Most of us know the story from January 1788, about how Botany Bay was deemed inhospitable by the First Fleet of British interlopers. Within days of arriving at the Bay, the flotilla packed up and hauled around to the dumb good luck of a deepwater harbour that a search party had found glittering behind a break in the ramparted coastline. While tacking north, the astonished colonists looked back to see a pair of French ships edge into Botany Bay. After the parvenus dropped anchor near the strand that is now known as Frenchman’s Beach fringing the suburb now called La Perouse, the British dispatched a reconnaissance squad. It took only a few minutes of bilingual negotiation to establish both that the French were just looking to replenish for a few weeks, and that the British were the ones with the firepower and military personnel sufficient for seizing a permanent garrison. As local tribes watched all this unfolding, they called out ‘wara wara’ several times, which depending on context could be variously translated as ‘wrong move’, ‘not so fast’, ‘be careful’, or more bluntly and most likely, ‘go away, go away’.
|Number of pages||17|
|Journal||Sydney Review of Books|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|