Eighteen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestors from the United Kingdom have been returned to Australia.

10 November 2022

As part of the Government's support and facilitation of the international repatriation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestors, 18 ancestors have been returned to Australia from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museum in the United Kingdom.

Robyn Campbell, of the South East First Nations of South Australia, received the the Lake Hawdon/Guichen Bay Old Person. 'We have been made sick and worried about what happened to our Old People, always knowing our relationship and connection to Country is the foundation of our culture and ways of living. The return of our Old People is to fulfil our cultural obligations and we hope it will contribute to our recovery as First Nations people,' Robyn Campbell said.

The Government took stewardship of 17 ancestors, where they will be returned to Australia and cared for closer to home.

International repatriation demonstrates the Government's commitment to upholding the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Over 1,660 ancestors have now been repatriated from overseas collecting institutions and private holders. A strong relationship has been developed with the United Kingdom to continue repatriation discussions.

Repatriation acknowledges the cultural and spiritual significance of returning ancestors to their source countries and Traditional Custodians.

Find out more


(Robyn Campbell of South East First Nations of South Australia performing smoking ceremony at Oxford Museum of Natural History.


Robyn Campbell of South East First Nations of South Australia signing the handover certificate in the presence of Laura Van Broekhoven and Joanna Cole of the Pitt Rivers Museum


Robyn Campbell of South East First Nations of South Australia smoking guests at Oxford Museum of Natural History.


Robyn Campbell of South East First Nations of South Australia receiving her ancestor at Oxford Museum of Natural History.