Remains of First Nation Tasmanians have arrived at Launceston

"We bought our old folk home where they belong, they're finally home," delegation member Dave Warrener said.

Supporters at Launceston airport welcome the return of Aboriginal remains repatriated from Chicago
Locals at Launceston airport welcome the return of Aboriginal remains repatriated from Chicago.
(ABC News: Claire Todd)

Claire Todd ABC News 28 June 2014

The remains of three Tasmanian Indigenous Australians have been returned to the state after almost 200 years.

In the 1830s, three skulls were donated to a museum in England and then transferred to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago in 1958.

Repatriation of Aboriginal remains
  • The repatriation of Truganini's remains in 1976 was the first return by an Australian museum.
  • At least 1,000 Aboriginal remains are still held around the world.
  • Since 1990, around 1,150 have been repatriated.
  • Australian museums still hold more than 10,000 items considered to be Aboriginal remains.

And today in Launceston a delegation of Indigenous Australians from Tasmania returned from the the United States with the precious cargo.

At the museum in Chicago, the group took part in a repatriation handover and ceremony and discussed the possible return of cultural items, including spears and shell necklaces.

On their return today they were greeted by an emotional crowd.

"We bought our old folk home where they belong, they're finally home," delegation member Dave Warrener said.

"They're definitely Aboriginal Tasmanian Palawa Kani people.

"We do know that one is a male, one is a female and the other is unknown."

Annette Peardon, another member of the retrieval party, was grateful for the way the Americans managed the handover.

"They did not have any of our things on display, they gave us the quality time required to spend with the old folks that we brought home," she said.

"More importantly, they showed respect."

The Aboriginal community plans to bury the remains.

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