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Anorak | The Cradle of Civilisation

The Cradle of Civilisation

by | 26th, July 2004

‘VISITORS to the British Museum are often amazed that a small collection of islands off the coast of mainland Europe should have spawned so many artefacts of world renown.

Accrington Rock

One thinks of the mummies excavated from the Melton Mowbray pyramids, the Rosetta Stone of Basildon, the Elgin Marbles, saved for posterity from the Parthenon at Peterborough.

All have impressed the thousands of historians who have feasted their eyes upon the best of British.

But sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes people less honourable than the custodians of world history steal things, take them off in the night and claim them as their own.

And we read with a heavy heart that while on loan from the British Museum to the Museum of Victoria in Melbourne, a collection of artefacts by the aborigines of Bournemouth has fallen victim to “cultural hijacking”.

And this glorified theft has been perpetrated not by some white descendent of a deportee from these honest shores, but by the Dja Dja Wurrung.

They are the Australian Aboriginal people who have secured an “emergency declaration order” that prevents the return of artefacts owned by the British Museum and on display Down Under.

And if these pirates get their way, the declaration, under the Aboriginal heritage protection act of 1984, would mean that the quintessential images of the British kangaroo etched on pieces of tree bark and an emu-shaped headdress may never come home.

This is an outrage, and we call upon these so-called aborigines to do the right thing and return what is rightfully ours.

And if they do, in the spirit of fairness, we will give them something arty in exchange. Like Rolf Harris.’



Posted: 26th, July 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink