Commemorative event for Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner

The Bass Coast Reconciliation Network invites the community to join us in commemorating the lives of Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner, two Tasmanian Aboriginal men who were publicly hanged in Melbourne in 1842.

The men were convicted for the murder of two whale-hunters in the Western Port area and on 20 January 1842, became the first people hanged in Melbourne.

At the time they were labelled ‘blood thirsty outlaws’ but are now recognised as freedom fighters resisting colonial occupation and injustices.

The pair were captured at or near Harmers Haven in Cape Paterson, which is why we are committed to remember them at an annual ceremony in the region.

Join us at 9.45 am for a 10 am start at Wonthaggi’s Wishart Reserve on Friday 20 January to honour the two men and acknowledge the injustice dealt to them and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples during colonisation.

There will be a smoking ceremony followed by guest speakers and a gathering together to remember.  Everyone is welcome to attend.

Bass Coast Reconciliation Network has members from Bass Coast Shire Council, Bass Coast Health, Westernport Water, Phillip Island Nature Parks, Bunurong Land Council, Bass Coast South Gippsland Reconciliation Group and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community members and is pleased to see organisations come together with the community to acknowledge and celebrate this important date of significance.

Quote attributed to Mary Mutsaers, Bass Coast/South Gippsland Reconciliation Group

“The Bass Coast South Gippsland Reconciliation Group initiated the commemoration of Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner some years ago to recognise our history and bring people together, moving forward with greater understanding of our shared humanity, and committing to working collaboratively for equality and social justice.”

Quote attributed to Uncle Anthony Egan, Traditional Owner, Bunurong / Trawlwoolway

“The tragic hanging of Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner is a horrific part of our history, and we need to acknowledge this.”

“Now we’re responsible for supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people without unconscious bias to achieve their aspirations for the future.”

To learn more about Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner and their significant role in our history, visit

To learn more about the BCRN, visit:

Joint Media Release – Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner Commemorative event 20 January 2023



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