Page:Australia an appeal.djvu/77

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that such is their doom till death release them from it and allow them to visit the moon; after which they expect to come to life again, endowed with all the wealth, power, and privileges, now enjoyed by the whites. Desire for improvement, however, is by no means a stranger to their bosoms. Once, during one of those rambles which I sometimes took with them in the bush, a few of them accompanied me to the top of Mount Eliza, to give me the names of some places adjacent to the confluence of the Swan and the Canning. From this commanding position these rivers open into full view, as they enter the capacious and forest-encircled basin of Melville water; which, washing the southern base of the Mount., conveys their united streams to the ocean at Fremantle, about ten miles distant. 'While thus employed, Doumera, looking down upon Perth, which, stretching from the foot of the Mount along the right bank of the Swan to the eastward, now began to present an opening to the sky, and appeared as if springing from the bosom of the dense wood with which it was still surrounded on all sides excepting that fronting the river, broke into a strain of touching reflection on the contrast between the comforts of civilized and the privations of savage life. As he gazed on the rising capital of the colony, contemplating the streets, houses, and gardens, together with a moving scene on land and water, of people, vehicles, and boats, he exclaimed,—"O Midjar!"pointing as he spoke—"mya, mya, mya,—"[1] then pausing, he added, with a sad look and a mournful accent, "White man's way of living, very good. Poor black man! no house, no home, and soon, no country!" The site of the town, abounding with springs, game, and fish, and recently shaded from the sun and sheltered from the storm by an abundance of timber, had been the favorite encampment of his tribe, the recollection of which rendered the sight he then beheld doubly affecting to him.

The law of inheritance among them is inexplicable. On the death of Midiegoorong and Yagan, the district of Beeliar on the south side of Melville water, instead of finding an heir in its own tribe, became the property of Doumera and Ningina, who with their families had hitherto lived with and formed part of the tribe of Yellowgongo in the district of Mooro, on the north bank of the river.

In martial courage they are perhaps not excelled by any people in the world. The savages of America, when an army is thrown into confusion, will scalp them by thousands, but can never be brought to face their enemies in the heat of the contest. Not so with the tribes of Derhal. Though fire arms be per-

  1. O Mr. ——, houses, houses, houses springing up in all directions!