Page:The Aborigines of Australia (1988).djvu/59

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44
THE ABORIGINES OF AUSTRALIA.

Hunting expeditions are also undertaken for the purpose of securing supplies of this animal. When a scrub or other locality is known to contain numbers of this species a circle is formed by the aborigines around the spot, the huntsmen being suitably armed and equipped for the occasion; the bush which is thought to conceal the game is then traversed by other blacks, who, with loud shouts and by beating the scrub, drive out the kangaroos, which soon fall beneath the spears, waddies, and tomahawks of those without. Sometimes, also, a shrubbery, supposed to shelter the species, is set fire to for the purpose of driving them into the clutches of their pursuers. It is but justice to the aborigines, however, to state that, while they thus unrelentingly destroy these animals when pressed by hunger, they are not altogether unmindful of their wants and necessities. The burning of the grass, a result so frequently observed on the plains of the interior, is said to be the work of the aborigines, in order that a new and more luxuriant growth may spring up for the use of the kangaroos.

The wild turkey, a bird of very large size, the flesh of which is said to be extremely rich; is among the principal creatures on which the aboriginal depends for his stock of food. This turkey, or bustard, is said to be pretty abundant in some parts of the far interior, but is described as being remarkably shy of man. It is only to be shot at a long range, and then with great difficulty, as at the slightest indication of the presence of a human being it takes to the dense