The National Museum of Australia will hand back the remains of
hundreds of South Australian Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal people today.
remains were collected from grave sites more than a century ago
by Adelaide coroner William Ramsay-Smith, whose practices were
criticised at the time.
The museum's repatriation unit will return
the remains to tribal representatives in a special ceremony in
Canberra this morning.
Museum spokesman Martin Portus says it is
the largest collection of remains to be handed back in Australia's
"The 18 large boxes of some 300 remains of Aboriginal
people will be trucked back to Camp Coorong near Meningie in South
Australia, where on Thursday they will be welcomed back to country
in a no-doubt very emotional ceremony involving fire staged by
the Ngarrindjeri people," he said.
The Ngarrindjeri collection
includes remains from the Australian Museum in Sydney and from
a collection recently returned from the Royal College of Surgeons
In a statement, the chairperson of the Ngarrindjeri Heritage
Committee, Tom Trevorrow, said: "The wrongs of the past are
the inheritance of the present.
"The unbelievable acts of stealing,
desecration, abuse and genocide upon our people will never be forgotten."The
return of our old people to their true resting places is a significant
step but only one step in the continuing journey for justice that
the Ngarrindjeri must travel."