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Musquito: Swings The Hatchet
Thursday 10th April 1822:
Musquito: Swinging The Hatchet
    Possibly the most violent of Tasmania's bushrangers in the 1820s was an Aboriginal named Musquito -- a highly intelligent man who formed a savage Aboriginal army to avenge the destruction of his people by white settlers.
    Originally belonging to a tribe in Broken Bay, New South Wales, Musquito had been convicted of the murder of an Aboriginal woman and was first sent to Norfolk Island penal settlement, then to Tasmania in 1813.
    Tall, wiry and possessing highly acute senses, Musquito was later recruited by Lieutenant-Governor Sorell to track down bushrangers, but received no reward for his work. Instead he was left to drift penniless about the countryside and was constantly harassed by convicts for being 'the Hangman's Bloodhound'.
Guerilla band
    Full of resentment, he formed a small army from the renegade Aboriginals who frequented the Hobart docks. Out in the bush the mob raided settlements, and attempted to live off the land. But traditional food sources had largely disappeared, so Musquito and his band became increasingly dependent on the bounty they could pillage. Musquito steadily built his group into a highly trained band of guerillas.
    Musquito's favourite weapon was the hatchet, which he used with great skill both at close range or by throwing. Either way he was quite capable of parting head from body.
   The Aboriginal gang claimed many victims in the sparsely settled countryside of eastern Tasmania and butchered hundreds of cattle and sheep. Finally their depradations were brought to an end when Governor Sorell employed another Aboriginal to track them down. Musquito was hanged in Hobart Town, claiming prior to his death that hanging was 'all right for white fellow; he used to it'.
   Ironically the Aboriginal who had tracked down Musquito turned to murder soon after, for like Musquito he too was given no reward for his services. Finally the Governor learnt a lesson and provided payment.
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