Musquito

Musquito

Musquito (1780? – 25 February, 1825) was an Aboriginal bushranger based in Tasmania. He was born near Sydney and transported to Tasmania for murdering his wife.

After his release he turned to working as a wilderness tracker. According to some sources, he supplemented his wages by pimping Aboriginal women to white men. Eventually, he fled to the bush and put together a gang of Aborigines who robbed and murdered white settlers and their farmhands. Eventually captured by an Aboriginal tracker, he was convicted of robbery and the murder of a Tahitian ranchhand named Mammoa. Musquito was sentenced to hang. The sentence was carried out at Hobart, Tasmania on 25 February 1825.

One of the more notorious bushrangers was an Aborigine from New South Wales called Musquito who had been employed as a stockman and later as a black tracker. In this latter role he had been instrumental in the capture of many bushrangers. In 1823 Musquito was transported to Tasmania for the murder of his wife, an event which was not a crime under Aboriginal law. He found he was under constant persecution from his fellow white prisoners because he had been a black tracker and feared for his life. According to sources he made several appeals to the authorities for protection but these fell on deaf ears. Despairing of his safety he subsequently escaped and became a bushranger. With the aid of another Aboriginal named Black Jack he led a gang of Tasmanian Aborigines in raids against white settlers and storekeepers (presumably for supplies) for about two years. He was responsible for at least two murders, including that of a storekeeper named William Holyoak at Grindstone on 15 November 1823. For Musquito there could be only one end and on 12 August 1824 he was wounded and captured by another Aborigine named Tagg. He was tried at Hobart and defended by an able lawyer named Gilbert Robertson. Robertson argued that Musquito had only killed in self defence (which may well be true, as far as can be ascertained the gang were only ever armed with spears against settlers muskets), but to no avail. Found guilty Musquito was condemned to death by hanging, for which sentence he commented, "Hanging no bloody good for blackfellow." When asked, "Why not as good for blackfellow as whitefellow?" he replied, "Oh, very good for whitefellow, he used to it." It is as good a summation of the times as any. Unfortunately, Musquito also had to get used to it. He was hanged in Hobart in 1825, possibly more another victim of cross-race misunderstanding than any deliberate intent to violence.

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