BONE OR STONE?: Whitsunday police officer Senior Constable Ronn Topp with one of the tiny fragments being sent away for testing
BONE OR STONE?: Whitsunday police officer Senior Constable Ronn Topp with one of the tiny fragments being sent away for testing

Fragments sent off for scientific tests

By Linda Brady

FOUR small flint-like fragments are on their way to Brisbane for forensic testing this week after suggestions the sun-bleached items found on a Gloucester beach may be human bones.

Police were called to the beach yesterday, after a visitor on Saturday found what he thought may be small portions of human skeletal remains.

But Whitsunday Criminal Investigation Bureau detective Craig Hawkins said it was far too early to speculate on what the fragments may be.

"It could be anything, it could be animal bone, wood - we just don't know," he said.

"Which is why we are having it analysed."

Detective Hawkins said the person who found the pieces was an Aboriginal man who has a particular interest in documenting the whereabouts of Aboriginal remains.

"He was at Gloucester and had been looking at a shell spur which is apparently associated with Aboriginal history of the area, when he came across these very small pieces," he said.

He said to the untrained eye, the pieces looked simply like a piece of stone or dry wood.

"But this gentleman believes they may be very, very, old bone ... possibly indigenous."

Detective Hawkins said scientists at the John Tong Centre in Brisbane would test the fragments in the coming weeks.

If the bones are human and prove to be of historic Aboriginal origin, Detective Hawkins said there was likely to be special cultural processes or ceremonies to return the remains to their resting place.

"If they are not, we will try to date the remains and determine whether there is any suspicious circumstances we need to investigate," he said.

The Whitsunday region is the traditional home of the Ngaro Aboriginal people.


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