In an Australian first, a motion has been passed unanimously through the NSW Parliament acknowledging the Gweagal clan of the Dharawal people as the rightful owners of artefacts stored in the British Museum.

The artefacts in question belonged to a Gweagal man known as Cooman who was shot at by Captain Cook’s crew in 1770. The famous Gweagal shield, with its iconic bullet hole in the centre, has been kept in the UK ever since.

A descendant of Cooman, Rodney Kelly, has been raising money to visit the British and Cambridge museums to request the items be returned to the Gweagal people.

Greens MP David Shoebridge, who brought the motion to Parliament, says Mr Kelly needs to be backed by the state when he travels to the UK.


Mr Kelly says the outcome is a relief, but would like to see more support from Aboriginal organisations.