Will moving stories teach us lessons for the future?

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Truggernanna, a native from southern Van Dieman’s Land (later named Tasmania), was married to Woureddy.  Who was she?  We knew very little about the Aboringinal people so the exhibit, ningina tunapri (meaning ”to give knowledge and understanding”) in the Tasmania Museum & Art Gallery, was an informative glimpse.

The exhibit displayed the rich arts and crafts of a people badly mistreated by the newly arrived Europeans who settled on the island.  By the time the portrait of Truggernanna was painted, most of the island’s Aboringinal people had died.

Another display in the Museum featured old movie footage of the last thylacine, pacing around a small cage.

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Movie footage of the last thylacine

Thylacines lived in Tasmania but were seen as pests.  A bounty was paid for each animal, and in short order, they had been hunted to extinction.  The last thylacine (pictured in the video) died in 1936.

Rarely do we visit museum exhibits that leave an impact so heartfelt as the moving story of the Aboringinal people of Tasmania nor do we see an extinction story in film of a species, the thylacine, affecting us so immediately.

We had spent so much time on these exhibits that we had to return a second day to see the rest of the galleries.

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The dinosaur looked to be walking away from the café.

The most interesting exhibits in the Museum were little known to us – the Aboriginal people, thylacines, and Tasmania’s close connection to the Subantarctic islands and Antarctica.

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To our surprise, on a visit a few days later to the Royal Botanical Gardens, we discovered the Subantarctic Plant House.  We put on our jackets and went inside that frigid house to see the little display of plants that grow on Macquarie Island.

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The Macquarie Island cabbage grows thickly over the island.

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The theme of destruction and interference by Europeans continued in the Subantarctic displays.  Huge populations of marine animals and birds were killed on these islands resulting in extinction or near extinction of many species.

These were all sad stories, and we can only hope that the telling will be guiding lessons for future generations to make wiser choices.

 

April 2014

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Around-the World - 2013-14, Australia and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Will moving stories teach us lessons for the future?

  1. Let’s hope we heed those lessons well.

  2. bernice rowe says:

    I saw a movie 30 years ago called, I think, The Ninth Wave, that alerted me to the aborigine problem…particularly maddening since the “Europeans” you mention were sent to,Australia as others were sent to Devils’ Island…as criminals….the oppressed became the oppressors….another less upsetting movie was Walkabout. Bernice

    Sent from my iPad T ale

  3. The interference of humans (the Europeans, especially) has been repeated over and over again. “We” interfere with other human’s, flora and fauna.

    We were struck in New Zealand by several similar issues and the current attempts to “undo” the damage. These attempts included:
    1) The current efforts to eradicate the imported possum’s that have been destroying the indigenous birds. The possums are trapped and poisoned.
    2) The killing of imported pine trees on the South Island. This was evident in Queen Charlotte Sound. There is a group of people who individually poison the trees, by hand, one by one. This is an effort to restore the original native trees and shrubs.

    The pattern of interference has, as you pointed out, also affected native populations. The European attempts to “civilize” these populations, culminated with the transportation in the USA and Australia of children from their homes to remote “schools”, where they were denied their native language and culture. We saw a stunning exhibit in Arizona at the Heard Museum in Phoenix about the Indian Schools in the United States in the 1920’s through 50’s.

    We were fascinated a few weeks ago in Sydney by an exhibit about British children who were transported to Canada, Australia and New Zealand. in some cases these children were orphan’s but in many cases they still had parents in Britain who had gave their children up because they lacked the means to support them. These programs were purported to give the children a better life, which in most cases meant they were simply slave labor.

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