Recent international repatriations
Ancestral remains return home from the United Kingdom
October 2016 – United Kingdom
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.
2,000 year old ancestor returned home after 55 years
November 2015 – United Kingdom
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
Traditional custodians bring Aboriginal ancestral remains home from the USA
June 2015—United States of America
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.
Second return of ancestral remains from Germany
July 2014 – Germany
In July 2014, 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.
Australian Ancestral remains 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.
Eleven of the 33 ancestral remains from Germany reached their final resting place on 12 October 2013, when they were returned to their traditional land in a moving ceremony at Somerset in far north Queensland.
Media Release—Australian Ancestral remains return home from Germany.
Moravian Museum in Brno returns remains to Arnhem Land
December 2012—Czech Republic
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 NSW Elder returns home from Washington
September 2012—United States of America
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.
From Vienna to New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory
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.
More than 130 remains repatriated from the UK to the Torres Strait
March 2011—United Kingdom
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.