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time, been only found in sufficient quantities to pay for collecting in the provinces of New South Wales and Victoria. Therefore the following pages will be devoted chiefly to those colonies. The other colonies established on the Australian continent are Western Australia and South Australia ; of the former we need speak very briefly; but the latter is described at length in the course of the work.
Western Australia was founded in 1829, on the banks of the Swan River, by a party of gentlemen who desired to establish a colony without the aid of convict labour. It is the least active and progressive of the Australian colonies. Its lands generally are so poor and sandy, that great difficulties are experienced in procuring pasturage for the comparatively few sheep and cattle possessed by the settlers. Its mineral riches are not great, or if so, they are not yet developed, as no mines of metals or valuable minerals are at present worked. Coal, however, is reported to have been discovered ; and, if the measures are extensive, and lie near the coast, they will probably pay for working, especially as the mail steam-ships from England will touch at this province. Another disadvantage to this colony is its distance from the other Australian provinces. Of late years the settlers have increased their trade from the exportation of guano and of sandal wood, a plentiful and valuable indigenous timber. The colony, however, is illsuited for a settlement of enterprizing British emigrants. It maintains but a feeble existence, and this chiefly by the labour of convicts, who are now sent thither. Many of its early settlers died shortly after landing in want and misery, and hundreds have been ruined by adopting it as their future home. The climate is hot and changeable, but salubrious.
Description of the Aborigines - Their dwellings and
mode of life Savage dance — Hunt for wives Religion - Soothsayers - Infanticide and cannibalism-Funeral ceremonies.
The aboriginal inhabitants of Australia are low in the scale of humanity.
Their complexion is a brownish-black. The men have projecting jaws, high cheek bones, and are of masculine build. The women are slimly built, and of diminutive stature. In both sexes the forehead is narrow and receding; the hair is fine, long, and dark in colour ; the eyes are black and lively; the nose is flat, with large distended nostrils; the mouth large; the lips The legs,
thick and prominent ; the teeth white and regular ; and the skull bone of more than ordinary strength and thickness. especially of the females, are disproportionately thin and slender ; the feet are short, and the toes wide and turned inwards. Both sexes scarify their bodies, anoint themselves with oil, and frequently wear rings, or ornaments in the nose, which they deem a charm against evil.
The aborigines are divided into tribes, each of which has a peculiar district sacred to itself, and it is an universal custom among these people to kill any strange black man who passes through their country. They have no settled habitations, but, like Arabs, roam from place to place in quest of sustenance, at each halting-place erecting miamis, or whurleysfragile dwellings only a few feet in size, formed of the fresh plucked boughs of trees and bark. The encamping ground has a filthy, repulsive aspect. Before each miami is the spear of the owner planted upright in the ground, a warning to all intruders. Outstretched on the ground, men and women, some in a state of nudity, and others enveloped in blankets, or opossum rugs, are sunk in the very depths of ennui and indolence; and beside them lie their meagre supply of provisions, over which a few gaunt, half-starved dogs are keeping watch. Other individuals are seated round fires, voraciously tearing to pieces, and devouring their half-cooked food; while here and there a man may be seen making spears, or turning opossum skins to form rugs. As evening approaches, the hunting parties return home, fires are lit, their meals rudely cooked, and hastily devoured, and as soon as darkness has fairly set in, they commence the corroboric dance.