Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Indigenous remains repatriated from the UK to Australia

Indigenous remains held by the University College in London are being brought home in the care of their descendents to two Aboriginal communities in Victoria.

Three Indigenous remains from the Gunditjmara community, and one from the Dja Dja Wurrung community, were handed over during a ceremony in London.

They are expected to arrive back in Australia on 24 July to be welcomed by their communities.

Repatriation of ancestral remains is an important element in healing the pain of past injustices and reflects the Australian Government’s determination to re-set the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

The Government, which sponsored the repatriation delegation, is committed to working with Indigenous people, overseas governments, museums and private collectors to improve repatriation.

I congratulate the University College for its commitment to repatriation, recognising the great significance it has for Indigenous Australians.

As well as the current repatriation, two years ago it returned another five Indigenous remains.

University College’s willingness to repatriate Indigenous remains promptly, respectfully and unconditionally is an important example for other institutions and collectors.

Since 1996, over 1,000 Indigenous remains have been brought back to Australia, 166 of them from 18 institutions since 2004.

But with more than 1,000 Indigenous Australian remains still held in museums around the world there is still a long way to go to repatriate them all.

That is why the Government recently announced it would overhaul the process for the repatriation of remains from institutions, including establishing a new International Repatriation Advisory Committee.

The Committee will provide the Government with key advice on a range of issues, including reviewing current international repatriation policy and finding a more effective way to deliver on international repatriation.

For information about expressions of interest for the International Repatriation Advisory Committee please visit the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs’ website (