Page:Australian race - vol 1.djvu/65

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36
THE AUSTRALIAN RACE:

CHAPTER III.

THE ABORIGINES OF AUSTRALIA; THEIR MANNERS AND CUSTOMS.

Though there are scattered through these pages notices of many Australian tribes, compiled from information furnished by a number of gentlemen, in reply to a series of questions which I had printed and largely circulated amongst persons residing in the bush, I have thought it well to lay before the reader, in a collective form, a description of such customs and manners as are most general and remarkable amongst the Australians, adding from my own experience many particulars which my correspondents have not touched on. Viewing the customs and manners of our Aborigines collectively, what, perhaps, most attracts attention is the universality with which the most remarkable of them prevail, whilst a sort of family likeness also pervades their very differences. Then we have the fact that the Australians are a race of wandering hunters, fishermen, and gatherers of the spontaneous products of Nature, who have never been known to sow or plant in any instance.

The Blacks of Australia in personal appearance, as in all other respects, display a remarkable homogeneousness. This, however, is more noticeable when contrasting tribe with tribe than when comparing individuals, for it is important to remark that there are amongst Australians what I may call several recurring minor differences of type or style of face, each of which is found cropping up equally in every portion of the continent. This circumstance, which a wide experience has forced on my observation, points to the several conclusions, that the race is the outcome of a