"Australians love their war heroes. Our founding myth centres on the heroism of
the ANZACs. Our Victoria Cross recipients are considered emblematic of our
highest virtues. We also revere our dissident heroes, such as Ned Kelly and the
Eureka rebels. But where in this pantheon are our Black war heroes?
If it’s underdog heroism we’re after, we need look no further than the warriors
who resisted the invasion of their homelands between 1788 and 1928. And none
distinguished himself more than Tongerlongeter — the subject of a new book I
have written with historian Henry Reynolds.
In Tasmania’s “Black War” of 1823–31, Tongerlongeter led a stunning resistance
campaign against invading British soldiers and colonists. Leader of the Oyster
Bay nation, he inspired dread throughout the island’s southeast. Convicts
refused to work alone or unarmed, terrified settlers abandoned their farms, the
economy faltered and the government seemed powerless to suppress the violence.
It was a legacy Tongerlongeter could never have imagined in 1802, when his
people encountered the French explorers under Nicolas Baudin on Maria Island.
Having never heard of foreign lands or peoples, they concluded the pale-faced
visitors were ancestral spirits returned from the dead. If zombies are an apt
comparison, they were soon to experience a zombie invasion."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics