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Last Updated: Monday, 5 May, 2003, 11:03 GMT 12:03 UK
Aborigine remains return home
By Dominic Hughes
BBC, Sydney

The remains of around 300 Aboriginal Australians - held in museums in Edinburgh, London and Sydney - have been returned to tribal elders.

Mulla Sumner of the Ngarrindjeri tribe
Tribal elders sign for the handover of their ancestors' remains

It is the largest single repatriation of remains, many of which were taken by Victorian and Edwardian collectors for scientific study.

Tribal elders from the Ngarrindjeri people of south Australia were at the low-key ceremony in the country's capital, Canberra.

They received the remains of around 300 bodies taken from their land at the turn of the last century.

The bodies ended up at Edinburgh University, the Royal College of Surgeons in London and at the Australian Museum in Sydney.

Campaigners claim that up to 20,000 Aboriginal bodies were taken

From Canberra they will be taken to tribal lands south-east of Adelaide, where ceremonies will be performed to welcome them home before they are laid to rest.

But Aboriginal leaders say that 5,000 to 8,000 sets of remains are still being held by museums in the United Kingdom.

They claim that around 460 are in London's Natural History Museum alone.

Other museums and collections in Austria, Germany and Russia have yet to be targeted, with campaigners claiming that up to 20,000 Aboriginal bodies were taken.

Aborigine remains arrive home
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