Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Convict King

Jorgen Jorgenson

1780 Jørgen Jørgensen (Jorgen Jorgenson), the ‘Convict King’, and one of the most incredible but true characters of Australian colonial folklore. He was King of Iceland, even claimed the throne of Denmark, but ended up homeless on the streets of the streets of Hobart.

The son of a Danish clockmaker to the royal family, adventurer Jorgenson became a convict and a government-appointed hunter of Aboriginals in the new British settlement of Van Diemen’s Land – Tasmania, as it is known now, Australia’s island state. Yet he was one of the colonists who knew the Aboriginal population best, having lived with them, and he wrote a couple of books about them. He claimed to have been the first whaler to have harpooned a whale in the River Derwent (1804).

Jorgenson was engaged as an interpreter on an English trading expedition to Iceland in the summer of 1809, where he proclaimed himself sovereign for the next two months ...

Pictured above, left to right: Jorgen Jorgenson portrait; portrait of an Aboriginal Australian, by Jorgenson; Jorgen Jorgenson self portrait

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