There will be a ceremony by Lardil custodians next week to welcome the return of a much-travelled headdress after a 50-year absence from Australia.
The Lardil people are the traditional custodians of Mornington Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria and in 1973, a troupe of dancers from Gununa township on the island spent some months in Sydney working with local dancers culminating in a performing at the opening of the Sydney Opera House.
One of troupe, the late Philip Jack, offered a headdress as a farewell gift to his neighbour Maurice Routhan as Mr Routhan prepared to return to the UK.
The headdress consists of a conical bark base wound with a string of human hair painted with ochre and topped with emu feathers.
In recent years, Mr Routhan has sought a way to send the headdress back to where it belongs.
The headdress is now in Canberra following the transfer facilitated by AIATSIS under its Return of Cultural Heritage program.
Representatives from the community on Gununa will meet Mr Routhan's family at a return event in Canberra next week, and will mark the return with a short performance.
The ceremony to mark the return of the the Lardil headdress to the cultural custodian will take place at AIATSIS headquarters in Canberra on June 30.
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