Things To See And Do
The narrow isthmus joining North and South Bruny is called The Neck.
on the east side is Adventure Bay, on the west side is Simpsons Bay,
which is part of the larger isthmus Bay. At the top of the hummock on
the sandbar is the Truganini Lookout - reached via a timber stepped
boardwalk that affords 360 degree panoramic views of the Bruny Island
The Narrow Neck lookout honours Tuganini, who is probably the best
known Tasmanian Aboriginal women of the colonial era. She was of the
Nuenonne group, born on Bruny Island in about 1812, just nine years
after British settlement was established further north on the mainland,
close to what is now Hobart. By the time she had learned to collect
food and make shell necklaces, the colonial presence became not only
intrusive but dangerous. She had experienced and witnessed violence,
rape and brutalities inflicted on her people.
By the time she was 17 she had lost her mother, sister, uncle and
would-be partner to violent incidents involving sailors, sealers,
soldiers and wood cutters. At this time, in 1829, the Black War was
under way and Truganini was detained at the Missionary Bay station on
Bruny Island. Placed in the custody of Augustus Robinson, a
government-backed conciliator who set out to capture all independently
living Tasmanian Aborigines, she remained for the rest of her life
under the supervision of colonial officers. Except for a short
interlude, accompanying Robinson in his travels to Port Phillip (now
part of Melbourne), she spent 20 years imprisoned, with other
Aboriginal Tasmanians, on Flinders Island, and another 17 years in the
Oyster Cove camp, south of Hobart.
Details of her biography are sketchy, predominantly drawn from the
journals and papers of Robinson, with whom she was associated for ten
turbulent years until her long detention on Flinders Island. She was
bright, intelligent and energetic, known as one of the few Aboriginal
Tasmanians rooted in pre-contact language and culture, who survived
beyond the middle of the 19th century.
When the number of detained Aboriginal Tasmanians fell below 20 in
1854, there was growing appreciation that Tasmanians were a unique
human group, distinctly different from mainland Australian Aborigines.
Soon this interest expanded beyond paintings and photographs.
Scientists and entrepreneurs attempted to obtain human bodies for
research and exhibitions. From the position of her Aboriginal beliefs
and spirituality, Truganini feared that, when she died, her body would
be cut into pieces for scientific or pseudo-scientific purposes as it
had already happened to another Aboriginal Tasmanian William Lenne in
She also feared that her remains would be displayed in a museum for
public viewing. Truganini pleaded to colonial authorities for a
respectful burial. Despite her pleas, she was buried at the former
Female Factory at Cascades, a suburb of Hobart. Within two years, her
skeleton was exhumed by the Royal Society of Tasmania and later placed
on display. On 30th April 1976, seven days short of the centenary of
her death, Trugernanner's remains were finally cremated and scattered
according to her wishes - in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel, close to her
birthplace and homeland.
In 1997 the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, England, returned
Truganini's necklace and bracelet to Tasmania. In 2002, some of her
hair and skin were found in the collection of the Royal College of
Surgeons of England and returned to Tasmania for burial.