Recent international repatriations
The Australian Embassy in Berlin held a repatriation ceremony to return three Australian Indigenous ancestral remains from three institutions in Germany. Two ancestral remains were returned to direct descendants and traditional custodians from far north Queensland and the Clarence River region in New South Wales. Direct descendants received granddad Barry, King Ng:tja of the Ngadjon-Jii community. Traditional custodians from the Grafton Ngerrie Local Aboriginal Land Council and Yaegl Local Aboriginal Land Council received their ancestor on behalf of three Local Aboriginal Land Councils from the Clarence River region, including Birrigan Gargle Local Aboriginal Land Council. The delegation accompanied one unnamed ancestor to Australia returned from the Charité Medical University, Berlin.
In a moving handover ceremony in London, the remains of 13 Aboriginal ancestors were returned by four key institutions to traditional owners and representatives from communities in Western Australia, South Australia and the Advisory Committee for Indigenous Repatriation (ACIR) in London. The Royal Pavilion and Museums Brighton, Brighton and Hove City Council, the University of Birmingham, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham City Council and the University of Cambridge from the United Kingdom participated in the official repatriation ceremony.
The Hampshire Cultural Trust in Winchester United Kingdom held a ceremony to handover remains of an Aboriginal ancestor. Originally removed from Kempsey, the ancestor was up to 2,000 years old and was taken to the UK in the 1960s. Dunghutti community representatives from Kempsey, New South Wales took custodianship of their ancestor who was returned to country.
Media Release – Aboriginal ancestral remains return home from the UK
A private holder in the United States returned the remains of an Aboriginal ancestor to traditional custodians on the north coast of New South Wales.
Media Release—Traditional custodians bring Aboriginal ancestral remains home from the USA.
The Charité University Hospital in Berlin returned the remains of 14 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestors to representatives of Indigenous communities in Western Australia and the Torres Strait Islands. This is the second repatriation from the Charité and demonstrates the commitment from Germany to work with Indigenous Australian communities to repatriate ancestral remains.
Media Release - Indigenous ancestral remains to return home from Germany.
The Charité University Hospital in Berlin returned 33 Australian Indigenous ancestral remains. This was the first return of Australian ancestral remains from Germany through the Indigenous Repatriation Program. The remains were from communities in South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia. 11 of the 33 ancestral remains from Germany were returned to community in a moving ceremony in far north Queensland.
Media Release—Australian Ancestral remains return home from Germany.
The Moravian Museum in Brno, Czech Republic, held a handover ceremony to return eight ancestral remains belonging to six communities in Arnhem Land. These were the only known Indigenous Australian ancestral remains held in the Czech Republic.
A known Elder from New South Wales was repatriated from Washington D.C. to their home community. This Elder had been held by a collecting institution in the United States since the late 19th century.
The repatriation of 30 ancestral remains was facilitated from The Austrian Academy of Science and The Pathology and Anatomy Museum in Vienna, Austria. The remains were handed back to five Traditional Owners and Custodians from New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
The Natural History Museum in London announced they would make the largest return to date of over 130 remains of Torres Strait Islander ancestors to their communities of origin. The Natural History Museum returned three ancestral remains after this announcement and another 19 ancestral remains in May 2011. Other returns will occur as communities are ready.