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Woureddy, a wild native of Brune Island
, 1835

by Benjamin Duterrau

etching, printed in black ink from one copper plate (sheet: 31.3 cm x 21.9 cm, plate-mark: 27.0 cm x 16.3 cm, image: 27.0 cm x 16.3 cm)

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Wurati (d. 1842), was a Nuennone man from Bruny Island, a skilled hunter, boat builder and renowned storyteller who spoke five dialects. In 1829 he joined the group of people associated with George Augustus Robinson, a settler and lay preacher appointed to effect the removal of Tasmania’s Indigenous people to Flinders Island in Bass Strait. Accompanied by a group of Aboriginal leaders who acted as a his guides and interpreters, Robinson conducted a series of expeditions – collectively known as the Friendly Mission – between 1830 and 1835, during which the surviving tribes were persuaded into banishment. Wurati and his second wife, Trukanini, became Robinson’s trusted assistants, yet remained fiercely proud of their traditions and identity. Wurati refused to adopt European diet or dress and maintained practices such as the use of ochre for his hair and beard, even while at Wybalenna. Many died there while waiting for fulfilment of the promise that they would be allowed to return to their traditional lands. In 1839, Wurati was one of the fourteen Tasmanians who went to Port Phillip following Robinson’s appointment to the position of Chief Protector of Aborigines in the new colony. He died on his return journey to Wybalenna in July 1842.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased with funds provided by the
Ian Potter Foundation 2009
Accession number: 2009.2