Trawlwoolway artist Julie Gough is a descendant of Aboriginal leaders in Tasmania including Woretemoeteyenner (c.1790–1847), a Trawlwoolway woman from Tebrikunna in north east Lutruwita (Tasmania), and Mannalargenna (c.1775–1835), leader of the Plangermaireener. Gough creates works of art that often draw on the histories of her ancestors. She does not shy away from speaking the truth. Her works of art explore and expose forgotten histories and challenge the established colonial narrative perpetuated in Australia’s national story.

Gough’s studies of pre-history archaeology equip her with the foundational skills of working with the archive – investigating, gathering, trawling through and analysing historical records. Working with the colonial archive, Gough likens herself to a detective; her forensic approach has sustained her art practice for the past twenty-five years. Working closely with historic texts and material collections Gough creates installations, site-specific works, sound and video, and is a leading academic. Her work challenges the one-sidedness of the colonial archive as a national story and considers the ways in which the past continues to shape the present.

Articles and Books

Cumpston, Nici. Tarnanthi 2021. Adelaide: Art Gallery of South Australia, 2021.

Franks, Rachel. “Governor Arthur's Proclamation to the Aborigines.State Library of New South Wales. Accessed 7 September, 2021.

Harmon, Steph. “Murders, massacres and the black war: Julie Gough’s horrifying journey in colonial genocide.The Guardian. 28 June, 2019.

Gough, Julie. “The chase: Finding the hidden figures of history.” Art Monthly Australasia. May, 2017, i298, p56-61.

Gough, Julie. Dark Secrets/Home Truths. Exhibition Catalogue. Melbourne: Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi. September, 1996.

Judd, Craig. “Julie Gough: Tense Past.Artlink.11 October, 2019.

National Museum of Australia. “The Black Line.”National Museum of Australia. Accessed 7 September, 2021.

Sheils, Julie."Julie Gough’s ‘Tense Past’ reminds us how the brutalities of colonial settlement are still felt today", The Conversation, June 24, 2019.

Strzelecki, Gloria. “Julie Gough, The Promise II.” AGSA Magazine, i45, Summer, 2021.

Watts, Richard. “Review: Julie Gough: Tense Past, TMAG (Dark Mofo).Artshub. 12 June, 2019.


Art and Australia.“Confrontation of our Tense Past for a Conscious Present”. Accessed 7 September, 2021.

Australian War Memorial. “Governor Davey’s Proclamation to the Aborigines (1816).” Accessed 7 September, 2021.

Julie Gough. Artist website. Accessed 7 September, 2021.


“In the Making: Julie Gough.Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. 13 July, 2021.

Julie Gough: Tense Past.Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. 14 June, 2019.

This Place – Artist Series – Julie Gough.National Gallery of Australia. 24 February, 2020.

  • Gough’s Trawlwoolway ancestry and the incomplete stories of her ancestors from the Tasmanian colonial archive is a vital part of her art making. Research Tasmanian history and the impact European invasion had on Aboriginal people, including the Black War of the 1820s. You might begin by finding out more about Gough’s ancestors specifically, Woretemoeteyenner and Mannalargenna.
  • Gough represents histories in new ways that force us to ask questions and re-evaluate Australian history and culture today. After you have researched Tasmanian history, share your findings with your family and class. What aspect did you find shocking that perhaps you or your family were not aware of previously?

Hear from Trawlwoolway artist Julie Gough, who will speak about her installation for Tarnanthi titled Psychoscape on display in Gallery 8 at AGSA. Recorded live at our Educator Connect event on November 5th 2021.

Julie Gough, Trawlwoolway people, Tasmania, born Melbourne 1965, The Promise, 2019, Hobart, found chair, vellum, LED light, dimensions variable © Julie Gough

Julie Gough, Trawlwoolway people, Tasmania, born Melbourne 1965, The Promise, 2019, Hobart, found chair, vellum, LED light, dimensions variable © Julie Gough; photo: Simon Cuthbert.

Psychoscape & Promise II

Making and responding activities

Julie Gough, Trawlwoolway people, Tasmania, born 1965, Melbourne, Malahide, 2008, Hobart, coal, antlers, 200.0 x 133.0 x 35.0 cm; Lillemor Andersen Bequest Fund 2008, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Julie Gough.


Making and responding activities

Tarnanthi is presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia with Principal Partner BHP and support from the Government of South Australia

The Gallery’s Learning programs are supported by the Department for Education.

This education resource has been developed and written in collaboration with Dr. Belinda Howden, Kylie Neagle, Dr. Lisa Slade and Gloria Strzelecki.