Page:The Aborigines of Australia (1988).djvu/19

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THE ABORIGINES OF AUSTRALIA.

ever, falls below five feet, and travellers in the interior mention instances of aborigines having attained a stature of six feet one, two, or even three inches, while the beautiful symmetry and excellent proportions of some individuals among them have often excited the wonder and admiration of Europeans. These last-mentioned facts are sufficient of themselves to show that, however incredible it may appear to those who have heretofore regarded the New Hollander as a being only one remove above some of the inferior animals, the latter can still put forth some very strong and cogent arguments in support of the supposition that he is part and parcel of that better order of men who, originally inhabiting the peninsula of Malacca, have spread themselves in the course of ages over some of the finest groups in the South Seas, to New Zealand, and the Sandwich Islands. Another strong argument against the supposition that the tribes of New Holland consist of an admixture of a superior and inferior race of men is that these tribes are now, beyond doubt, universally identical. This fact, so far from being doubted, has never been called in question. Had the negroes of Papua introduced themselves into the island at any time prior or anterior to, or simultaneously with, the advent of the Malayan adventurers, some traces of them as a distinct and separate people must still exist. Granted even that the two races might, as the supporters of that theory allege, have amalgamated into one people, still in a territory so vast, and among tribes so fractional and so numerous,