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The return of an indigenous Australian ancestor from the Five Continents Museum


Appel, M and Fourmile, GG and Turnbull, P, The return of an indigenous Australian ancestor from the Five Continents Museum, Journal Fuenf Kontinente, 3 pp. 221-245. ISSN 2366-7419 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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© 2020 by Museum Fünf Kontinente/Five Continents Museum

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Since 1889, the mummified body of an Ancestor of the Gimuy Walubara Yidindji People of Far North Queensland has been in the possession of Munich’s State Museum of Ethnology, now the Five Continents Museum. In this article, we tell of how this Ancestor was taken in 1876 at a traditional ceremonial site inland from Trinity Bay, on the Far North Queensland coast. We also document his display at the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879– 1882, and the Melbourne Exhibition of 1884–1885, during which time he was offered for sale to several museums, before being acquired by Max Buchner (1846–1921), director of the State Museum, during his visit to Australia in 1888–1889. We then review what ethnological interest in the Ancestor’s remains there was from his arrival in Munich to the present day, when arrangements were made for his return to his community for burial.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:indigenous ancestral human remains, repatriation
Research Division:Indigenous Studies
Research Group:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, language and history
Research Field:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Other culture and society
Objective Field:Other culture and society not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Turnbull, P (Professor Paul Turnbull)
ID Code:142165
Year Published:2020
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (LP130100131)
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2020-12-17
Last Modified:2021-04-29

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