One of the most significant moments in our nation’s history has been recognised through the installation of bold new signage reading The Meeting Place, Dharawal Country on the main thoroughfare into Kurnell in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire.
Sutherland Shire Council officially unveiled the new gateway signage, which acknowledges the area as the site of first contact between the Gweagal Clan and the crew of the Endeavour ship on the southern shores of Kamay Botany Bay, Kurnell in 1770.
Mayor, Councillor Carmelo Pesce said the unveiling fittingly coincides with the 250th anniversary of the meeting of two cultures.
“Our local community has a deep understanding of the incredibly significant events that played out on these lands 250 years ago and it is important that we acknowledge this event for visitors to our region,” Cr Pesce said.
“While the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus pandemic means that Council’s traditional ‘Meeting of Two Cultures’ event has unfortunately been cancelled this year, I am pleased our signage allows us to acknowledge this significant anniversary in another, very special way.
“The sandstone and ochre colour of the steel incorporated into the sculptural design are iconic in the region’s history and reflect the character of the Sutherland Shire.
“I would like to thank the members of Council’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee and Kurnell Progress and Precinct Resident’s Association who played an important role in guiding the design and installation of this signage to ensure we delivered a finished product that best respected our shared local history and identity.”
While a number of planned community events have been cancelled or postponed this year due to Coronavirus, Mayor Pesce said it is important to pause and reflect on all perspectives of our shared history, and Council is committed to continuing a range of programs, services and initiatives to acknowledge this local story.
“For over three decades Council has marked the 29 April with a commemoration ceremony, which over time has evolved into our annual ‘The Meeting of Two Cultures’ event. It was a difficult decision to cancel this year’s event, however, the health and wellbeing of our entire community is our priority as we continue to respond to the advice of public health authorities.
“There was extensive consultation between Council, State and Federal Governments and La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council in the lead up to the 250th anniversary and I am extremely proud of the strong relationships Council has built with the Gweagal, Dharawal and La Perouse Aboriginal communities, which I know will only continue to grow stronger into the future.”
Chris Ingrey, Chief Executive Officer at La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council echoed the Mayor’s sentiment.
“We are pleased with the relationship that developed between La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council and Sutherland Shire Council in planning the 2020 ‘Meeting of Two Cultures’ event,” Mr Ingrey said.
“Although the event has been understandably cancelled, we look forward to telling our story regarding the arrival of the Endeavour at Kamay in 1770 and showcasing Gweagal culture, at next year’s event”.
Continuing its commitment to acknowledge the events of 1770 and this year’s significant anniversary, Council has announced the winners in a new category: Looking Back, Moving Forward in the 2020 Literary Competition. Sutherland Shire Libraries are also developing a new interactive educational app, with a range of local history stories to be launched later this year. The first story will be Eight Days in Kamay Botany Bay: Through the Eyes of the Endeavour Journals.
Council’s Sand Stories event and the Wuliwulawala Dharawal Women Sharing Stories exhibition at Hazelhurst Arts Centre will be rescheduled, pending further advice from public health authorities on mass public gatherings.
Council has also launched a new webpagededicated to providing information about the history of the meeting of two cultures, with some interesting links to other local history material from a range of sources.
See the winning entries in Council’s 2020 Literary Competition here.