The search for Pemulwuy skull

Aboriginal leader Pemulwuy famously fought against the early British settlers in colonial Sydney and Parramatta from 1788 until his death in 1802.

Pemulwuy was one of only a few examples of indigenous resistance to British settlement and therefore is a unique and important historical figure for Australians.

When Pemulwuy was shot he was decapitated and his skull was sent to London into the care of Sir Joseph Banks.

At some point since then the remains were placed in the British Natural History Museum.

When His Royal Highness Prince William, Duke of Cambridge visited Australia in April last year, a group of Aboriginal elders approached him seeking his support to find and return the skull of Pemulwuy, which he agreed to do.

A team of Australian film makers have taken up their cause and are currently in London attempting to repatriate the skull. They believe the skull is part of a collection of other remains located in the British Natural History Museum.

I see no reason why the remains of this historic Aboriginal leader shouldn’t be returned to Australia where they belong. It is unconscionable that it is kept in the British Natural History Museum when it could easily be located and restored to the Aboriginal people.

I have written to Prince William seeking his support to repatriate the skull and hope, with his support, to resolve this matter. Click here to download the letter.

On the 4th of July 2012, I wrote to Dr Michael Dixon of the Natural History Museum. Click here to download the letter.

On the 4th of July 2012, I also wrote to the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP PC, Secretary of State for Culture, the Olympics, Media and Sport in the United Kingdom. Click here to download the letter.

I received a letter in response to my letter to Dr Michael Dixon on 27 July 2012.  Click here to download the letter.

On the 24th of October 2012, I wrote to the Hon Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Indigenous Affairs about this issue. Click here to download the letter.  I also copied Senator the Hon Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs in the letter.  Click here to download the letter.

On the 18th of January 2013, I received a letter from the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government and Minister for the Arts, the Hon Simon Crean MP on behalf of the Minister for Indigenous Affairs about this issue.  Click here to download the letter.

On the 25th of June 2013 I spoke in the Parliament about this issue.

I spoke about this issue again on the 17th of March 2014.

RTop

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Written and authorised by Hon Christopher Pyne MP, 429 Magill Road, St Morris SA 5068

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