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Captain Cook’s Boomerang to Be Sold at London Auction

A piece of Australian history is about to auctioned off in London:

A boomerang collected by Captain James Cook when he was in Australia should be put on permanent display at Botany Bay after it is auctioned next month, a federal MP says.

The hand-carved boomerang is being put up for sale in London along with two wooden clubs, also believed to have belonged to Aborigines Cook met when he landed on Australia’s east coast in 1770.

Scott Morrison, federal MP for Cook, a seat that takes in Kurnell on the southern side of Botany Bay where Captain Cook landed, wants the government to press Britain to buy and return the boomerang.  [Brisbane Times – via Adrift]

It is expected that this boomerang will be sold for up to £60,000 or $128,000.  When Captain Cook received the strange, crooked stick in 1770 while surveying Australia, but he had no idea what it was for, or even what it was called. He thought that it was a wooden sword; his botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, believed it to be a short scimitar.

Captain James Cook returned to England with the boomerang in 1771, and was still ignorant of its secrets when he was killed eight years later. He left it, and two wooden Aboriginal clubs also collected on the expedition, to his wife, Elizabeth, who in turn bequeathed them to her friend Joan Leach Bennett, in whose family they have remained.

Well now decendants of the Bennett family are selling the boomerang which has politicians in both the United Kingdom and Australia debating whether the purchase the artifact and have it returned to Australia:

Officials from the National Museum and others are investigating the heritage of a boomerang believed to have once belonged to Captain James Cook.

The boomerang will be auctioned by Christie’s auction house on September 25.

The Liberal MP for the Sydney seat of Cook, Scott Morrison, wants the British government to buy the boomerang and donate it to Australia as an act of reconciliation.

“If it is indeed Cook’s boomerang then it should come back to Australia and I don’t think Australian taxpayers, in the first instance, should have to put out for it,” Mr Morrison told reporters on Tuesday.  [Sydney Morning Herald]

This week on September 25th the boomerang will go on sale and we will all get a chance to see whether this piece of Australian history will return to Australia or not.

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