Colonial Massacres Map



The interaction between the Aboriginal people of this area and the British cannot be considered without referring to the Van Diemen’s Land Company and its activities. The Emu Bay establishment was created in 1827 as a supply point and port for the Company.

The grazing and farming in the Hampshire and Surrey hills and at Middlesex Plains, south of Emu Bay, were significant resources in the early days of the Company.

The VDL Company wanted to exterminate the Aboriginal people from the land it had appropriated by Royal Charter. Conflict between Aboriginal peoples and V.D.L. employees, convict labourers working for the company and colonial settlers was intense, with several documented murders and massacres (including at Cape Grim).

One took place at Cooee Point just west of Emu Bay, and the present UTAS Rural Clinical School in Burnie overlooks the site, where an Aboriginal mother and her baby were shot.

Knowing the palawa history of the land UTAS is built on, will provide an important learning experience, for non-Aboriginal people and help promote greater understanding.

A palawa history of the campuses and surrounds will add significant depth to understanding of these places. This history reinforces palawa connection with these lands and will enhance the relevance of the University to present and future palawa staff and students, by creating a more inclusive University environment for palawa people.