Truganini Details

The haunting story of the extraordinary Aboriginal woman behind the myth of 'the last Tasmanian Aborigine'.

'At last, a book to give Truganini the proper attention she deserves.' - Gaye Sculthorpe, Curator of Oceania, The British Museum

Cassandra Pybus' ancestors told a story of an old Aboriginal woman who would wander across their farm on Bruny Island, just off the coast of south-east Tasmania, throughout the 1850s and 1860s. As a child, Cassandra didn't know this woman was Truganini, and that she was walking over the country of her clan, the Nuenonne, of whom she was the last.

The name of Truganini is vaguely familiar to most Australians as 'the last of her race'. She has become an international icon for a monumental tragedy: the extinction of the original people of Tasmania within her lifetime. For nearly seven decades she lived through a psychological and cultural shift more extreme than most human imaginations could conjure. She is a hugely significant figure in Australian history and we should know about how she lived, not simply that she died. Her life was much more than a regrettable tragedy. Now Cassandra has examined the original eyewitness accounts to write Truganini's extraordinary story.

A lively, intelligent, sensual young woman, Truganini managed to survive the devastating decade of the 1820s when the clans of south-eastern Tasmania were all but extinguished. Taken away from Bruny Island in 1830, she spent five years on a journey around Tasmania, across rugged highland and through barely penetrable forests, with the self-styled missionary George Augustus Robinson, who was collecting all the surviving people to send them into exile on Flinders Island. She managed to avoid a long incarceration on Flinders Island when Robinson took her to Victoria where she was implicated in the murder of two white men. Acquitted of murder, she was returned to Tasmania where she lived for another thirty-five years. Her story is both inspiring and heart-wrenching, and it is told in full in this book for the first time.

‘For the first time a biographer who treats her with the insight and empathy she deserves. The result is a book of unquestionable national importance.’
—Professor Henry Reynolds, University of Tasmania

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    Truganini Reviews

  • Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

    Inspired by her ancestors connection to the woman known as the ‘last Tasmanian Aborigine’, Truganini by Cassandra Pybus, is a stunning historical biography.Born around 1812 on Bruny Island, Trugan...

  • Natty

    4 StarsTo Ms Pybus,Wow oh wow!!!! For me, the name 'Truganini' was something I had heard in passing but knew nothing about the person behind the name, until I read your book. Unfortunately Australian ...

  • Joselle Griffin

    A very very sad and necessary journey to read. I love that this book attempts to tell the story of Truganini by piecing together the stories told about the men Robinson spent more time writing about. ...

  • Jennifer (JC-S)

    ‘The life of this woman, Truganini, frames the story of the dispossession and destruction of the original people of Tasmania.’When I was a child, growing up in Tasmania, I was told that Truganini ...

  • Esther King

    Please note this is a 3.5.I have a few conflicting feelings regarding this book. On one hand, it’s a story that needs telling and reclaiming, but on the other, it’s a story that we only have colon...

  • Anne Fenn

    A fantastic book, so interesting to read. It had the little I knew about Truganini, as most Australians would, but then there was so much more, of a surprising nature. If you’re ready for the worst-...

  • Karen McCulloch

    Firstly, this book was a devestating read. As a 5th generation Tasmanian, a descendent of settlers and convicts, I grew up with a vague knowledge of Robinson and an even more vague knowledge that atro...


    This is an important book for Australians to read. It brings to life the appalling slaughter of indigenous people in Tasmania in the early days of colonisation, shining a light in the very dark corner...

  • Janelle

    This book is described as “heart wrenching “ on the cover and it truly is a difficult book to read but it should be read. So much to take in, for example: The arguments over the skeletons of abori...

  • Ayesha

    Growing up I'd heard of Truganini but knew nothing about her, other than her sad designation as the last of the original Tasmanians... As a First Nations Australian I was very interested to learn the ...