In his book Hidden in Plain View, Paul Irish has found many records that demonstrate the positive relationships between the colonisers and Indigenous people at various locations in the coastal Sydney region.
One story concerns the area in Sydney Harbour known today as Watsons Bay.
The original inhabitants of the area that is now known as Watsons Bay, were the Gadigal people. The Gadigal referred to the area as Kutti. This indigenous group of people fished and collected shellfish in the waters and bays off South Head. They acquired their resources from Camp Cove and carved rock engravings there, although many have since eroded from the cliff faces and rock surfaces that line the coastline.
Watsons Bay was named after Robert Watson (1756–1819), who had arrived with the First Fleet as quartermaster of H.M.S. Sirius. After some years at Norfolk Island, Watson was given a land grant at South Head. When the lighthouse at South Head was finished, Watson was installed as its first superintendent in November 1818.
In the early decades of the colony, there was a group of Aborigines which used Camp Cove as their base for fishing. They co-existed with the whites who began settling in the area. Later events would challenge, and then unravel, this positive relationship. There is a lot of tragedy and much sadness in the relationships between First Peoples and the colonisers, in the ensuing decades. But perhaps we need to look back to those early positive, respectful relationships, as the model for our lives today?
On the doctrine of discovery: https://johntsquires.com/2018/08/13/affirming-the-sovereignty-of-first-peoples-undoing-the-doctrine-of-discovery/
On learning from the land:
On difficulties and tragedies in the early relationships: