Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/123

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The Native Tribes of South-East Australia. By A. W. Howitt, D.Sc. Macmillan & Co. 1904.

Following the important works of Messrs. Spencer and Gillen on the Central tribes and the North-Central tribes of Australia, we have in the work before us a detailed account of the tribes over a wide extent of country, embracing the whole of the south-east of the continent, from southern Queensland to South Australia, both inclusive. Dr. Howitt, years ago, in Kamilaroi and Kurnai (written in conjunction with Dr. Fison), and in papers contributed to the Journal of the Anthropological Institute, made known his quality as an experienced and acute observer, and furnished valuable material for study to anthropologists. He has now gathered into one volume, revised and greatly extended, his contributions to our knowledge of the Australian race. The result is a work which easily takes rank with those above referred to, and which is, like them, indispensable to the student of human institutions and beliefs.

The author begins with a discussion of the origin of the race. His researches lead him to the conclusion that Australia and Tasmania were originally inhabited by a Melanesian people, who probably came from New Guinea at an exceedingly remote period before either the Torres Strait or Bass Strait was formed; that after the formation of Bass Strait had cut off a portion of the population from the main body, a further invasion of Australia took place by "some other race, probably a low form of Caucasian Melanochroi," which amalgamated with the original settlers. This is the theory of Sir W. H. Flower and Mr. Lydekker; and