RepositoryDerbyshire Record Office
Archive Reference / Library Class No.D8760/F/OBJ/3
Former ReferenceD3311/OBJ
Title'Aboriginal doll'
DescriptionLabelled 'aboriginal doll', this black doll may once have belonged to Mathinna, an indigenous Australian girl adopted by Sir John and Lady Franklin whilst Sir John was Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemen's Land (modern Tasmania). The doll is wearing an 1830s or early 1840s style dress in a printed fabric with a red sash.

Mathinna (1835-?1852) was born to the chief of the Lowreenne tribe, Towgerer, and his wife Wongerneep. In 1833, the tribe had been rounded up and settled on Flinders Island, following conflicts between settlers and the indigenous people. Originally named Mary, she was given the more 'exotic' sounding name of Mathinna at around the age of six and was adopted by the Franklins, who brought her up with Sir John Franklin's daughter by his first wife, Eleanor (born 1824).

Eleanor was put in charge of Mathinna’s education, and a diary entry from Eleanor from 14 September 1841 mentions that Mathinna had been given a doll with a petticoat. Mathinna lived with the Franklins until Sir John was recalled to England in 1843. Having been advised that Mathinna would not survive the British climate, the Franklins left her at the Orphan School and she was later returned to Flinders Island. Abandoned to a life of poverty, she lived at Oyster Cove, south of Hobart and died at a young age, the precise date of which is unknown.
Extent1 item
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Archive CreatorGell family of Hopton Hall, Wirksworth
Access ConditionsThis item is currently on loan. Please contact the Derbyshire Record Office for further information.
CopiesA digital photograph of this object can be viewed on the public computers at the record office.
TermIndigenous populations
Ethnic groups

Show related Persons records.

Related Names
Name (click for further details)
Mathinna (c 1835-1852); Tasmanian aboriginal girl "adopted" by the Franklins
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