One of the first Aborigines Robinson recorded meeting in 1829 when he began his career as a conciliator was Trukanini, then aged eighteen. During her lifetime she was the subject of portraits by colonial painters and photographers and towards the end of her life was 'celebrated' by scientists as 'the last Tasmanian'. Refusing her deathbed wish for cremation in 1876, they exhumed her body two years later and articulated her skeleton for public display as 'the last of her race', first in Melbourne in 1904 and then in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery until 1947. We now know that parts of her body also found their way into museums all over the world, particularly in the United Kingdom, where they were considered the most primitive link in the human evolutionary chain. The publication of 'Friendly Mission' and the new information it contained about the Tasmanian Aborigines, in particular about Trukanini as an historical actor, assisted in the resurgence of the Aboriginal community in Tasmania and their campaign for the return of her remains. They championed her as a brave Aboriginal leader who had been cruelly used and abused by settlers and scientists. On the centenary of her death in 1976 they reached an agreement with the Tasmanian Government for the return of her remains which were then cremated and her ashes scattered in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel.
Reading Robinson: Companion Essays to Friendly Mission p. 147-159