In September 1826 two Aboriginal men were convicted of murder and hanged by a kangaroo court in Murray Street Gaol, Hobart.
The two men named Dick and Jack by European settlers had been accused of spearing and killing stock-keeper Thomas Colley at Oyster Bay.
However, all accounts say Dick was an old man who could only move about in prison by crawling on his hands and knees and Jack a tall, young man had declared his innocence from the very beginning.
Despite this the government at the time, along with backing from the influential Hobart Town Gazette wanted to teach Aboriginal people a lesson and chose two men of the Moomairremener people to arrest and try for murder.
During the trial, before Chief Justice Pedder the two men had no idea of the proceedings and were not allowed to give evidence because they could not swear an oath on the bible.
They were convicted by a white jury, before a white judge, applying white law and eventually hanged.
194 years on and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre are honouring the memory of these Aboriginal men by telling the true history surrounding their deaths.
Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania, Chairperson Michael Mansell said, “these deaths need to be publicly acknowledged.”
“Monuments around Tasmania honour the dead but ignore Aborigines who defended their country and their families against invaders. Tasmania needs to know the truth about its history.
These hangings were indicative of attitudes towards Aborigines at the time.”