The University of Manchester in England is handing back a series of artifacts to traditional Aboriginal owners, mostly in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
About a dozen items in the first of four repatriations, forgotten in a museum for decades, underwent a cleansing ceremony this week before heading from Manchester to Burketown.
Most items were of secret men's business from the Gangalidda Garawa nation.
Mangubadijarri Yanner from the Gangalidda peoples went to Manchester to oversee the return and said he expected similar items of secret women's business would be in museum collections around the world.
"The repatriation of our sacred cultural heritage items is a fundamental part of the healing and reconciliation process, both within our communities and between our mob and the Government," Mr Yanner said.
There will be an official handover to Aboriginal elders at the Australian high commission in London on Friday and they will return to Australia next week.
Garawa elder Donald Bob recognised one sacred item in the Manchester storeroom and said the discovery made him feel "cold".
The ceremonial artifacts will be used in a welcome home ceremony and put on display in the Burketown museum.
Christopher Simpson, the director of the Return of Cultural Heritage Project, said the 250th anniversary of James Cook arriving in Australia was being marked with the return of artefacts to First Nations people and traditional custodians.
Forty three secret sacred and ceremonial objects will be returned to the Gangalidda Garawa and also to the Aranda people of Central Australia, the Nyamal people of the Pilbara and Yawuru people of Broome.
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies CEO Craig Ritchie welcomed the decision as significant for the Aboriginal peoples but also for Australia more broadly.
"We congratulate Manchester Museum for their commitment to recognising the importance of repatriation for all Australians, which promotes healing and reconciliation, and ultimately fosters truth telling about our Nation's history," Mr Ritchie said.