„Warra warra wai“ is written on the footpath in Botany Bay harbour in Australia, just south of the spot where Captain Cook first set foot on Aboriginal soil in 1770.
This inscription honors two Aboriginal warriors who stood their ground to defend their land when they first saw white men.
250 years ago, on the afternoon of 28 April 1770, Lieutenant James Cook and an armed party of marines from the discovery ship HM Bark Endeavour landed on the south shore of a small, shallow harbour, now called Botany Bay, and they saw two warriors on the beach.
They belonged to the Gweagal (‘Fire’) clan at Kundul (Kurnell) on the southeastern coast of the continent of Australia.
The English voyagers made signs that they wanted water, but the two men snatched up their fishing spears and shouted their defiance.
Their countenance bespoke displeasure; they threatened us, and discovered hostile intentions, often crying to us “Warra warra wai“, wrote the young Scots artist Sydney Parkinson (c1745-1771) who accompanied Cook on his first landing.
These words, meaning ‘go away’ or ‘begone’, were the first ever spoken to the English colonists by the Indigenous inhabitants of southeastern Australia, writes Eorapeople.com.