Why A Site Listing World Immigrants To VDL/Tasmania To 1900?

Words: 2098
Pages: 9

Why a site listing world immigrants to VDL/Tasmania to 1900?

Tasmania has been populated by Aboriginal people since time immemorial. It was known internationally from the 1642 until 1853 as Van Diemen’s Land (VDL). From 1853, with the cessation of convict transportation from the British Empire, it became known as Tasmania.

At the 1996 Census, 13,873 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people registered as living in Tasmania (ABS 1301.6 – Tasmanian Year Book, 2000), and in 2010 just over 500,000 people were living in Tasmania with, according to Alexander (2010), more than 70% having [some] convict ancestry. This is not surprising, considering that more than 72,000 convicts were transported to VDL.

The ancestry of many
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Researched and written by MHC curator Stephen Thompson, the book features objects from collections across the world that document the migration of people, technology and ideas to our shores.

It begins with the first migrants, the Aboriginal people who crossed the land bridge to Northwest Australia some 60,000 years ago and follows the story of arrivals through Indonesian outrigger canoes, a technology that enabled the Indonesian Macassans to make the journey to northern Australia, and the inscribed plate that Dirk Hartog left at Shark Bay in Western Australia in 1616.

There are objects from the early British arrivals, like the sextant and secret instructions from Captain James Cook’s expedition to the South Pacific and east coast of Australia in 1770, and the 1787 draft Instructions for Governor Phillip laying the foundations of European Australia in 1788. Objects and stories belonging to the people who streamed into the Australian gold rushes, the Chinese who established market gardens and grocery stores, and the Afghan cameleers who opened the heart of the continent enabling the construction of the Overland Telegraph are also featured.

Events that shaped the 20th century are represented by objects and ephemera from the