An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 866 pages of information about An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 1.
to describe the sensations of the mind as well as of the senses; thus their enemies were wee-re; their friends bood-yer-re.  On our speaking of cannibalism, they expressed great horror at the mention, and said it was wee-re.  On seeing any of our people punished or reproved for ill-treating them, they expressed their approbation, and said it was bood-yer-re, it was right.  Midnight murders, though frequently practised among them whenever passion or revenge were uppermost, they reprobated; but applauded acts of kindness and generosity, for of both these they were capable.  A man who would not stand to have a spear thrown at him, but ran away, was a coward,jee-run, and wee-re.  But their knowledge of the difference between right and wrong certainly never extended beyond their existence in this world; not leading them to believe that the practice of either had any relation to their future state; this was manifest from their idea of quitting this world, or rather of entering the next, in the form of little children, under which form they would re-appear in this.


We observed but few men or women among them who could be said to be tall, and still fewer who were well made.  I once saw a dwarf, a female, who, when she stood upright, measured about four feet two inches.  None of her limbs were disproportioned, nor were the features of her face unpleasant; she had a child at her back, and we were told came from the south shore of Botany Bay.  I thought the other natives seemed to make her an object of their merriment.  In general, indeed almost universally, the limbs of these people were small; of most of them the arms, legs, and thighs were thin.  This, no doubt, is owing to the poorness of their living, which is chiefly on fish; otherwise the fineness of the climate, co-operating with the exercise which they take, might have rendered them more muscular.  Those who live on the sea-coast depend entirely on fish for their sustenance; while the few who dwell in the woods subsist on such animals as they can catch.  The very great labour necessary for taking these animals, and the scantiness of the supply, keep the wood natives in as poor a condition as their brethren on the coast.  It has been remarked, that the natives who have been met with in the woods had longer arms and legs than those who lived about us.  This might proceed from their being compelled to climb the trees after honey and the small animals which resort to them, such as the flying squirrel and opossum, which they effect by cutting with their stone hatchets notches in the bark of the tree of a sufficient depth and size to receive the ball of the great toe.  The first notch being cut, the toe is placed in it; and while the left arm embraces the tree, a second is cut at a convenient distance to receive the other foot.  By this method they ascend very quick, always cutting with the right hand and clinging with the left, resting the whole weight of the body on the ball of either foot.

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