Tarenorerer, also known as Walyer by the sealers of Bass Strait, was thought to have been born circa 1800 near Emu Bay, Tasmania into the Tommeginne tribe. Accounts of her life suggest she was abducted in her teens by Aborigines of the Port Sorell region and was sold to White sealers. In order to survive, she learned to speak English and became proficient in the use of firearms.

These skills served her well as she later returned to her country in northern Tasmania in 1828, where she was able to gather men and women and initiated a revolt against invaders of her land. She trained her followers to use firearms and learned to wait to strike White invaders when they were most vulnerable; the moment between when they fired their gun and before they could reload. By instructing her people to kill the oppressor’s sheep and cattle she further crippled the White colonists. She is reported to have taunted others to come and capture her. In 1830 she narrowly escaped G.A. Robinson, a long time rival. She later fled to Port Sorell with her brother and two sisters but was instead taken to Bird Island by White sealers as a means of capture. She became known as “Mary Anne” and was later given to John Williams where she lived with other natives on Forsyth Island. In December of 1830 she plotted to kill one of her captors but her plans were foiled by Robinson and she was moved to Swan Island. Robinson eventually captured her. By February of 1831, Robinson had isolated Tarenorerer as he was afraid she would incite revolt. As such she was moved to another island, where she became ill and unfortunately died. 

Today, there are no official memorials to her, but there are still young Aboriginal people who fight the injustices carried out by the Australian government. 


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