Wauba Debar

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Wauba Debar's grave and headstone in Bicheno

Wauba Debar (1792–1832) was a female Aboriginal Tasmanian. Her grave is a historic site located in the east coast Tasmanian town of Bicheno, which memorialises her rescue of two sealers, one of them her husband, when their ship was wrecked about 1 km from shore during a storm. She assisting first her husband, then the other sealer safely to shore.

The grave site overlooks Waubs Bay and Warbs Harbour both of which were named after her, and is listed on the Tasmanian Heritage list.[1]

Wauba Debar, as a teenager, was one of many Aboriginal women kidnapped and enslaved by sealers and whalers for sexual partners during the European colonisation of Tasmania. She was a strong swimmer.

She died in a boat off the coast whilst travelling towards the Furneaux Group and her body was brought ashore and buried. Local settlers raised funds in 1855 to erect the headstone on her grave, immortalising her act of heroism.[2][3]

Although, there are conflicting stories about the death and burial of Wauba Debar. In 1893, elderly Bicheno residents said Wauba was buried 10 years before the date on the headstone, placing her death around 1822.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ eHeritage, Headstone of Wauba DEBAR, State Library of Tasmania. Retrieved 18 October 2008
  2. ^ Bicheno Online Access Centre, Community History. Retrieved 18 October 2008
  3. ^ Derek John Mulvaney, Encounters in Place: Outsiders and Aboriginal Australians, 1606-1985, University of Queensland Press, 1989, ISBN 0-7022-2153-8
  4. ^ Megan, Stronach (15 December 2020). "Wauba Debar, an Indigenous swimmer from Tasmania who saved her captors". History Guild.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)