The first meeting with the settlers

The Cannalgal clan (Camaraigal, Ga-mariagal) are the first Indigenous peoples to meet the English settlers in Sydney Harbour. The clan are coastal people living between Manly Beach to Dee Why in the north.

On 22 January, two cutters and a long boat sail into the harbour. Captain Arthur Phillip watches the Aboriginal men who wade into the water without their spears to examine the English boats. Phillip writes “their confidence and manly behaviour made me give the name Manly Cove to this place”. Phillip’s Instructions are to “conciliate their affections … maintain friendly relations with the natives if possible”.

Later in the year, Phillip sets out in 3 small vessels to explore Broken Bay. “They were met by a great number of the Natives, Men, Women and Children, the men well armed. very friendly”. In Pittwater they meet an old Koori man and a boy. The old man then helps them gather leaves for their beds. He takes off with a metal spade but the soldiers force him to return it. The man raises his spear but when the soldiers threaten him with muskets he backs down. “[T]his roused the anger of Phillip, who seemed to think that even a ‘savage’ ought to understand the rights of property, and he showed his displeasure to the thief”. (Anderson 1920, p. 22)