The Gweagal Shield is perhaps the most important invasion-era historical artefact in existence. This wooden shield with a bullet hole in it is evidence of literally the first shot fired in what would become known as the Frontier Wars.
A series of gunshots by Captain Cook's party at what is now called Botany Bay in 1770, this incident was proof of the first violent encounter by Europeans with Aboriginal Australia, specifically with a Gweagal man, Cooman, who was defending his country. His shield, along with spears, were seized by Cook's party as bounty and has since been housed by the British Museum.
Rodney Kelly, a descendent of Cooman, is demanding the return of the shield and spears, and with the support of the Greens' David Shoebridge, is asking the NSW Parliament to support a movement in the House calling for the immediate repatriation of the artefacts. Rodney will be travelling to the UK in October to formally call for the shield and spears to be returned by the British Museum to their rightful owners. Rodney Kelly is seeking support for this cause from all levels of government, media, other museums and community to put pressure on the British Museum.