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Robinson’s Clan Guides

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In 1829, George Augustus Robinson, Free Settler "Triton" 1824 went to Bruny Island to establish a settlement where he could 'civilise' the Aborigines, teaching them Christian principles and European habits. Quickly realising he needed to understand their customs and language, Robinson travelled around the island visiting all the existing tribes to inform them of Arthur's humane intentions, in a series of six expeditions until 1834. Although tribal life had been utterly disrupted in the decades since European invasion, his missions reveal valuable evidence of Aboriginal languages, customs, life and sanguinary encounters with the settlers. Robinson travelled with his two sons, convict porters, and a following of friendly Aborigines who would approach a tribe while the Europeans initially stayed in the background.

Accompanied by eight clanspeople guides, who provided Robinson with intimate knowledge of the landscape and signs that would otherwise be obscure, he left Launceston on 9 October 1830 for George Town. From the Tamar Heads he intended to walk through the northeast lands in search of clanspeople who were still in the bush. Robinson had been told in Launceston that there were an estimated 700 'fearsome' clanspeople in this region and, without knowing the exact numbers he was going to meet, it seems that he had no idea of the names of Coastal Plains clanspeople who remained alive in the bush at that time.

The guides comprised three from the southeast coast (Woorrady, Trugganini and Pagerley), one from the northwest coast (Peevay or Tunnerminawait), two from the northeast lands (Timme and Bullrer or Jumbo), two from the Oyster Bay lands (Tanleboneyer or Sall) and Kickerterpoller (Black Tom). Only two of the guides would have had some knowledge of the northeast clanlands albeit they had been very young when they had been removed from their people.

Aboriginal Guides