Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/110

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97
MISGIVINGS.

sheltered bays, rivers, and creeks which surrounded and interspersed the country in endless variety, like the carvings in a piece of elaborate sculpture, fish of every description was to be obtained at all seasons in the greatest abundance; numerous freshwater lagoons, swamps, and rivulets were diffused over the face of the land, which swarmed with excellent game, to be readily procured by the snare, or offering a tempting object on which the aboriginal marksman might exercise his skill in the use of the boomerang. The country, thickly wooded or covered by a low brushwood or heath, and in some parts producing a rich pasture, afforded a retreat and sustenance to numbers of those quadrupeds which formed the flocks and herds of the tribes, while wild honey and wild fruit were found in such plenty as to render them of little value as articles of food. Under these peculiar circumstances it is not to be wondered at that the New Hollanders at first displayed so little hospitality towards the strangers, and that, in their own way, they entered so decided, although ineffectual, a protest against the seizure of their lands. It may be that even a stronger motive than the dread of immediate disturbances actuated the New Hollanders on these shores in their aversion to the settlement of the country. Who will say that a gleam of prophetic inspiration did not then foreshadow to the mind of the black man of Botany Bay and Port Jackson the fearful fact that, in sixty years after the coming of these strangers, his entire people