Henry Reynolds and Nicholas Clements, "Tongerlongeter: First Nations Leader and Tasmanian War Hero" (NewSouth, 2021)

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Nicholas, today's guest, explains Australia has no war hero more impressive than Tongerlongeter. Leader of the Oyster Bay nation of south-east Tasmania in the 1820s and ’30s, he and his allies led the most effective frontier resistance ever mounted on Australian soil. They killed or wounded some 354 – or 4 per cent – of the invaders of their country. Tongerlongeter’s brilliant campaign inspired terror throughout the colony, forcing Governor George Arthur to launch a massive military operation in 1830 – the infamous Black Line. Tongerlongeter escaped but the cumulative losses had taken their toll. On New Year’s Eve 1831, having lost his arm, his country, and all but 25 of his people, the chief agreed to an armistice. In exile on Flinders Island, this revered warrior united most of the remnant tribes and became the settlement’s ‘King’ – a beacon of hope in a hopeless situation.

Nicholas Clements completed his PhD at the University of Tasmania in 2013. His research explores traditional Tasmanian Aboriginal culture, and the conflict between Aborigines and settlers on the Tasmanian frontier between 1803-1842. He has written two books on this subject: The Black War: Fear, Sex and Resistance in Tasmania (UQP, 2014) and, with Henry Reynolds, Tongerlongeter: First Nations Leader and Tasmanian War Hero (NewSouth, 2021).

Bede Haines is a solicitor, specialising in litigation and a partner at Holding Redlich, an Australian commercial law firm. He lives in Sydney, Australia. Known to read books, ride bikes and eat cereal (often). bede.haines@holdingredlich.com

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