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Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner

About Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner

Many of us are familiar with the story of Ned Kelly, but far few have heard of Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner, who are incredibly significant figures in Melbourne’s early history.

Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner’s story reveals key aspects of Aboriginal history in Melbourne and beyond. These men were born in Tasmania and brought to Melbourne by George Augustus Robinson, ‘Protector of Aborigines’ to Melbourne in 1839. In 1842, they became the first people to be hanged in Melbourne after they were convicted for the murder of two whale-hunters in the Western Port area. Their execution was the biggest story of the day in the newspapers.

Their execution took place before the existence of Old Melbourne Gaol on Russell Street, which was being constructed at the time. Instead, they were publicly hanged on Franklin Street, behind the City Baths. They are now understood to be buried on the site of the Queen Victoria Market.

Their stories touch on the history of crime and publishment in early Melbourne; the establishment of Melbourne in its wider context of conflict over land, important legal questions debated at the time, the treatment of Aboriginal people in Tasmania, and the any historical and community links between Port Phillip and Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania).

Their stories are central to an understanding of Melbourne’s past, present and future.

Expressions of interest - Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner public art installation

The City of Melbourne recently sought expressions of interest (EOI) from experienced artists to design and develop an installation to mark the location, story and events of Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner. 

The installation will be informed by the historical information about Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner, which you can access by reading the research report Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner: The involvement of Aboriginal people from Tasmania in key events of early Melbourne.

The expressions of interest closed Monday 16 February.

If you have any questions about this EOI process please call 03 9658 9658 or email TaM@melbourne.vic.gov.au

Bank account for public contributions

The community has indicated a strong desire to contribute financially to the art installation to mark the stories of Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner and have approached the City of Melbourne to help. If you are interested in making a contribution, you can do so through Westpac, either in-person or online, to the City of Melbourne T&M account, BSB: 033-009, account number 580540. Please note that donations are not tax deductible.

If you have any questions about making a contribution, call 03 9658 9658.

Location of the installation

The installation to mark the stories of Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner is to be located on a small reserve at the intersection of Victoria and Franklin Streets, in proximity to the site known to be where the two Tasmanian Aboriginal men were hanged.

Historical account of Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner

In 2012-13 a City of Melbourne research project began to investigate the potential for memorialisation of these two Aboriginal men. This came as the result of City of Melbourne’s commitment to this action in its Indigenous Heritage Action Plan.

The outcome of this research project is a booklet about Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner’s background and importance to Melbourne’s past and present, called 'Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner: The involvement of Aboriginal people from Tasmania in key events of early Melbourne'. Read the booklet:

Different forms of monuments

You can also read a discussion of appropriate forms of monuments or public commemorations of histories like this one that are complex, in Forms for Monuments to Complex Histories (PDF, 2.7MB).  



Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner