African History

History Of The Famous Aboriginal Tasmania – The Massacre And Extinction

The Aboriginal Tasmanian or the Palawa people are the black, indigenous group of people that arrived on the island of Tasmania 40,000 years ago through an ancient bridge that linked the island to Australia. Tasmania is 200 miles from the Southeast of Australia.

They were seen as fewer humans for their features; although reddish-brown, they had curled hair, had a broad nose, wide mouth, short and plumpy.

Because of the sea level that submerged the bridge that serves as the entrance and exit from the island, the Aboriginal Tasmanians were isolated from the outside world for 8,000 to 10,000 years until the Dutch invaders’ arrival in December 1642, archeologically dated 35,000 years ago.

Abel Jansen, the Dutch navigator who led the team on reaching the island, named it Van Diemen, in honor of Dutch Governor-General of the East India Company, Anthony Van Diemen.

After the British arrived Tasmania and made it home of the prisoners, on the 28th of January 1777, the people’s population was about 10,000 to 15,000 dwellers until the genocide from the British government.

Before 1804, the British had started killing the Palawa people. They were raped, killed, and tortured.

 

History Of The Famous Aboriginal Tasmania - The Massacre And Extinction
The last Tasmanians – Truganini by the right end, followed by Fanny Smith, and William Lanney (image credit: face2faceafrica.com)

 Their men were tied against the trees and had them being used as shooting practice.

The convicts and prisoners were allowed to use the black Tasmanians for sports, including spearing, shooting or clubbing them to death for fun.

This inhumane act was unchallenged to the extent that the British roasts the Tasmanian babies while they rejoice in their anguish.

 Their women were kidnapped and raped continuously, with chains binding them.

With the effective plan to decimate the Aboriginal Tasmanians, the British government declared a war known as the Black War or the Black War of Van Diemen’s land, which was fought for 27 years (1803 – 1830).

 Although the Palawa people fought back, they couldn’t match the British’s military strength using just spears, arrows, clubs, and other locally made weapons.

Two years before the end of the Black War, the British passed a decree (Martial law, 1828) that allows the Whites on the island of Tasmania to kill any black person on sight.

After the war ended, with victory for the British, they established a business that involves catching the Blacks with price tags on each. Five pounds were paid for an adult Aboriginal Tasmanian, while the children worths 2 pounds each.

At the end of the war, Tasmania suffered a massive depopulation that they were not up to 400 in population. 

 The war survivors were kept in a camp after realizing that they pose no more threats to them. 



 It was believed that the depopulation was also a result of an invented disease and post-war disaster.

In 1833, the Tasmanians were made to surrender with the fake promises of having British protection and provision. They were made to believe that their island will be returned to them. 

 The Aboriginal Tasmanians were exiled to Wybalenna, West of Flinders, Furneaux Islands. They continued decreasing as a result of diseases. 

 In 1847, the remaining number of the Aborigines was 47, and they were moved to Oyster Cove, south of Hobart.

William Lanney (King Billy) was among the last Tasmanian. He was born in 1835, Wybalenna, Flinders Island. He was among those moved to Oyster Cove at the age of 13, where be grew up to become a sailor. 

 

History Of The Famous Aboriginal Tasmania - The Massacre And Extinction
William Lanney – last male Tasmania survivor (image credit: face2faceafrica.com)

 In February 1868, King Billy returned from his last whaling voyage, and died in his room, on the 2nd of March 1868, in Hobart, Tasmania.

Even at death, the Europeans struggled for his body for practical usage. On the night before he was buried, a surgeon went to the mortuary and had William Lanney’s head skinned. His skull was taken and was replaced another, and was stitched back. 

 The Royal Society had his body dismembered and shared amongst themselves.

 

History Of The Famous Aboriginal Tasmania - The Massacre And Extinction
Truganini (image credit: face2faceafrica.com)

Truganini was second to the last surviving Tasmanian. She was born in Bruny Island, Tasmania, in 1812, and died on the 8th of May, 1876. 

 She was often mistaken to be the last surviving Tasmania, but Fanny Cochrane Smith was the last survival according to history. She was born in Wybalenna (Black Man’s House) in 1834. She died on the 24th of February, 1905, in Port Cygnet, Tasmania.

 

History Of The Famous Aboriginal Tasmania - The Massacre And Extinction
Fanny Cochrane Smith (image credit: face2faceafrica.com)

 


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Buchi Prinzy Henry
An African writer with cravings to unearth all stolen, hidden, and unheard glories of Afrika. Mental emancipation is my mission. I write on History Category at 54history.com

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