Learn more about Returning our Ancestors

Find out more about the complexities raised in Returning our Ancestors, including a historical overview, short timeline of events, FAQs and educational resources.

History of desecration and repatriation

The Repatriation of Ancestors has been made necessary because they were removed from their graves. The legacy of this history is ongoing grief and trauma experienced by Traditional Owners. Acknowledging this history is part of a broader journey we are all on together.

Historical overview

Read a historical overview of the desecration of Aboriginal burial places and repatriation of Ancestors back to Country.

Historical overview

Timeline of events

See a short timeline of historical events in Australia that led to Aboriginal Ancestral Remains being in private and institutional collections in Victoria.

Timeline of events

FAQs for Ancestral Remains Unit

Council's Ancestral Remains Unit has answered your most frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Read the FAQs

Education resources

The documentary 'Returning our Ancestors' has been paired with a suite of free educational resources developed by the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council with the History Teachers' Association of Victoria.

The resources provide historical context to the theft of Aboriginal Ancestral Remains from burial sites following European settlement, and encourage students to think about the role that ideas, legislation and people have played in the movement to achieve Repatriation.

The resources provide teachers with a model for the best practice in working with Traditional Owners to discuss sensitive topics such as cultural dispossession, burial and funerary traditions. It allows teachers to feel confident that they are delivering content that has been approved by the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council for its accuracy and adherence to cultural protocols.

The resources have been designed for use by students studying Australian History in levels 7–10 of the Victorian History Curriculum. An additional unit for students undertaking VCE Australian History allows young historians to further enrich their knowledge of Aboriginal Culture and Heritage in Victoria.

This comprehensive resource kit will be available in early 2022. Please check this page for updates.