Palawa Truganini

Palawa Truganini (1812 - 1876)

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Palawa Truganini aka Lallah Rookh
Born in Bruny Island, Tasmania, Australiamap
Daughter of and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Hobart, Tasmania, Australiamap
Profile last modified | Created 31 Jan 2018 | Last significant change: 27 Nov 2018
01:48: Veronica (Coat) Williams edited the Locked Status for Palawa Truganini (1812-1876). [Thank Veronica for this | 1 thank-you received]
This page has been accessed 503 times.

Categories: Indigenous Australians | Palawa | Bruny Island, Tasmania | Hobart, Tasmania | Indigenous Australians Project | Australian Notables.

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Palawa Truganini was an Indigenous Australian.
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[Traditionally Aborigines usually only had one name but Wikitree will not accept that so her Tribal name has been used in the Proper First Name box].

Based on age 64 at death in 1876, Truganini was born in 1812. Wikipedia gives 7 other spellings[1]for her name, one of which, Trugernanner, is used by the Australian Dictionary of Biography. She was born on Bruny Island, Tasmania, Australia, in the much later designated 'South East' Tribal region[2]or nation. Bruny Island lies to the south of Hobart, where she died on 8 May 1876, and is separated from Australia's largest island by the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. The Chief of the Bruny Island people, Mangana (Mangerner) was her father, chief of the Lyluequonny clan. The Bruny Island people and others to the south of Hobart, along the coast of the main island, had a language named Nuenonne[3]. The reconstructor of this language referred to the people of Bruny Island as the Bruny tribe.

"As a young girl, she was taught her culture but when Aboriginal life was disrupted by European invasion this changed her forever"[4].

A 'whitefella' settlement had been established in 1803 in what was to become Hobart, and by the time Truganini was 17 she had lost her mother killed by sailors, 2 sisters, Lowhenunhe and Maggerleede abducted by sealers and taken to Kangaroo Island, uncle shot by a soldier and would-be husband (Paraweena) by timber-getters[5], who repeatedly sexually abused her also. "Despite witnessing the most horrific crimes against humanity, Truganini believed the only way to fight against white invaders was to learn their ways in order to gain empathy" (see ref.4).

In March 1829, she and her father met George Augustus Robinson, a builder and untrained preacher[6], on Bruny Island, who established a mission there, as his first job, where she 'married' Wooreddy (Woorraddy), Chief of the Nuenonne Clan of Bruny Island at the end of that year[7]. According to this family tree they had 2 sons - Droyyerloinne Aka (Peter Brune) Nuenonne ? and Myyunge Aka (Maiki David Brune) Nuenonne.

However, the "Black War"[8][9] of the 1830's [1824-1831 is given as the period in "Tasmanian Aboriginal History in the Furneaux Region"[10]] annhilated the majority of Aborigines throughout Tasmania, and Robinson-15817 was "appointed (Protector of Aboriginals) to find the 300 remaining indigenous Tasmanians and relocate them to a nearby island for their 'protection'”. Truganini and Wooreddy (Wooraddy) accompanied Robinson on his mission from 1830 to 1835, ending up at a settlement established for the purpose of Christianising and making farmers of the Aborigines, known as the Wybalenna settlement, on Flinders Island in November 1835, which turned out to be a death camp for the Aboriginal people with all Robinson's promises broken. Robinson renamed Truganini 'Lallah Rookh', as part of his attempt to suppress her culture but she would not change her traditional ways. In February 1839, with Woorraddy and fourteen other Aborigines, including Peter and David Brune, she accompanied Robinson to Port Phillip (Melbourne, Victoria, where he had now become Chief Protector of Aborigines in Port Phillip District in 1839,[11] until 1849[12]). In July Truganini and two other women, Fanny and Matilda, were sent back to Flinders Island with Woorraddy who, however, died en route. Peter Brune (Bruny) had died in Port Phillip in 1843, but David returned to Van Diemen's Land[13]. She lived there until October 1847 when, with forty-six others, she moved to another establishment at Oyster Cove, a former convict prison, abandoned as being considered unfit for convicts, in her traditional territory, where she resumed her traditional life-style ways - hunting and fishing, etc.

However, conditions were even worse there than at Wybaleena[14] and an article in the Times titled the 'Decay of race' written in 1861 described how there were only 14 surviving Aboriginal adults with no children.

By 1869 Truganini and William Lanney were the only full bloods alive! He died in March of that year. In 1874 she moved to Hobart Town with her guardians, the Dandridge family, and died in Mrs Dandridge's house in Macquarie Street on 8 May 1876, aged 64. She was buried at the old female penitentiary at the Cascades at Midnight on 10 May[15].

Truganini had tried to help save her people through Robinson's Flinders Island scheme but he was never able to build the houses he had promised, provide the necessary food and blankets, or allow them to return from time to time to their 'country'! At least Oyster Cove, was in Truganini's tribal territory on the main island of Tasmania opposite North Bruny!

Truganini was a defiant, strong and enduring individual even to her last breath. She is a symbol of the survival of the Tasmanian Aboriginals and her life epitomises the story of European invasion (see ref.4).

(There is more in the Wikipedia reference, particularly in the first paragraph of the section headed 'Final years and Legacy', which suggests the possibity that Truganini led a far more reactive life to the situations she endured than the other references have indicated!)

Truganini was the [16] last full blood Aboriginal in Tasmanian , her father was Mangana, Chief of the Bruny Island people, her name was spelt a number of ways Trugernanner, Trugernena, Trugannini, Trucanini, Trucaminni, and Trucaninny. Truganini was also widely known by the nickname Lalla Rookh

Truganini was born on Bruny Island in 1812, her father was Mangana, Chief of the Bruny Island people. Her name means the grey saltbush Atriplex cinerea. In 1835 she adopted the name given to her by George Augustus Robinson, Lalla Rookh an Indigenous name meaning last survivor of her clan.Truganini knew a lot of tragedy in her young life her mother had been killed by sealers, her fiance Paraweena drowned while trying to save her from sealers when she was being raped by them, her step mother and two sisters, Lowhenunhue and Maggerleede, were abducted by convicts and taken to Kangaroo Island, off South Australia where they were sold as slaves in 1828,and the abduction and death of her sister Moorinna,she lived at a time when Aborigines were shot on sight, tortured, and forced into slavery

Truganini was moved to Flinders Island with the last surviving 100 Tasmanian Aborigines In 1830,many of the Aborigines died from influenza and other diseases.After two years of living in Melbourne they became outlaws, stealing from settlers around Dandenong before heading to Bass River and then Cape Paterson where two whalers were murdered by some of the Aborigines, they also shot and injured other settlers around the area. Those responsible for the murders were captured and hanged in Melbourne. Truganini had a gunshot wound to her head was treated before they were sent to stand trial in Melbourne, Truganini was sent back to Flinders Island.The last surviving Tasmanian Aborigines on Flinders Island, including Truganini were moved to a settlement at Oyster Cove, south of Hobart in 1856.


The last four full blooded Tasmanian Aborigines 1860s. Truganini, the last to survive, is seated at far right.

Truganini was the last survivor of the Oyster Cove group and by 1873 she had again moved to Hobart. She died in 1876 wanting her ashes scattered in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel but never got her wish. She was buried at the former Female Factory at Cascades in a suburb of Hobart. The Royal Society of Tasmania exhumed her skeleton 2 years later and it was placed on display.

At the centenary of her death in April 1976 Truganini's remains were finally cremated and scattered in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel.


A Map of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Tribes 1828–1832


Group of Natives of Tasmania, 1859 by Robert Dowling

Sources See Also


  5. Australian Dictionary of Biography - Trugernanner/Truganini
  16. Australian Dictionary of Biography - Trugernanner (Truganini) 1812–1876 by Lyndall Ryan and Neil Smith

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Images: 6

Proclamation board labelled
Proclamation board labelled


Truganini in 1870
Truganini in 1870


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On 26 Aug 2018 at 01:26 GMT Anne (Turner) Tichborne wrote:

Truganini-1 and Rookh-1 appear to represent the same person because: Here we have two profiles of Truganini, one under the name Palawa Truganini and another under Lalla "Truganini" Rookh. Please consult with the Indigenous Australians Project about what data, biographical information and sources should be in the merged profile. Cheers

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