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An epic story of resistance, suffering and survival. Tongerlongeter resurrects a once-in-a-generation leader all Australians can admire.
Australia has no war hero more impressive than Tongerlongeter. Leader of the Oyster Bay nation of south-east Tasmania in the 1820s and ’30s, he and his allies led the most effective frontier resistance ever mounted on Australian soil. They killed or wounded some 354 – or 4 per cent – of the invaders of their country. Tongerlongeter’s brilliant campaign inspired terror throughout the colony, forcing Governor George Arthur to launch a massive military operation in 1830 – the infamous Black Line. Tongerlongeter escaped but the cumulative losses had taken their toll. On New Year’s Eve 1831, having lost his arm, his country, and all but 25 of his people, the chief agreed to an armistice. In exile on Flinders Island, this revered warrior united most of the remnant tribes and became the settlement’s ‘King’ – a beacon of hope in a hopeless situation.
About the Author
Henry Reynolds is one of Australia’s most recognised historians. His pioneering work has changed the way we see the intertwining of black and white history in Australia. His books with NewSouth include The Other Side of the Frontier (reissue), What’s Wrong with Anzac? (as co-author), Forgotten War, which won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Prize; Unnecessary Wars; This Whispering in Our Hearts Revisited and, most recently, Truth-telling: History, Sovereignty and the Uluru Statement.
Nicholas Clements is a teacher of history, philosophy and psychology. He is also an adjunct researcher at the University of Tasmania, where he completed his PhD on the island’s frontier conflict. His 2014 book, The Black War: Fear, Sex and Resistance in Tasmania, explored the motivations and experiences of both Indigenous peoples and colonists during the war.