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READ the Story of Truganini, One of the Last Full Blooded Aboriginal Tasmanians

Truganini was the last full-blood Aboriginal Tasmanian. She was born in 1812 on Bruny Island south of the Tasmanian capital Hobart, and separated from the Tasmanian mainland by the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. Her name was the word used by her tribe to describe the grey saltbush Atriplex cinerea.

Truganini’s Aboriginal life was disrupted when the Europeans invaded the land. 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 the Aborigines. First, bounties were awarded for the capture of Aboriginal adults and children, and secondly an effort was made to establish friendly relations with Aborigines in order to lure them into camps.

Truganini met George Augustus Robinson in 1829. By this time she had lost her complete family to the invasion, and had been R*pedd and abused repeatedly. Robinson worked to move Truganini and other Aborigines to Flinders Island. There were roughly 100 Tasmanian Aborigines survivors, and many of them died later to influenza. By 1838, Truganini along with Robinson had established a settlement for mainland Aborigines at Port Phillip.

After about two years of living in and around Melbourne, Truganini joined together with three other Tasmanian Aborigines as outlaws. The group would rob and shoot at settlers around Dandenog, which triggered a pursuit by the authorities. Two people in the group murdered two whalers at Watsons hut, and were captured to stand trial. Truganini had a gunshot wound to the head but was treated and survived. The two men were found guilty and hanged in 1842. Truganini and the rest of the group eventually moved to Oyster Cove. By this time there were only 14 Tasmania Aborigines left. Truganini is often considered to be the last full-blood speaker of a #Tasmanian language. Although others consider Fanny Cochrane Smith, a half-white woman who lived into the twentieth century, to be the last speaker of Tasmanian.

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