View of Port Jackson, c1789

Clevelley and Prattent, View of Port Jackson, c1789. Wood engraving, hand coloured, published 1789. Manly art Gallery & Museum collection

Gamaragal – Aboriginal People of Manly and Northern Sydney
6 September 2013 – 20 April 2014 Manly Art Gallery & Museum

Long-time Dictionary author Keith Vincent Smith is guest curator of Gamaragal – Aboriginal People of Manly and Northern Sydney, now showing at Manly Art Gallery & Museum. The exhibition is part of the 2013 Manly Arts Festival and includes digital reproductions from collections and museums in London and St Petersburg including watercolours, drawings, artefacts and other objects dating from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Alongside the original engravings owned by the Manly Art Gallery and Museum, the exhibition poignantly captures the precolonial world of the Gamaragal and their first encounters with European settlers.

The Gamaragal clan occupied the north shore of Port Jackson, from Karabilye (Kirribilli) opposite Warrane (Sydney Cove) to the cliffs of Garungal or Carangle (North Head) and the sandy bay of Kayyeemy (Manly Cove), reputedly the most densely populated part of Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) at the time.

Artefacts on loan from The Australian Museum include the ‘Manly mogo‘, a stone axe given to a European girl in Manly in the 1830s and a four-pronged muting or fishing spear and two berá (fish-hooks) chipped from shells found at nearby Collins Cove. A small replica nawi or stringybark canoe, highly valued by the Gamaragal, has been loaned by David Payne, curator at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Keith Vincent Smith curated the 2010 exhibition Mari Nawi: Aboriginal Odysseys at the State Library of NSW and is author of the book of the same title. He has written many scholarly and engaging articles on Aboriginal Sydney for the Dictionary, including a recent essay on Woollarawarre Bennelong.

Gamaragal – Aboriginal People of Manly and Northern Sydney is at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum and runs until 20 April 2014.


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