Tongerlongeter: First Nations Leader and Tasmanian War Hero

Henry Reynolds, Nicholas Clements

Tongerlongeter: First Nations Leader and Tasmanian War Hero
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Tongerlongeter: First Nations Leader and Tasmanian War Hero

Henry Reynolds, Nicholas Clements

During Tasmania’s gruesome Black War of 1823-31, Tongerlongeter led the most effective Aboriginal resistance campaign in Australian history. His Oyster Bay Nation of southeast Tasmania and his ally Montpelliatta’s Big River Nation of central Tasmania embarked on 710 attacks, killing 182 colonists and wounding a further 176. First Nations casualties were up to three times greater and their population plummeted. Militarily it was a lost cause, yet in their dogged defence of Country, culture and each other, these artful warriors plunged the fledgling colony into a full blown crisis.

Tongerlongeter was the lynch pin that held his people together in the face of apocalyptic invasion. But while his achievements rival those of any Victoria Cross recipient, he is buried in an unmarked grave on Flinders Island. In Tongerlongeter, acclaimed historians Henry Reynolds and Nicholas Clements retrieve one of Australia’s greatest war heroes from historical obscurity.

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