Owner hits back at criticism of British colonial theme of new bakery / cafe at Kurnell

Kim Gilmore says a photo that will hang in a new bakery / cafe she is establishing at Kurnell will help tell “both sides of the story”.

Ms Gilmore was criticised on social media after the Leader reported on Sunday she had received approval for her business, which would be named Kurnell 1770 and have a British colonial theme.

The real estate agent and business owner was accused of being “insulting and tone deaf” to indigenous people, and that the cafe was “crass” and ignored “the genocide of an indigenous people in order to establish white colonialism”.

Ms Gilmore said, when she started planning the bakery / cafe, “I thought it was a way of incorporating both cultures under the name Kurnell 1770, which is such a relevant time in history, being the time and place of the meeting of the two cultures”.

“British colonial is not a reference to Cook’s side of the story, but merely a style of decor, which is very popular and an eclectic collection of things across the world, no doubt instigated by exploring sailors.”

Ms Gilmore said the decor would include an enlargement of a photo she took of an image of an Aboriginal warrior displayed on clear perspex on the old ferry wharf.

“Looking through the image you see the rocks and water and Cook’s landing place, with our location in the distance,” she said.

Another proposed feature of her eatery resulted from a visit to Billy Kwong’s restaurant in Potts Point, which is operated by his daughter Kylie Kwong.

“She had a pair of corroboree sticks, which she tapped twice to let the staff know there was a plate ready for service,” Ms Gilmore said.

“Being such dense timber. it emits a very low resonance without being noisy. 

“By fate, I was wandering through a bric-a-brac store opposite after lunch and happened to find such a pair, which will now feature in my bakery / cafe.

“I thought it was quite appropriate, and hopefully no one finds that offensive.”

The criticism of Ms Gilmore on Facebook was met with some strong defence.

”What's the problem. Why cant we acknowledge our colonial past?” wrote one reader.

“What a silly critical bunch of people. I have Aboriginals in my family and am very culturally sensitive to all races, but nothing about Kurnell 1770 nor the stylish British colonial interior design offends me. Cook at Kurnell doesn’t offend me either”.

Kurnell 1770 will be housed in a new shop-top development in Captain Cook Drive near the corner of Prince Charles Parade and the start of the Monument Track.

It is expected to open in early August.

Earlier story