Connect with us


UK museum returns 174 cultural objects to Australian Indigenous community



A remote Indigenous Australian community has been handed back 174 cultural items held by a British museum for decades.

Representatives from the Anindilyakwa community travelled from Groote Eylandt island, off the Northern Territory coast, to Manchester Museum, in northern England, for a ceremony on Tuesday to mark the repatriation of the objects.

They included include shell dolls, bark baskets and spear throwers acquired by Peter Worsley, a former professor at The University of Manchester, when he visited Australia in the 1950s.

READ MORE: Farnham gives You're the Voice song to Yes campaign

The museum – part of Manchester University – worked with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and the Anindilyakwa Land Council over three years to determine where the objects should reside.

They had been kept in a storeroom and not displayed for the public or used in academic teaching for years.

The Australian High Commissioner to the UK, Stephen Smith, said the repatriation of the objects was an important step for reconciliation.

"The return of these significant cultural heritage items is important for Australia's reconciliation process.

"It also helps renew cultural practices and safeguard such practices and items for future generations."

READ MORE: Spring to abruptly end for millions of Aussies

Worsley built strong links with the Anindilyakwa people while carrying out research during the 1950s. He died in 2013.

The museum said he acquired collection from the Indigenous community in good faith.

A large part of the returned items included 70 dadikwakwa-kwa, or shell "toy dolls" used by Anindilyakwa girls.

In 2019, Manchester Museum handed back 43 ceremonial objects to other Australian Indigenous communities

Source link