The last full-blood Tasmanian
, and champion of her people. She was born about 1803 on Bruny Island
off the coast of Tasmania
. Daughter of one of the tribal chiefs, she was raped and saw her family killed by settlers.
During the genocide there were some who tried to save the Aborigines by moving them to offshore refuges such as Flinders Island. She and her husband Wooraddy worked with George Robinson, the official Protector of Aborigines, to get her people to safe settlements. Between 1830 and 1835 she helped locate the remaining 300 Tasmanians hiding in the bush and they moved them to Flinders Island. It was supposedly a temporary measure, but it became clear that they would not be allowed to return to their ancestral lands.
In 1847 they tried to establish a settlement at Oyster Cove on the Tasmanian mainland but this was unsuccessful. The remaining 45 all died, until Truganini alone survived. She moved to Hobart where she died on 8 May 1876. Her skeleton was displayed at the museum until 1947, and only in 1976 was she afforded proper cremation and scattering.
Her name is also written Trucanini. The last full-blood male was William Lanney, also known as King Billy. There still exist Tasmanian natives (not ethnically the same as the Aborigines of mainland Australia), whose ancestry includes white sealers and whalers who landed on the islands; only in recent decades have they been fully recognized as Tasmanian Aborigines. Truganini is now one of the icons of Australia.