Life On The Job



Indigenous Famous or Historic People

Tunnerminnerwait & Maulboyheener (Born 1812 - Died January 20, 1842, Port Phillip, Melbourne)

"The Tasmanian pair were dubbed bloodthirsty outlaws, but activists have campaigned for their recognition as freedom fighters resisting white settlement." (Source: The Age)

Portrait

Portrait of Tunnerminnerwait by Thomas Bock between 1831 and 1835. This portrait of Maulboyheener was done by Thomas Bock between 1831 and 1835.

Introduction

"Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner's story reveals key aspects of Aboriginal history in Melbourne and beyond. These men were born in Tasmania and brought to Melbourne in 1839 by George Augustus Robinson, 'Protector of Aborigines'. In 1842, they became the first people to be hanged in Melbourne after they were convicted for the murder of two whale-hunters in the Western Port area. Their execution was the biggest story of the day in the newspapers.

Their stories touch on the history of crime and punishment in early Melbourne – the establishment of Melbourne in its wider context of conflict over land, important legal questions debated at the time, the treatment of Aboriginal people in Tasmania, and any historical and community links between Port Phillip and Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania). Their stories are central to an understanding of Melbourne's past, present and future."
(Source: City of Melbourne)

  
Pre-Story: Batmania - the Colony of Melbourne

To understand the times and history of Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener, have a look at the National Museum of Australia's Batmania - the history of John Batman and his "Deed" to take over the lands of current day Melbourne. (Source: National Museum Australia)

Batmania NMA

Flash version:

Batmania Flash

 

Tunnerminnerwait & Maulboyheener: Their Story

"Tunnerminnerwait was born on Robbins Island in Tasmania in 1812. He was the son of Keeghernewboyheener. Tunnerminnerwait belonged to the Parperloihener clan of the Aboriginal North West nation in Tasmania. His name means "waterbird".

Robbins Island



Tunnerminnerwait spoke English well and was 5'8"(171 cm) tall. He was also known as Peevay (Pevay, Napoleon, Jack of Cape Grim, Jack Napoleon Tarraparrura and Tunninerpareway. His wife was Planobeena (Fanny) who was the sister of Aboriginal leader and freedom fighter Eumarrah.  
(Source: Wikipedia)


Encounters with colonisers

Tunnerminnerwait grew up on the island of Tasmania, the second European settlement area in Australia after Sydney Cove. Relations between the Aboriginal people inhabiting the island and the settlers became very hostile leading to attacks and massacres. The first massacre of Tasmanian Aboriginal people occurred at Risden Cove in 1804, when troops fired on a group which included women and children. By 1806 clashes between Aboriginal people and settlers were common and the Cape Grim massacre occurred on 10 February 1828. According to historian Professor Lyndall Ryan, (University of Newcastle) "Tunnerminnerwait had witnessed the Cape Grim massacre in 1828 as an 11-year-old, when a lot of his own people were killed. His whole family had fallen apart as a result."

Tunnerminnerwait first met civil servant George Augustus Robinson, Chief Protector of Aborigines, at Robbins Island in June 1830. He worked for Robinson as one of his guides on expeditions around the island from 1830 to 1835. In October 1835 Tunnerminnerwait went with Robinson to Flinders Island, a settlement where the remaining Aboriginal population were exiled. Robinson spoke of him as 'an exceeding willing and industrious young man', who was 'stout and well made, of good temper, and performed his work equal to any white man'.  (Source: Wikipedia)

George Augustus Robinson
George Augustus Robinson


Relocating to the mainland

Tunnerminnerwait and Planobeena were among sixteen Tasmanian Aborigines whom George Robinson brought to Melbourne in 1839 with the intention that they would help to ‘civilise’ the Victorian ‘blacks’ when he became Chief Protector of Aborigines at Port Phillip.

Tunnerminnerwait went with George Robinson on a major tour of the Western District from March to August 1841. During the tour they gathered testimonies about frontier violence in the Western District and investigated the Convincing Ground massacre in which between 60 and 200 members of a Gunditjmara clan were killed by whale-hunters at Portland Bay. After his return, Tunnerminnerwait and four others left Melbourne.  (Source: Wikipedia)

Resistance

In September 1841, Tunnerminnerwait (Peevay) and Planobeena (Fanny) and three others, including Truganini and Timme [Maulboyheener] waged an eight-week campaign of resistance against the European settlement in the Port Philip area. They stole two guns and some ammunition from a settler's hut at Bass River. They robbed stations from Dandenong to Western Port and South Gippsland districts on the outskirts of Melbourne over the next seven weeks. They wounded four white men and killed two.

It took three military expeditions to successfully track and capture them, with the help of native police. All five were captured in November 1841.  (Source: Wikipedia)

Trial and judgement

They appeared before Judge Willis on 20 December 1841 in Melbourne, charged with murder. The five were defended by Redmond Barry who was the standing Defence Council for Aborigines. Barry questioned the legal basis of British authority over Aborigines who were not citizens and claimed that the evidence was dubious and circumstantial. None of the five people charged were permitted to give evidence in court.

The Supreme Court found the two men, Tunnerminnerwait ('Jack Napoleon Tarraparrura') and Timme ('Robert Timmy Jimmy Small-boy' - Maulboyheener) guilty of the murder of the two whalers, Cook and Yankey at Western Port on 6 October 1841. Tunnerminnerwait was reported as saying that 'after his death he would join his father in Van Diemen's Land and hunt kangaroo'.  (Source: Wikipedia)

Death

Together with Timme [Maulboyheener], Tunnerminnerwait was executed for murder on 20 January 1842. They were the first public executions to take place in the District of Port Phillip, the colony to become known as Melbourne.


Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner were the first people to be hanged by the Government in the District of Port Phillip, in 1842. A total of six people were hanged that year. The six hangings of 1842 remain the only judicially approved public executions in Melbourne’s history, giving them particular historical significance."  (Source: Wikipedia)

Did You Know?

Tunnerminnerwait (c.1812-1842) was an Australian aboriginal resistance fighter and Parperloihener clansman from Tasmania. He was also known by several other names including Peevay, Jack of Cape Grim, Tunninerpareway and renamed Jack Napoleon Tarraparrura by George Augustus Robinson. (Source: Wikipedia)

 

"His [Tunnerminnerwait] country was in the North West nation as a Pairelehoinner clansman from Cape Grim. When Robinson met him he was a young man about 17 years old (he was about 24 years old in 1836 (Plomley, 1987: 831)) and had been living with a group of Straitsmen on Hunter Island for a few weeks. At the request of the Straitsmen he joined Robinson's expedition on 21 June 1830. Peevay spoke English well and, according to Robinson, was a teasing and 'good natured' young man of 'stout build' and 5 '8"[171 cm] tall.

Peevay married Plorenernoopperner, who was also known by her other names Jock and Fanny (Plomley, 1966: 993 & 1987: 858). He was one of Robinson's guides on the expeditions around the island from 1830 to 1835, after which time he entered the establishment at Wybalenna and joined the clanspeople who were living in exile. He accompanied Robinson to Victoria where he left Robinson's care for the freedom of the bush. Peevay was reported as being one of several Trouwunnan clanspeople who went on a murderous venture in the Victorian bush causing fear among the white population in the southeast of the state. He and his fellow clansman Timme were caught and charged with the killing of the two whalers at Cape Paterson in October 1841. The two young clansmen were found guilty of the murders and were both hanged on 20 January 1842 (Plomley, 1987: 848). Peevey was about 30 years old when he died - his remains were most likely disposed of in the Melbourne colonial prison cemetery." (Source: University of Tasmania: Peevay (Tunnerminnerwait)

 

Links

Treaty Republic: Freedom Fighters - Tunnerminnerwait & Maulboyheener  

Tunnerminnerwait & Maulboyheener  Treaty Republic

 

City of Melbourne - Tunnerminnerwait & Maulboyheener  

City of Melbourne


University of Tasmania: Peevay (Tunnerminnerwait)

UTAS - Peevay


ABC - RN - Awaye: Sisterly Love (audio files) 8 March 2014

Awaye

 

ABC - RN - Hindsight: A forgotten war (audio files) 30 November 2014

Hindsight

ABC - RN - Hindsight - The forgotten war that led to Port Phillip's first public executions
(audio files) 28 November 2014

Hindsight

ABC - Melbourne's invisible Indigenous history (audio files) - information on George Augustus Robinson as well

ABC

Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener: The involvement of Aboriginal people from Tasmania in key events of early Melbourne
(PDF 5.4 MB)


City of Melbourne

Sydney Morning Herald: Once were warriors 5 February 2014

SMH

 

The Age: Artist says new monument to executed Aborigines is a 'war memorial' 26 November 2015

The Age

The Conversation 6 March 2020

The Conversation

YouTube: Melbourne Conversations: Tunnerminnerwait & Maulboyheener: Stories & Connections (1 hour 38 minutes)

https://youtu.be/fn6s1qF5yDA

 

 


Activities

Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener -

Freedom Fighter or Terrorist?

Can You Tell the Difference?
(Adapted from Tom March - now only in Web Archive)

MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

Critical & Creative ThinkingAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical & Creative Thinking

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

Ethical Understanding Australian Curriculum General Capability: Ethical Understanding

IndigenousAustralian Curriculum Cross Curriculum Priorities: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

PhilosophyPhilosophy

1. What is terrorism? Is there such a thing as a 'just cause?'

Use the links below to choose or create a definition of "Terrorism" that everyone on your team (3 - 5 students) agrees with.

Important points to make sure you consider in the definition you choose or create are:

  • Does it matter if the victims are soldiers or civilians?
  • Does it matter if the act happen on military or public areas?
  • Does it matter if it happens during war or peacetime?
  • Does it matter if the act is performed for a good cause?
  • How do you define a good cause?
  • Does it matter if those responsible for the attacks are oppressed and are prevented from enjoying their basic human rights? Reading
The Conversation: One man's freedom fighter... can we ever define terrorism?
8 January 2013

The Conversation
Freedom Fighter - Wikipedia

Wikipedia
The Free Dictionary

Free Dictionary
 

2. After reading and listening to Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener's lives and their actions in 1841, decide as a group whether they are "Freedom Fighters" or "Terrorists".  You have to give reasons [based on evidence] for your thoughts not just opinions. List all the questions that you think still need answering.

3. As a class, debate the question

"Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener -

Freedom Fighter or Terrorist?

Can You Tell the Difference?"

4. When you hear of other Freedom Fighters or Terrorist in the news - what questions do you think need to be answered before you reach any conclusions?

 

 

 

Online: George Augustus Robinson - Friend or Foe? A WebQuest

MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

ICT Capability Australian Curriculum General Capability: ICT Capability

Critical & Creative ThinkingAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical & Creative Thinking

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

IndigenousAustralian Curriculum Cross Curriculum Priorities: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

1. You are to go to George Augustus Robinson - Friend or Foe by Fiona Keating (Education student at ACU). Updated by Frances Moore 2021.

WebQuest

 

2. Your task is to decide whether George Augustus Robinson should be fondly remembered as an honourable, innocent man of good intentions or as a greedy man who is guilty of deceiving the Indigenous people of Van Diemen's Land in the 1800s.

In groups you will research the people and events that shaped the differing views regarding George Augustus Robinson. Some groups will be responsible for researching events while others will be responsible for examining the personalities of those people who shaped the events of the time.

You will come to a conclusion about how George Augustus Robinson should be remembered by taking part in a Court hearing and discussing and analysing each piece of evidence that has been collected.

3. Make sure that Tunnerminnerwait or Maulboyheener are represented.

4. How will you regard Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener - as Freedom Fighters or Criminals? What reasons can you present for both cases?

 

 

 

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