Jorgen Jorgenson
1780 - 1841

Jorgen Jorgenson was part of the founding party of Hobart who returned as a convict. In between, he had led the overthrow of Danish rule in Iceland. He wrote many books, including a study of the Tasmanian Aborigine.

In some ways, he was a Viking, born ten centuries too late; in other ways he was an adventurer on seas of thought born too soon….
Whether he rests now in Valhalla or in a Christian paradise or in any other have of far-faring mariners, he could at least have the satisfaction of having used his time no earth to the fullest extent.

Clune, Frank & P.R. Stephensen The Viking Of Van Diemen's Land: The Stormy Life Of Jorgen Jorgensen Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1954, p. 476


Even by the ugler standards of that ugly island, Jorgen Jorgensen -- in spite of his affectations -- was a miserable looking piece of pelican shit, all elongated & sharp angles, a coat hanger of a body trying to remember the coat that years before had fallen off. Invariably he wore an overly long & rusting sword that trailed in the dust & mud behind him, with his principal companion -- a mangy three-legged dog he called Elsinor -- hopping along in its rutted wake.

Richard Flanagan Gould's Book of Fish Sydney: Picador, 2001, p. 146

Had the records of the Colony not been preserved with fidelity and case, and had the whole generation passed away which first settled in Van Diemen's Land, it is not improbable that some future writer might have extolled Walloa, the female native, into a heroine, as the defender of her native woods against the aggressors of the British and placed her on a level with the British Queen who, it is said, resisted the Roman Arms for nine years.

N.J.B. Plomley Jorgen Jorgenson And The Aborigines Of Van Diemen's Land Hobart: Blubber Head Press, 1991, p. 80


I do not recollect another instance upon record where a whole nation carrying on for a series of years an interminable warfare with the inhabitants of a British Colony and then finally, as by magic, surrendering themselves into the hands of the government.

N.J.B. Plomley Jorgen Jorgenson And The Aborigines Of Van Diemen's Land Hobart: Blubber Head Press, 1991, p. 47


If it should be our sincere wish to soften the manners of the latter [aborigines], we must seek them in their forests, we must accustom them to behold us, and converse with us without restraint: we must imitate the example of those holy fathers who converted the Greenlanders and the savage tribes, which subsisted in a manner scarcely different from that of wild beats, in Siberia, and other parts of the dominions of the Czars…
The superior should be a man of singular humanity and penetration, and guided by those nobler considerations which are not common to ordinary minds. The apparel of the inmates of this remote habitation should be different from that of other whites ever seen by the natives, in order to excite veneration, and induce to a belief of peaceable and friendly intentions toward them. The white men should be taught to traverse the country without endeavouring too early to promote any intercourse with the blacks : go to and fro seemingly inattentive to what was passing around them; avoid all offensive conduct, and if attempts were made to attack them, they should retreat and not discharge a shot till it was clearly demonstrable that no other means were left to escape: even then random shots should be fired; in fact every thing should be tried to soothe the natives, and to convince them that from this party they could have nothing to fear…. we should see our black brethren hold out the olive branch to our view….
What must then be the feelings of our descendents, when reflecting that they could not hold their possessions but for the fatal policy which had delivered over to extermination a people who were guilty of no other crime than accidently coming into contact with strangers from a far country, and who by no title of law nor justice could exercise the right of despoiling them of their natural inheritance. Heaven avert so foul a stain on the British character!

N.J.B. Plomley Jorgen Jorgenson And The Aborigines Of Van Diemen's Land Hobart: Blubber Head Press, 1991, p. 35

Higher state

It has long been a question of disputation, whether the untutored savage of the civilised man enjoys the greater share of happiness. I should not hesitate for one moment to assign the preference to the former, were it not that, man in a savage state can never attain to those transcendent virtues and those noble qualities of the mind which alone can be acquired by superior knowledge derived from proper attention to education; and which so clearly and forcibly point out to us that we were not born solely for this world, but with a design to advance ourselves hereafter infinitely higher in the scale of the creation, than our corporeal shackles will permit us to do here.

N.J.B. Plomley Jorgen Jorgenson And The Aborigines Of Van Diemen's Land Hobart: Blubber Head Press, 1991, p. 34

'I have had my full share of days, little is there in this world to care for. The joys of human life are fleeting and transicent; they may be likened to two friends meeting each other on a hasty journey, who ask a few questions, and then part, perhaps for ever, leaving nothing behind but a tender regret. Such is it with the joyous hours of our transitory existence.'

Dan Sprod The Usurper: Jorgen Jorgenson And His Turbulent Life In Iceland And Van Diemen's Land 1780-1841 Hobart: Blubber Head Press, 2001, p. 612