The Royal Society of Tasmania has a long history of supporting the advancement of knowledge within Tasmania. Yet, the deep dark shadow of the Royal Society’s behaviour towards Tasmanian Aborigines remains largely undisturbed, tarnishing this history and forestalling the possibility of a contemporary relationship with Tasmanian Aboriginal people. This presentation details the Royal Society’s role in the post-mortem desecration of William Lanne and trucanini, and subsequent exploitation of their remains, from an historical and from an Aboriginal perspective. The purpose is to stimulate a discussion on how this history can be acknowledged as a prerequisite to a process of reconciliation between the Society and Tasmanian Aboriginal people and communities.
Maggie Walter (PhD) is member of the Briggs/Johnson Tasmanian Aboriginal family, descended from the pairrebenne people of North Eastern Tasmania. She is also Professor of Sociology and Pro Vice-Chancellor of Aboriginal Research and Leadership at the University of Tasmania, Australia. Maggie’s scholarship centres on the social and cultural positioning of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and she has published extensively in the field of race relations, inequality and research methods/methodologies. Recent books include: Indigenous Children Growing Up Strong: A longitudinal study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families (2017) (Edited with K.L. Martin and G. Bodkin-Andrews, Palgrave McMillan) Indigenous statistics: a quantitative methodology (with C. Andersen, Left Coast Press 2013) and Social Research Methods (ed) 3rd Edition (Oxford University Press 2013).