BLACK WAR In the early 19th century, large numbers of Tasmanians were killed by white settlers. When European settlement started in earnest in 1803 there had been 4,000 – 6,000 Tasmanian Aborigines, but by 1847 just 47 were left. It’s claimed that the last known full-blood individual died in 1906. The Tasmanians were unique in Australia – because they were the oldest surviving human group on the continent, descendants of the first wave of very early Aborigines who arrived in Australia more than 50,000 years ago. Today, although there are no full blood Tasmanian Aborgines, there are up to 15,000 Tasmanians of part Aboriginal, part-British ancestry. The last 47 Aborigines had been sent to Oyster Cove by the British colonial authorities in 1847 after the horrific Black War and a period of exile (1833 – 47) in terrible conditions on Flinders Island between mainland Australia and Tasmania. The man who had persuaded them to go into exile for those 14 years was a Christian missionary, George Augustus Robinson, who largely abandoned them once he had escorted them to the island. Of the 300 people went there, 253 died, mainly from disease, during the 14 year exile.
(David Keys – BBC History)
A picture of the last four “full blooded” Tasmanian Aborigines c. 1860s. Truganini, the last to survive, is seated at far right.