The Australian Government continues to secure the return of First Nations ancestors to their rightful custodians.

18 November 2022

Repatriation honours the deep cultural and spiritual significance of returning ancestors to Australia and their Traditional Custodians.

As part of the Governments commitment towards healing and reconciliation, six ancestors have been returned to Australia from the State Ethonographic Collections of Saxony in Germany.

Five ancestors were returned to custodianship of their respective communities across New South Wales. One ancestor has returned under the stewardship of the Government so they can be cared for closer to home.

Representatives from the Gannagal, Awabakal, Worimi and Mutthi Mutthi communities and the Australian Government travelled to Germany for the handover ceremony.

Over 155 ancestors have now been returned from Germany to Australia, with ongoing discussions for future returns continuing. The willingness of German institutions to engage in repatriation discussions demonstrates the shift in collecting ethics and acknowledges that ancestors should be returned home.

Facilitating the repatriation of ancestors from overseas is part of the Australian Government's commitment to upholding the principles of the United Nation’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Find out more:

Minister’s media release

Indigenous Repatriation


Saxon State Minister for Cultural and Tourism Barbara Klepsch participating in smoking ceremony with community representatives Lindsay Munro and David Feeney at the Grassi Museum.


Jamie Tarrant preparing for smoking ceremony with Australian Ambassador to Germany Phillip Green, Saxon State Minister for Culture and Tourism Barbara Klepsch, Director of the State Ethnographic Museums Leontine Meijer van Mensch, Australian Government Special Envoy for the Arts Susan Templeman MP, Community Representatives Nathan Moran, Kaleana Reyland and Kumarah Kelly.


Community representatives signing formal handover documentation at the Grassi Museum with Dr Birgit Scheps-Bretschneider at the Grassi Museum.