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AIATSIS and Manchester Museum on-Country consultations

AIATSIS and Manchester Museum on-Country consultations

August 2022 
Angurugu and Umbakumba Art Centres | Groote Eylandt NT 

In late August, supported by the AIATSIS Return of Cultural Heritage department, the art centre was visited by three staff members from Manchester Museum. While meeting requests from visiting Wurramangkadirra (non-indigenous people) are common, it is rare that visitors have travelled from as far as Manchester UK, or that they have such exciting news. 

The team shared that they were in possession of 174 cultural items from Groote Eylandt, currently part of their museum collection. The items were donated to Manchester Museum by Prof. Peter Worsley, an anthropologist who conducted his PhD field work in Umbakumba between 1952 and ’53, the collection is varied and includes both everyday and ceremonial items. After a year of discussions, the team were finally here, on Country, to begin conversations about bringing them home.   

As screens were passed around and collection images were flicked through by art centre staff, artists and visiting school children, a unanimous decision arose almost immediately – yes, these objects are Anindilyakwa, and we would like to bring them home. 

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