The Tassie devils were not the only ones to get pushed southward by the arrival of the ancestors of today’s Australian Aborigines. There was an even earlier Aboriginal people group, a different race from the newer Aboriginal peoples, who were pushed off the mainland. By the time Europeans arrived, this other race survived only in Tasmania. The Tasmanian Aborigines lacked many of the skills and technologies (including making fire) that were common among the newer Aborigines, but they still generally ate better because of Tasmania’s abundance.

While there are many mixed-blood descendants of the of these people, no pure-blood Tasmanian Aborigines remain. Many of those descendants carry on aspects of that earlier culture, such as specific hunting seasons. However, most of the culture of these very early Australians can only be seen at places like the Tiagarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre & Museum. Splendid, seaside Tiagarra is home to a museum that records the history of the Tasmanian Aborigines, while extensive, beautiful grounds are full or outcrops of rock that bear some of the rock engravings that were the primary art form of these early people. Symbols, signs, and a few rough outlines of fish or emus were painstakingly scraped into the rock. The photo below is one of the these rock engravings, possibly of a fish.

Tasmanian Aboriginal rock engraving

Tasmanian Aboriginal rock engraving


Filed under Australia, Book, Geography, History, Travel

5 responses to “Tiagarra

  1. whisperinggums

    Possibly related posts to this include “Get off my rock”. Makes me laugh. Actually, I’ve been to Tasmania a few times – particularly since my brother moved there in the mid-1980s – but I haven’t been to Tiagarra. Must put it on the list for the next visit.

  2. Paul

    I have heard the idea that Tasmanian Aborigines were forced into Tasmania by the ancestors of today’s Australian Aborigines before. Could you please tell me where this theory comes from?

    • If by “where the theory comes from” you mean where did I come across it, then that would be the Tiagarra Aboriginal Centre in Devonport, Tasmania. If you mean how did anthropologists and historians come up with the idea, there were comments at Tiagarra about evidence on the mainland, including stories among present day Aborigines of people who were there first. Tasmanian Aborigines are a different race from mainland Aborigines, and, like mainland Aborigines, they have to have come to Australia from somewhere else. I suspect that knowledge would have suggested the line of research to people studying Tasmanian Aboriginal history. For more details, you might want to contact Tiagarra Aboriginal Centre. I don’t know if they did the research or just reported on it, but I would think someone there would be able to let you know additional resources.

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