A History of Tasmania: From Its Discovery in 1642 to the Present Time

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J. Walch and sons, 1884 - Tasmania - 462 pages
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James Fenton (1820-1901) was born in Ireland and emigrated to Tasmania (then known as Van Diemen's Land) with his family in 1833. He became a pioneer settler in an area on the Forth River and published this history of the island in 1884. The book begins with the discovery of the island in 1642 and concludes with the deaths of some significant public figures in the colony in 1884. The establishment of the colony on the island, and the involvement of convicts in its building, is documented. A chapter on the native aborigines gives a fascinating insight into the attitudes of the colonising people, and a detailed account of the removal of the native Tasmanians to Flinders Island, in an effort to separate them from the colonists. The book also contains portraits of some aboriginal people, as well as a glossary of their language.

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Page 219 - Again they burst away, and let me go. 0 sun-loved River ! wherefore dost thou hum, Hum, hum alway, thy strange, deep, mystic song Unto the rocks and strands? — for they are dumb, And answer nothing as thou- flowest along. Why singest so, all hours of night and day ? Ah, River ! my best River ! thou, I guess, art seeking Some land where souls have still the gift of speaking With Nature, in her own old, wondrous way.
Page 129 - After some time, and full explanation, I found eight chiefs amongst them, who possessed the whole of the country near Port Phillip. Three brothers, all of the same name, are the principal chiefs, and two of them men of six feet high, and very good looking; the other not so tall, but stouter. The other five chiefs were fine men. After a full explanation of what my object was, I purchased two large tracts of land from them — about 600,000 acres, more or less — and delivered over to them blankets,...
Page 5 - I observed smoke in several places ; however, we did nothing more than set up a post, on which every one cut his name, or his mark, and upon which I hoisted a flag.
Page 209 - Tasmania, a land where not only all the native productions' of the country, but the very features of nature herself, seem formed on a pattern the reverse of every model, form, and law on which the structure of the rest of the globe is put together : a land where the mountain-tops are vast lakes, Where the trees strip, off bark instead of leaves, and where the cherrystones grow on the outside of the cherries...
Page 38 - There being great reason to fear that William Russell and George Gelley will be added to the number of unfortunate men who have been put to death by the Natives, in revenge for the murders and abominable cruelties which have been practised upon them by the white people, the Lieutenant-Governor, aware of the evil consequences that must result to the settlement, if such cruelties are continued, and abhorring the conduct of those miscreants who perpetrate them, hereby declares that any person whomsoever...
Page 46 - They held up their spears in return, accompanying their movements with loud laughing. They jeered at us, as if they thought we were afraid of their formidable band. We thought it desirable to retreat to the boat, when suddenly they laid down their weapons in the edge of the bush, and each holding up both hands as if they did not mean any mischief, at the same time making signs to us to lay down our arms, which we did to satisfy them...
Page 113 - that the Natives of Van Diemen's Land were rational ; and although they might, in their savage notions, oppose violent measures for their subjugation, yet, if I could but get them to listen to reason, and persuade them that the Europeans wished only to better their condition, they might become civilized, and rendered useful members of society, instead of the bloodthirsty, ferocious beings they were represented to be. This was the principle upon which I formed my plan.
Page 13 - ... roasting, and other little fires burning behind them that they might be warmed on all sides at once (!) It seemed as if they were unwilling to lose a moment's time ; for while they were warming themselves they were employed in roasting fish, some of which they laid on the coals with the utmost caution, though they took little care of the lobsters, which they threw anywhere into the fire, and when they were ready they divided the claws among the men and children, reserving the body for themselves,...
Page 238 - Excellency may be pleased to transmit such address to her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies, to be laid at the foot of the Throne.
Page 42 - British standard covered a state of society, such as never before possessed the official sanction. Once or twice a month, this Governor enjoyed a carouse, to which a sea-port, in times of war, might furnish an example. Having selected a station, not far from the town, he provided for the feast: the more talented of the convicts surrounded the tent, and enlivened the entertainment with songs. Rum, in large quantities, loaded the board: first the chiefs, and then their retainers, revelled in its overflowing...

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