Truganini

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Truganini (ca. 1812 - May 8, 1876) was a Tasmanian Aboriginal woman, the sole surviving full-blooded Tasmanian Aboriginal for the last three years of her life.

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Truganini.jpg
Truganini

She was born about 1812 of the Bruny Island people, daughter of Mangerner, Chief of the Recherche Bay people, and she was married to Woorrady. Before she was eighteen, her mother had been murdered by seal hunters, her first fiance died while saving her from abduction, and her two sisters were abducted and sold as slaves, where later they were hung. Her husband would die when she was in her twenties.

In 1830, George Augustus Robinson, a Christian missionary, moved Truganini and Woorrady to Flinders Island with about one hundred others, the last surviving Tasmanian Aborigines. It was hoped that isolation would save them, but many of the group died. Truganini also helped Robinson with a settlement for mainland aborigines at Port Phillip in 1838. However, she joined in the rebellion and was sent back to Flinders Island. In 1856, the few surviving Tasmanian Aborigines, including Truganini, were moved to Oyster Bay.

In 1873, when Truganini was the sole survivor, she was moved to Hobart, where she died three years later, having requested that her ashes be scattered in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. She was, however, buried at the Female Factory at Cascades, Hobart. Within two years, her skeleton was exhumed by the Royal Society of Tasmania and placed on display. Only in April of 1976, on the centenary of her death, were her remains cremated and scattered according to her wishes.

In 1997 the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, returned Truganini's necklace and bracelet to Tasmania. Some of her remains had been taken overseas, and were returned to Tasmania from the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 2002.

Note: There are a number of different versions of her name, including: Truganini, Trugernanna, Trugannini, Trucanini, and Lalla Rooke.

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