ANY attempt to fathom the depth of mystery which surrounds the history of the Australian Aboriginal must necessarily be--in the main--a failure. The subject is surrounded with difficulty. Captain Dampier was the first Englishman known to have made the acquaintance of the Australian natives, whom he calls "the poor winking people of New Holland, the miserablest people on earth," and so forth. During the intervening two centuries we have not added much to our knowledge regarding them. They have no written language, and are forbidden to speak of the dead: two serious obstacles to research.
I am well aware that the subject is rather out of my line, and for this reason alone I can scarcely expect to do justice to the theme. Nevertheless, during my wanderings through Western Australia, in the capacity of a mining engineer, I came across a good many of the natives; and taking a profound interest in everything connected with the colony I resolved to set down in brief and simple form such facts as I could glean regarding this most curious specimen of the human race. I lay no more claim to originality than is due to one who has arranged his matter in his own way, and added a few thoughts suggested and accruing.