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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 March 2006, 14:06 GMT
British Museum to return remains
British Museum
The Museum said the remains were "unlikely" to need further study
The British Museum is to return two bundles of Australian Aborigine cremation ashes to Tasmania.

The remains will be sent to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre after the museum decided the aborigines' claim "outweighed any other public benefit".

The museum was given the power to transfer remains by the Human Tissue Act, which came into force in October.

The bundles, taken from a human cremation site, entered the museum's collection in 1882.

The Tasmanian centre had made repeated requests for the return of the remains but the museum said it could not consider them until the law was changed.

'Interrupted process'

The British Museum said the original acquisition of the remains in 1838 by British settler George Augustus Robinson had led to "an interruption in the process" of laying them to rest.

Museum trustee Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, who led the move, said it was "the right course of action".

She said: "The museum looks forward to continuing to work with indigenous Australian communities in furthering the worldwide public understanding of Australian aboriginal culture, both past and present."

The museum said the bundles had been worn as amulets against sickness.

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