Aboriginal Life Stories - Robinson's Clan Guides
Known also as Lydgudggee, and by Robinson as Lalla Rookh, Trugannini is translated in her language to mean Barilla which is a plant that is found on the coast and some of the outer islands. Trugannini was born in 1812 or 1813. She was a Karninghe clanswoman from Port Esperance and Mt Royal district on the Esperance River between Dover and Southport. Robinson described Trugannini as being intelligent and as speaking English well. Trugannini was married to Woorrady and both husband and wife joined Robinson's party in 1829. From a young age of sixteen she remained as one of Robinson's guides on all of his so called 'friendly mission' around the island until their last trek in 1835.
Trugannini and Woorrady accompanied Robinson on his visit to the colony of Victoria in 1841 and both were lucky to escape the gallows for their part in an alleged murdering rampage through Gippsland. She became a widow in 1842 when Woorrady died at sea on the return voyage from Victoria and was buried on Big Green Island off the west coast of Flinders Island. Her loyalty to Robinson has been debated in the literary world with one author asking whether she was a 'queen or traitor'(ref). Trugannini died on the 8th of May, 1876, from pulmonary affection at the grand age of about 64, in a house (now the Macquarie Motor Inn) at the corner of Macquarie and Harrington Streets in Hobart. Against her last wishes her remains were placed on public display and kept in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery for one hundred years. In 1976 Trugannini's remains were cremated and her ashes scattered in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel directly opposite her beloved clan country of Port Esperence.