Truganini

Last updated

Truganini (Trugernanner)
B(1871) p187 TASMANIA, THE LAST OF THE ABORIGINALS (LADY).jpg
Truganini in 1870.
Bornc. 1812
Died8 May 1876 (aged 6364)
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Other namesTruganini, Trucanini, Trucaninny, and Lallah Rookh "Trugernanner"
Known forLast full-blooded Aboriginal Tasmanian
Spouse(s)Woorrady

Truganini (c. 1812 – 8 May 1876) was a woman who was, perhaps incorrectly, considered by European colonists to have been the last full blood Aboriginal Tasmanian. Aboriginal Tasmanians maintain their culture and identity to the present day.

Contents

There are a number of other spellings of her name, including Trugernanner, Trugernena, Truganina, Trugannini, Trucanini, Trucaminni, [lower-alpha 1] and Trucaninny. [lower-alpha 2] Truganini was also widely known by the nickname Lalla(h) Rookh. [lower-alpha 1]

Early life

Location of Bruny Island (shaded pink) near the Tasmanian mainland Australia Tasmania location map Bruny Island.png
Location of Bruny Island (shaded pink) near the Tasmanian mainland

Truganini was born about 1812 [2] on Bruny Island (Lunawanna-alonnah), located south of the Van Diemen's Land capital Hobart, and separated from the Tasmanian mainland by the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. [3] She was a daughter of Mangana, Chief of the Bruny Island people. In the indigenous Bruny Island language (Nuennonne), truganina was the name of the grey saltbush, Atriplex cinerea. [4]

In her youth, her people still practised their traditional culture, but it was soon disrupted by European settlement. When Lieutenant-Governor George Arthur arrived in Van Diemen's Land in 1824, he implemented two policies to deal with the growing conflict between settlers and Aboriginal peoples. Bounties were awarded for the capture of Aboriginal adults and children, and an effort was made to establish friendly relations with Aboriginal people in order to lure them into camps. The campaign began on Bruny Island where hostilities had not been as marked as in other parts of Tasmania.

When Truganini met George Augustus Robinson, the Chief Protector of Aborigines, in 1829, her mother had been killed by sailors, her uncle shot by a soldier, her sister abducted by sealers, and her fiancé brutally murdered by timber-cutters, who then repeatedly sexually abused her.

Relocations

In 1830, Robinson moved Truganini and her husband, Woorrady, to Flinders Island with the last surviving Tasmanian Aboriginal people, numbering approximately 100. The stated aim of isolation was to save them,[ citation needed ] but many of the group died from influenza and other diseases. In 1838, Truganini also helped Robinson to establish a settlement for mainland Aboriginal people at Port Phillip. [5]

Oral histories of Truganini report that after arriving in the new settlement of Melbourne and disengaging with Robinson, she had a child named Louisa Esmai with John Shugnow or Strugnell at Point Nepean in Victoria. Further, Truganini was from the bloodlines of Victoria's Kulin Nation tribes. Indeed, they hid the child from authorities hunting Truganini. After Truganini was captured and exiled, her daughter Louisa was raised in the Kulin Nation. Louisa married John Briggs and supervised the orphanage at Coranderrk Aboriginal Reserve when it was managed by Wurundjeri leaders including Simon Wonga and William Barak. [6] [lower-alpha 3] Louisa was grandmother to Ellen Atkinson.

After about two years of living in and around Melbourne, she joined Tunnerminnerwait and three other Tasmanian Aboriginal people as outlaws, robbing and shooting at settlers around Dandenong. That triggered a long pursuit by the authorities. The outlaws moved on to Bass River and then Cape Paterson. There, members of the group murdered two whalers at Watson's hut. The group was captured and sent for trial for murder at Port Phillip. A gunshot wound to Truganini's head was treated by Dr Hugh Anderson of Bass River. The two men of the group were found guilty and hanged on 20 January 1842. [8]

Truganini, seated right Truganini and last 4 tasmanian aborigines.jpg
Truganini, seated right

Truganini and most of the other Tasmanian Aboriginal people were returned to Flinders Island several months later. In 1856, the few surviving Tasmanian Aboriginal people on Flinders Island, including Truganini, were moved to a settlement at Oyster Cove, south of Hobart. [9]

According to The Times newspaper, quoting a report issued by the Colonial Office, by 1861 the number of survivors at Oyster Cove was only fourteen:

...14 persons, all adults, aboriginals of Tasmania, who are the sole surviving remnant of ten tribes. Nine of these persons are women and five are men. There are among them four married couples, and four of the men and five of the women are under 45 years of age, but no children have been born to them for years. It is considered difficult to account for this... Besides these 14 persons there is a native woman who is married to a white man, and who has a son, a fine healthy-looking child...

The article, headed "Decay of Race", adds that although the survivors enjoyed generally good health and still made hunting trips to the bush during the season, after first asking "leave to go", they were now "fed, housed and clothed at public expense" and "much addicted to drinking". [10]

According to a report in The Times she later married a Tasmanian Aboriginal person, William Lanne (known as "King Billy") who died in March 1869. [lower-alpha 1] By 1873, Truganini was the sole survivor of the Oyster Cove group, and was again moved to Hobart.

Death

She died in May 1876 and was buried at the former Female Factory at Cascades, a suburb of Hobart. Before her death, Truganini had pleaded to colonial authorities for a respectful burial, and requested that her ashes be scattered in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. She feared that her body would be mutilated for perverse scientific purposes as William Lanne's had been. [11]

Despite her wishes, within two years, her skeleton was exhumed by the Royal Society of Tasmania and later placed on display. [12] Only in April 1976, approaching the centenary of her death, were Truganini's remains finally cremated and scattered according to her wishes. [13] [14] In 2002, some of her hair and skin were found in the collection of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and returned to Tasmania for burial. [15]

Legacy

Truganini is often considered to be the last full-blood speaker of a Tasmanian language. [16] However, The Companion to Tasmanian History details three full-blood Tasmanian Aboriginal women, Sal, Suke and Betty, who lived on Kangaroo Island in South Australia in the late 1870s and "all three outlived Truganini". There were also Tasmanian Aboriginal people living on Flinders and Lady Barron Islands. Fanny Cochrane Smith (1834–1905) outlived Truganini by 30 years and in 1889 was officially recognised as the last full-blood Tasmanian Aboriginal person, though there was speculation that she was actually mixed-race. [17] Smith recorded songs in her native language, the only audio recordings that exist of an indigenous Tasmanian language. [2] [18]

Benjamin Law's 1835 bust of Truganini, commissioned by George Augustus Robinson National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, Australia - Joy of Museums - Trucaninny, wife of Woureddy.jpg
Benjamin Law's 1835 bust of Truganini, commissioned by George Augustus Robinson

In 1835 and 1836, settler Benjamin Law created a pair of busts depicting Truganini and Woorrady in Hobart Town that have come under recent controversy. [19] In 2009, members of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre protested an auction of these works by Sotheby's in Melbourne, arguing that the sculptures were racist, perpetuated false myths of Aboriginal extinction, and erased the experiences of Tasmania's remaining indigenous populations. [20] Representatives called for the busts to be returned to Tasmania and given to the Aboriginal community, and were ultimately successful in stopping the auction. [21]

Artist Edmund Joel Dicks also created a plaster bust of Truganini, which is in the collection of the National Museum of Australia. [22]

In 1997, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, England, returned Truganini's necklace and bracelet to Tasmania.

Truganini Place in the Canberra suburb of Chisholm is named in her honour. [23]

Cultural references

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 "A royal lady - Trucaminni, or Lallah Rookh, the last Tasmanian aboriginal, has died of paralysis, aged 73. She was Queen Consort to King Billy, who died in March 1871, and had been under the care of Mrs Dandridge, who was allowed £80 annually by the Government for maintenance." [1]
  2. Colonial-era reports spell her name "Trugernanner" or "Trugernena" (in modern orthography, Trukanana or Trukanina). In 1869, the town of Truganini was established near Bendigo in Victoria. In 1870, the current spelling was first used for Truganini's name.[ citation needed ]
  3. According to the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Louisa Briggs was probably the daughter of Doog-by-er-um-boroke, a Woiorung woman kidnapped from Port Phillip by sealers. [7]

Citations

  1. The Times, Thursday, 6 July 1876; p. 6; Issue 28674; col D
  2. 1 2 Ryan & Smith 1976.
  3. Flannery 1994.
  4. Ellis, V. R. 1981. Trucanini: Queen or Traitor. Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies. p.3
  5. The Andersons of Western Port Horton & Morris
  6. Register of Births, Deaths & Marriages
  7. Barwick 2005.
  8. The Australasian Chronicle 1842, p. 2.
  9. Gough 2006.
  10. The Times , issue 23848 dated Tuesday, 5 February 1861; p. 10; col A
  11. Australian Museum.
  12. Kühnast 2009.
  13. "The Last Wish: Truganini's ashes scattered in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel", Aboriginal News, vol. 3, no. 2, 1976
  14. DPAC Tasmania 2011.
  15. Barkham & Finlayson 2002.
  16. Crowley & Thieberger 2007.
  17. Roth 1898, pp. 451–454.
  18. Fanny Cochrane Smith.
  19. Hansen 2010.
  20. ABC News 2009.
  21. Davies 2009.
  22. NMoA 1931.
  23. Gazette 1978, p. 14.
  24. The Times, Saturday, 24 April 1886; p. 4; Issue 31742; col E
  25. The Times, Thursday, 22 October 1908; p. 13; issue 38784; col A
  26. Kongfooey 2019.

Sources

Related Research Articles

Tasmania State of Australia

Tasmania is an island state of Australia. It is located 240 km (150 mi) to the south of the Australian mainland, separated from it by the Bass Strait. The state encompasses the main island of Tasmania, the 26th-largest island in the world, and the surrounding 1000 islands. It is Australia's least populated state, with 541,965 residents as of March 2021. The state capital and largest city is Hobart, with around 40 percent of the population living in the Greater Hobart area.

Aboriginal Tasmanians Indigenous people of the Australian island state of Tasmania

The Aboriginal Tasmanians are the Aboriginal people of the Australian island of Tasmania, located south of the mainland. For much of the 20th century, the Tasmanian Aboriginal people were widely, and erroneously, thought of as being an extinct cultural and ethnic group that had been intentionally exterminated by white settlers. Contemporary figures (2016) for the number of people of Tasmanian Aboriginal descent vary according to the criteria used to determine this identity, ranging from 6,000 to over 23,000.

Mount Wellington (Tasmania) Mountain in Tasmania, Australia

Mount Wellington, officially kunanyi / Mount Wellington, is a mountain in the southeast of Tasmania, Australia. It is the summit of the Wellington Range and is within Wellington Park reserve. Hobart, Tasmania's capital city, is located at the foot of the mountain.

George Augustus Robinson Chief Protector of Aborigines in Port Phillip District, now Victoria, Australia

George Augustus Robinson was a British-born colonial official and self-trained preacher in colonial Australia. In 1824, Robinson travelled to Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land, where he attempted to negotiate a peace between European settlers and Aboriginal Tasmanians prior to the outbreak of the Black War. He was appointed Chief Protector of Aborigines by the Aboriginal Protection Board in Port Phillip District, New South Wales in 1839, a position he held until 1849.

History of Tasmania Chronology of the island of Tasmania

The history of Tasmania begins at the end of the most recent ice age when it is believed that the island was joined to the Australian mainland. Little is known of the human history of the island until the British colonisation in the 19th century.

Bruny Island Island off the coast of Tasmania

Bruny Island is a 362-square-kilometre (140 sq mi) island located off the south-eastern coast of Tasmania, Australia. The island is separated from the Tasmanian mainland by the D'Entrecasteaux Channel, and its east coast lies within the Tasman Sea. Storm Bay is located to the island's northeast. Both the island and the channel are named after French explorer, Antoine Bruni d'Entrecasteaux. Its traditional Aboriginal name is lunawanna-allonah, which survives as the name of two island settlements, Alonnah and Lunawanna.

Flinders Island Island to the north of Tasmania, Australia

Flinders Island, the largest island in the Furneaux Group, is a 1,367-square-kilometre (528 sq mi) island in the Bass Strait, northeast of the island of Tasmania. Flinders Island was the place where the last remnants of aboriginal Tasmanian population were exiled by the colonial British government. Today Flinders Island is part of the state of Tasmania, Australia. It is 54 kilometres (34 mi) from Cape Portland and is located on 40° south, a zone known as the Roaring Forties.

Tasmanian languages

The Tasmanian languages were the languages indigenous to the island of Tasmania, used by Aboriginal Tasmanians. The languages were last used for daily communication in the 1830s, although the terminal speaker, Fanny Cochrane Smith, survived until 1905.

Fanny Cochrane Smith

Fanny Cochrane Smith was an Aboriginal Tasmanian, born in December 1834. She is considered to be the last fluent speaker of the Flinders island lingua franca, a Tasmanian language, and her wax cylinder recordings of songs are the only audio recordings of any of Tasmania's indigenous languages. Her recordings were inducted into the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register in 2017.

Lunawanna, Tasmania Town in Tasmania, Australia

Lunawanna is a small township on the western side of Bruny Island, Tasmania, facing the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. It is named after part of the Tasmanian aboriginal name for Bruny Island, Lunawanna-alonnah, a nearby township about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) to its north being named Alonnah.

Kettering, Tasmania Town in Tasmania, Australia

Kettering is a coastal town on the D'Entrecasteaux Channel opposite Bruny Island, Tasmania, Australia. At the 2011 census, Kettering had a population of 984.

Tasmania, for its size and population, has a flourishing literary culture. Its history offers an eventful literary background with visits from early explorers such as the Dutchman Abel Tasman, the Frenchmen Bruni d'Entrecasteaux and Marion du Fresne and then the Englishmen Matthew Flinders and George Bass. Colonisation coincided with deteriorated relations with indigenous Aboriginal people and a harsh convict heritage. These events in Tasmanian history are found in a large number of colonial sandstone buildings and in place names. Environmentally, the landscapes and changeable weather provide a vivid literary backdrop. Tasmania's geographical isolation, creative community, proximity to Antarctica, controversial past, bourgeoning arts reputation, and island status all contribute to its significant literature. Many fiction and non-fiction authors call Tasmania home, and many acclaimed titles are set there or written by Tasmanians. The journal of letters Island magazine appears quarterly. Tasmania's government provides arts funding in the form of prizes, events and grants. Bookshops contribute book launches and other literary events. Tasmania's unique history and environment gave rise to Tasmanian Gothic literature in the 19th century.

Mathinna (Tasmanian)

Mathinna (1835–1852) was an indigenous Australian girl, who was adopted and later abandoned by the Governor of Tasmania, Sir John Franklin.

Norman James Brian Plomley regarded by some as one of the most respected and scholarly of Australian historians and, until his death, in Launceston, the doyen of Tasmanian Aboriginal scholarship.

Nuenonne ("Nyunoni") or Southeast Tasmanian, is an Aboriginal language of Tasmania in the reconstruction of Claire Bowern. It was spoken along the southeastern mainland of the island by the Bruny tribe.

Bruny Island Tasmanian, or Nuenonne ("Nyunoni"), a name shared with Southeast Tasmanian, is an Aboriginal language or pair of languages of Tasmania in the reconstruction of Claire Bowern. It was spoken on Bruny Island, off the southeastern coast of Tasmania, by the Bruny tribe.

Oyster Cove is a semi-rural locality in the local government areas (LGA) of Kingborough and Huon Valley in the Hobart and South-east LGA regions of Tasmania. The locality is about 20 kilometres (12 mi) south-west of the town of Kingston. The 2016 census has a population of 319 for the state suburb of Oyster Cove.

Luggenemenener

Luggenemenener was an early nineteenth-century Tasmanian Aborigine woman, who lived in the early 1800s. She endured the Black Wars and risked her life to protect her young son from a genocide of her people. Her homeland was in north-east Tasmania's Ben Lomond region. According to the French explorer Nicolas Baudin, Tasmania was originally known as Lutruwita.

Charles Alfred Woolley was born in Hobart Town, Tasmania, Australia. He was an Australian photographer but also created drawings, portraits and visual art. He is best known for his photographic portraits of the five surviving Oyster Cove Aboriginal people taken in August 1866 and exhibited at the Intercolonial Exhibition of Australasia colonial exhibition in Melbourne the same year.