Australia

UK's Natural History Museum returns remains of Indigenous Australians to elders

Professor Peter Buckskin formally receives the remains in London. Source: Supplied

London's Natural History Museum has returned the remains of 37 Indigenous Australians at a handover ceremony in the UK.

The ancestral remains of 37 Indigenous people will be returned to Australia from London's Natural History Museum.

Narungga community representatives from South Australia, Douglas Milera and Professor Peter Buckskin, travelled to the UK to attend the handover ceremony on Tuesday night Australian time.

Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, George Brandis QC, Professor Peter Buckskin, Mr Douglas Milera.
Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, George Brandis QC, Professor Peter Buckskin, Mr Douglas Milera.
Supplied

They received the remains of an ancestor who will be cared for at the South Australian Museum until the community is ready to conduct a reburial ceremony.

The South Australian Museum will also look after another seven repatriated ancestral remains.

After 150 years the remains will travel home to Australia.
After 150 years the remains will travel home to Australia.
AAP

The remaining 29 ancestral remains will go to the National Museum of Australia until the Ngarrindjeri, Far West Coast, Kaurna and Flinders Ranges communities are ready to lay them to rest.

The Australian government has welcomed the return of the 37 set of remains.

"This return is a significant event for our country," Arts Minister Mitch Fifield said in a statement.

He said the Indigenous repatriation program had led to the return of more than 1480 ancestral remains, including more than 1200 from the UK. 

The Australian government welcomed the return of 37 South Australian ancestral remains from the Natural History Museum in London.
The Australian government welcomed the return of 37 South Australian ancestral remains from the Natural History Museum in London.
Supplied

For more than 150 years Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestral remains and sacred objects were removed from their communities for various reasons and placed in museums, universities and private collections in Australia and overseas. 

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