Six Kaurna old people have been returned to Traditional Owners of the Kaurna Nation of Adelaide this week.

The National Museum of Australia hosted a ceremony in Canberra to officially mark the handover to Kaurna Elders, Merle Simpson and Jeffrey Newchurch.

On Thursday, the repatriation journey will finish up when the old people are welcomed back and repatriated to Kaurna land at Adelaide’s Kingston Park, alongside another five old people who had been previously located at the South Australian Museum.

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher said the Morrison Government is proud to have facilitated this return through the Indigenous Repatriation Program.

“In March this year, the Government welcomed the return of 37 South Australian ancestors from the Natural History Museum in London. At the request of the Kaurna community, six of these old people went into temporary care at the National Museum of Australia while plans were made for their return to Country,” Minister Fletcher said.

The Indigenous Repatriation Program has assisted in the return of over 1,570 ancestors, 1,265 of which were returned from the United Kingdom.

Within Australia, the program has seen the return of more than 2,500 ancestral remains to the Traditional Owners of the ancestors’ traditional lands.

“The return of ancestors to their Traditional Custodians is profoundly significant for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Minister Fletcher said.

A statement from Minister Fletcher’s office also said the government is “committed to assisting communities to pursue the unconditional return of their ancestors held in overseas collections and with private holders.”