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This Day in History

Australian History

Wednesday, February 23, 1994. :   Jimmy Tambo, an indigenous Australian exploited by Barnum's Travelling Circus, is finally laid to rest, 110 years after he died.

     Jimmy Tambo was an indigenous Australian who was taken from his home on Palm Island, along with eight others, to 'perform' as part of Barnum's Travelling Circus that toured America and Europe from 1883 to 1898. He performed under the name of Tambo Tambo and was exhibited as an untamed cannibal. Besides the indigenous Australians, native Americans, Fijian 'cannibals', a Zulu and other "exotic indigenous people" were put on display. A year later, Tambo died of pneumonia, but his companions were not allowed to give him the proper funereal rites. His body was sold to the owner of a dime museum, who mummified it and put it on display. Somewhere through the years, the display was lost, and not discovered until 1993, in the basement of a funeral parlor in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Three representatives from his Palm Island home travelled to the USA to bring him home. On 23 February 1994, 110 years after he died, Tambo was finally laid to rest.

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