Page:The Aborigines of Australia (1988).djvu/23

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THE ABORIGINES OF AUSTRALIA.

sense of the term, certainly do not exist to fix the precise period; but testimonies indubitable and in- controvertible attest the antiquity of their coming; and these are—first, the presence of their descendants in every part of the vast continent; and, secondly, the peculiarities of these descendants in mind and form distinguishing them from all other nations. It required no inconsiderable space of time to enable a barbarous people, first landing at some point in the extreme north of the Australian territory, to pass through the immense intervening forests, and over the rugged mountains or burning plains of the interior wilderness, and to establish themselves as they have done on the shores and rivers of the extreme south, west, and east; and to render the New Hollander the changed and degenerate being which he now appears, so different from those descendants from the same stock—the New Zealander, the Tahitian, and the American Indian—must have been the work of ages.