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Launceston Historical Society November Meeting

November 20 @ 2:00 pm

Nick Clements, Tongerlongeter, Speculative History, and the Right to Write.

Sunday 20th November, 2022, 2:00pm in the Meeting Room, Queen Victoria Museum at Inveresk.

Tongerlongeter, the leader of Tasmania’s Oyster Bay nation and ‘principal chief’ of the exiled survivors of the Black War, was until recently virtually unknown, even to most Aboriginal Tasmanians. So how did one of Australia’s most significant resistance fighters go under the radar for so long?

In large part, the problem is one of sources – Tongerlongeter is not mentioned by name until four days before the armistice that ended the war in 1831. Even in exile, he is referred to just a few dozen times. And while Tongerlongeter’s centrality to the final stages of the war and its aftermath is beyond doubt, only two retrospective accounts survive of his wartime actions.

As for the specifics of his role in the resistance, we will never know with any certainty.

So where does that leave the historian? How can such jigsaws be responsibly assembled when so many of the pieces are missing? Should they even be attempted?

This talk will summarise Nick’s interpretation of Tongerlongeter’s story and lay bare his methods for giving colour to the missing jigsaw pieces. And lest methodology proves too dry, he will conclude with some musings on the fraught question of non-Aboriginal historians writing about Aboriginal people.

All welcome. LHS members free, visitors $4. Email: launcestonhistory@gmail.com



November 20
2:00 pm
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Queen Victoria Museum Inveresk
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