Repatriation of Aboriginal Peoples & Torres Strait Islanders ancestral remains

Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islanders want their Ancestral Remains returned to country.

Between 1870 and 1970 the remains of many beloved Ancestors were collected by Queensland Museum and other institutions and individuals. As well as Ancestral Remains, Burial Goods and Secret and/or Sacred Objects were collected and often used for scientific research or for public education and display.

This was done without the permission of the people and without regard to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander laws and customs.

Many of the Ancestors were originally buried with much ceremony and respect to ensure continued journeys. Others were taken before such ceremony could be completed. The removal of their remains disrupted their journeys and brought sorrow and suffering to people and spirit.

Since the 1970s Queensland Museum has responded to calls from Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islanders to return the remains and cultural property of their Ancestors. The Museum has developed policies of access and repatriation that have led to recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ownership and custodianship.

The return of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ancestral Remains associated burial goods and Secret and /or Sacred Objects is a priority for Queensland Museum.

Further information

Aboriginal People and Torres Strait Islanders who would like to discuss repatriation of material should contact Manager, Repatriation at

Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.