Presentation by Dr Michael Powell
QVMAG – Inveresk
Sunday, 1st April 2012 Commencing 2.30 pm until 4.30 pm
FULL TITLE : Musquito: Black warrior on the Hawkesbury and catalyst for the
About the Speaker
Dr Michael Powell is a lecturer at the University of Tasmania in Launceston and has taught in World History, Australian and Colonial history, South Asian and Southeast Asian Colonial history and Aboriginal Studies. He is the author of several books including FL Woodward, a Buddhist Scholar in Ceylon and Tasmania which again looks at the complex story of colonial intrusion and people caught in cultural transition.
Brief Abstract of the Talk
Musquito first led Aboriginal resistance on the NSW Hawkesbury frontier before capture and exile to Norfolk Island. After further exile in Van Diemens Land he first colluded with white occupation then turned again to resistance along side the Tasmanian Aborigines in a surprising pan-Aboriginal alliance, launching a tirade of attacks on settler occupation. His infamy led to a price on his head similar to that placed on Howe and after his capture and execution he passed into the fabric of vandemonian folklore as a potent symbol of savagery and fear, repeatedly blamed as a catalyst for the Black War. Beyond the character constantly re-invented by writers from that time to the present, who was this person and what were his motives? A complex character of the “people in-between” culture, his is a personal struggle for identity. He was no simple savage, two-dimensional heroic warrior or base wanton criminal but a man straining for meaning in a collapsing world. Translating that action into a language fathomable to the present is the task of this paper. It is not the story of particular Aboriginal exceptionality but one within the common stream of human response.