'Diplomat, peacemaker, survivor': Should Truganini be honoured with a public space in her name? (2024)

Some of Hobart's public places could be renamed to honour Aboriginal people under a plan floated by the city's Lord Mayor.

Key points:

  • Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds says she wants greater recognition for Truganini
  • Aboriginal leader Rodney Dillon says renaming is "long overdue"
  • A historian says changing names is "fraught with danger"

Last year, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre urged authorities to adopt nipaluna as the dual name for Hobart in an act of reconciliation.

Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said a nipaluna/Hobart dual name was not off the table, but the Hobart City Council was waiting until after it developed its Reconciliation Action Plan before revisiting the idea.

Councillor Reynolds said she would like to see a place like Franklin Square renamed Truganini Place to remember the historic figure.

'Diplomat, peacemaker, survivor': Should Truganini be honoured with a public space in her name? (1)

"I feel that she needs stronger recognition as a diplomat, as a peacemaker, as a survivor," she said.

"I'd like to have a conversation with the community about places that they think would be appropriate to rename potentially as Truganini Place."

Councillor Reynolds said she wanted to ensure that Aboriginal history was recognised.

"Some of our history has not been as well told as other parts of it, and a lot of stories from the Aboriginal community, a lot of stories about the Black War, just haven't been explained to the community," she said.

"One example is where George Augustus Robinson's house was, close to the corner of Elizabeth and Warwick Street and the survivors of the Black War camped there for several days before they went on their fateful trip to Flinders Island never to return.

"As part of reconciliation we'd like to see these places recognised."

Rodney Dillon from the Tasmanian Regional Aboriginal Communities Alliance (TRACA) has embraced Councillor Reynolds' suggestion.

"It's long overdue. It's moving a council ahead in leaps and bounds," he said.

He would like to see Macquarie Street in Hobart' CBD renamed.

"I've walked up and down Macquarie Street a fair bit in my working life and it just sticks in my throat every day to think that they can keep [Major General Lachlan Macquarie] alive as a hero, when he wasn't a hero he was a murderer," he said.

"Macquarie was a really bad person to Aboriginal people and did a lot of serious damage to our people, and he got a street named after him, and not only in this area, but in other areas.

"Why haven't they changed the name of the Batman Bridge? [The explorer John] Batman was one of the worst people to our people."

'Diplomat, peacemaker, survivor': Should Truganini be honoured with a public space in her name? (2)

Changing names 'fraught with danger'

Tasmanian historian and toponymist Wayne Smith said changing the name of a place or street can be complicated.

"Most place names are under the control of councils and geographical features of mountains and rivers come under the nomenclature board," he said.

"Renaming a street is not only possible, it happens quite a bit. But to rename a street, it involves quite a bit of expenditure."

'Diplomat, peacemaker, survivor': Should Truganini be honoured with a public space in her name? (3)

Mr Smith does not support changing the names of places and streets.

"If you change a name from something to something else, you tend to sweep away the history of that name," he said.

"Franklin Square of course honours the ex-governor Sir John Franklin who was quite famous while he was here.

"It is fraught with danger, if you start changing names, there needs to be a good reason for it, otherwise you're sweeping away our current history."

He said it would be tricky to change the name of a place like Franklin Square.

"Franklin Square, I would suggest, is probably impossible to change because the current nomenclature rules are that if a name's been current for 100 years or so, you've gotta have a pretty good reason to change it," he said.

Posted, updated

'Diplomat, peacemaker, survivor': Should Truganini be honoured with a public space in her name? (2024)


Why was Truganini important? ›

Flinders Island

In 1838, Truganini, among sixteen Aboriginal Tasmanians, helped Robinson to establish a settlement for mainland Aboriginal people at Port Phillip.

What tribe did Truganini belong to? ›

Truganini was born on Bruny Island (Lunawanna-alonnah) around 1812. She was a daughter of the leader of the Bruny Island peoples. She naturally took part in her people's traditional culture while she was growing up, but Aboriginal life was disrupted by the arrival of British colonists in 1803.

Who was the famous Tasmanian Aboriginal woman? ›

Truganini (1812-1876)

Trugernanner, often referred to as Truganini, was a woman widely considered to be the last "full blood" Palawa (Tasmanian Aborigine). There are a number of other transcriptions (or spellings) of her Palawa language name, including: Trugannini, Trucanini, Trucaminni, and Trucaninny.

What language did Truganini speak? ›

The French transcriptions of these sources differ from the English respellings seen in the records of other varieties of Tasmanian. Truganini spoke Nuenonne.

How did Truganina get its name? ›

The suburb is believed to be named after Truganini, who is generally accepted as the last full-blooded Aboriginal Tasmanian woman, as she had visited the area for a short time. Truganina is a rapidly growing suburban area, with Truganina recording a population of 20,687 at the 2016 census.

What is the story of Truganini Journey through the Apocalypse? ›

Truganini: Journey through the apocalypse follows the life of the strong Nuenonne woman who lived through the dramatic upheavals of invasion and dispossession and became known around the world as the so-called 'last Tasmanian'.

What tribe is in Hobart? ›

Hobart also serves as home base for Australian and French Antarctic missions. The city lies on Country which was traditionally Muwinina land and is still known by its original name nipaluna. Due to the effects of colonisation, today the Aboriginal community in Tasmania is collectively known as palawa.

What is the traditional name of Tasmania? ›

Allowing for the distortions that occurred when linguistically naive Europeans tried recording Tasmanian words, the centre reconstructs the name as nipaluna.

What are people from Tasmania called? ›

People who come from the State of Tasmania call themselves Tasmanians. They are also Australians. Queenslanders are from Queensland, Victorians from Victoria, New South Welsh-men/women, Northern Territorians, West Australians, South Australians, and Canberra's from the ACT - ALL AUSTRALIANS.

What happened to Truganini after she died? ›

In 1976, a century after Truganini died, the Tasmanian Aboriginal community requested that Truganini be cremated and scattered in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel near her homeland.

Has Tasmanian girl been found? ›

Sadly, remains have been located in bushland near Nabowla as part of the ongoing investigation into missing teenager Shyanne-Lee Tatnell. The remains were located on a bush track during an extensive ground and air search in relation to the disappearance of the 14-year-old on 30 April, 2023.

Where was Truganini buried? ›

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.

What is the black history of Tasmania? ›

The Black War was a period of violent conflict between British colonists and Aboriginal Tasmanians in Tasmania from the mid-1820s to 1832. The conflict was fought largely as a guerrilla war by both sides; some 600 to 900 Aboriginal people and more than 200 British colonists died.

What ethnicity is Tasmanian? ›

Tasmania. The three largest ancestries in Tasmania in 2021 were English, Australian and Irish. Ancestry defines the cultural association and ethnic background of an individual going back three generations.

What nationality is Tasmania? ›

Tasmania, island state of Australia. It lies about 150 miles (240 km) south of the state of Victoria, from which it is separated by the relatively shallow Bass Strait. Structurally, Tasmania constitutes a southern extension of the Great Dividing Range.

What is the importance of Tasmania? ›

The island of Tasmania contains some of the most spectacular mountain, lake, and coastal scenery in the country, and much of its land is protected in national parks and reserves. The state also produces a major portion of Australia's hydroelectric power and possesses a great diversity of natural resources.

What was the significance of Van Diemen's land? ›

Its dual purpose was to deter the French exploratory expeditions from laying claim to any part of New Holland and to act as a supplementary gaol for excess contingents of convicts shipped to New South Wales.

What was significant about the Australian island of Tasmania during British Colonisation? ›

Tasmania was hosting 40% of all convicts that were transported to Australia at its peak, so it took until 1877 for the last penal colony in Port Arthur to close. In 1853 when the ban came into force, the colony of Tasmania was also established.

What is the history behind Tasmania? ›

Originally inhabited by Australian Aborigines, the island was explored and named Van Diemen's Land by Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642. Taken by the British in the early 1800s and made a colony in 1825, it was used as an auxiliary penal settlement until the 1850s.

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