Report Ancestral Remains

Guidelines on how to report Aboriginal Ancestral Remains. 

You must report and transfer Ancestral Remains to the Council, in accordance with the changes to the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006.

Ancestral Remains are the whole or part of the bodily remains of an Aboriginal person.

Submit a report

If you have in your possession or know of the location of Aboriginal Ancestral Remains, you'll need to report this to us as soon as possible.

Contact the Council's Ancestral Remains Unit to make a report:

Traditional Owners reporting Ancestral Remains

Traditional Owners are exempt from reporting Aboriginal Ancestral Remains to the Council, if they:

  • are the rightful owner of Aboriginal Ancestral Remains
  • believe that transferring Remains to the Council is against Aboriginal tradition

Discoveries of human remains

Recent discoveries of human remains must be reported to the Coroner, Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine or a police officer in charge of a police station. This can be done by contacting Coronial Admissions and Enquiries on 1300 309 519

The Coroner will send a Forensic Anthropologist to the site to assess the remains, and will:

  • report the remains to us if they're Aboriginal Ancestral Remains, or 
  • notify Victoria Police if they're not Aboriginal Ancestral Remains

More information

Read our 2014 recommendations paper which resulted in the changes being made to the Aboriginal Heritage Act in 2016

Bringing our Ancestors Home - We will not be well until this is done (HTML version).

You can also download the discussion paper and recommendations:

Reviewed 28 February 2019

Aboriginal Heritage Council