Six Kaurna old people to return to country in South Australia

The Morrison Government has welcomed the return of six Kaurna old people to the traditional custodians of the Kaurna Nation of Adelaide, South Australia.

A ceremony took place at the National Museum of Australia today to mark the official handover of the ancestors to Kaurna Elders Jeffrey Newchurch and Merle Simpson.

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, acknowledged the Kaurna representatives and their ongoing work to return their ancestors to Country.

“The return of ancestors to their traditional custodians is profoundly significant for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Minister Fletcher said. 

“In March this year, the Government welcomed the return of 37 South Australian ancestors from the Natural History Museum in London. At the request of the Kaurna community, six of these old people went into temporary care at the National Museum of Australia while plans were made for their return to Country.

"The Government is proud to have facilitated this return through the Indigenous Repatriation Program and to mark the next stage of their journey home which contributes to healing and reconciliation."

The repatriation journey will end on 1 August when the old people will be returned to Kaurna land at Kingston Park, Adelaide, along with five other old people previously located in the South Australian Museum.

The Government is committed to assisting communities to pursue the unconditional return of their ancestors held in overseas collections and with private holders.

The Indigenous Repatriation Program has facilitated the return of more than 1570 ancestors, including 1265 ancestors from the United Kingdom. Domestically, the program has facilitated the return of over 2,500 ancestral remains to the custodianship of their community of origin.

For more information about the program visit:

Media contact:

Minister Fletcher: Brad Hatch | 0448 162 679 |