Biographical entry: Plomley, Norman James Brian (1912 - 1994)


Historian and Writer


Norman James Brian Plomley, one of the most respected and scholarly of historians writing about the Tasmanian Aborigines, was born in Sydney, and graduated BSc (Sydney, 1935) and MSc (Tasmania, 1947).


During a varied academic career he worked in England, Hobart, Sydney and Melbourne, mostly as a lecturer in Anatomy. He donated his collection of books, maps and papers and established the Plomley Foundation at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Launceston: he had been the Museum's Director from 1946 to 1950 and was an honorary research associate there at the time of his death.

Plomley's major books are Friendly mission (Hobart, 1966), The Baudin expedition and the Tasmanian Aborigines 1802 (Hobart, 1983), Weep in silence (Hobart, 1987) and The General … Bruny d'Entrecasteaux (Launceston, 1993). Plomley's publications reawakened interest in the study of Tasmanian Aboriginal history, and his Friendly Mission in particular can be regarded as a seminal work in this field.

Barbara Valentine

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