7.1.06

The Last Tasmanian

The first British troops and settlers arrived on Van Diemen's Land almost exactly 200 years ago. At the time, it is thought by scholars, there were about 4000 to 5000 Indigenous people on the island. in the early 1830s the number of these people had been reduced to 200 or so. These survivors either surrendered or were captured and transported to Flinders Island. By the end of the 1870s not one of the full blooded Indigenous inhabitants, of a people who had lived on the island of Tasmania for perhaps 35,000 years, remained alive. Ever since the 1830s what had happened in ,Tasmania has been considered by civilised opinion as one of the most terrible tragedies in the history of British colonisation. This in itself is a shocking thing to think that a race of people were eradicated from Tasmania after being on the Apple Isle for possibly 35.000 years maybe longer. I myself find it odd that Truganini the daughter of Mangana, chief of the Bruny Island people. A survivor of The Black Wars that accompanied European settlement in Tasmania, was removed to Flinders Island. In fact I find it odd why they were all put there at all but I have suspicions naturally European occupation of Van Dieman's Land ( Tasmania ) began in 1804 with a small contingent of British convicts and military under the control of the New South Wales government. Settlement was hastily established, mainly due to fear of the French interest in the area. Under British law, possession was by discovery and settlement. Conquest was not an issue as the British did not consider the aboriginal people a civilised race and therefore not entitled to any of the rights of conquest. Consequently, from the beginning policy was confused and often contradictory. At first the aboriginal people were viewed with a mixture of exoticism and indifference by the white settlers and it was not until 1820 that the relationship between the Europeans and aboriginal people became crucial to the survival of the aborigines. During a few short years virulent attacks were made upon the aboriginal population who retaliated with guerrilla type tactics. However, it was all over in a few short years ( 1824 - 1830 ) with the aboriginal people virtually exterminated. So I presume from this article and others I have read that the Brits Considered them Sub Human this in itself brings a chill to me as at once the like of Monsters like Hitler, Stalin and Milosevic ah and of course Saddam Hussein; perhaps they all at one time or another studied British colonial History. Perhaps they wanted a White's only Dominion in Tasmania who can tell! Now I find that Truganini was in fact not the last Tasmanian at all, Also the Brits although returning her her mortal remains for the Native funeral rites in fact kept Skin,hair and bone I believe; since returned of course, our native people are a mite touchy and superstitious about the dead so this would not have gone down at all well In act this bloke it seems gets the credit for the Honour of being the last Tasmanian not that I consider it an Honour at all Considering the Sneaky way The early Colonists did things. A handsome looking Joker all the same. Maybe it is because they don't and never have kept written records; well a lot of the convicts and early settlers could not read or write and a lot of them did not keep written records; so what! they have their own way of doing things just like you and me.

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