recount the events of April 1770 when they approached the coast of Australia and encountered two warriors raising spears to defend their land. In response, the English voyagers fired off their muskets, hitting warrior Cooman fatally in the leg. The tribesmen ran off, leaving behind their spears and shields, which were picked up by Cook’s crew, brought back to the UK and have been in the British Museum’s collection ever since.
However, Kelly believes that the time has come for the return of the shield, which is of “utmost significance” to Indigenous Australians when “my people are suffering and our culture is dying."