Our representatives attended a ceremony at the National Museum of Australia Repository in Mitchell to mark the start of the journey back to the Willandra Lakes Region.
The day started with a smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country by the traditional custodians of the Canberra region. Elders and community members from Mutthi Mutthi, Ngiyampaa and Barkandji also spoke of the significance of the day and the importance of returning the ancestors back to Country – a sentiment shared by many communities involved in Indigenous repatriation.
The remains of Mungo Man were discovered at Lake Mungo in 1974 by Geologist Dr Jim Bowler in a traditional ochre burial pit by the banks of Lake Mungo in South Western New South Wales before being taken to the Australian National University in Canberra.
Mungo Man has been dated at 42,000 years old, confirming that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is one of the oldest in the world.
The ancestors are being transported to Mungo National Park with Welcome to Country ceremonies held as they pass through Hay and Balranald.
A formal ceremony for the ancestors will be held at Mungo National Park on Friday 17 November, which will be followed by a Return to Country Festival in Mildura to mark this significant event.
The Australian Government has assisted Indigenous communities to pursue the unconditional return of their ancestors under the Indigenous Repatriation Program for more than 25 years.