Page:Native Tribes of South-East Australia.djvu/52

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26
CH.
NATIVE TRIBES OF SOUTH-EAST AUSTRALIA

the languages of south-eastern New South Wales, where Mr. Mathew finds a strong Malay element.

A passage in Crawfurd's Grammar of the Malay Language, published in 1852, speaks on this question with authority and with no uncertain voice.[1] He examined thirty languages from all the then discovered parts of Australia in quest of Malayan words without finding one, or the trace of one. They might have been expected in the language of Raffles Bay, not distant from the trepang fisheries of the natives of Celebes, but were absent from this as from all other of the languages. He remarks that, although the trepang fishers occasionally see natives of Australia, they hold no intercourse with them, and from what he knew of the opinions and prejudices of the former, he was satisfied that they would no more think of a social intercourse with them than with the kangaroo or wild dogs of the same country.

The trepang fishers here spoken of are the Bugis, a Malayan people, who form the principal nation of the Island of Celebes,[2] of whom M'Gillivray says that two years after the foundation of the English settlement at Raffles Bay they had taken advantage of the protection of Europeans to carry on the trepang fishery there.[3]

These remarks are confirmed by Captain Stokes,[4] who says, speaking of Raffles Bay, that six Malay proas came in, followed by others, soliciting permission to erect their establishments for curing trepang under the protection of the British flag, now for the first time secure from the attacks of the natives, whose hostility had until then forced every other man of them to keep under arms whilst the rest worked.

The visits of the Bugis to the north coast of Australia appear to have been far more numerous annually than might have been suspected. Mr. Earl, writing in 1837[5] of these very people, says that they visited the northern shore

  1. Crawfurd, John, Grammar and Dictionary of the Malay Language, with a Preliminary Dissertation. London, 1852.
  2. Op. cit. p. ccvi.
  3. Op. cit. vol. i. p. 141.
  4. Op. cit. vol. i. p. 388.
  5. Earl, Geo. Windsor, The Eastern Seas: Voyages and Adventures in the Malay Archipelago in 1832-33-34, p. 390. London, 1837.