Musquito – Aboriginal Resistance Hero
Musquito (c?1780 – 1825)
Musquito (c?1780 – 1825) was one of the early Aboriginal resistance heroes who emerged in the Hawkesbury River and Broken Bay regions of New South Wales.
He was possibly a Kuring-gai man from around Broken Bay in New South Wales although the Australian Dictionary of Biography says he was was an Eora man, born on the north shore of Port Jackson, New South Wales.
Musquito led many of the attacks on settlers and their property along the New South Wales Central coast.
In 1805 Musquito was transported to Norfolk Island most likely for leading the resistance against the new settlers who were invading his country along the lower Hawkesbury River.
From Norfolk Island in 1813, Musquito was sent to Tasmania, then called Van Diemans Land.
He was put to work as a stockman for one of the British settlers, Edward Lord. The then Lieutenantant-Governor, Colonel William Sorell, sought Musquito’s help to track down the bushranger, Michael Howe.
In return for doing this Musquito was promised his freedom to return to his people in New South Wales. Howe was captured but Sorell broke his promise of freedom.
In about 1819 Musquito returned to the Tasmanian bush and joined the Laremairremener people from Oyster Bay who ran a resistance campaign against the British.
A series of successful raids on outlying farms planned and led by Musquito saw the military on his trail.
In 1820s Musquito allegedly participated in raids which resulted in the death of several colonists.
Lieutenant-Governor George Arthur offered a reward for his capture and he was captured in 1825.
Musquito’s several years of successful guerrilla warfare came to an end when two bushrangers-cum-bounty hunters led by a renegade called Teague tracked him down and shot him.
The wounded Musquito and his fellow resistance fighter, Black Jack, were taken back to Hobart where they were eventually hanged.
According to Dr Michael Powell “Musquito’s death may have stirred up ill-feeling in Tasmanian Indigenous communities and led to a violent period known as the Black War.”
Australian Dictionary Of Biography http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/musquito-13124
Barlow, Alex and Hill, Marji The Macmillan Encyclopedia Australia’s Aboriginal Peoples. Volume 5. South Yarra, Vic, Macmillan, 2000.
Grassby, Al and Hill, Marji Six Australian Battlefields. North Ryde, NSW, Angus & Robertson , 1988.
Powell, Michael in http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-02/musquito-and-tasmanias-black-war/8075714
Wise, C. “Black rebel: “Mosquito” pp. 1-7 in E.Fry (ed), Rebels And Radicals. Sydney, Allen & Unwin, 1983.
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