Mungo Man memorial should include others-NewsCO

November 18, 2017

The archaeologist who unearthed Australia’s oldest human remains more than 40 years ago is urging the government to memorialise Aboriginal people who died during often violent confrontations with European settlers.

Jim Bowler, speaking at the repatriation of Mungo Man’s remains in Lake Mungo in NSW’s far west, championed the history of Aboriginal people in Australia.

“A 40,000 year legacy continues in Aboriginal descendants today and finds expression in that vital force of their connection to county,” he said in a statement delivered to the crowd on the edge of Lake Mungo on Friday.

Dr Bowler urged NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton to “change the game” by recognising the thousands of deaths.

Ms Upton was among the hundreds of people who watched the traditional owners take custody of the 42,000 year old remains

The statement, provided to AAP, calls for “a memorial honouring the iconic status of Mungo Man and Mungo Lady along the lines of the Unknown Soldier in the Canberra War Memorial”.

He said the memorial must include “recognition of those thousands of Aboriginal men, women and children who died in defence of their lands during often violent confrontation with European settlers”.

Dr Bowler lamented that there was no long term plan to house the Mungo Man.

“Here we are, 43 years after he emerged, and still nowhere properly dignified to put him,” Dr Bowler said.

“This is the end of one journey but hopefully the beginning of the next.”

The remains were driven by a hearse this week from Canberra to their traditional homeland, which sits at the intersection of three Aboriginal nations.

Elders from the three groups have been locked in discussion over whether to rebury the remains or keep them in storage for future access.

AAP understands the remains will be stored with the Mungo Lady, repatriated in 1992, who is stored in a vault near the visitors centre in the UNESCO World Heritage site.

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