Page:The Aborigines of Australia (1988).djvu/56

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41
MODE OF WARFARE.

of another tribe. In this latter case hostilities are commenced to retaliate the aggression.

When from either of the above causes, or from any other reason, war has been declared, preparations are commenced and carried on with activity for some time previous to an encounter. Old weapons are collected and repaired, new ones formed, and all the appliances of warfare brought into requisition. Treachery appears never to be resorted to by these sable belligerents in their contests among themselves. In general the hostile tribes encamp opposite each other the night previous to an engagement, and it not infrequently happens that the women and children of a tribe assemble within sight of the enemy long previous to the arrival of the warriors. The march of the latter on such occasions is sometimes conducted with great military regularity, and with some strange motions, the object of which is, no doubt, to create a certain warlike ardour in the combatants. Their progress to the place of rendezvous is thus described:—After performing a dance and a song in a body, the smeared and armed heroes start off at a race in a regular line, one after the other, for a distance of about 150 yards, when they again draw up in a well-ordered and compact phalanx, and repeat, with increased fire and energy, the dance and song. These proceedings they continue to repeat till they arrive at the destined ground.

The battle which follows is more or less sanguinary according to the temper of the combatants,