Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/131

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CHAPTER XIII.


HOSPITALITY AND RESENTMENT — PRIMITIVE ART —
AMPUTATION OF THE LITTLE FINGER — SORCERY.

Pursuing the narrative of the chief facts and incidents of interest which came under the observation of the first voyagers and colonists in relation to the aborigines, and which have been handed down either through the medium of writing or by common report, we come to an occurrence highly illustrative of the character of the New Hollander in his primitive state. During his exploration of the coast, undertaken a few weeks after the establishment of the settlement, the Governor, having called into Broken Bay, proceeded in a boat to land at a late hour in the evening. Owing to the partial darkness and to the shallow nature of the shore at the spot to which the boat had been steered, the party experienced considerable difficulty in disembarking, the boat repeatedly grounding at some distance from the land. A solitary aged aboriginal, who witnessed the unpleasant difficulties by which the whites were beset, stationing himself on an elevated rock, by shouts and signs indicated to the party the part of the coast on which they would find the water sufficiently deep to admit of the boat touching land. Having thus made his experience of these waters, acquired in his fishing expeditions in his bark canoe, available in extricating