Returning Our Ancestors

A documentary about the desecration of Aboriginal burial places in the name of research and the fight to return our Ancestors to Country.

Aboriginal Peoples’ burial places have been desecrated in the name of curiosity, science and research. Ancestors were stolen from their land, where they had been placed with care and ceremony, to be housed in metal boxes as specimens or ornaments of curiosity by individuals, families and institutions.

The 1980s saw Aboriginal Ancestors start to return to rest on Country. But the journey is by no means complete and there are many more of our Ancestors still to come home. We can all walk together and help in this essential work.

Wellbeing is fundamentally important

Every care has been taken to discuss the complexities in Returning our Ancestors as sensitively as possible. However, it must be acknowledged that even while taking this care, there is deep sorrow and pain involved, especially for Aboriginal Peoples.

If you find these issues upsetting, please seek counselling or support through Elders, respected persons or other community members. You may also wish to contact community agencies such as Aboriginal co-operatives, Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations, Beyond Blue, Lifeline and Headspace.

If you or someone you know needs help now, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. If someone is in immediate danger, call Triple Zero (000).

Returning our Ancestors and the associated documentary materials, images, sound recordings, website content and education resources are copyright of the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council © 2020. All rights reserved.

Although Council encourages the redistribution and screening of the film, modification of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited. Additionally, you must not, except with Council’s express written permission, commercially exploit the content.


More information

If you'd like to host your own event and screening of the documentary for your community, please get in touch.

Contact the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council for more information, screening times and related events:

phone: 03 7004 7204