The remains of two Aboriginal ancestors were buried at a traditional ceremony in Armidale on Friday following their successful repatriation.
For local Anaiwan community member and University of New England Aboriginal cultural advisor Steven Ahoy it was the culmination of more than a decade of perseverance.
"I've been working for 11 years to get these ancestors home," Mr Ahoy said.
"While we do not know who they were, documentation confirms they were from the Anaiwan Nation."
One ancestor buried on Friday is a middle-aged female and was estimated to have lived over 100 years ago.
The other ancestor was a male held of such high standing in the Armidale community that the nearby trees were carved in his honour at his original Booroolong burial site.
This male ancestor is to be a male adult, less than 40 years old. His remains were taken to Edinburgh University by naturist Arthur Cox in the 1880s.
The remains were brought back to Australia in 1991 and had been stored at the National Museum of Australia until this repatriation event.
The ancestors were buried in bushland on National Park estate at Booroolong Nature Reserve following a two-year repatriation process by the Armidale Aboriginal community, with the assistance of Heritage NSW staff.
The moving repatriation ceremony included a procession, smoking, burial, and dance to mark the return of remains to country, under the Heritage NSW Repatriation Program.
Mr Ahoy said the repatriation site was the closest they could get to the original site, which is on private property at Booroolong Station, and that National Parks and Wildlife had assigned the land for any future repatriations as well.
"The journey to bring our ancestors home has been a time-consuming process, and we are overwhelmed that we have finally got them home to rest in peace back on country," he said.
Heritage NSW principal heritage program officer John Duggan said it was an honour and privilege to be able to help the Armidale community bring home their ancestors and 'work together in facilitating a respectful and meaningful reburial event'.
"For over 230 years, Aboriginal ancestral remains and objects have been removed from their communities and stored in collections across Australia and in other countries worldwide," Mr Duggan said.
"It's through the repatriation process that we can help return Aboriginal ancestors their rightful resting places."
Heritage NSW works to bring about the return of Aboriginal ancestors and objects to their rightful owners by working with Aboriginal communities, the state, territory, and local governments, Australian museums, and collecting institutions.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: