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Truganini : Bushranger


a radio feature produced by Michael Shirrefs

One of the most familiar names in the story of Australian colonisation is that of the Tasmanian Aboriginal woman ‘Truganini’. But for most people the story begins and ends with a single, very famous photo, along with a label describing her simply as the last of the full-blood Tasmanian Aborigines.


Not only was that label deeply misleading, we now know that Truganini’s life is one of the most significant foundation stories of European settlement in Australia. But there’s still one story that few people know about and about which little has been written—it’s the extraordinary tale of Truganini’s time as a bushranger.

Listen to the program here …

HindsightTruganini, bushranger



James Boyce—Historian and author of Van Diemen’s Land


Peter Christiansen—Historian and author of the essay ‘The Western Port Outbreak, 1841’, published in Heat 08 – And So Forth


Beverly Davis—Coordinator of the Bruny Island Historical Society and the Bruny Island History Room


Greg Lehman—Manager of Aboriginal Education in Tasmania, writer and a member of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community


Lyndall Ryan—Historian and author of The Aboriginal Tasmanians


Shirley Westaway—Local historian in South Gippsland, Victoria





Title—The Western Port Outbreak, 1841

Author—Peter Christianen

Publisher—Giramondo Publishing

Description—Published in ‘Heat 08 – And So Forth’



Title—Van Diemen’s Land

Author—James Boyce

Publisher—Black Inc, 2008



Title—The Aboriginal Tasmanians

Author—Lyndall Ryan

Publisher—Allen & Unwin, 1996




Further Information


The Bruny Island History Room


Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery





Thanks go to the National Library of Australia, The Mitchell Library, The State Library of Victoria, Tony Brown, Julie Gough, Richard Flanagan and Elva Press.





Producer—Michael Shirrefs


Readers—Zulfikar Abbany / John Reid / James Freemantle / Selena Sullivan / Jan Wozitsky


Composer—Michael Shirrefs




© 2009, Michael Shirrefs & ABC RN

Filed under: radio features, works