45 Australian Indigenous ancestors to be repatriated from Germany

The Morrison Government welcomes the return of the remains of 45 Australian Indigenous ancestors from Germany to communities in South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.

A ceremony will be held this week at the Grassi Museum in Leipzig, with five community members attending to receive their ancestors and accompany them home.

Thirty-five ancestral remains will be returned to the Gunaikurnai people in Victoria, six ancestors to the Menang people in Western Australia; and one old person to the Ngarrindjeri people in South Australia.

Three ancestral remains will return to Australia under the stewardship of the Commonwealth Government and be placed into temporary care while further research and consultation is undertaken to determine their community of origin.

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher said the repatriation brings the total number of Australian Indigenous ancestors repatriated to Australia from Germany through the Indigenous Repatriation Program to 150, and is the second repatriation from Germany this year.

“Indigenous Australians are the rightful custodians of their ancestors' remains and this repatriation is significant to so many,” said Minister Fletcher.

“The Morrison Government is committed to seeking the return of Australian Indigenous ancestral remains held in overseas collections. I thank the German Government for their ongoing commitment to returning ancestral remains to their communities of origin. This reflects a deep respect for Australia's Indigenous peoples.”

Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, welcomed the repatriation and said returning ancestors to Country is a collaborative process that is deeply meaningful to the communities and helps to promote healing, justice and reconciliation.

“This repatriation continues the Morrison Government’s commitment to work with communities and cultural institutions in Australia and abroad to preserve our unique Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture to help all Australians gain a better understanding of our nation's shared history.”

For more information about the Indigenous Repatriation Program visit: www.arts.gov.au/repatriation

Media contact:

Minister Fletcher:
Brad Hatch | 0448 162 679 | Brad.Hatch@communications.gov.au
Rebecca Papillo | 0439 892 771 | Rebecca.Papillo@communications.gov.au

Minister Wyatt:
Luke Nayna | 0438 231 687 | luke.nayna@ia.pm.gov.au