Tas university offers indigenous apology

The University of Tasmania has formally apologised to the island state's indigenous people, acknowledging the institution has been built on "the proceeds of war and dispossession".

More than 600 people including Aboriginal leaders, university staff and students gathered at Domain House in Hobart to hear the apology.

It was delivered in English and Tasmanian indigenous language palawa kani.

"For too long the histories we taught hid the true story of war and genocidal behaviour," vice-chancellor Rufus Black said in a statement after making the public speech on Wednesday.

"For too long the wisdom of Aboriginal people was not thought worthy of our academy.

"We also acknowledge that this has taken far too long. This is unacceptable and we come to put that right."

The apology came on the anniversary of the death of Aboriginal leader Mannalargenna, who in 1935 died in captivity after resisting British settlers.

Hundreds of Aboriginal people died in frontier wars and massacres in Tasmania, considered some of the worst in Australia's colonial history.

Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre CEO Heather Sculthorpe welcomed the acknowledgement of her peoples' suffering.

"This is the start, but by no means the end. There's a lot more that needs to be done, but the uni have been ... a big admitter of wrongdoing," she told ABC Radio.

In the apology, Prof Black said: "The University of Tasmania acknowledges the deep wrongs committed against the palawa people in our name and unreservedly apologises for them."

Aboriginal bodies and artefacts had not been treated with the respect they were due, Mr Black said.