Historic horrors 

ON JANUARY 18, 1824, Adam Amos saw Aborigines near his property at Cranbrook on the East Coast. That was enough for him and his son to chase with a view to kill, eventually catching 30 Aborigines near Moulting Lagoon, although Amos said he failed to kill any of them.  Amos was granted 6000 acres of Aboriginal land. At the other end of Tasmania in January 1827, at Cape Grim, the master of the VDL vessel being detained by easterly winds, went with four shepherds on a hunt to kill natives. At first they killed 12, then a few days later found women and children mutton-birding. Those not killed outright were driven off the cliff at what is now called Suicide Bay. VDL was then granted all the land with title to low water mark on the basis there were no natives there. Successive governments have turned a blind eye to the blood- stained title to VDL, and left the title intact. In response to these murderous dispossessions, Premier Lara Giddings offers 148 hectares on the West Coast and 15 hectares at Eddystone Point. The government's effort trivialises the historic horrors, but for MLCs Ruth Forrest and Tania Rattray, the indignity needed more fuel. Trying their best to humiliate, they held up the transfer to make Aborigines grovel. The approach of this crop of politicians does no justice to the 25,000 good-hearted Tasmanians who, in 2000, walked the bridge hoping to change the ingrained animosity Tasmania had shown towards Aboriginal people. 

- MICHAEL MANSELL, Launceston. 

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