Gawura farewelled by community

by Pauline Clague


Last Thursday 20 June 2019 a humpback whale (approximately 3 – 4 metres long) washed up on Frenchman’s Bay Beach  in La Perouse. It is always sad and concerning when one of the ocean’s most beautiful creatures comes to rest on our shores.

Aunty Barb Simms saw the Gawura in the morning struggling near the La Perouse Mission and stayed with the Baby Girl Gawura until she sadly passed away.

Randwick Council were alerted to the presence of the whale, the cause of death is unknown, but the National Parks and Wildlife Service took samples for testing.

As humpback whales are a cultural totem for the local Aboriginal people of La Perouse, Council liaised closely with members of the Aboriginal community, the La Perouse Aboriginal Land Council and National Parks and Wildlife Service.

We went along in support of the La Perouse families to farewell the Gawura early on Friday morning. As the sun rose a small group of members from the community and other nations from the east coast nations, who are connected to whale stories participated in a ceremony before Council picked up the whale and took her away.

Aunty Barb said “This is the first time she has seen (a Beaching of Gawura) this happen in her life.”  for her she felt like this was a reconnection to old ways that they need to be reminded of in the city. “Our culture and our community is strengthened by our knowledge that we are still here”