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Historic Visit by National Museum's Indigenous Delegation to British Museum

27 April 2015

Delegation visits landmark exhibition of Indigenous Objects

An Indigenous delegation from the National Museum of Australia in Canberra will travel to the United Kingdom this week to meet with British Museum trustees and visit the landmark Indigenous Australia: Enduring Civilisation exhibition in London.

In an historic visit, the five-member delegation from the National Museum’s Indigenous Reference Group (IRG) will see key objects in the British Museum’s extensive collection of approximately 6,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander objects and hold discussions on establishing an enduring relationship between communities of origin and the UK institution.

The delegation will be present for a private welcoming ceremony for the objects in the London exhibition, as a way of ceremonially reconnecting them to Indigenous Australia. The objects continue to have strong cultural resonance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Leading the Indigenous delegation to London is Yawuru man from Broome in the Kimberley, Peter Yu, who is a National Museum Council member and Chair of the IRG.

“The objects in the British Museum’s collection are precious to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and reuniting with them in London will be an emotional experience,” said Mr Yu.

“We hope this visit lays the groundwork for ongoing discussions about this collection,” said Mr Yu.

National Museum director, Dr Mathew Trinca will accompany the delegation to London.

“This is a historic visit by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders which we hope will be the first step towards a meaningful relationship between the communities from where these objects originated and the British Museum,” said Dr Trinca.

The delegation also includes IRG members Henrietta Marrie, an Elder of the Gimuy Walubara clan of the Yidinji people in north Queensland; Russell Taylor, a Kamilaroi man with family connection to traditional country in the New England area of New South Wales (Walhallow) as well as to La Perouse and Redfern in Sydney; Jason Eades, an Aboriginal man born and raised on Gunnai country in south-east Victoria; and Vic McGrath, from Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, who has links to the Mualgal people.

While in London, Mr Yu will also give a public lecture at the British Museum on Friday 1 May 2015.


For more information please contact Tracy Sutherland, (02) 6208 5338 / 0438 620 710 or media@nma.gov.au