Kickerterpoller a Paredarererme clansman was taken by white men as a young boy and raised by Mrs. Birch then Mrs. Hodgson. His clan was part of the Oyster Bay nation, which covered the coastal fringe from St Patrick's Head to the eastern edge of the Derwent River.

Kikatapula [Say: Kee kah tah pu lah] (Kickerterpoller; Black Tom; Tom Birch) and his tribe had seen the “first ship” off their coast – probably the Baudin expedition which visited Oyster Bay and Maria Island in 1802.

Kickerterpoller aka Black Tom and Tom Birch was baptised into the Christian faith and spent time with armed roving parties searching for Aboriginal people. He also spent time in Hobart Town where he met with Governor Arthur about the attacks on the colony by his people. He argued these attacks was justified. He did not believe the governor’s proclamation message boards, that everyone, black and white, would receive equal treatment if they committed murder and crimes. Kickerterpoller was adamant his people would not understand the drawings.

Kickerterpoller, worked as part of George Augustus Robinson’s mission, and was promised a whaleboat by Governor Arthur as a payment for helping Robinson to make contact with the Aboriginal people in the bush, but this promise was not honoured. Kickerterpoller died in May 1832 from acute diarrhoea and was buried at the back of the VDL Company store. This is the first recorded Christian burial at Emu Bay, but there is no memorial. As a man from the Oyster Bay nation his body should have been cremated and his ashes covered over or collected and used for healing and ceremonial rituals.

Kickerterpoller lived in both worlds and witnessed the futile attempts of the colonial authority to end the war. He saw the cruel impacts Martial Law had inflicted and understood there was little hope of a fair outcome for his people.


(From NJB Plomley (ed), 2008, Friendly Mission: The Tasmanian Journals and Papers of George Augustus Robinson 1829-1834, 2nd edition, Launceston, Tasmania: Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery and Quintas Publishing, pp. 641, 642, 726 n. 10, 1071.)

Colonial Advocate, and Tasmanian Monthly Review and Register (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1828) Wed 1 Oct 1828 TROVE - National Library of Australia

The Tasmanian (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1827 - 1839) Fri 7 May 1830 Page 7 TROVE - National Library of Australia

More information on Kickerterpoller can be found :

Cassandra Pybus, ‘A Self-Made Man’ in Reading Robinson: Companion Essays to George Robinson’s Friendly Mission, Monash University Publishing, 2012

Lyndall Ryan, Tasmanian Aborigines: A History Since 1803, Allen & Unwin, 2012

Robert Cox, ‘Black Tom Birch: Fact and Fiction,’ Tasmanian Historical Research Association, Minutes, 12 June 2012

Nicholas Clements, The Black War: Fear, Sex and Resistance in Tasmania, University of Queensland Press, 2014