Aboriginal Artefacts to be Returned to Country at Tamworth

25 October 2021

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC), Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council (TLALC) and Armidale Region Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place (ACCKP) are very pleased to announce the forthcoming repatriation of significant Aboriginal artefacts to the Tamworth Aboriginal Community.

81 Aboriginal artefacts from NSWALC’s Aboriginal Artefact Collection have been identified as originating from the Barraba Region, near Tamworth.

They will travel from Armidale to Tamworth on Thursday 28 October.

This follows NSWALC’s establishment of an Aboriginal Artefact Strategy to facilitate the unconditional return of Aboriginal artefact, cultural and ceremonial items to local Aboriginal communities.

The NSWALC Deputy Chairperson and Councillor for the Northern Region Charles Lynch says a partnership between NSWALC, ACCKP and TLALC is a key example of Aboriginal community-controlled organisations working together to empower community. 

“NSWALC recognises that local Aboriginal communities are the owners of their culture and heritage, must be involved in all stages of the repatriation process, and have their rights and cultural practices respected.

I am delighted that this repatriation will see these significant items return to country, and I thank the ACCKP for their excellent care of such important artefacts,” he said.

The ACCKP Chair Rose Lovelock says caretaking such an important collection has been an incredible experience.

“Our Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place has been honoured to be able to care for these priceless artefacts, and we’ve done our utmost to protect and respect them while they resided with us.

It gives me, the ACCKP Board and our staff the greatest pleasure to know they’re going home safe and intact, and we’re celebrating the fact that they’ll soon be making that wonderful trip home to their community,” she said.

The TLALC Chair Daisy Cutmore says the repatriation will be a marvellous day for her community.

“On behalf of the Tamworth and Barraba communities, TLALC is honoured to welcome this collection home, which we will treasure for our future generations.

I’d also like to acknowledge the ACCKP for their great care in keeping the artefacts in safe hands, and the NSWALC for its role in making sure that our culture and heritage is returned to us.

It’s vital that we all keep working together on ensuring that important collections like these, are returned to country and community,” she said.

Repatriation of Aboriginal Artefacts to the Tamworth Aboriginal Community

Date: 1:00pm Thursday 28 October 2021.

Place of Repatriation: The Tamworth Botanical Gardens, top of Piper St, East Tamworth.  

Media: Media is invited to attend in Tamworth. Please be aware that ceremonial items may not be photographed for cultural reasons.

Contact: media@alc.org.au

Background on the NSWALC Aboriginal Artefact Collection

NSWALC is the custodian of a large collection of Aboriginal artefacts, cultural and ceremonial items previously held in collections as part of private estates. Upon the closure of these private estates, the collections were placed on the artefact market for sale. NSWALC purchased the collections outright to prevent their sale to private collections overseas.

The artefact collection contains Aboriginal cultural items and objects from across Australia. Some items are of cultural and ceremonial significance from New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia (Kimberley Region). NSWALC will continue to work with the relevant Aboriginal organisations and communities, for artefacts to be returned to country.