AustLit logo
image of person or book cover 8246651926838779236.jpg
Image courtesy of publisher's website.
Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 Into the Heart of Tasmania : A Search for Human Antiquity
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'In 1908 English gentleman, Ernest Westlake, packed a tent, a bicycle and forty tins of food and sailed to Tasmania. On mountains, beaches and in sheep paddocks he collected over 13,000 Aboriginal stone tools. Westlake believed he had found the remnants of an extinct race whose culture was akin to the most ancient Stone Age Europeans. But in the remotest corners of the island Westlake encountered living Indigenous communities. Into the Heart of Tasmania tells a story of discovery and realisation. One man's ambition to rewrite the history of human culture inspires an exploration of the controversy stirred by Tasmanian Aboriginal history. It brings to life how Australian and British national identities have been fashioned by shame and triumph over the supposed destruction of an entire race. To reveal the beating heart of Aboriginal Tasmania is to be confronted with a history that has never ended.' (Publication summary)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Rebe Taylor on Tasmania’s Chivalrous Ethnographer Martin Thomas , 2020 single work review
— Appears in: History Australia , vol. 17 no. 1 2020; (p. 216-217)

— Review of Into the Heart of Tasmania : A Search for Human Antiquity Rebe Taylor , 2017 single work biography

'In Hunters and Collectors (1996), his classic study of antiquarianism in Australia, Tom Griffiths captured something of the Victorian zeitgeist, especially its attitude to the first Australians. The book is populated with an extraordinary array of fanatical collectors, hellbent on acquiring every stone and bone they could lay their hands on. Some gathered artefacts by the cartload. The museums that would in time acquire many such collections were enriched by these labours. But Aboriginal people knew the violence of extracting patrimony from its place of belonging. The acquisition of material culture, nominally in the service of science, marked a tertiary phase in the process of colonisation.' (Introduction)

Stories in Stone Shannyn Palmer , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: History Australia , vol. 15 no. 3 2018; (p. 624-626)

'Rebe Taylor’s Into the Heart of Tasmania: A Search for Human Antiquity both begins and ends in the very recent past in Kutalayna, Tasmania. Known to the Tasmanian Aboriginal community as a seasonal meeting place of the mumirimina people, archaeological evidence has dated human occupation of the site at 41000 years, making it the oldest known site in Tasmania and one of the oldest in Australia. In 2009 the Tasmanian State Government chose it as the site for a bypass bridge that would divert traffic from Hobart suburbs, which led to the Aboriginal community launching a campaign to try and reroute the bypass and save this special place. It is there that we meet Jim Everett, a Tasmanian Aboriginal who Taylor has known for over fifteen years. At the beginning of the book Taylor writes that Everett has inspired and assisted her writing, guided her understanding of history, and been a key part of her ‘education’, and that this book is written in the ‘spirit of reciprocity’ for what he and other Tasmanian Aboriginal people have given her (p. 3). Beginning and ending her history with Jim in the here-and-now, situates Taylor’s book in a body of historical scholarship that ‘privileges the necessity of responding to the voices of the present as the starting point for studying the past’. 1 Thus, Into the Heart of Tasmania is both an excavation of Tasmania’s colonial past and an exploration of the ways in which that past, and Tasmania’s much deeper human history, continues to resonate in the present for Tasmanian Aboriginal people.' (Introduction)

y separately published work icon [Review] Into the Heart of Tasmania: A Search for Human Antiquity Lyndall Ryan , 2017 21779404 2017 single work review
— Review of Into the Heart of Tasmania : A Search for Human Antiquity Rebe Taylor , 2017 single work biography
Rebe Taylor is no stranger to the complex debate about Tasmanian Aboriginal extinction. In her first book, Unearthed: The Aboriginal Tasmanians of Kangaroo Island (2002), she explored the history of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community on Kangaroo Island and how it was forced to ‘disappear’ into the wider white community. In her latest book, she focuses on two leading British extinction theorists of the Tasmanian Aborigines in the twentieth century, Ernest Westlake (1855–1922) and Rhys Jones (1941–2001). She not only explores their collection of evidence for the antiquity of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people, she also shows how they overlooked other aspects of their findings that indicated that far from becoming extinct, the Tasmanian Aboriginal people had survived into the present.
y separately published work icon [Review] Into the Heart of Tasmania: A Search for Human Antiquity Lyndall Ryan , 2017 21779404 2017 single work review
— Review of Into the Heart of Tasmania : A Search for Human Antiquity Rebe Taylor , 2017 single work biography
Rebe Taylor is no stranger to the complex debate about Tasmanian Aboriginal extinction. In her first book, Unearthed: The Aboriginal Tasmanians of Kangaroo Island (2002), she explored the history of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community on Kangaroo Island and how it was forced to ‘disappear’ into the wider white community. In her latest book, she focuses on two leading British extinction theorists of the Tasmanian Aborigines in the twentieth century, Ernest Westlake (1855–1922) and Rhys Jones (1941–2001). She not only explores their collection of evidence for the antiquity of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people, she also shows how they overlooked other aspects of their findings that indicated that far from becoming extinct, the Tasmanian Aboriginal people had survived into the present.
[Review Essay] Into the Heart of Tasmania : A Search for Human Antiquity Kristyn Harman , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Historical Studies , vol. 48 no. 3 2017; (p. 451-452)

'The intriguing image of an early twentieth-century English gentleman bicycling around Tasmania with his tent to collect Aboriginal stone tools and interview descendants of the island’s first people will likely capture readers’ imaginations. The man was Ernest Westlake, a learned and eccentric Quaker who travelled extensively in pursuit of his intellectual goals.' (Introduction)

Rebe Taylor on Tasmania’s Chivalrous Ethnographer Martin Thomas , 2020 single work review
— Appears in: History Australia , vol. 17 no. 1 2020; (p. 216-217)

— Review of Into the Heart of Tasmania : A Search for Human Antiquity Rebe Taylor , 2017 single work biography

'In Hunters and Collectors (1996), his classic study of antiquarianism in Australia, Tom Griffiths captured something of the Victorian zeitgeist, especially its attitude to the first Australians. The book is populated with an extraordinary array of fanatical collectors, hellbent on acquiring every stone and bone they could lay their hands on. Some gathered artefacts by the cartload. The museums that would in time acquire many such collections were enriched by these labours. But Aboriginal people knew the violence of extracting patrimony from its place of belonging. The acquisition of material culture, nominally in the service of science, marked a tertiary phase in the process of colonisation.' (Introduction)

y separately published work icon [Review] Into the Heart of Tasmania: A Search for Human Antiquity Lyndall Ryan , 2017 21779404 2017 single work review
— Review of Into the Heart of Tasmania : A Search for Human Antiquity Rebe Taylor , 2017 single work biography
Rebe Taylor is no stranger to the complex debate about Tasmanian Aboriginal extinction. In her first book, Unearthed: The Aboriginal Tasmanians of Kangaroo Island (2002), she explored the history of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community on Kangaroo Island and how it was forced to ‘disappear’ into the wider white community. In her latest book, she focuses on two leading British extinction theorists of the Tasmanian Aborigines in the twentieth century, Ernest Westlake (1855–1922) and Rhys Jones (1941–2001). She not only explores their collection of evidence for the antiquity of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people, she also shows how they overlooked other aspects of their findings that indicated that far from becoming extinct, the Tasmanian Aboriginal people had survived into the present.
'Into the Heart of Tasmania : A Search for Human Antiquity' by Rebe Taylor Philip Jones , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , May no. 391 2017;
'The historian Rebe Taylor has a fascination with Australia’s southern islands and their capacity to contain or magnify issues of identity for their indigenous inhabitants, if not for their broader populations. Her first book, Unearthed: The Aboriginal Tasmanians of Kangaroo Island (2012), traced the forgotten story of the Tasmanian Aboriginal women taken there by British and American sealers during the early nineteenth century and the subsequent history of their families. Taylor was able to weave her journey of detection together with the islanders’ own hunches and clues as to their families’ misty origins. She was well aware that behind this remarkable story of retrieval loomed a darker tale of loss, violence, and guilt, centred on the island of Tasmania itself. Into the heart of Tasmania would be her next assignment.' (Introduction)
[Review Essay] Into the Heart of Tasmania : A Search for Human Antiquity Kristyn Harman , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Australian Historical Studies , vol. 48 no. 3 2017; (p. 451-452)

'The intriguing image of an early twentieth-century English gentleman bicycling around Tasmania with his tent to collect Aboriginal stone tools and interview descendants of the island’s first people will likely capture readers’ imaginations. The man was Ernest Westlake, a learned and eccentric Quaker who travelled extensively in pursuit of his intellectual goals.' (Introduction)

Stories in Stone Shannyn Palmer , 2018 single work essay
— Appears in: History Australia , vol. 15 no. 3 2018; (p. 624-626)

'Rebe Taylor’s Into the Heart of Tasmania: A Search for Human Antiquity both begins and ends in the very recent past in Kutalayna, Tasmania. Known to the Tasmanian Aboriginal community as a seasonal meeting place of the mumirimina people, archaeological evidence has dated human occupation of the site at 41000 years, making it the oldest known site in Tasmania and one of the oldest in Australia. In 2009 the Tasmanian State Government chose it as the site for a bypass bridge that would divert traffic from Hobart suburbs, which led to the Aboriginal community launching a campaign to try and reroute the bypass and save this special place. It is there that we meet Jim Everett, a Tasmanian Aboriginal who Taylor has known for over fifteen years. At the beginning of the book Taylor writes that Everett has inspired and assisted her writing, guided her understanding of history, and been a key part of her ‘education’, and that this book is written in the ‘spirit of reciprocity’ for what he and other Tasmanian Aboriginal people have given her (p. 3). Beginning and ending her history with Jim in the here-and-now, situates Taylor’s book in a body of historical scholarship that ‘privileges the necessity of responding to the voices of the present as the starting point for studying the past’. 1 Thus, Into the Heart of Tasmania is both an excavation of Tasmania’s colonial past and an exploration of the ways in which that past, and Tasmania’s much deeper human history, continues to resonate in the present for Tasmanian Aboriginal people.' (Introduction)

y separately published work icon [Review] Into the Heart of Tasmania: A Search for Human Antiquity Lyndall Ryan , 2017 21779404 2017 single work review
— Review of Into the Heart of Tasmania : A Search for Human Antiquity Rebe Taylor , 2017 single work biography
Rebe Taylor is no stranger to the complex debate about Tasmanian Aboriginal extinction. In her first book, Unearthed: The Aboriginal Tasmanians of Kangaroo Island (2002), she explored the history of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community on Kangaroo Island and how it was forced to ‘disappear’ into the wider white community. In her latest book, she focuses on two leading British extinction theorists of the Tasmanian Aborigines in the twentieth century, Ernest Westlake (1855–1922) and Rhys Jones (1941–2001). She not only explores their collection of evidence for the antiquity of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people, she also shows how they overlooked other aspects of their findings that indicated that far from becoming extinct, the Tasmanian Aboriginal people had survived into the present.
Last amended 26 Mar 2019 14:54:04
X