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A SET of ancient Aboriginal remains found during a clearout of a house in northern England are soon to be returned to Australia.
Workers stumbled across the two femurs, three skulls and an assortment of other bones while sorting through the Cheshire home of university professor John Kempster, a former Aboriginal Rights Association president, after he moved to New Zealand in 2008.

He had instructed auction house Andrew, Hilditch and Son to clear out his home and sell anything they thought valuable.

“After the removalists finished the clear-out they found a small wooden crate and jokingly said to me they were the dog’s bones in there,” auctioneer Tom Andrew said.

“I said ‘Let’s open it and see what’s inside’ and we found three skulls and one or two other pieces.

“I also found in another briefcase two femurs wrapped in newspaper.”

Not realising that Britain had an agreement with Australia to return indigenous remains, the bones and a selection of weapons given to Prof Kempster while he lived in South Australia in the early 1960s were put up for auction in November 2008.

But after about 20 minutes of frantic bidding, the remains were dramatically pulled from sale after the Australian High Commission telephoned to stop the auction.

A scientist was sent to examine the bones, which were confirmed as being of Australian indigenous origin.

They will be handed over on Thursday to two Ngarrindjeri elders who flew from South Australia to London to collect 16 individual remains held by three museums and the auction house.

Mr Andrew said he was happy to know the remains would soon be on their way to the National Museum of Australia, which will try to determine which indigenous community they came from.

“I’ll certainly be on the look out for more,” he said. “I think there are more around than we think.”

The Liverpool museum has two more sets of remains it plans to return to Australia at a later date.

Further south, the Brighton & Hove City Council has agreed to return two skulls and two femurs for further study in Australia.

However, it is still debating whether to give back a skull modified to be used as a water vessel and which has been stored at the museum since 1925.

www.news.com.au

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property_auction_56892tBy Sarah Mills
ninemsn Money

Auctions can be fun, frenetic and financially dangerous. With several hundred thousand dollars or more on the line, the tension in the room can be palpable. The stakes are high for vendors and buyers, so you need to make sure you understand the process, because it is a battleground that takes no prisoners.

Real estate agents will take a property to auction for a number of reasons. Usually, it is because the market is booming and they feel confident of extracting a higher price. Sometimes, however, the auction may be forced as part of a deceased estate or liquidation.

Home buyers on the other hand may attend an auction because they have decided on a property and are prepared to compete to lay claim to it. Others are undecided and some are hoping that the auction may turn in their favour and they get a bargain.

How does an auction work?

An auction is usually held in an Auction Room hired for the occasion or on-site at the property itself. Before you bid, you need to register with the auctioneer, giving your name, address and telephone number. You will be required to show proof of identity such as a driver’s licence, passport or credit card. This is to ensure that once you have placed a bid, you are responsible for it and can’t skip the scene. You may be given a number to display that you hold up during bidding.

The auctioneer starts proceedings by explaining the contract, terms of the auction and a description of the property. Bids are then invited from the floor. Some people may ask a real-estate agent or other person to represent them if they can’t attend but they must notify the auctioneer in writing. Make sure that before you bid, you gain all necessary, termite, building, structural and engineering reports as well as crucial legal title information.

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