Indigenous ancestral remains to return home from Germany

15 July 2014

I am pleased to welcome the return of 14 ancestral remains to the Goemulgal of Lag Mabuyag in the Torres Strait and the Wajarri Yamatji peoples of Western Australia, from the Charité University Hospital in Berlin.

This repatriation is the result of cooperation between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities where the remains originated, the Australian Government and the Charité over many years.

In 2013, the Charité made Germany's first repatriation of Indigenous Australian ancestral remains to communities in Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.

The Charité's decision has been influential, with more German museums now indicating their willingness to repatriate ancestral remains. It is our hope that this will also encourage other European museums to consider the return of Indigenous ancestral remains held in their collections.

The Australian Government is proud to support Indigenous community leaders in their work to locate and identify these collections and negotiate their return to Australia through the Indigenous Repatriation Program.

I commend all involved in this significant repatriation and thank the Charité for its efforts to ensure the remains are returned home.