Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/175

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162 THE ABORIGINES OF AUSTRALIA.

river nor wide-spreading verdant plain, such as stud the vast interior, to render game abundant, or afford a promising hunting-ground, or develop an abundance of esculent roots. Thus it is apparent that if the aboriginal tribes spread over the entire colony did not exceed in numerical ratio those contained within the scope of country in question, they were not much deficient in this respect. An official, who had charge of a missionary station at Port Macquarie in 1840, speaks of the aboriginal population in that district as having been numbered at one time by thousands. If, in addition to these data, we take the testimony of various travellers, so often adduced in these papers, to the frequency with which tribes of blacks were met with throughout the colony; if, more particularly, we reflect on the numbers of aborigines which must have been engaged throughout the colony in the disturbances of 1841-2, in order to produce the results previously described; and if we consider that the tribes of Moreton Bay at the present day possess sufficient numerical strength, as well as sufficient daring, to offer very effective resistance to the progress of colonization, the conclusion becomes inevitable that the entire population of the present colony of New South Wales could not, at the period of the first settlement of Australia, have been less than 50,000. Proceeding to Port Phillip, our data become still more satisfactory. A gentleman who has been for several years connected with the Protectorate of Aborigines in that colony recently stated in public