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Very few people outside of Tasmania have any real idea what our Ancestors looked like, or even know very little about them and their culture. There are a few well known paintings, several of which have been reprinted constantly, implying that there are few surviving pictorial representations of our Ancestors. This is misleading. There are literally hundreds of sketches, drawings, paintings and etchings of the Ancestors which survive. 

Pictorial material of varying quality and standard from both French and British records, as well as the colonial accounts of the early invaders. There are even a number of photographs in existence which show the captured Ancestors in the last stage of their life when they were incarcerated at Oyster Cove waiting to die, and when the white community of the time was counting them down until there were none.

The pictorial material in this section has been given to us for use on this site. The donor has asked to remain anonymous, as they believe the material should be available to all Tasmanian Aboriginal people and the broader community. All we can say is thank you.

The photographs show only the remaining captured Tasmanian Aboriginal people, they do not show the Tasmanian Aboriginal people who were living free at this time, having already integrated and assimilated within the broader Tasmanian community. Pictures of these Ancestors when they come to light will be included on the site.

The photographs are our legacy. It gives us and our children a chance to actually see what they looked like. From personal research the pictures appear to dominantly represent only one community of our Ancestors.

Click on the pictures to show a larger image.

This is a representation of the Ancestors by a nineteenth century artist called Gould at Wybaleena.on Flinders Island. 

It is the worst representation of the Ancestors that has so far been found. All his pictures portray the Ancestors in this fashion. His non Aboriginal art is very different. 

Often Indigenous peoples have been characterized by some artists to the point of obscenity. However it is claimed in today's climate of political correctness that the caricature is a result of poor artistic ability. Personally I think it is just a product of the time.

This group of pictures was taken at Oyster Cove.

Ancestors at Oyster cove.jpg (89335 bytes)

Group picture with dog.

Image1.gif (148685 bytes) Unidentified Group
no 72.jpg (34795 bytes) This is possibly the woman called "Flo", and an unidentified man.
no. 66.jpg (28937 bytes) A group of un-named ancestors
no. 69.jpg (33349 bytes) A group of un-named women.
oyster cove no dog copy.jpg (44263 bytes) Ancestors at Oyster cove

duttereau woman copy.jpg (22810 bytes)

hand of friendship copy.jpg (24138 bytes)

Two paintings by Dattereau.

While some may consider that Datterau is not a good artist, the many pictures I have seen accredited to him have movement and life which enables a reconstruction of Traditional movements and natural life patterns which in turn help in the reconstruction of our Traditional culture.

jimmy.jpg (36988 bytes) Jimmy. He is recorded as coming from the Hampshire Hills area of north west Tasmania.

This is how most of the ancestors are portrayed in Traditional clothing. Jimmy is better drawn than most. This is a copy of a picture by Bock, who was an artist who had a considerable ability in realistic colonial painting.

William Laney.jpg (30245 bytes)William Lanne or Laney (or as he was commonly called King Billy) is described as our last male. This is the political answer and commonly accepted myth. He spent the last few years of his life as a whaler and intermixing within the broader Tasmanian community, so it is doubtful that he died without leaving a child. Almost every seafarer had female friends irrespective of their so called respectability. Historically William Laney is definately not recorded as being our last male. This ignores the men living free in a Traditional lifestyle within their Kinship Groups that were recorded up to and after the 1860s. William Lanne is the last captured male to die.

Even his death in 1869 gave him no respect. Dr Lodewyk Crowther removed his head in the name of science at the Colonial Hospital. His head has never been found. Neither has the tobacco pouch that was made out of his scrotum.

Trugannie.jpg (38239 bytes)Truganinni. In 1868 during the Royal visit by the Duke of Edinburgh, when Prince Alfred attended the 28th regatta on the Derwent River where "on the steps of the pavilion stood the last representative of the Tasmanian Aboriginal race, King Billy and the old woman Trugannini". The press recorded their every public appearance as a curiosity - specimens of a dying race nearing extinction.

 group.jpg (59353 bytes)

Truganinni, William Laney, and an unidentified woman. This picture is considered as a group of unidentified people. 

Even at this late stage in the countdown to the Ancestor's "extinction" the photographers never even bothered to record who they were. Supposition of names have been bandied about for a number of years, but attempts to find a solution do not necessarily create a truth.

Mary Anne and Walter.jpg (24656 bytes)Walter Arthur was considered an "educated native" and a recognised scholar from the Queens Orphan School. He successfully managed 100 acres of farm land better than many other land holders of the time. Problems with the other landholders made their lives a misery. They were refused access to their land and other farmers forced them off it. They were forced to return to Oyster Cove where Walter joined a whaler and was at sea for 18 months before returning home He drowned soon after his return in 1861.

 Mary Anne was his wife and is listed as "a half cast". She is recorded as the "last but one" after the death of William Lanne. Mary Anne died at Oyster Cove

Verbal accounts describe that there were two very distinct physical groups of Tasmanian Aboriginal people. The northern people being darker and differing physically from those of the south who were described as having a lighter skin colour which they heightened with charcoal powder, covering the redder tinge to their skin. 

It would be a reasonable assumption to note that the photos do not represent all those who were surviving at Oyster Cove in 1868. My understanding of our history from the invaders perspective would indicate that they would have been selective in who they portrayed.

For all who view the photos it is the overwhelming sadness of the people which is like a physical blow even a hundred and thirty years later. The pride in who they were is still evident, even though at this time they were willing themselves to death so they could join their friends and family who had already rejoined the Great Spirit. They were living in appalling conditions that were unfit for animals, harassed at every turn by what is described in one account "as the dregs of the european community".


All material on this site is copyright © 2000-2003 MANUTA TUNAPEE PUGGALUGGALIA publishing.