Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/174

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NUMBER OF ABORIGINES. 161

respectful demeanour in his relations towards his fellow-men which is the best safeguard against hatred and deadly strife.

In seeking to fix the numerical amount of the aboriginal population of New Holland, as a matter of course approximation alone can be aimed at with any prospect of success. Notwithstanding, however, that no complete or well-sustained statistical information with regard to the aborigines has ever existed, sufficient data is available to enable their numbers to be fixed with a tolerable degree of accuracy. As our facts and figures are founded principally on the ascertained condition of the blacks in those districts where they have but little or no intercourse with Europeans, it will be more satisfactory and will involve less difficulty if we fix the period of our census about the time of the first colonization of Australia. Commencing with New South Wales, it has already been shown that the aboriginal population of the district included between Port Jackson and Broken Bay amounted, at the time of the arrival of the first colonizing expedition, to 1,500 souls. Now, although the country which formed the possessions of this population possessed some natural advantages, which would be certain to attract and retain a considerable number of inhabitants, yet in most respects it was not more favoured than other parts of the colony. Although the facilities for saltwater fishing were great, fresh water was scarce, and the soil comparatively barren. Here was no great