Report Ancestral Remains

Aboriginal Ancestral Remains (Ancestors) should be owned by and returned to their Traditional Owners.

All Aboriginal Ancestral Remains must be reported to the Council in accordance with the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006.

Reporting Aboriginal Ancestral Remains ensures that these Ancestors can be returned to rest on Country.

Discoveries of human remains

Recent discoveries of human remains must be reported to the Coroner or a police officer in charge of a police station. This can be done by contacting Coronial Admissions and Enquiries on 1300 309 519.

Submit a report

If you have in your possession or know of the location of Aboriginal Ancestral Remains, you need to report this to us as soon as possible.

Contact the Council's Ancestral Remains Unit to make a report:


Information required

Whether you are contacting the Coroner, police officer or the Ancestral Remains Unit, try and provide as much information as possible about the context of where the Aboriginal Ancestral Remains are located.

For example:

  • Are they in someone’s house and part of an old collection?
  • Are they possibly in their original burial place?
  • Are there any other Aboriginal objects?
  • Are you in an area of known burial grounds?

This information will assist them to advise you what to do next.

It is important to not touch or move the Aboriginal Ancestral Remains.

Out of respect for the Traditional Owners, do not contact the media.

A close up and in focus photograph (with something for a scale e.g. coin, matchbox, ruler, fingertip) of the exposed bone may help in identification.

Traditional Owners reporting Ancestral Remains

Traditional Owners must report any human remains to the Coroner. However they are exempt from also reporting Aboriginal Ancestral Remains to the Council, if they:

  • are the rightful owner of Aboriginal Ancestral Remains
  • believe that transferring Remains to the Council is against Aboriginal tradition.

For assistance with these reporting requirements, Traditional Owners can contact Council’s Ancestral Remains Unit by emailing