The Present State and Prospects of the Port Phillip District of New South Wales/Chapter 10



"Is man no more than this? Consider him well.
Thou owesst the worm no silk—the beast no hide—
The sheep no wool—the cat no perfume.
Ha! here are three of no sophisticated. Thou are the thing itself.
Unaccommodated man is no more than such a bare forked animal as thou art."


I have hitherto not alluded to the aborigines, as I thought it better to reserve what I had to say of them for an exclusive notice, rather than to mix up the subject with other matter. I shall therefore in this chapter give some details regarding them and their customs, and in the next enter into the more delicate subject of their relations with the white settlers, and the mode of dealing with regard to them, adopted by the government.

There can be but little doubt that the aborigines of Australia are a homogeneous people. The same characteristic appearance pervades the entire race—the same habits and manner of life are every where to be observed, and their several modes of constructing the rude breakweathers or mi-mis in which they live, varies no more than the difference of climate demands: but still further, they are all equally in possession of the same implements of war and of the chase, some of which exhibit such an ingenious application of mechanical force as to make it in the last degree improbable that these could have been the discovery of more than one savage tribe, while the total dissimilarity[1] in language between the natives of the several districts renders equally unlikely the supposition that these discoveries have been transmitted from one to another. This diversity of language it is which is so anomalous a feature in the case; for, while all the other circumstances which I have enumerated, clearly indicate a common origin,[2] this alone seems to point in a different direction, and the discrepancy can only be reconciled, by supposing a division and dispersion of the original natives to have taken place at a period sufficiently remote, to have given time for these languages to have sprung up subsequently, and that the inventions alluded to having been discovered previous to this event, the knowledge of them had been handed down from father to son to the present generation. The following sketch, then, may be considered as applicable, with very slight differences, to the natives of the entire island.

The aborigines of Australia are in general of slight frame, and rather low stature. They are, however, active and well made. Their faces are, with few exceptions, very ugly; the brow overhanging the forehead villainous low, and also narrow; the nose broad at bottom, and ill-formed; the lips large and fleshy; the mouth wide; teeth large and flat, and the whole character of the face sensual, without being voluptuous. Their colour is a brownish black; their hair is long and straight, yet soft and thick, and most of the men have good beards and moustachoes, which, however the wild tribes near Portland Bay pluck out by the roots. But the quality which does most to redeem this otherwise forbidding picture, is an expression of good-humour and light-heartedness which is very prevalent amongst them. They have also soft sweet voices, and a merry ringing laugh. If the men are ugly, the women are hideous. The slightness of the men seems in them to degenerate into absolute absence of muscle: their hands, arms, feet, and legs being more like the paws and claws of the lower animals than the limbs of Christians (as we used to say in Ireland). The fact is, I believe, that they are not so well fed as the men, getting a smaller share of opossums, rats, grubs, and such small deer: their principal food consists of roots, which they dig up, particularly the murnong—a plant with a flower like the dandelion, and with a tuberose root, also of the gum of the mimosa, which they dissolve in water. Another cause of their miserable appearance is the age at which they become mothers—as early, I believe, as twelve or thirteen years old; and in such cases, the appearance of maternity connected with the infantile expression of these poor creatures' faces, forms a contrast which it is painful to witness. The children are like little pot-bellied cherubims, made of India rubber, and are rather nice-looking little animals: they are very good-humoured, and I never heard but one of them cry while I was in the country.

There is a prevalent idea amongst the settlers that the natives have no canine teeth; but this is a mistake. Amongst the children I have observed the pointed character of the true canine tooth, though as they grow up the point wears away, and, in . shape, these then differ but little from the incisor teeth: but, not even in childhood, is the difference marked as it is amongst Europeans.[3] This is a singular circumstance amongst a nation of canibals, for such they undoubtedly are. On this subject I have made repeated inquiries, and the result has been to establish the fact incontrovertibly.

I have conversed with several persons who have been eye-witnesses of their disgusting feasts, and by one of them[4] a woman was pointed out, whom, he said, he had seen a few days before eating part of a black child, which had been killed. Indeed I have never heard the fact questioned by any one in the country. The parts which they are said to like best are the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet,[5] and the fat of the kidneys; the latter is, I believe, used for superstitious purposes. When Mr. Moreton was murdered by the natives near Portland Bay, in the year 1841, his body was found stretched out with stakes, and the muscular parts cut off from his arms, and thighs, and the calves of his legs, evidently for the purpose of being eaten. When a woman has several children, they are said to eat all those which are born between the birth of the first and the time that it is able to follow the tribe, that is, until it is four or five years old: the difficulty, if not impossibility, of carrying about more than one child in arms, furnishing a strong argumentum ab inconveniente for getting rid of it in some way or other. They seem to think that it does a child no harm to be eaten, they say, "by-and-bye he plenty come again."

Notwithstanding this revolting practice, they seem by no means a ferocious people, but on the contrary, gentle and courteous in their manners, very fond of social intercourse, easily amused, and singularly light-hearted: they have a great taste for mimicry, in which art some of them excel. They are (in common, I believe, with most savages) very indolent and averse to labour, and, as a consequence are great procrastinators; there are no words in the English language which they understand better than by-and-bye. Even in manufacturing their weapons, and implements of the chase, they show but little taste or industry, being in this respect far behind the New Zealanders and South Sea Islanders. The only specimens of their industry which I have seen, besides spears, shields, boomerangs, &c., are some net bands for the hair, a kind of basket, called by them a "biniac,"—both, however, neatly executed,—and cloaks or rugs made of opossum skins stitched together. They are passionately fond of smoking, that great resource of idleness. It has been the remark of every one conversant with this people that they pay but little regard to glass beads, bright buttons, or any of the toys by which savages in general are caught, and this has been sometimes cited as a proof of superiority of intellect, but I view it in a different light; to me this insensibility only appears to argue a lower social state;—one in which the Australian native, wholly engaged in procuring a mere subsistence, seems sunk in apathy with regard to every thing not conducing to this end. The existence of taste, however rude, indicates the appreciation of the beautiful, and this may be fairly regarded as the measure of the capability of refinement.

They are migratory in their habits, remaining but a few days at a time in any one place. These migrations are however confined within certain limits. In the eastern district they do not build huts of any kind, contenting themselves with a break-weather made of the boughs, or, in wet weather, of the bark, of trees: one of these they put up in a few minutes, and contrive to make of these simple materials a very comfortable lair. This break-weather, or mi-mi, is about four feet in height, and is in shape something like half a bird's nest inverted; they always erect them so as to have the open to the lee side, where they make a small fire quite dose to them. The great secret in making a fire in the hush is to make a small one: new hands generally make one so large that they cannot go near it. It is the habit of the natives to strip themselves when in their mi-mis, in order to expose the surface of their bodies to the full action of the fire. As they never make use of one of these which they have once abandoned, they are in a measure free from the vermin and filth, to which they would be obnoxious had they. fixed abodes. In the western and southern districts, however, (towards Port Fairy and Portland Bay,) they construct a kind of hut for the winter season, which is of a more durable character. This they do by heaping sods and clay on the top of the original mi-mi; they add a new piece to it at every shift of wind, so as still to make the entrance from the lee side, and by this means, when they remain in one place for any length of time, these earths reach to a considerable size: I have seen one fully fifteen feet long, and high enough for a man to stand upright in. As it was quite air-tight, and there were about ten or twelve savages squatting round a fire which was on the floor, the heat was intolerable, accompanied by an "ancient and very fishlike smell." Each family has a separate mi-mi and fire—the unmarried men, however, occupying one large one in common: the spears of the men being stuck upright in the ground, close to the fires, give to one of their encampments rather a military effect.

The chief employment of the men is the search for food: opossums, kangaroo rats, and "wild cats seem their most common game—the kangaroo and emu are, and I believe always have been, considered rarities. Their mode of hunting the opossum is a sure, but by no means a sporting method. This animal generally lives in a hollow tree; when such a tree is found with an opossum in it, they cut down upon it, (to use a surgical phrase,) and if the operation be not successful, that is, if they do not take the animal at once, they light a fire at the bottom of the tree, the hollow of which acts like a funnel in drawing the flame, this makes the animal bolt, when it becomes an easy prey. Upon these occasions they have to climb the trees, which they do in a most surprising manner, merely cutting notches about an inch deep, to support the ball ef the foot and give a slight hold with the hand: they cut the notch above them as they ascend, and use it first as a hold, and then as a step. In this manner, with great rapidity, they run up trees, the stems of which are perfectly smooth, and without branches for seventy or eighty feet from the ground. In this species of chasse the sagacity of the hunter is displayed chiefly in discovering his game, which he does by the tracks of the little animal running up and down the tree, and which are scarcely observable except to experienced eyes; but they can tell you whether these tracks are perfectly fresh, a few hours, or a day, or more, old. They are great adepts at tracking animals of all kinds, and in this way are often of great service to the settlers in recovering lost flocks of sheep. When in pursuit of the larger game, such as kangaroo and emu, they sometimes try to creep up to them; on these occasions they carry a bough, which they hold in front; they, advance when the animal is not looking at them, and remain perfectly motionless when he is. In this way they get close enough to throw their spears, although the kangaroo is one of the most timid and watchful creatures in the world. At other times, when the tribe is mustered in large force, or strengthened by the junction of others, they have a grand hunting match; they then surround the animals, much after the fashion described by Sir Walter Scott in Waverley, and throw their spears at them when attempting to escape. However their most common mode of hunting kangaroo and emu is with dogs. They had domesticated the dog[6] when the country was first discovered, and now that they have crossed the breed with the kangaroo dog, many of them are in possession of animals quite fit for the work: the kangaroo dog himself is a greyhound with a dash of the mastiff, to give him weight, size, and courage. Some few of them have muskets, but this, until lately, was contrary to law. Near Portland Bay the natives make use of a long, slight stick, with a noose at the end, with which they snare birds of all kinds, even the wild turkey, which they creep up to in the manner described above. The game, when obtained, they roast whole in the fire, and pull it in pieces when sufficiently cooked.

The boomerang and throwing stick have not only been so frequently described, but so often exhibited in the United Kingdom, that it would be superfluous to give a description of either. It is a mistake to suppose that the boomerang is not used in war. The wiwi is an instrument not so well known. It is composed of a slight straight withy, about two feet long, to which is attached a head, made of a piece of wood four inches long, in the shape of two cones joined together at the base, something in this form —

This they strike against the ground, at a little distance to one side of them, whence it rises at right angles to its first direction, and flies with the swiftness of an arrow for about one hundred yards, and at a height of about ten feet from the ground.

The liangle is, I think, described by Sir Thomas Mitchell. It is of the shape of a pickaxe, with only one pick. Its name is derived from another native word, liang, signifying a tooth. It is a very formidable weapon, and used only in war.

Their shields have, I think, also been described by Mitchell. They are about five inches broad, and two feet six long. They are generally rudely carved, and painted with white and red ochre.

Towards the Goulburn river, the natives have an instrument, which I have never seen, but which, as well as the use to which it is put, has been described to me, by a person on whose accuracy I have the fullest dependence. It is a flat piece of wood with a strong leather thong running through two holes in it. This thong has a sharp pointed piece of wood of about six inches long attached. This instrument is used for private assassination. Whenever, according to their notions, (as I shall explain presently) a life is required, and a victim is not easily procured, one of the natives sets off, provided with an instrument of this kind. He presents himself at the encampment of some friendly tribe as a visitor, and remains for the night, during which he watches an opportunity of affecting his purpose of assassination. This he does by tightening the noose round the windpipe of his victim, so as to prevent his uttering a cry, while at the same time he stahs him aboTe the breast bone with the pointed stick. He then remoTes the body to some distance, takes out the kidney fat, and returns in triumph. There is something in this, very like what we hear of the Thugs in India.

The natiyes are passionately fond of their corrobarees, or dances; and it is here that they are seen to the greatest advantage. When thus engaged, they paint themselves fantastically with pipe-clay. Each man paints himself to suit his fancy; the only uniformity which they observe, being in the lines on the legs and on the face. When a number of them are seen together by firehght, the effect is much that of milltary uniforms, and this resemblance is heightened by their wearing round the waist a belt of some bright colour, the ends of which hang down before and behind. But the strangest addition to their costume are the bushes which they tie round their ancles, and which are supposed, by their rustling, to heighten the effect of the performance. When preparing for the dance, they put a piece of pipeclay into their mouths, which they chew, and then mark themselves with the forefinger. I have been amused watching the seriousness with which they perform this operation: no young lady dressing for a ball could take more pains. Their movement in the dance is a very singular one. The action is entirely in the thigh, which, by a strong muscular exertion, they move backwards and forwards without stirring the foot, further than that it partakes of a lateral movement which is given to the whole body. This motion of the thighs is in strict time with the musical accompaniment, which consists of a kind of recitation, sometimes sung by one, and sometimes by a number, beaded by a regular leader. The dancers bold in their bands each a waddy and a shield, or, in default of these, two small pieces of wood, which they strike together during some parts of the performance; while at others they make a whizzing noise with their mouths; both of them being in time to the music. The women and children meantime sit in a circle at some distance, and mark the measure by striking with one band on a piece of kangaroo skin rolled very tight, which they bold in the other, and which serves as a kind of drum. The figure of the dance is irregular; one man at first begins by himself, then another joins him, until the whole become engaged. As they join the dance, they dispose themselves in lines, each man in the rear rank imitating exactly the movements of the man in the rank before him, or as soldiers say, of his "covering file." After some time they advance, with the chanter at their bead, towards the place where the women are sitting; the time of the music now increases in rapidity, and the performers become more violent in their gestures, accompanying the song with a stamping of the feet, until the whole thing ends with a spirited musical crash.

When I first witnessed one of these corrobarees, I was greatly struck witb the beauty and the wildness of the scene. The mild rays of the moon shining on the dewy grass, the red glare of the fire in parts illuminating the stems and foliage of the trees, but rendering the intervals of shadow deeper and more gloomy from the contrast, the painted figures of the natives, now brought into strong relief, now lost in the gloom of the forest, their uncouth gestures, and the wild and melancholy but not unpleasing cadence of their simple chant, combined to produce an effect which more ambitious displays often fail to realize. I was brought down from the train of reflections naturally suggested by a scene at once so novel and so wild, by the observation of one of our men, who exclaimed in the spirit of Trinculo, "Why then, a man would make a power of money, if he had them fellows at home for a show."

In the end of 1843, or beginning of 1844, a new corrobaree was introduced amongst the natives, about which they were perfectly wild, spending not only the nights, but a great part of the day, in practising it; in fact, the enthusiasm which it caused, could only be equalled by that excited by the Polka in England about the same time.

These corrobarees are held (generally by moonlight) upon different occasions, such as, when going to war, or at the initiation of the young men of the tribe. They are also, I am informed, held for the solace of the spirits of the dead, in the same way that in more civilized countries masses are said for their souls; on these occasions, a large piece of bark is said to be made use of, on which are placed lines corresponding with the number of the dead; when so many steps have been gone through, one soul is checked off, and so on until all of them are disposed of. In the war corrobarees the women are said to join, and are described as rushing about and screaming like so many furies. The corrobaree has been found in vogue amongst the Australian aborigines wherever they have been discovered, as well on the East coast as at Swan River, thus affording a fresh proof, if any were wanting, to confirm the fact of unity of origin.

I was once, by chance, present at a fight between two tribes, and a description of it may probably prove interesting to some readers: It was caused by a man of one of the tribes carrying off a woman belonging to the other; there were about twenty men engaged on each side; they did not come to close quarters, but stood in two open lines with intervals between each man of about thirty feet; the two lines were distant from each other about sixty yards at the centre, but drawn in at the wings, so as each to form a slight curve; none of the men engaged, shifted their position from the place first taken up. They seemed to be pitted each against an antagonist in the opposite line, whom they kept constantly watching, at the same time poising a spear, and drawing up alternately one leg and then the other, as if for the purpose of rendering them supple, or else going through the pantomimic representation of avoiding a spear. While this was going on, they from time to time, harangued each other, much in the style of Homer's heroes. Occasionally one, as if moved by some sudden impulse, but in reality I suppose, seeing the eye of his antagonist removed from him, would either throw a boomerang or launch a spear. The boomerang, when used in war, is generally thrown so as to take the ground a few yards in front of the person at whom it is aimed, and is intended to wound him as it rises from the earth, by touching which, its rotatory motion is accelerated; if it miss its object it comes back to the person by whom it was thrown. In the hands of these savages it is a very formidable weapon. Behind one of the lines of combatants stood a woman, a hideous creature, and rather old, whom I understood to be the teterrima causa belli; if so, the ravisher must have been one of those frantic lovers who see "Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt." This dame seemed excited to the greatest pitch of fury; she held in her hand a stick about four feet long—one of those used for grubbing up murnongs—with this she struck the ground, at the same time bending her body with the most violent contortions, or else brandished it in the air with the wildest gestures, to give force to a torrent of eloquence, something between a chaunt and a harangue, which she screamed forth until she foamed at the mouth; her dishevelled hair streaming in the wind, her for cloak flying about with the violence of her motion, her thin, skinny arms tossed about with the wildest fury, her unearthly screaming and violent gesticulations, exciting the idea of a demoniac fury more than of anything human; indeed, she would have done admirably for one of the devils who appear in the last scene of Don Giovanni. I witnessed this scene for about three quarters of an hour, and was then forced to go on. Returning in the evening, I inquired the result from an old black friend of mine, named Jack Mungit, who told me that two men had been speared, one through the calf of the leg, and another through the thigh, and that a third had had his cheek cut open with a boomerang; he seemed rather ashamed of having been engaged in so foolish a business, but the women seemed delighted with the row. I was not, however, able satisfactorily to ascertain "whether this was a regular fight, or one of their judicial combats. On the one hand, they did not make use of the liangle, their most deadly weapon; this does riot look like the former, but on the other, there were three men wounded, which is not in accordance with one's idea of the latter, unless one would suppose it to have been a kind of general gaol delivery.

The mode in which communication is carried on between the natives and the settlers, is by a kind of lingua franca, composed partly of Sydney and Melbourne native words, partly of thieves' cant, and partly of English words peculiarly applied, the word "plenty" performing a conspicuous part in the colloquy. The following is a specimen of such eloquence:—"You pilmillally jumbuck, plenty sulky me, plenty boom, borack gammon," which being interpreted, means—"If you steal my sheep I shall be very angry, and will shoot you and no mistake."[7] In the language spoken by the tribes of Melbourne, Corio, Weirabbee and Barrabul, there is no such sound as that of the letter S, and their attempts to pronounce English words involving that sound, are very laughable. Their numerals do not extend, properly speaking, beyond three; four being expressed by a repetition of the word which signifies two, and all beyond that is expressed by the word "orar," which means a great number.

To a casual observer these people might seem to be under no sort of government, nor subject to control of any kind, no deference being paid to age, nor any restraint imposed upon youth, so that there might appear to be an absence of the elements, from which we are accustomed to derive the very idea of civil government. The only obvious exercise of authority is that of the husband over his wife, but even this is in general mildly exercised; they have seldom more than two wives. The wife, or lubra, has her part assigned in the domestic economy; it is her business to make the mi-mi, to light the fire, to draw water, and to dress the game which her husband has procured. When moving from place to place it is she who carries the basket, the kettle, and whatever other utensils foreign intercourse has introduced into their cuisine. But we should be in error were we to infer from these appearances, that their actions were unshackled, and their conduct subject to no control; this is far from being the case, they are in fact subject to a set of most debasing superstitions, consisting either of customs handed down to them by their ancestors, or supposed to be sanctioned by revelations of a supernatural character. As their sorcerers, priests, or koragees (as they are called) are the interpreters of these customary laws, and the supposed recipients of these supernatural communications, they, of course, exercise extensive influence so long as they do not violate the popular prejudices. These customs (as I believe) regulate not only their graver concerns, their funerals, marriages, corrobarees, &c., but their ordinary migrations, and the affairs of every day life, thus forming a code which interferes most materially with their liberty of action; and as they lay claim to a higher than mere human origin, so they reject all appeal to reason, and however childish or absurd they may appear, or however cruel or revolting may be the practices which they sanction, they triumph over all the objections which may be raised by common sense. It is in fact the history of priestcraft all over the world. Some idea of the absurdity of these customs may be formed from the mode of procedure upon the death of a native, whether occurring from disease or accident. The following account is from the evidence of a Mr. Thomas, an assistant protector, on a trial at Melbourne, and is taken verbatim from the newspaper report:—

"The natives cannot account for death, unless they see the stroke. When any relation dies they are very sulky, and mourn till they get the fat of the kidneys of some other black. When an aboriginal dies, they place the body on the ground,- and dig a trench round it, and when they find within the trench the largest hole of an insect,[8] they consider the first man they find in that direction as the cause of the deceased's death. They also take the depth of the hole, and at a corresponding distance place the party accused, for punishment—that is, for the family of the dead person to throw spears at him. They have a service on the body if a male, but not in the case of a female; it is to inform, as they suppose, the deceased of their intention to revenge his death."

It appears from Captain Grey's narrative that a similar idea (as to there being no such thing as natural death) prevails among the natives of Western Australia, but he does not specify the means which they use to ascertain who is the murderer, which, he says, are various, and probably as effectual as that which Mr. Thomas describes. Captain Grey also describes the custom of throwing spears at the culprit.

The religious belief of the aborigines seems to be confined to very few articles of faith, amongst which the most important are the belief in a powerful malevolent spirit, in the existence of the soul after death, and its occasional re-appearance in a visible form—in short, a belief in ghosts, called by them meering; their belief in the supernatural powers of their priests, or koragees. They have also a strange idea that white men are black men raised from the dead. Whether this notion (which appears to be also prevalent in Western Australia) arose from its being the only way in which they could account for the appearance amongst them of a race differing so widely from their own; or whether it is a misconception of the doctrine of the resurrection, taught to some of them by the missionaries, is more than I can say. One lad, of the name of Rimmull, told me that he had been taught by the missionaries, that if "black fellow did good to white fellow, when he died he should plenty jump up white fellow with God."

Such is the imperfect information which, from time to time, I have been able to glean with respect to the aborigines of this country; but I wish it to be remembered that the difficulty which Europeans find in obtaining true information, with regard to the customs of savage tribes, is augmented four-fold when they attempt to obtain any explanation of these customs, or any account of their speculative opinions; for as a knowledge of these subjects can only be obtained by means of a language but little understood, the truth is apt to be distorted—like a ray of light passing through an imperfect medium; and as it is not my desire to mislead, I wish what I have said to be received with this allowance. The subject itself is one full of interest, as exhibiting to us not merely a picture of life in its simplest state, and society under its rudest form, but opening a retrospect through which, as through a vista, one may see in shadowy perspective a succession of countless generations, varying but little in habits or customs from the time of the first great dispersion of mankind. Many persons who entertain overwrought ideas of the evils of civilization, and who feel a lurking attachment for the state "when wild in woods the noble savage ran," may feel disappointed at the by no means flattering picture which I have drawn of this mode of life, as presented by the Australian savage. It may appear a paradox, but in my opinion a state of nature (as it is called) is not the state natural to man. Perfection in his physical, far less in his social attributes, is not to be attained without the control of reason, and the exercise of self-denial. True it is that a low state of civilization, such as existed among the ancient Germans, and the modern North American Indians, is highly favourable to the development of the former: self-control and restraint were however the leading characteristics of their education. But wherever we examine the social position of man, either in a low state of civilization, or in that of absolute barbarism, we find his actions cramped by absurd customs, and his mind tyrannized over by degrading superstitions. To combine the highest degree of liberty of thought and action with the greatest security of property, and the most complete protection from violence, is a problem towards the solution of which, the most civilized nations have made the nearest approximation, but which will never, in all probability be perfectly solved.

  1. Captain Grey, the present governor of South Australia, in his narrative of an expedition to North-western Australia, maintains that the languages of the different parts of Australia, if not identical, are mere variations in dialect. This position he supports by reasoning such as the following: Gabby, kuypee, kowin, and kauwee are, it seems, words signifying water in different dialects. Of this Captain Grey says—"But in fact this variation does not constitute any essential difference; for, considering the interchangeable nature of the consonants b, p, and w and of g and k, which affect different dialects, we shall find the words gabby, kuypee, kowin, and kauwee to be only different forms of the same root."—Grey's Narrative.

    Possibly by a similar process mobit, pareet, wonyeram, katyin, karteen, and pam, Port Phillip terms signifying water, may be proved identical with each other, and with gabby, kuypee, kowin, and kauwee. This reminds me of a passage in Goldsmith's "Citizen of the World," where he shows with what ease difficulties of this kind are got over when they stand in the way of a favourite theory. "Thus," says he, "it is proved that the Emperor Ki is certainly the same with King Atoes; for it we only change k into a, and I into toes, we shall have the name Atoes; and with equal ease Menes may be proved to be the same with the Emperor Tu."—Citizen of the World.

  2. It is a curious circumstance, when considered in connexion with this subject, that the aborigines of Van Dieman's Land are clearly a distinct race, having woolly hair, while those of New South Wales have straight hair, without a trace of this character; and that the inhabitants of New Zealand differ completely from both, being copper coloured, and haying apparently a dash of Calmuck blood in their composition.
  3. I observe the same appearance of the canine teeth in the skull of a New Zealand native which I lately examined, and I recollect seeing the same remark made with respect to the natives of Patagonia in South America.
  4. This person was Mr. Sievewright assistant protector at Mt. Rouse. The child had been killed under singular circumstances. A native, named Roger, had been apprehended for the murder of a Mr. Godd, and sent to Melbourne. Roger's brother killed this child next day, as a kind of sacrifice—it being a rule with them, when a person comes to a violent end, to take the life of somebody else to soothe the manes of the deceased.
  5. From one of Sir Stamford Raffles' letters it appears that the Battas, a race of cannibals in the Spice Islands, give a similar preference to the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.
  6. They have different words in their language to express the wild dog and the tame dog. The former being called, in the Barrabul language, "Durwall," and the latter "Kaal."
  7. This scarcely comes up to the force or beauty of the plenty boom.
  8. The ground is very frequently perforated with holes, in which are deposited the larvæ of insects.