Walyer

Walyer (Tarenorerer, Waloa, Walloa), (c 180031) Aboriginal resistance fighter. Tarenorerer, a young Tomeginee woman, known as Walyer by the sealers, became a resistance fighter in 1828. She gathered an army of other disenchanted Aborigines in warfare. She 'hated the luta tawin [white man] as much as she did a black snake', for the injuries perpetrated against her people through massacre, torture, enslavement, incarceration, disease and the stealing of Aboriginal women by sealers. The women stolen were enslaved and tortured in attempts to make them submissive, raped, and traded for goods, services and animals. Tarenorerer refused to bend and nurtured her anger and hatred. The sealers increasingly became frustrated at her refusal to be victimised.

In 1828 Tarenorerer escaped from sealers on the Bass Strait islands and returned to her Country where she lead the remnants of her people to war and strategically planned her attacks. They proved to be 'masters of guerrilla warfare' and Tarenorerer became the most infamous. Tarenorerer was eventually captured and GA Robinson noted that it was a 'most fortunate thing that this woman is apprehended and stopped in her murderous career... The dire atrocities... would be the most dreadful... conceived'. Robinson saw that it was 'a matter of considerable importance to the peace and tranquillity of those districts where she and her formidable coadjutors had made themselves so conspicuous in their wanton and barbarous aggression'. Tarenorerer was isolated from the other Aborigines because of Robinson's fear of her ability to incite revolt. She became ill with influenza and died in 1831.

Tarenorerer fought with bravery and tenacity in 'a war for which there are no [visible] memorials'. The Tasmanian Aboriginal community honours her memory and acknowledges her as a true warrior of the cause which has continued to today. Her memorial is the example she set for the future generations of her people who have survived, adjusted, and grown stronger in the example set by their forebears.

Further reading: V Ellis, 'Trucanini', THRAPP 23/2, 1976; M Levy, 'G.A. Robinson & the whaling-sealing fraternity', THRAPP 5/4, 1957; D Lowe, Forgotten rebels, Melbourne, 1994; N Plomley (ed), Friendly mission, Hobart, 1966.

Vicki maikutena Matson-Green

 [There are two entries on this topic, from two points of view.]