Walyer (aka Te Nor and Tarenorerer), a Plair-Leke-Liller-Plue woman from Tasmania, was one of the finest, most skilled and strong-willed warriors that fought within many of the frontier wars throughout Australia during the resistance of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander against the invasion of the white settlers upon the first contact and during the past 200 years.
George Robinson, The Chief Protector of the Aborigines in the Port Phillip District (Victoria) during her time of capture, referred to Walyer as ‘an Amazon Women’.
As stated Wayler’s journey begin in Tasmania, however, one source says Wayler was said to be abducted and traded by rival tribesman’s in a bid trade to a white man for food and resources – there are other sources saying she left freely to live with the settlers however they aren’t so convincing due to the mistreatment that was served to the Aboriginal people by white men.
Wayler was then taken off country with this white man where she was raped and was cruelly subjected to inhumane mistreatment among the white population. Some accounts say this was the fuel to her rage and motivation in conjunction with dispossession, land theft and the mass murdering of her people. Although Walyer was Aboriginal she maintained her position in power by overturning any male opposition in the Aboriginal community – Walyer was true to her motives and her power matched her will. She was a true warrior of her time.
With her time living with sealers she picked up many skills that would assist her in the battlefield for herself and her people. She was quick to learn English and mastered the skills of a firearm to the point where she was known to fire and load a gun faster than any of her enemies. She broke away from the sealers that she was forced to live with a source saying that she made a new tribe and begin inhouse fighting for power among other tribes of the area at the time.
Wayler was so skilled in her efforts Matson-Green has portrayed Walyer as a resistance leader who organised the first-ever guerrilla campaigns in Australia which aimed to rid Tasmania of the white invaders. In her own words:
"She gathered an army of other disenchanted Aborigines in warfare. She 'hated the luta tawin [white man] as much as she did a black snake', for the injuries perpetrated against her people through massacre, torture, enslavement, incarceration, disease and the stealing of Aboriginal women by sealers” - convict creations (2020).
Wayler continued her fight against the luta tawin (white man) standing up for her people and the injustice that the convicts brought to this country. Wayler continued up until the end of her time after being caught during battle and died due to another battle Aboriginal people fought alongside the white man, influenza.
After Wayler’s time and the impact of her powerful presence presented to the Aboriginal People and the white man British authorities were concerned about the relationships the convicts had with the Aboriginal people as the skills can be passed on and used against them, in a much spirited and skilful manner like Wayler had proven.
A statement by the artist that patined the picture used in this blog is so beautifully put and true in every way:
Julie Dowling, 2006 explains Walyer as “A representation of the hundreds of women who fought for their land against the invading colonial forces. Walyer also represents the women of today who see that their struggle has never ceased in obtaining rights for their people over their land and lore…”
Information collected from: