Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cannalgal and Kayimai of Manly

Now we're on to Manly.

Who lived there a long long time ago?

I've been reading about two Eora groups.  Cannalgal and Kayamai.  

Kayamai.  I don't know how to pronounce that, but I think the name looks beautiful.   K is a really pretty letter.   I guess it makes me think of Hawaii.  Or Keanu Reeves.   Wait.  Isn't he FROM Hawaii?  Although I guess if you put three K's together and burn a cross, it's not that beautiful.

Anyway....Kayimai country extended eastward towards Little Manly.  That's East of the Wharf and Oceanworld.  See how I have to relate to all of this to touristy things?  

The Cannalgal country was west.

The Kayimai people made shelters from branches and fronds, or lived in limestone caves.

The Cannalgal lived on Manly beach.  Their main cuisine was Oyster and fish.   I think raw oyster is scary.  Why?   Anytime someone eats raw oyster in a book, they end up with major food poisoning.
As soon as raw oyster is mentioned, you know a few pages down the line there's going to be vomiting.     I have a phobia of vomiting.   Have I told you guys that?  

The Cannalgal folks lived in huts made of bark, branches, bushes, leaves, etc.    They put it all together with super glue.   Okay, I'm joking about the super glue.   They also sometimes lived in rock shelters and hollowed out trees.

I have this picture in my mind of two Eora people rushing to a hollowed out tree.  One gets there first and then turns to the other.  "Ha ha.  You're  going to have to MAKE your shelter."

The Cannalgal and Kayimai believed a powerful (probably divine) being called Baiame gifted Manly to them.   It wasn't called Manly back then though.

The WHITE father of Manly was Henry Gilbert Smith.    He's the one who transformed it from Bushland to the fun and lovely place it is today.    That was around the 1850's.

Wow.  That website I was just looking at has a lot of good info about Manly.   I need to save it and go back to it.    I think it's actually information copied from history plaques around Manly.  Cool.

Australia has "aboriginal sites".  These are archaeological treasures....carvings, middens, ceremonial grounds, etc.  They are now protected by both state and federal legislation.

It is illegal to mess with these Aboriginal Sites.  I believe the people who don't follow these laws should replace the rabbits used for unnecessary cosmetics experiments.   

According to a 1996 census, there were about 1700 Aborigines in the Manly area.   They are not the original custodians of the land, but came elsewhere and settled there.   The originals pretty much all died out or disappeared.

Now I'm reading this website which has interesting information about the Aboriginal land rights.    I have to admit, it's a bit complicated for my little brain.    There was the Mabo case in 1992 (which I HAD heard of).  It involved the Torres Strait Islanders.   Okay, this rejected the claim of Terra Nullius.   Terra Nullius is the term applied to Australia when the British first came over.   It implies that the land belonged to no one.  

In 1996, new legislation said that if land was owned for farm-type reasons, Indigenous people could go on the land for their ceremonial purposes.  They could also do things such as fish and camp  there.    So, let's put this in McLeod's Daughter's terms.    According to these laws, Aborigines had a right to come onto Drovers Run and camp out.   I guess essentially the law says the land belongs to both peoples?   I wonder how Claire would react to that.    Would she be welcoming, or fight to keep them off her land?    Am I worrying to much about fictional characters?

The website said the cases had to be negotiated.   I'm not sure what that means.   I guess it means if you're aboriginal, you can't just pop on to someones property.   I guess you need permission first?  
Where do you go to get to permission?  Maybe you just knock on the door?  

Conservatives (AKA Liberals) were not happy with all of this.   The Howard government made amendments to the policies to favor people who are not Indigenous.

The Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council (MLALC) in Manly works in cooperation with the Brookvale Valley Community Group.  Indigenous people and newbies working together. SHARING.    In 1998, they developed the Tripartite Agreement.   Together they have worked to take care of the land in the suburb of Brookvale.    They have found a way to use the land in a balanced way--using it for recreation, but also preserving bushland and Aboriginal sites.  

Manly got it's name from Captain Philip who was impressed by the Cannalgal and Kayimai men.  

When he was sailing in his little boat, twenty or so local men came out to greet him.   They were unarmed and reacted to the white visitors with curiosity.   Philip thought they were very "manly". 

Although the British reported the land as being owned by nobody, they did take notice of the Eora people.  

They made various reports about what they found, noticing that....

The Cannalgal and Kayimai would burn undergrowth in bush to get to edible roots underneath.  

The Cannalgal and Kayimai  went on small canoes and would surf in the waters....even in rough waters.   The water in Manly IS rough.  I know from experience.   What is the deal with Australian water?

The first couple of years were fairly friendly between the two groups.  But once the originals realized the newbies were there to stay, things became less friendly.

I can relate to that.   It's easier to deal with guests when you know they'll be leaving.  When they start bringing in all their stuff and acting all permanent, it's downright terrifying.   

Anyway, then the Smallpox shit happened and things went very downhill.   In 1790, Philip was stabbed by a Eora man with a spear.   Ouch!

Okay, here's some geography stuff:

First Philip went to Botany Bay where Cook and Banks had gone eighteen years before.  They weren't satisfied and made their way towards Port Jackson.   On the way, they ended up in Manly.
Philips left Botany Bay on January 21.  I'm wondering..... Was it really that bad out in Botany Bay or was Philips just being oppositional?  

If you're a dork like me, you can go to google maps and play with the little hand.  You can pretend it's a boat and pretend you're a white British person sailing around Sydney.


I like this.   In a Catholic School's Annual report, the beginning of the Principal's message says

St John’s Catholic School acknowledges the
Kayimai people, the traditional owners of the
land on which we now work and play

I've seen stuff like that on other websites as well.   I like it.   It's not a huge gesture, but I think it's meaningful and respectful.   

There's is a fig tree in Royal Botanical Gardens where Kayimai used to have an initiation ceremony.  I have a feeling this involved something painful.  

Oh!!!  Holy shit.   Kenneally has a whole book about all of this.   It's called a Commonwealth of Thieves.  I HAVE to get it.  Do I sound greedy and demanding?  

Well, here's some slightly disturbing news.   I just hopped on to our library website to see if they have the book.   They've totally cut down on the hours are library is open.   It used to be open everyday.  Now it's closed twice a week and it's open late only twice during the week.   It used to be open until 9:00 four days a week.    That's sad.   I guess it's an economy thing?   Their online catalog is also not working now.   It works some days, but not others.   

Oh well.

My country is in economic turmoil and I'm most disturbed by diminishing library hours.  What can I say?

Reading the words of Lord Wiki right now.   He has some nice things to say about Philip.

He says Philip told his people not to kill the Eora people and if they did, they'd be hung.  

When he was stabbed with a spear, he ordered his men not to retaliate.

I found a great website about the incident--I think it's taken from Kenneally's work.  

I shall try to summarize it.

Let's see......

Some Eora, including Bennelong are hanging out in Manly.   They're eating a whale that got caught.  Feasting away.   I'm hoping the whale was already dead and they weren't eating him alive.  Yuck.  

Bennelong saw the white people and asked about his old pal Philip.  He gave the white people some whale meat and told them to give it to Philip.   

When Philip got the meat he thought this was a good opportunity for Eora-British bonding.    He took his boat and headed out to Manly to join the party.

He brought wine.

Bennelong introduced Philip to his Eora friends.   There was a man named Willemering.  The website says that there was a big huge barbed spear.   Philip asked if he could have it.  Well, that's kind of rude. A bit demanding.  

The answer was no.  Bennelong took the spear and brought it to Willemering.   Then he gave Philip a throwing stick.   I'm wondering if Philip was embarrassed.   I bet he felt a little rejected.  

It turns out that Willemering was a ritual punishment man.   He was part of the Eora legal system.   He was there for a blood dept and was planning to get it from Philip.

The list of crimes by the white people was quite long.  Moving in without permission, stealing, overstaying their welcome, harming Eora people, etc.

According to the website though, once the spear was thrown, according to Eora custom, the debt was paid.

You know what I find funny.   We spent all this time in Manly.   We played in the sand.  We waded in the wild water.   We took walks.  We ate ice-cream.    We shopped for t-shirts.   We did all this and barely thought about all the fascinating and exciting history.


  1. Thank you for sharing. Sadly, the Australian indigenous peoples are still fighting to maintain their land rights. Posts like this help people realize that they are living people that need their rights respected.

  2. Vomit, or vomiting?

    Because now, with the new job, I have developed an irrational fear of vomiting all over my desk/computer/keyboard and being embarrassed.

  3. aboriginal advocate: I looked at your website and bookmarked it. It looks very interesting.

    Rebecca: I wonder where your fear comes from???? That's totally fascinating. Is it a persistent fear?? Of course I'm thinking of all this supernatural stuff. Like you vomited in a past life when you worked in an office? Maybe the last person who worked in your office died of some gastro thing and threw up all over your desk? Maybe you're having a premonition about throwing up sometime there???

    With me....the fear is both. I think the primary fear is vomiting, but I'm afraid of vomit because if you come in contact with vomit, it's likely you'll come in contact with the germs and vomit yourself.

  4. I don't know where it's coming from. Probably a premonition, lol. Right now it's a relatively low stress job, I'm probably looking for something to be stressed out about.

    If I see/hear/smell vomit it doesn't bother me TOO badly. That's really a result of the last job, I'd see vomit on a fairly regular basis and just kinda got used to it. My mind just shuts off the "GROSS!!" part.

  5. Rebecca,

    Well, I hope you DON'T throw up all over your desk!!!!

    Are you liking the job besides that??

    I read your post about your stupid coworker. Are you going through withdrawal now????

    I'm going to miss hearing about her.

  6. I like it so far. It's SO different from the last place, so much calmer.

    The weird thing is that I'm SO used to having to do (almost) everything, and now I'm on a team that really works together and collaborates. It's nice, just takes some getting used to.

    I'm sure I can think of older stories about the useless coworker that I never posted.

  7. Rebecca,

    Yeah. I can imagine it's hard to go from doing everything yourself and then having people that actually help you!!

  8. It is weird. I'm so used to having to get stuff done quickly (so I can get EVERYTHING done); that I'm doing my work too quickly and I end up sitting at my desk with nothing to do. LOL. I ask for extra stuff, but I still have a lot of training to do.

  9. I think that Claire and Tess would be cool with Aboriginal people camping out, especially Tess. She would probly make friends and learn a dance or two from them.

  10. Darcy,

    I picture that too. I think maybe Claire would be upset at first, but then warm to the idea.

    Jodi would be all into it.

    And Meg would make them some apricot chicken.