Aboriginal Experiences in Tasmania

Evidence of Tasmanian Aboriginal culture including rock art sites and shell middens can be found across Tasmania, including at Bruny and Maria Islands, the Tarkiner Coast, Friendly Beaches and Freycinet National Park.

If you would like to immerse yourself in the stories of the Mouheneenner Aboriginal people who were Tasmania’s original inhabitants, there’s no better place to do so than at the ningina tunapri exhibition at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart.

Tiagarra Aboriginal Culture Centre and Museum, TASningina tunapri means ‘to give knowledge and understanding’ and this exhibition tells the story of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people, past, present and future in a location where the Mouheneenner people lived for thousands of years before European colonisation in 1804. There are many fascinating displays but the full-sized bark canoe built especially for this exhibit is definitely a highlight.

A permanent exhibition, parrawa, parrawa! Go away! tells the story of Aboriginal people and colonists following the invasion of lutruwita (Tasmania). It encourages visitors to go on an immersive journey through this dark period of history, with objects, historical accounts and specially commissioned films all helping to bring the story to life. It also celebrates the cultural heritage retained by the Aboriginal community to this day.  

Art Mob, Tasmania’s only dedicated art gallery located in Hobart’s Hunter Street arts precinct specialises in Tasmanian Aboriginal art including rare shell necklaces, paintings, prints and wood and fibre works.

Another place of interest while in the region is the Truganini Reserve, south of Hobart. It’s a place of rugged natural beauty with eucalypt woodlands as well as a sheltered, rainforest-like gully. While the site of the Mt Nelson Signal Station at the northern end of the park is a reminder of the first settlers who travelled up the Derwent river on the ship the Lady Nelson, the area is also home to the Turganini Memorial which is dedicated to the Tasmanian Aboriginal people and their descendants.