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Anarchist celebrate Aboriginal resistance
Melbourne, January 21, 2009
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Joseph TOSCANO marked the 187th anniversary of the execution of Bushranger Ned Kelly with a commemoration ceremony.

Ned Kelly was hanged for murder in 1880. He was an indigenous resistance fighter, who was publicly executed in Victoria in 1842. While many Australians know the story of Sitting Bull or Geronimo," they hardly know this country’s indigenous fathers" such as Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner, Dr. Toscano said.

Joseph Toscano

Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner were among 16 Tasmanian Aborigines who were brought to Melbourne in 1839 by the protector of Aborigines, George Robinson, to "civilise" the Victorian Aborigines.

In late 1841, the two men and three women, stole two guns and waged a six-week guerilla-style campaign in the Dandenongs and on the Mornington Peninsula, burning stations and killing two sealers.

They were charged with murder and tried in Melbourne. Their defence counsel was Redmond Barry, who questioned the legal basis of British authority over Aborigines. (Thirty-nine years later, Barry would sentence Ned Kelly to hang.)

Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner were among 16 Tasmanian Aborigines who were brought to Melbourne in 1839 by the protector of Aborigines, George Robinson, to "civilise" the Victorian Aborigines. In late 1841, the two men and three women, stole two guns and waged a six-week guerilla-style campaign in the Dandenongs and on the Mornington Peninsula, burning stations and killing two sealers.

The women were acquitted and the men found guilty, although the jury made a plea for clemency on account of the "peculiar circumstances".

Judge Willis ignored the request and the men were hanged in front of 5000 people - a quarter of Victoria’s white population - from gallows erected on a small rise near what is now the corner of Bowen and Franklin streets. Their bodies are buried under the Queen Victoria Market.

Crowd at Commemoration

"Every town in Australia has a monument to remember people who died fighting other people’s wars, but nowhere in this country do we see monuments to indigenous people who fought to defend their country and way of life," Dr Toscano said. "In order to begin reconciliation, the coloniser needs to acknowledge what happened."

P.S. :

[Source: JEWEL TOPSFIELD, "No nods to Ned as Aboriginal resistance fighters gain rare recognition", The Age Jan. 21, 2009.



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