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"Ngadjon-Jii people of the Atherton Tablelands. The tall man on the right is thought to be King Ng:tja." (Fernbach,2017)

Ng:tja, aka Nacha / Naicha aka Barry Clarke, died in 1903 and was ceremonially mummified by his people. In 1904-05 a German-born anthropologist, Herman Klaatsch, traveled the Atherton tablelands to “attack the problem of the origin of Australian blacks, and of their import in relation to the whole development of mankind”. He stole the mummified body, which was bound in a crouching position, and several other mummified adults and children. He took Narcha's mummy to the Australian Museum in Sydney, and then on to Berlin where it was placed on display in the Berlin Society for Anthropology, Ethnology, and Prehistory for decades.

The body was returned to Australia in March 2017, then transferred to the Museum of Tropical Queensland in Townsville. About 20 members of King Ng:tja's family held a smoking ceremony and viewed his body at the museum as part of his repatriation process. King Ng:tja's body is the first mummified body to be repatriated to Australia and the first to be handed back to direct descendants.


ABC North Qld By Nathalie Fernbach. (2017, May 02). Mummified Aboriginal remains returned to family in Queensland. Retrieved October 26, 2017, from