2 corrections, most recently by anonymous - Show corrections
AUSTRALIA'S PRIMITIVE MAN.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ARGUS.
Sir,—In "The Argus" of last Saturday, under the above heading, occurs the fol- lowing from your London correspon-
"The Australians, of to-day seem to be a hybrid race, consisting of Asiatic and Tasmanian ele- ments. The race represented by Dr. Dubois's discoveries seem to have come into Northern Australia by boat, with their dingoes. They drove the Tasmanians, southward into Victoria and Tas-
mania. Even in recent times the vestiges of the Tasmanian type were more pronounced in Vic- toria than in New South Wales and Queensland.
Professor Baldwin Spencer has recalled that the Victorian native dialects contain a number of pure Tasmanian words.
There is some confusion here. If my name were substituted for that of Professor Spencer, the statement would be correct. I was the originator of what has been termed "the conflict theory" of the origin of the Australian aborigines, and it was I who first discovered and published the affinities between the Tasmanian and Aus- tralian languages, and showed that ves- tiges of the Tasmanians were most pro- nounced in Victoria. My theory was first enunciated in a prize essay "Jour. R. Soc. N.S.W.," 1899, 14 years before Spencer and Gillen investigated aboriginal life in Central Australia. It was further elabor- nted in my "Eaglehawk and Crow," 1899, and received its final form in my "Two Representative Tribes of Queensland,"
There is n tendency to father every- thing of importance that has been done in Australian anthropology on to three or four investigators, in racing parlance—the rest are nowhere. My views were out of line with those in vogue, and I had to smart from suspicion and opposition. Even here, in Melbourne, my "Eaglehawk and Crow" (of which my theory of origins was a conspicuous feature) was pronounced "suspect" (not by an anthropologist) to my Alma Mater, and the ban has not been removed. My views were endorsed con amore by Professor A. H. Keane, vice-
president of the Anthropological Institute, and author of "Ethnology," "Man Past and Present," "The World's Peoples," &c. As I have had to suffer for my scientific heterodoxy, I may as well claim the little credit due when it becomes scientific ortho-
Coburg, Feb. 21
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ARGUS.
Sir,—The admirable and interesting an-
thropological argument bearing upon the
"Talgai" skull which appeared in "The Argus" on Saturday last caries us a good step nearer to conclusions upon the subject of primitive man in Australia. But the missing page of human history -which un doubtcdlv lies buried -m the bosom of this great continent-ein only be exhaustively interpreted when the archaeological and eth uological sciences have contributed their quota to the scientific sum AVill you there fore allow mo to place before jour readers a brief account of soma archaeological dis coven« which I have recently made winch support your London correspondents an thronological argument'
Wlien corresponding vv ith the director of our National Alnsenm some two and a half years ago upon the Bubject of primitive implements and weapons which at that time 1 hid found m the earliest and latest de posits of the present Moorabool River, I ventured to inform the director that I CNpected to prove mans presence benctth the basalt flow«, during the following sum mer Since that time 1 have made cvcavi dons in the now exposed grav ela of a once buried river at Moransburl and during the past jeir I hive discovered amongst other things fiom 00 to 70 Aeiy primitive representations in stone of animal bird, and human beads all of which w ere buried around and within six feet of a large rod in the upper half of the sub bistltic river gravels Onginallv this ancient river ivis buried lo a depth of nearlv 100 feet bv those great lava flows which so completely changed the face of the Western district Accounts of these discoveries have appeared in the Geelong Advertisci from time to time, and the pi unitivo sculptures have been forn arded to the Geelong 1 le d Naturalists Club in connection with the
TO Til» FDITOH OP Til» ARUUS
Su -1 henrti!} endorse the sentiments ex pressed by Mr A 1 Cameron'in his letter on tins subject, published in Hie Aj-gus of Sutnrd i), I cbnmrj 10
The blackfellows quarries at Mount Wil ham, 10 miles from Lancefield have the principal claim to be the most rcmarl able histonc landmark of the aboriginal race, which is still as the bhckB left it
When I visited it some years ago I was struck bj the impression one receives that tho aborigines mic,ht have only left it yesterday It is not overgrown by native sei ub and timboi, the ground being too hard and rocks
lhere are thousands of partially comple- ted axes lying about which doubtless had some defect the black artificers alone could observe Hie face of the quarry is bold and sheer In the centre of a cleared space in the ground there is a large stone anvil, part
of the solid lock foundation Hie centre is cleft to hold the partially chipped ixe in position for finishing In otlfet surround nig« it might be taken for a saerihcial
Hie stone to be wi ought wnB flaked off the face of the quarry by fire \\ hen tlie axes were shaped into the form obs rved in all lehcs of the stone age m Auslrahi and Lurope it was tiken dovm to the creek at tlie foot of the use and polished by rubbing in a stone troneh I saw one of these troughs which had ground many
nn aNC in old( n times
I was af that time an enthusiastic mern
bcr of the Gcogriphical Societj of Sfel bourne and the Anthropological Societj m Sjdnoj Assisted bj iinothct ni"mbet of the former Bocioty and my son 1 eollec ted many specimens sending some to Sydney and some to Mr A V McDonald, secretary of the Geographical Societj I also wrote a description of the quanj
which was published in the journal of the Anthropological Society, and 1 think also m the journal of the Geographical Societj
About the same time I excavated Hack ovens ' or ' 1 itchcu middens, is tliej uro called in Turopc, at Kerang Likes in Vic- toria and the hanks of tho River Murriy at Mathoura near its junction with tho Gulph i Ctcek, in JSciv South Wales and sent relics found there to Sjdncy, there being no facilities for storing such ugly and cumbersome tlnngs as skeletons in the Mel bourne rooms in Queen street
Anjone interested in this Bubject should read Smyths Abotigines of Victoria ' in which excellent work tins quarr} is men
Mr Cameron states - The whole cost to purchase and ic«ene the nccessuv area could he cn ned out for tho sum of £300 the quarries being on private propcrtv
I suggest that some cultuted Vtctonun, who tan Bnare £300 for a hobbj. thould purchrse this rcmirkable memorial of a nee that has passed, leaving ver} few ti ices of its existence behind it
Hie land might bo enclosed witlf a sub stantial iron fence, vested in the Govern ment and named after the eenerous donor-\ oma Ac, CUD
South \arra let) 21
PO Till- tDITOR Or TIIE ARGUS.
Sir,-With reference to Air \ I Cameron s letter m Hie Argus of Satur dav, suggesting that the Government should um chase the piece of land at Mount \\ ii
ham upon winch are the nncurt native diorite quarries I have visited these quir nés, ind as they now stand there is little evidence that tliej have been much inter fered with but as greater interest is ne-w being manifested m the collectin-, u v if
torian native stone implements Avhich have great scientific interest if this wonderful niBtonc workBhip is not immediately pro tectcd from spoliation, it will soon be ruined and gone foi ever
This btone-agc workshop existing m almost its original state within the 20th cen'nry goes back to its counterpart ot the Btone age of Lurope 10,000 j ears ago and it is a wonderful fact that we in Australia aro living within touch of native tribes of the stone-age
lins native qnarrj is not one laigo mass of stone as we know a quarry from which material is blasted but at Mount William it consists of a whole series of small out
crops of diorite perhaps m number about 150, within an area of about 25 acres Ihese outcrops Anry in size from about seven jards to 20 vard«. square \carly all of these outcrops show evidences of having been worked upon and some of the exten stvc working«, jre of verv great,age
The reputation of this quarry for produc ing the finest and toughest «itonc for mak ¡ng stone axca Avna known to the natives throughout Australia and tho stone was traded right up to Port Darwim
Hie labour of production v as immense, as the aborigine had no other tool but another piece ot «ton.c to smash off a large flake from the outirop upon which he was working and then with another stone le ducc this piece by roughly flaking it down to the required shipe mil MZC When final!} it AVIS cloren chipped, the rough edges were pounded smoothly dowu ready lor the fine-cutting worl ing idge to be ground on a sandstone rock nilli the aid
At Mount William to-day there is the stone anvil the workman used to fíale the stone upon there are the great i on derous stone hammers which ho used to bleak off the large pieces from the outirop and there oro heaps of discarded shnpis vi Inch eithei broke o- Hal e 1 bl dlv togi ti ei wi Öl the accumulation of chipping», show ing Avhcre the workman Bat anti laboured - Yours, Ac, W H GILL
r<*. au '
Gordon Technical College, through the
editor of the Advertiser
Having mado an exhaustive search in the «iib basaltic and post basaltic gruels and a studv of the archmologicil and cthnolo feal evidence which I have found m both,
now have no hesitation In saving that the primitive works of ni t from these plioeev« or pleistocene envois beneath the basalt are the work of the autochthonous e_r»J~ tanta of Yustraha that thev, support and
ire supported by Di Howitts tentative hvpothesis-of a race of which the Tas mamans were the remnant, which occupied the \ustriltan continent it that remote geological time when 1 ismailia was a part
of the mainland
The evidence which I had previously col
lected from post basaltic gravels (much ot which is now in the hands of Mia Daisy M Bites and Dr Herbert Basedow) indicates that those autochthonous inhabitants of Austrilm lontinucd upon the present Moorabool River until one or two thousand vears ago and that they were then using" tlie same cliss of instruments nnd weapons
and were making primitive human animal, ind bird forms similar to those which their sub basaltic ancestors hod made hundreds of thousands of vears before them
It is probable that the ancient works of art from around the rocl beneath the bisalt have i totetmc significance that thev hav e some connection with the Churinga Manja burials of the Arunta mvths (') ind it is possible tint this connection may bo cstab hshed thereby proving the immense an tiqmtv of those totcmic beliefs and prac- tices Tlie oudenre genernliv indicates that in those remote ages these primitive ment 1 ad a language ond that they wert both figuratively and literallv imaginative They sometimes display ingeniiitv m their de signs and in adapting their implements and weapons to the fingers or hinds A largo number of the animal and bird forms have thus been adapted to the grip and they appear to hale been used for rubbing othci implements or weapons I he evidence from beneath the basalt also shoivs that the human group which made and used these ruin itive works of art remained in this loeahtv for ages during which time the river gravels omimuhted to the extent of six feet in depth thus buring the Nanja (') rock nnd finally covering it with a forma
tion of fine sand
Aro these renams those of a magical society and were the objects usqd for magi
cal purposes' And have they an exosjamous significance ' Diese are questions for our (treat authorities upon tlie subiect of totemism I shall be pleased to place the evidence before them -Yours 4>
Monnghurlt, T othbr dge 1 eli Q3