Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/72

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JUVENILE EXERCISES. 59

It appears that at a very early age the aborigines inure their children to those exercises which in after years form their chief employment, and are so necessary to their very existence. No sooner have the boys attained sufficient strength to run about than they are taught to hurl mimic spears and boomerangs, and make use of all the other weapons in use among their tribe, for which purpose they are provided with implements adapted to their years and powers. For the purpose of acquiring the art of throwing the spear with precision and effect, they are provided with imitations of that weapon formed of small reeds, and pointed with pieces of hard wood. A target is formed of a piece of bark formed into a circular shape, and about a foot in diameter. This is rolled backwards and forwards on the ground by two boys at a time, at certain points for the purpose, while a third hurls his light spears at the target while in motion. The object of this style of practice is self- evident. The spear is the chief weapon used not only in hunting but even in fishing, and is consequently always directed against objects moving with more or less velocity. It is therefore of consequence that the learner should accustom himself to take aim, not at a stationary mark, which in real practice he will seldom be required to do, but at some object which moves before his sight.

The culinary process, as practised among the aborigines, possesses some striking peculiarities. Kangaroo and some other of the larger birds and