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.

The men too were not without their mutilation.  Most of those who lived on the sea-coast we found to want the right front tooth; some, whom we met in the interior part of the country, had not been subjected to the authority of the tribe of Cam-mer-ray-gal; but a particular account of the ceremonies used on this occasion will be given under the article Customs and Manners.

I noticed but few deformities of person among them; once or twice I have seen on the sand the print of inverted feet.  Round shoulders or humpbacked people I never saw.  Some who were lame, and assisted themselves with sticks, have been met with; but their lameness might proceed from spear wounds, or by accident from fire; for never were women so inattentive to their young as these.  We often heard of children being injured by fire, while the mother lay fast asleep beside them, these people being extremely difficult to awaken when once asleep.  A very fine little girl, belonging to a man well known and much beloved among us, of the name of Cole-be, had two of its toes burnt Off, and the sinews of the leg contracted in one night, by rolling into a fire out of its mother’s arms, while they both lay asleep.

Their sight is peculiarly fine, indeed their existence very often depends upon the accuracy of it; for a short-sighted man (a misfortune unknown to them, and not yet introduced by fashion, nor relieved by the use of a glass) would never be able to defend himself from their spears, which are thrown with amazing force and velocity.  I have noticed two or three men with specks on one eye, and once at Broken Bay saw in a canoe an old man who was perfectly blind.  He was accompanied by a youth who paddled his canoe, and who, to my great surprise, sat behind him in it.  This may, however, be in conformity to the idea of respect which is always paid to old age.

The colour of these people is not uniform.  We have seen some who, even when cleansed from the smoke and filth which were always to be found on their persons, were nearly as black as the African negro; while others have exhibited only a copper or Malay colour.  The natural covering of their heads is not wool as in most other black people, but hair; this particular may be remembered in the two natives who were in this country, Bennillong and Yem-mer-ra-wan-nie.  The former, on his return, by having some attention paid to his dress while in London, was found to have very long black hair.  Black indeed was the general colour of the hair, though I have seen some of a reddish cast; but being unaccompanied by any perceptible difference of complexion, it was perhaps more the effect of some outward cause than its natural appearance.

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