Ben Lomond National Park

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Ben Lomond National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Nearest town or city Launceston
Coordinates 41°33′03″S 147°40′01″E / 41.55083°S 147.66694°E / -41.55083; 147.66694
Area 18,192 ha
Established 1947
Visitation 25,000 (in 1998)
Managing authorities Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service
Official site Ben Lomond National Park

The Ben Lomond National Park is located in the northeast of the Australian state of Tasmania, about 50 km east of Launceston. The park has an area of 18,192 ha[1] and was established on 23 July 1947.[1] It is classified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area because it supports populations of the Flame Robin and of at least ten Tasmanian endemic bird species, for which it is a representative protected area in north-eastern Tasmania.[2]

The namesake of the park is the mountain Ben Lomond, which is the second highest Tasmanian mountain after Mount Ossa. The highest peak of the mountain is actually named Legges Tor, but the term Ben Lomond is more commonly used. The mountain is one of the few skiing areas of Tasmania.

Aboriginal land-owners of Ben Lomond[edit]

The Ben Lomond tribe consisted of three and possibly four bands totalling 150–200 people who occupied 260 km2 (100 sq mi) of country surrounding the 182 km2 (70 sq mi) Ben Lomond plateau. Until 12,000 years ago, the plateau was covered by an ice cap, leaving it largely devoid of soil and lacking in resources.

In September 1829, John Batman (aged 28), with the assistance of several "Sydney blacks" he brought to Tasmania, led an attack on an Aboriginal family group together numbering 60–70 men, women and children in the Ben Lomond district of north-east Tasmania. Waiting until 11pm that night before attacking, he "...ordered the men to fire upon them..." as their 40-odd dogs raised the alarm and the Aborigines ran away into thick scrub, killing an estimated 15 people. The next morning, he left the place for his farm, with two badly wounded Tasmanian men, a woman and her two-year old boy, all of whom he captured. However, he "...found it impossible that the two former [the men] could walk, and after trying them by every means in my power, for some time, found I could not get them on I was obliged to shoot them." The captured woman, named Luggenemenener,[3] was later sent to Campbell Town gaol and separated from her two-year old son, Rolepana, "...whom she had faced death to protect."[4] Batman reported afterwards to British Colonial Secretary, John Burnett, in a letter of 7 September 1829, that he kept the child because he wanted " rear it...".[5] Luggenemenener died on 21 March 1837 as an inmate at the Flinders Island settlement.[6]

Later, Rolepana (aged 8 years), child-survivor of a massacre by a 'roving party' led by John Batman, travelled with him as part of the founding party of Melbourne in 1835. After Batman's death in 1839, Rolepana would have been 12 years old. Boyce notes that Rolepana was employed by colonist George Ware at 12 Pounds a year with Board on Batman's death, "...but what became of him after this is also unknown."[7] However, Haebich records Rolepana as having died in Melbourne in 1842 (he would have been about 15 years).[8] She also says that:

Batman openly defied Governor Arthur and [George Augustus] Robinson by refusing to hand over two Aboriginal boys in his employ: Rolepana (or Benny Ben Lomond) and Lurnerminer (John or Jack Allen), captured by Batman in 1828. He claimed the boys were there with the consent of their parents,....He also demonstrated a strong proprietorial interest in the boys, when he told Robinson they were 'as much his property as his farm and that he had as much right to keep them as the government'. Indeed Batman was convinced that the best plan was to leave the children with the colonists, who clothed and fed them at no expense to the government and raised them to become 'useful members of society'. In a series of letters to Governor Arthur, he 'pleaded hard for the retention of youths educated by settlers and devoted to their service'.[9]

In late 1830, as the infamous 'Black Line' (also known as the Black War) was being disbanded elsewhere in Tasmania, George Augustus Robinson spent a week in north-east Tasmania, searching without success, for the "Ben Lomond-Penny Royal Creek people".[10] In December, 1830, with 33 Tasmanian Aborigines having been removed to nearby Swan Island, Robinson sent a party to look for the Ben Lomond people, again unsuccessfully.[11]

After the failure of the 'Black Line' in 1830, Colonial Governor George Arthur announced on 14 March 1831 his new policy of the removal of Aborigines from Tasmania.[12] By then, 34 Tasmanian Aborigines were interned on Swan Island.[12] In August, 1831, Robinson "....gave an unequivocal commitment that if hostilities ceased, Aborigines would be protected and have their essential needs met by the government while being able to live and hunt within their own districts. These concessions, combined with the promised return of their women from the sealers, were the documented terms under which Mannalargenna joined [Robinson's] embassy."[13] But Robinson's commitment was deceitful. As Boyce notes, "Robinson must have been well aware that the agreement he had reached with Mannalargenna contradicted his own undertakings to the Aborigines Committee and the executive council [to Governor George Arthur]."[13] Mannalargenna insisted in his August 1831 negotiations with Robinson on "...a direct meeting..." with Governor George Arthur[14] and in October 1831, he got this in Hobart.[15]

Mannalargenna, an Aboriginal leader who organised guerrilla attacks against British soldiers in Tasmania during the period known as the Black War, was a Plangermaireener (one of the 3 bands) elder, and in 1835 became the first Aborigine in Tasmania to be given a "Christian" burial.

Historian Henry Reynolds notes of George Augustus Robinson: "His [Robinson's] guilt and need for self-justification were clearly apparent in a eulogy he delivered on the death of Manalargenna in December 1836. He paid generous tribute to his old companion's intelligence, resourcefulness and affability. Robinson clearly thought him a great man. What is more he understood and sympathised with Manalargenna's political views. The chief was, Robinson explained, 'fully sensible of the injustices done to himself and people in the usurpation of his country by the white intruders'. But now Manalargenna would go to heaven, he told the [Tasmanian Aboriginal] community [interned on Flinders Island], which was much better than returning to his homeland.[16] Mannalargenna died of pneumonia as an inmate on the Flinders Island Aboriginal settlement.[17]

Mannalargenna is also recorded as the leader of the "Oyster Bay Tribe".[10]

Walter George Arthur, son of a Ben Lomond elder, was the Wybalenna "activist" who petitioned Queen Victoria in 1846.[18] Historian Henry Reynolds book, Fate of a Free People, covers the activism of Walter George Arthur.[19] Walter George Arthur was born about 1820. His father Rolepa, was a "...leading man of the Ben Lomond tribe.." and known to Europeans as 'King George'. Walter was separated from his family in unrecorded circumstances and lived for several years around Launceston, Tasmania as one of numerous vagrant children. When taken into custody by George Augustus Robinson he was a "professional thief". He was sent to the Boy's Orphan School in Hobart in 1832.[20] In 1835, he was sent to Wybalenna settlement on Flinders Island where he remained until 1838.[21] He and his wife Mary-Anne went with Robinson when he was appointed Protector of Aborigines at Port Phillip [Victoria], returning to Flinders Island in 1842.[22] In 1856,while living at the government settlement of Oyster Cove, he applied (but was refused by the Superintendent] for permission to hire a convict pass-holder to work on his farm.[23] In 1858, he and his wife applied for land in the Huon Valley near Hobart under the Waste Land Act. They were told they would have to abstain from alcohol for a year before he would be considered.[23] Soon after May 1861, he drowned in a boating accident on the Derwent River as he and another Tasmanian Aborigine, Jack Allen, were returning to Oyster Cove from work on a whaling ship.[23]

The 19th century artist, John Glover (artist), captioned one of his Tasmanian paintings, Batman's Lookout, Benn Lomond (1835) "...on account of Mr Batman frequenting this spot to entrap the Natives."[24] Between 1828 and 1830, Tasmanians in this region were shot or rounded up by bounty hunters like John Batman.[24]

Image gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Reserve Listing - National Parks". National Parks website. Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania. Archived from the original on 26 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-21. 
  2. ^ "IBA: Ben Lomond". Birdata. Birds Australia. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  3. ^ Rosalind Stirling, John Batman: Aspirations of a Currency Lad, Australian Heritage, Spring 2007, p.41
  4. ^ James Boyce (2008) Van Dieman's Land, Black Inc, Melbourne, pp.200–201
  5. ^ Henry Reynolds, (1995) Fate of a Free People: A Radical Re-examination of the Tasmanian Wars, Penguin, Melbourne, p.81
  6. ^ Kristyn Harman, Send in the Sydney Natives! Deploying Mainlanders against Tasmanian Aborigines, University of Tasmania Web site (, p.14
  7. ^ James Boyce (2011) 1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia, Black Inc, Melbourne, footnote #136 on p.236
  8. ^ Anna Haebich, 2000, Broken circles: fragmenting indigenous families, 1800-2000, Fremantle Press, p.101
  9. ^ Anna Haebich, 2000, Broken circles: fragmenting indigenous families, 1800-2000, Fremantle Press, p.100
  10. ^ a b Vivian Rae-Ellis (1988) Black Robinson: Protector of Aborigines, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, p.65
  11. ^ Vivian Rae-Ellis (1988) Black Robinson: Protector of Aborigines, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, pp.66-67
  12. ^ a b James Boyce (2008) Van Dieman's Land, Black Inc, Melbourne, p.284
  13. ^ a b James Boyce (2008) Van Dieman's Land, Black Inc, Melbourne, p.286
  14. ^ James Boyce (2008) Van Dieman's Land, Black Inc, Melbourne, p.288
  15. ^ James Boyce (2008) Van Dieman's Land, Black Inc, Melbourne, p.290
  16. ^ Henry Reynolds (1995) Fate of a Free People, Penguin, p.155
  17. ^ Henry Reynolds (1995) Fate of a Free People, Penguin, p.187
  18. ^ >Henry Reynolds (1995) Fate of a Free People, Penguin, p.197
  19. ^ Henry Reynolds (1995) Fate of a Free People: A Radical Re-examination of the Tasmanian Wars, Penguin Books, Australia, p.159 ff
  20. ^ Henry Reynolds (1995) Fate of a Free People: A Radical Re-examination of the Tasmanian Wars, Penguin Books, Australia, p.16
  21. ^ Henry Reynolds (1995) Fate of a Free People, Penguin, p.17
  22. ^ >Henry Reynolds (1995) Fate of a Free People, Penguin, p.19
  23. ^ a b c Henry Reynolds (1995) Fate of a Free People, Penguin, p.20
  24. ^ a b Bill Gammage, (2011) The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, p.40