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Flinders Island

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Encounters. Indigenous contact and culture: a classroom resource

Caution: This website includes images and names of deceased people that may cause distress to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


Tasmanian Aboriginal country

Flinders Island, Tasmania

Tasmanian Aborigines continue to celebrate their culture and spirituality, despite the actions of British colonial authorities who exiled many of their people, including leader Mannalagenna, to Flinders Island.

  • A map of Australia indicating the location of Flinders Island, Tasmania.
    Flinders Island, Tasmania
  • A photo of the rural landscape of Flinders Island, Tasmania.
    Setting the scene
  • A watercolour depicting Mannalargenna, a leader of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people from Oyster Bay. He has long hair and beard, and is wearing necklaces and holding a fire stick.
    Mannalargenna
  • Sketch of a man with a young boy sitting closely beside him.
    Neptune [Merape] and Moriarty
  • A man, a woman and a dog on a beach.
    Patsy Cameron and Greg Lehman
  • Necklace made of maireener shells (or rainbow kelp shells - Phasianotrochus irisodontes). Length: 96 centimetres (strung together).
    Shell necklace
  • A circular coiled basket with a flat base and convex sides that taper towards the top to a smaller circular opening.
    Coiled basket

Activities

Match the pictures to the quotes

What do you know about Flinders Island?

Video story

Reflect on a broken promise

Watch this video where Tasmanian Aboriginal Elder Aunty Patsy Cameron says: ‘On the boat taking him away, Mannalargenna paced the deck like an emperor … looking through his spyglass at his country for the last time ... Within five weeks he was dead.’

Activity: Are there aspects of this story that you find disturbing or surprising? Make a note of one new thing you learn and one question you have. Share these responses with your class.

More activities

Basket weaving

Activity: Have a class discussion about a body of knowledge or skill that has been passed down to you, inspired by this quote from Tasmanian Aboriginal Elder Leonie Dickson, 2014:

My descendants will say … my great, great, great, great, grandmother – she made this basket … A Tasmanian Aboriginal woman made this … So many years down the track we’re still going to be recognised.

What is the body of knowledge or skill? How did you learn it? How would you teach it to someone else?

Activity: Learn about the tayenebe project on the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery website and discuss why you think it is important for Tasmanian Aboriginal women to rediscover and connect with their cultural heritage. There is also a pdf tayenebe education resource (PDF 2.19mb)

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