In a past blog post I wrote about the white tribes that lived in New Zealand or Zealandia. I also wrote about an island south of Tasmania called Aurea and another large island to the west of it called Tapbana (Taprobane). The original tribes of the Eastern Tasmanian black aboriginals lived on Traprobane before it sunk into the sea around 1530, the ruling white tribe of Taprobane who were called the Robane transferred the aboriginals to Tasmania on their ships/ boats. The Robane came to Taprobane from the Rubani Kingdom of Chabor in Central Australia.
The remnants of the Robane settled on Aurea with the white ruling tribe of Aurea called the Moinee or Mani (Mainans) who were connected to the white red headed Mainans of New Zealand. It is through intermarriage between black and white aborigines that many black Aborigines such as Truganini had reddish coloured hair. At the time that Tasmania became separated from the Australian mainland in 1606 Aurea also sunk under the water and the black aborignals of Aurea (Alea) were settled on the West coast of Tasmania. The white clans of Moinee and Robane established themselves on the south east coast in hidden settlements but also maintained their boats and sailing culture.
When the sealing trade took off at the time of white European settlement the small remnant of the white clans of Moinee and Robane took up sealing and quietly passed themselves off as Europeans with the other sealers. However like the black aborigines the white aborigines where decimated by the new European diseases. The black aborigines due to warfare with both the aboriginal whites and other black tribes only numbered around 4-7,000 at the time of British settlement and the whites a few hundred. The Moinee took the surname Smith and the Robane took Robinson.
While some of the white aboriginals became sealers others just quietly married into the British settlers and lost their identity. John Smith the Sealer and coxswain who was a Moinee cohabited with the black aboriginal woman Tanganuturra who was called Tib and Sarah and they were the parents of Fanny Cochrane. Fanny married the son of the last of the white aboriginal kings Willi or William Smith. Willi's father was Thomas Smith (King Tomi of the Moinee) who was in turn the son of George Smith (King George of the Moinee) who was born around 1788 in the very south of Tasmania. King George had a white aboriginal consort Queen as well as a black aboriginal mistress (partner). His daughter by his black wife of the Mellukerdee Clan was Mary Smith who was the mistress to Thomas Wilken Cowen a former convict and Mary was the mother of four of his seven children including Mary Ann Cowen and Richard Cowen.
John Smith's sister Nellenooremer (Nellie or Helena) Smith married a European sealer called Joe Rose (Row) and their daughter Rose "married" a British soldier (with the 3rd Foot or Buffs formerly of the 23rd Dragoons) called John Kellington with whom she had two sons. Joe Rose or Row is also believed to have had a son with Tib (Sarah) as well. My father is a descendant of John Kellington (surname originally Katzenellenbogen) and his son Edward. John was with the Buffs in NSW and Tasmania between 1821-1828 and his son Edward was born in Tasmania and he lived there until he was sent to school in Lincolnshire and he visited Tasmania as a soldier in the 96th Regiment in 1843 on his way to the Maori Wars (he eventually settled in Western Australia). This partly explains my instant love and identification with Tasmania as well the fact that my brother was killed on the west coast of Tasmania in 1972 in a car accident.
One of Fanny Cochrane Smith's daughters Isabella Frances Smith was known as Fanny Card and she married a William Frost (second partner) and they moved to South Australia and had a family there. Did she leave any descendants in Tasmania? It is believed she had a child with Card who she left in the care of her family. It would seem that Fanny Card was keen to leave Tasmania and hide her aboriginal past. It is not clear where she had her relationship with Mr Card whether in Tasmania or Melbourne or elsewhere. She was however living in South Australia by 1890 (aged 16) with Frost (aged 28) as Fanny Frost. She pretended to be older than she was and she was an experienced midwife.
Fanny Cochrane Smith
Sarah Tib also had a daughter with George Robinson a Robane sealer and Coxswain. This daughter was known as Mary Ann (born about 1820) and she married a "full bloodied" aboriginal man called Walter George Arthur in 1838. George Robinson the sealer and coxswain was a cousin to the George Augustus Robinson whose father was William Robinson (Willi Robane). Willi around 1800 with his young sons George (10) and John (14) went with the sealers to Sydney and then on to England where he became a builder and married an English bride. John married an English bride and settled in Northumberland. George also became a builder and married an English woman and had a family with her before he returned to Tasmania in 1822. His wife and family joined him in 1826. He would eventually become the government Protector of Aborigines. George thought that the success that his father and he had in assimilating and integrating into a new culture would succeed with the Black aboriginals too.
The black aboriginals of Tasmania had a matriarchal kinship grouping whereas the white aborigines had a patriarchal kinship grouping. Most of the aboriginal descendants of Tasmania are white in skin colour today but they still hold their identity dear to them even if they mostly keep it private. I have been surprised by the people who have quietly told me they are of aboriginal ancestry in my parish since we moved to the Huon Valley parish in early 2015. It has been the grannies in these Aboriginal families that have passed on the knowledge of their identity. Like the Marrano and Frankist Jews they hid their origins with new British names and false ancestral origins which makes it hard to "prove" purely by a paper trail. An example of this is seen in regards to the conflict over Senator Jackie Lambie's revelation of her family's aboriginal ancestry. Like the phenomena of lost Jews surfacing after 500 years of assimilation as Gentiles so many Tasmanians of partial aboriginal ancestry are embracing their hidden history against the odds of the hostility or indifference of others and divisions in the Tasmanian aboriginal communities.
Others only found out about their Aboriginal ancestry later in life as their family had tried hard to cover their tracks and it can take some time to integrate such knowledge. Eventhough I have black aboriginal relatives in Western Australia, it was a shock to learn that I may have some black aboriginal ancestry. Sharing that with an older cousin I was surprised to learn that there had always been rumours in the small town that my parents came from that my mother's family had Aboriginal blood and that my maternal uncle had got into fights with those who mentioned it to him. I had thought that my mother's black hair, brown eyes and olive skin to have come from her Jewish ancestry but as I reflected on those who had this same dark features and olive skins I realised that it was on a branch of the family that wasn't Jewish.Then I was shown a photo of my ancestress Jane who I had thought was a Sussex girl from England and noticed photos of some of her grandchildren and at least one daughter with very dark skins.
A photo of my part black aboriginal ancestress Jane of Western Australia who was of Nunga (black aboriginal tribe) and of the remnants of the white aborigines of Rubani and Dutch ancestry of the Wilman area which were conquered by the Nunga just before British settlement.
Ancient legends about the inhabitants of Taprobane are centred on their unusual feet and stupidity and the aboriginals of the East coast of Tasmania were known for their unusual feet and their use of them in many different ways as well as their laziness and very primitive way of life compared with other aboriginals. (see Westlake Papers). They would grip a piece of bark or some similar object with their feet while lying on their backs and gripping the bark raise their legs in the air using the bark as a kind of sun shade- to observers from a distance it looked like they had one leg with a wide flat foot on the end. CS Lewis in his "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" includes a fictional account of these people (based on the older accounts and legends) as well as them living alongside a technological superior white culture considered as magicians. These are in reality the Rubani who ran the copper mines on Taprobane.