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Byron Shire
May 8, 2021

Mungo Man laid to rest after 42,000 years

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The remains of Mungo Man will at last be returned to their ancestral homeland in remote western NSW.

The oldest known human being in Australia will be repatriated at a ceremony on Friday with an indigenous music festival to follow in Mildura on the weekend.

Researcher Jim Bowler first discovered remains on the shore of the ancient and long-dry Lake Mungo, 750 kilometres west of Sydney, in 1968.

He and an Australian National University team initially unearthed the remains of Mungo Lady, who’d been cremated then buried more than 40,000 years ago.

Then, in 1974, Dr Bowler discovered further ochre-adorned remains from a similar period.

They become known as Mungo Man.

In 1992, after decades of campaigning by local communities, the Lady’s remains were returned to Lake Mungo.

But it’s taken 25 years for Mungo Man, along with the remains of 100 other ice-age people removed from the land, to make the long journey from Canberra back to the lake.

The remains had been transported to Canberra following their excavation, where they were held by both the ANU and then the National Museum for study by scientists.


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