Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/89

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


CHAPTER IX.

WEAPONS—ARMOURY—UTENSILS.

The weapons used by the aborigines, whether in war or hunting, are few in number, and, with the exception of the well-known boomerang, comparatively simple. Among primitive tribes implements of war are generally at the same time articles of necessity and works of art; hence, among the New Zealanders and the inhabitants of the South Sea Islands, spears, swords, clubs, and shields are found at once remarkable for the taste and labour bestowed on their construction, and for their deadly capabilities. In proportion, however, as the New Hollanders are below the people just mentioned in point of culture will their weapons be found inferior as implements of warfare and specimens of artistic skill. While, however, a deficiency, as compared with other tribes, is in this respect apparent in the Australian aboriginal, it will be found that in some other particulars his implements and his mode of using them display an amount of invention and ingenuity never attained by any other equally barbarous race. First in the category of aboriginal weapons comes the boomerang.

As this appears to be peculiar to the New Hollanders, and as, from its remarkable characteristics, as well as the recent invention of Sir Thomas