PHOTOS

Whales swim by Oak Park during community event celebrating their connection with the Gweagal people

It was only fitting that whales swam by when new interpretative signage was unveiled at Oak Park, Cronulla.

The sign tells of the connection between the Gweagal people, a Dharawal speaking clan who inhabited the area before European occupation, and the whales they watched from the Kurnell peninsula.

The Whales of the Gweagal community event on Sunday, October 20, was organised by Sutherland Shire Council and included Indigenous dancing, a smoking ceremony at the water's edge and bush tucker to sample.

The story of the connection between the Gweagal people and whales was written by Aboriginal elder and artist Deanna Schreiber, who chairs the Kurranulla Aboriginal Corporation and is a member of the council's Aboriginal Advisory Committee.

Shire resident Andy McLean, who was among those who attended the event, congratulated the council.

"It was a wonderful occasion for us all to celebrate and learn more about local Aboriginal culture," Mr McLean said in a letter to the Leader.

"It was great to see so many locals (of all ages and backgrounds) enjoying the event.

"Huge thanks also to Kurranulla Aboriginal Corporation and the council's Aboriginal Advisory Committee."

Comments from others on Facebook included, "Such a wonderful experience - my son even made his own damper" and "What a morning...just perfect. We had a wonderful time".

The council said in response, "It was an amazing celebration...and we had a fabulous turnout. We even a number of whales swim past to listen to the whales story".

A council statement said Oak Park was chosen as the location for the interpretive signage for several reasons.

"It provides some of the best ocean views in Sutherland Shire, where whales can be seen migrating up and down the coast," the statement said.

"It is a gathering place for our community, where people can tell stories of their own while enjoying picnics with family and friends in the beautiful natural surroundings.

"Most significantly, it's from this spot that you can see across to Jibbon Beach headland, where ancient rock engravings can be found, including the famous 'whale' from this very story."