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Remains welcomed home to South Australia

5 MAY 2003

The remains of some 300 Aboriginal people will be Welcomed Back to Country in a ceremony at Camp Coorong on Thursday, after Ngarrindjeri elders collected the remains from the National Museum of Australia today.

The Ngarrindjeri community will welcome the ancestral remains with speeches, a huge smoking ceremony and traditional dance. Media are welcome to attend.

WHAT: Ngarrindjeri Welcome Back to Country ceremony

WHEN: 12.30pm, Thursday, 8 May

WHERE: Camp Coorong & Cultural Museum

Camp Coorong is a two-hour drive from Adelaide. Take the M1 South Eastern Freeway from Adelaide, heading for Murray Bridge, then follow the Princes Highway south at Tailem Bend. Camp Coorong is 10 kilometres south of Meningie. Coorong Road is on the right, with the Camp visible from the road.

The Ngarrindjeri remains were originally taken from gravesites in the lower Murray Lakes and Coorong area between 1898 and 1906, many by or for controversial Adelaide coroner Dr William Ramsey-Smith, whose practices were condemned at the time.

Most of the 18 boxes of remains were returned to the National Museum from Edinburgh University, but the Ngarrindjeri collection also includes remains from the Australian Museum in Sydney and the Royal College of Surgeons in London.

Six Ngarrindjeri elders including Heritage Committee Chairman Tom Trevorrow and ATSIC Regional Councillor Matt Rigney will accompany the remains back to Camp Coorong in a truck leaving Canberra tomorrow morning.

For more information please contact Martin Portus, National Museum of Australia, (02) 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or m.portus@nma.gov.au.