Two of Tasmania's longest-running institutions will formally apologise to the Aboriginal community as part of the process in repatriating the Preminghana petroglyphs to their home on the far-North- West Coast.
The Royal Society of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery will offer paired apologies on February 15 "in recognition of the shared history of the organisations".
The text of the apology will be made available on the day.
A TMAG spokesperson said it was part of the reconciliation process.
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"Whilst the apology event and the physical return of the petroglyphs are not happening on the same day, they are both a demonstration of TMAG's commitment to strengthening its relationship with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community," she said.
The Royal Society was involved in the practice of exhuming the bodies of Aboriginal Tasmanians before they would be dismembered and often displayed to the public.
The practice continued throughout the 19th century and included the mutilation of the bodies of the last "full-blooded" Aboriginal Tasmanians, Truganini and William Lanne.
TMAG included the remains of Aboriginal people in its collections.
Along with the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, TMAG stored the Preminghana petroglyphs after their removal in the 1960s.
The 14,000-year-old petroglyphs will be returned to their original location on the far-North West Coast in early March, involving transportation by truck and the possible use of a helicopter to lift the several-tonne rock carvings into place.
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Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania chairman Michael Mansell said the apologies from the two institutions were an important step.
"It signifies a change of attitude in Tasmanian society, reflected by two fairly conservative institutions who are now taking responsibility for their past actions, rather than just saying 'here's the petroglyphs, take them, we're not going to talk about what we did'," he said.
"They're saying 'let's open the books, and let's be honest and truthful about how we go them, how we disregarded the feelings of Aboriginal people, and did what we wanted to do because we were part of white society'."
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