RETURNED: The Tinney/Norman family returned three Gunggari artefacts to elders at the Mitchell Yumba 50th Reunion.
RETURNED: The Tinney/Norman family returned three Gunggari artefacts to elders at the Mitchell Yumba 50th Reunion. Molly Hancock

Long awaited homecoming

ARTEFACTS have been returned to the Gunggari people after 140 years at the 50th Yumba reunion in Mitchell.

The Tinney family from Victoria made the trip to Queensland to return three Aboriginal artefacts that had been in their family for more than a century.

In an emotional repatriation ceremony John Tinney, with his daughter Annie and grandchildren Harriet and Leo Norman, handed back a boomerang, shield and a nulla nulla (a club) to Gunggari elder Aunty Ethel Munn.

Gunggari Native Title Aboriginal Corporation chairperson Aunty Betty McGrady said it was a special moment.

"These are our old people, the spirit of our old people live in the heart of these artefacts,” Ms McGrady said.

"They deserve to be back on country where they belong.

"It was a huge day for us when our old people's spirits were brought back to the country.”

After two years of research and contact with the Queensland Native Title office, the Tinney family felt it was time the artefacts were returned to their rightful home.

"I got rather emotional when handing them over,” Mr Tinney said.

"I felt it was time to give them back and a good token of reconciliation that they came back to where they belonged.”

The Tinney family came to have the artefacts through their ancestors Ewen and Martin Cameron who made the move from the Mallee in Victoria to the property Foyle View, about 74km south of Mitchell in 1877.

"The two Cameron brothers who farmed here in Foyle View had a lot of contact with Aboriginal people in 1877,” Mr Tinney said.

"The story in our family is that the farm wasn't a great success because neighbours kept stealing their livestock and natives kept spearing them.

"One of the brothers, Martin Cameron, who is my ancestor, was given three aboriginal artefacts - the boomerang, shield and a club (nulla nulla).

"They were passed on and then given to his oldest son,” he said.

"That was my grandfather who kept them.”


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