On This Day …

Thursday 3rd May, 1804

Trugannini, the last surviving aborigine from Tasmania, 1866

Today is a sad day in our history. It is a day that the Battle of Risdon took place in Risdon Cove, Tasmania.

Tasmania, then known as Van Diemen’s Land, was newly colonised by the English — only the previous year in September, in fact — so the settlement must have still been rather small with only approximately fifty people. Meanwhile another settlement began only seven kilometres away at Sullivans Cove (which eventually became Hobart).

On the day in question a band of 300 aborigines on a kangaroo hunt happened to enter the settlement. The settlers, thinking they were under attack and probably alarmed by the large number of natives, began to fire upon them. Naturally the aborigines retreated, but not before several were killed.

The original accounts state that only two or three natives died with further numbers wounded, but accounts given decades later increased the number to the fifties and even later the number grew to over one hundred.

Whatever the case is, it was a tragedy for the original owners of the land, and a terrible beginning to the complete decimation of the native people in Tasmania. The last full-blooded aborigine from Tasmania died in 1876.

Does it make you sad that some of our ancestors were involved in wiping out a race? I know it grieves me, even if they were not directly my ancestors.

Published in: on 3rd May, 2013 at 11:24 am  Comments (8)  
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