An elderly Geraldton resident is returning an Aboriginal artefact she found in the late-1940s.

Jess Russ said she was visiting her sister Marjorie Brown and her husband George in Albany when they were walking along the beach east of Emu Point.

She said she found the small set of grinding stones on top of the sand dunes.

“I had no idea of its age and it was just something that I liked the look of,” she said.

“I’ve had it for 50 years in my house up here in Geraldton, but when I die it would have been thrown in the bin.

“I thought, ‘well, it must have some historic value’, so I think it needs to be sent back to where it came from.”

Mrs Russ has returned the stones to the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage Geraldton office.

WA Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt said it was heartening to hear stories of artefacts being returned, particularly when they were returned to the places and peoples they were taken from.

“These objects are an important part of our State’s history, and they should be appreciated and enjoyed by the broader community,” he said.

“For hundreds of years, Aboriginal sacred objects were removed from their communities, most of the time without permission, and without understanding about what the artefacts were used for, or what their cultural significance was.

“Some were sent to universities and museums around the world, and some where simply collected by private collectors.”