Friday, March 19, 2010


The last member of the indigenous family of Tasmanians was a lovely lady named Truganina (attired here in silly Victorian clothes).

This 64-year-old Queen of the Tasmanian Aborigines (as she has often been designated) died in Hobart on 8 May 1876. On her deathbed, she pleaded to be buried in the mountains where her tribe had wandered for millennia. Instead, her remains were mounted as a specimen and placed in a glass box in a Hobart museum.

Since then, I don't know whether the DNA of Truganina has been preserved. I hope so, because her people were fabulous Southern Hemisphere pioneers whom we might encounter and celebrate, today, through their genome. We would be thrilled to know how and when they arrived in Tasmania, and what they did there...

Well, it seems that (as they say in French) there's bread on the breadboard, waiting to be tasted, eaten, appreciated. For the moment, the essential data is filtering slowly and unsatisfactorily... but it would appear that a horde of ancient artifacts has been unearthed [display] at a place named Brighton, near Hobart, during roadwork operations.

In my recent article entitled Seafarers [display], I evoked the existence of my archaic compatriots Mungo Man and Mungo Woman, born (like me, but a little earlier on) in New South Wales. Well the Brighton findings would appear to date from that epoch. So, we can look forward to learning, little by little, how Truganina's ancestors spent their time on the planet Earth.

I like to think that the spirit of Queen Truganina would be happy to know that her pale-skinned cousins from the "New World" (of Asia, Europe, America, etc) have finally got around, through perseverance, to tapping into—be it ever so little—her archaic Dreamtime.

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