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On the dialects and language of the Aboriginal Tribes of Tasmania, and on their manners and customs

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Milligan, Joseph (1859) On the dialects and language of the Aboriginal Tribes of Tasmania, and on their manners and customs. Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, 3 (2). pp. 239-282.

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Abstract

The day is not far distant, when according to the ordinary course
of nature, the last of the surviving remnant of the
aboriginal inhabitants of Tasmania, now maintained at a
Government establishment, and little more than a dozen in
number, must be removed by death, and a distinct people
cease to exist. The entire extinction of a population, an
isolated strip of the human family, is neither a matter of
every day occurrence nor of trivial import. When Van Diemen's Land was first occupied by Europeans,
half a century ago, its aboriginal population spread in tribes
sub-tribes and families over the length and breadth of the
island, from Cape Portland to Port Davey, and from
Oyster Bay to Macquarie Harbour; and their aggregate
number at that time has been variously estimated at from
1500 to 5000. Includes Aboriginal verses in honour of a Great Chief, sung
as an accompaniment to a Native Dance or Riawe, the Legend of the origin of fire and of the apotheosis of two
heroes, by the Aborigines of Tasmania, as related by a native
of the Oyster Bay Tribe and a list of common words and phrases in tabulated form listing words in English translated into the dialect of Tribes from Oyster Bay to Pitwater, Tribes about Brune Island, Recherche Bay and the South of Tasmania and North West and Western Tribes. Also listing translations of short sentences, Aboriginal place names and some names of Aboriginal men and women.
Joseph Milligan (1807-1884) was appointed superintendent and medical officer of the Aboriginals, in December 1843 a position which he occupied until 1855. In October 1847 he supervised the transfer of the Aboriginal settlement, then totalling forty-six persons, from Flinders Island to Oyster Cove, where the numbers dwindled rapidly until in 1854 only sixteen remained. During this period of duty he compiled this extensive 'Vocabulary of the Dialects of Some of the Aboriginal Tribes of Tasmania', with observations on native languages and customs.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, Van Diemens Land, VDL, Hobart Town, natural sciences, proceedings, records
Journal or Publication Title: Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Page Range: pp. 239-282
Collections: Royal Society Collection > Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Additional Information:

In 1843 the Horticultural and Botanical Society of Van Diemen's Land was founded and became the Royal Society of Van Diemen's Land for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science in 1844. In 1855 its name changed to Royal Society of Tasmania for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science. In 1911 the name was shortened to The Royal Society of Tasmania.

Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2014 00:08
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2014 00:08
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