Into the Heart of Tasmania

A Search For Human Antiquity

Rebe Taylor
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Into the Heart of Tasmania

A Search For Human Antiquity

Rebe Taylor

In 1908 English gentleman, Ernest Westlake, packed a tent, a bicycle and forty tins of food and sailed to Tasmania. On mountains, beaches and in sheep paddocks he collected over 13,000 Aboriginal stone tools. Westlake believed he had found the remnants of an extinct race whose culture was akin to the most ancient Stone Age Europeans. But in the remotest corners of the island Westlake encountered living Indigenous communities.

Into the Heart of Tasmania tells a story of discovery and realisation. One man's ambition to rewrite the history of human culture inspires an exploration of the controversy stirred by Tasmanian Aboriginal history. It brings to life how Australian and British national identities have been fashioned by shame and triumph over the supposed destruction of an entire race. To reveal the beating heart of Aboriginal Tasmania is to be confronted with a history that has never ended.
In 1908 English gentleman, Ernest Westlake, packed a tent, a bicycle and forty tins of food and sailed to Tasmania. On mountains, beaches and in sheep paddocks he collected over 13,000 Aboriginal stone tools. Westlake believed he had found the remnants of an extinct race whose culture was akin to the most ancient Stone Age Europeans. But in the remotest corners of the island Westlake encountered living Indigenous communities.

Into the Heart of Tasmania tells a story of discovery and realisation. One man's ambition to rewrite the history of human culture inspires an exploration of the controversy stirred by Tasmanian Aboriginal history. It brings to life how Australian and British national identities have been fashioned by shame and triumph over the supposed destruction of an entire race. To reveal the beating heart of Aboriginal Tasmania is to be confronted with a history that has never ended.

...one has to admire Taylor’s intrepid and creative research methodology, which sees her combine the biography of a high eccentric with an exploration of contemporary Tasmanian identity politics.”
Australian Book Review

Into the Heart of Tasmania is Rebe Taylor’s effort to reimagine his journey and, by doing so, to return us to a sense of the long and deep history of indigenous habitation in Australia.”
Geordie Williamson, The Australian

Rebe Taylor

Rebe Taylor

Associate Professor Rebe Taylor is a historian and writer who works at the University of Tasmania, Australia. She has more than twenty years of experience researching and writing the histories of southeast Australian indigenous peoples and European settlement for academic and literary publications and web resources. Her most recent book is Into the Heart of Tasmania, published by Melbourne University Press. She is currently researching an international history of cultural extinction and survival from…

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