Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/176

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PORT PHILLIP DISTRICT. 163

that in 1843 he found, as the result of an imperfect census, that the aboriginal population of the district of which he then had charge was 1,000, and expressed his belief, founded on extensive experience, that at the period of the foundation of the colony the number of the aborigines in the same district was not less than 8,000. From recent reports of the Protectors throughout the colony we find the present aboriginal population of the Portland Bay District, which is one of the chief centres of the European population, set down at 700 souls; of the Western Port District, 300; of the Wimmera District, 1,200; of the District of Grant, 70. These numbers, although only a fraction of the entire colony is embraced in the census, show a total of considerably more than 2,000. Now, taking this as the present population of a small section of the colony, and placing the fact thus arrived at in conjunction with the opinion of one well informed in these matters, that the population of another district of Port Phillip was originally 8,000, we are enabled, by a glance at the geographical features of the colony, which includes the great stronghold of the aborigines on the southern coast, Gippsland, to arrive at an estimate of the entire population. That population could not have been numerically much less than that fixed upon for New South Wales. Proceeding to South Australia, we have the testimony of Captain Sturt that, in the course of his explorations, his party once met with a concourse of aborigines numbering 600, nearly all