Lucy Beeton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Lucy Beeton (or Beadon; 14 May 1829 – 7 July 1886) was an Aboriginal Tasmanian schoolteacher and trader.

Beeton was born on Gun Carriage Island, part of the Furneaux Group in the eastern Bass Strait, in what was then the colony of Van Diemen's Land. Her father was Thomas Beeton,[a] who was descended from a London Jewish family and had been transported to Tasmania in 1817 after mutinying from the Royal Navy. After completing his sentence in 1824, he established himself as a sealer in Bass Strait.[1] He subsequently purchased an Aboriginal woman, known as Bet Smith, to be his wife. Bet Smith, whose Palawa name was Emmerenna, had been abducted from Cape Portland as a child by John Harrington, a sealer, and had been "claimed" by Thomas Tucker, another sealer, after Harrington's death in 1824, who then sold her to Beeton.[2] In 1831, two years after Beeton was born, her father was forced to leave Gun Carriage Island so that George Augustus Robinson, the Protector of Aborigines, could establish an Aboriginal-only settlement. However, Thomas Beeton then requested that his family be allowed to live with him, which was approved by the colony's Lieutenant-Governor, George Arthur. In the mean time, Robinson's settlement had been moved to Flinders Island, allowing the Beeton family to live on Gun Carriage Island. As Lucy Beeton grew older, she was taught by her father how to sail and do business, and was later sent to George Town and Launceston (on the Tasmanian mainland) to be tutored.[1]

She went on to be called "larger than life", in part because she weighed 140 kilos, and the 'Queen of the Isles'.[3] Stephen Murray-Smith called her, “the most notable personality produced by the second generation of islanders.”[4] She established a school on Badger Island and petitioned the government to fund a teacher. A scholarship is named for her.[5] She also had a role in business. She never married and was actively a Christian.


  1. ^ Alternatively Baden, Beadon, or Beedon.


  1. ^ a b Breen, Shayne (2005). "Beeton, Lucy (1829–1886)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  2. ^ Nigel Prickett, "Trans-Tasman stories: Australian Aborigines in New Zealand sealing and shore whaling", in Geoffrey Clark, Foss Leach, and Sue O'Connor (eds.), Terra Australis, vol. 29, June 2008, ANU Press, pp. 360–361
  3. ^ ABC.Net from 2011
  4. ^ Murray-Smith, Stephen (editor); Brownrigg, Marcus (1987). Mission to the islands; the missionary voyages in Bass Strait of Cannon Marcus Brownrigg, 1872-1885 (2nd ed.). Launceston: Foot & Playstead. p. xxvi. ISBN 0858530368.
  5. ^ Australian Education Network