Media Release by Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion

First repatriation of Torres Strait Island remains from UK

A welcoming ceremony was held in Canberra today for the first set of Indigenous remains to be repatriated to the Torres Strait from the United Kingdom.

Minister for Community Services Nigel Scullion welcomed the historic move by Glasgow Museum and University College London to repatriate the remains to Australia.

‘Together with the successful negotiations between the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and the Natural History Museum, the Australian Government will have funded and cleared the way for the return of 38 Indigenous remains from 10 UK institutions in the last 12 months. Over a thousand remains have been repatriated since 1996,’ Senator Scullion said.

‘The remains from Glasgow Museum form part of the Haddon Collection, which is one of the world’s largest collections of Torres Strait Islander material.

‘The Australian Government has worked closely with the Mer Island Community Council and the Torres Strait Regional Authority to negotiate the return home of their ancestors’ remains.

‘This latest repatriation has shown a strengthened co-operation between the Australian and British Governments in their commitment to increase the return of Indigenous remains.

‘Earlier this year, Mal Brough commended the UCL for agreeing to return the remains in their collection without further testing and I congratulate the Glasgow Museum and UCL for respecting the wishes of Indigenous Australians,’ Senator Scullion said.