Page:Last of the tasmanians.djvu/435

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392
THE LAST OF THE TASMANIANS.

others of the sisterhood alive. The last of the Straits Aborigines, known as Mrs. Julia Mansell, died in July 1867, on Sea Lion Island. She was sixty years of age. Her large family of half-castes were scattered through the group of islands. Her sealer husband, now sixty-four, survives his aboriginal partner. Walter has gone, and Maryann, his intelligent wife, has gone also. Particulars of them may be gathered from the chapter on "Oyster Cove."

One man remained, William Lanné. In October 1864, the Hobart Town Mercury has this paragraph:—

"At the last ball at Government House, Hobart Town, there appeared the last male aboriginal inhabitant of Tasmania. We had read much before of the Last Man, and heard much of the last man of his race, but had never expected to have been favoured with the sight of such a person. In this case, however, the person in question was accompanied by three aboriginal females, the sole living representatives of the race beside himself, but not of such an age, or such an appearance, as to justify the expectation of any future addition to their numbers."

This is the account given by the press of the Last of the Botany Bay tribe. The poor fellow tells a gentleman his sad tale. "Well, Mitter, all black fellow gone! All this my country! Pretty place, Botany! Little piccaninny, I run about here. Plenty black fellow then. Corrobory great fight. All canoe about. Only me left now, Mitter. Poor Mini tumble down (die). All gone! Bury her like a lady, Mitter. All put in coffin—like English. I feel lump in throat when I talk about her; but I bury her all very genteel, Mitter." The Rev. Mr. Threlkeld wrote in 1855: "I saw last month the last man of the last tribe of these districts" (near Sydney).

How expressive, as applied to such a man, is the language of the talented and estimable Mr. Westgarth:—

"Behold him a wandering outcast; existing, apparently, without motives and without object; a burden to himself, a useless encumberer of the ground! Does he not seem pre-eminently a special mystery in the designs of Providence, an excrescence, as it were, upon the smooth face of nature, which is excused and abated only by the resistless haste with which he disappears from the land of his forefathers? Barbarous, unreflecting, and superstitious, how strangely contrasted is an object so obnoxious