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Mathinna was a child in the Flinders Island Aboriginal community when Sir John Franklin became governor in 1837. His wife, Lady Jane Franklin, became fond of Mathinna, decided to bring her up as a daughter and took her to their home in Hobart. When the Franklins returned to England, however, Lady Franklin's motherly inclinations evaporated and Mathinna was taken to the Hobart Orphan School where she was extremely unhappy. She later moved to Oyster Cove, south of Hobart, to even more unhappiness. She was found drowned in a creek and was believed to have fallen in when drunk.