A set of spears stolen by Captain James Cook are being returned to their Country. 

In 1770, James Cook and his crew took dozens of spears from Aboriginal camps at Botany Bay. 

Today, only four of these spears remain and will soon be permanently returned to the La Perouse Aboriginal community. 

The announcement was made on Thursday at Bare Island in Botany Bay, or Kamay in the local Indigenous language.

The removal of these spears was a significant loss to the local Aboriginal community, denying their cultural knowledge, which had been passed down from generation to generation. 

La Perouse Aboriginal Land Council chairwoman, Noeleene Timbery, expressed the importance of preserving these artefacts on Country for future generations as they are a crucial connection to the community's past, traditions, cultural practices, and ancestors. 

Many families in the La Perouse Aboriginal community are descended from those present during the eight days the Endeavour was anchored in Kamay in 1770.

Some of the spears were temporarily returned to Australia in 2015 and 2020, for the first time since they were taken by Captain Cook. 

The artefacts were displayed as part of exhibitions exploring frontier encounters. 

Since then, the National Museum has been working to secure their permanent return. However, the spears are currently at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, as part of an archaeology and anthropology collection. 

Within months, they will be returned to their rightful custodians and displayed at a new visitor centre being constructed at Botany Bay.

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and the Gujaga Foundation are assisting with the repatriation. 

Dharawal Elder Shayne Williams acknowledged Trinity College's respectfulness in returning these spears to their community. 

He expressed the immeasurable value of the spears as powerful, tangible connections between the community's forebears and present-day members. 

He said that in caring for the spears for over 252 years, Trinity College has ensured that these priceless artefacts can now be utilised for cultural education by the Aboriginal community into the future.