The Hunters

  • Geoffrey Blainey


Aboriginals travelled lightly, carrying few possessions, but our luggage is full of objects. Accordingly we tend to visualize the daily life of aboriginals mainly through the familiar objects which they manufactured. As curators of museums naturally prefer to display objects, and as a weapon is more likely to catch the imagination of spectators, weapons often typify our view of aboriginal society. Moreover they match our idea of a ‘savage society’.


Sandy Beach Empty Shell Fish Trap Fishing Technique White Feather 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 129.
    Aboriginal cricketers: D. J. Mulvaney, Cricket Walkabout: The Australian Aboriginal Cricketers on Tour 1867–8 (Melbourne, 1967) pp. 31, 64–5.Google Scholar
  2. 129.
    Alice M. Brues, in Y. A. Cohen, Man in Adaptation: the Bisocial Background (Chicago, 1968), pp. 186–94.Google Scholar
  3. 131.
    Uses of mimicry in hunting: W. E. Harney, North of 23°: Ramblings in Northern Australia (Sydney, n.d.) pp. 155–6; W. E. Harney, Brimming Billabongs: The Life Story of an Australian Aboriginal (Sydney, 1947), pp. 52–3, 56–7;Google Scholar
  4. R. H. Mathews, ‘Aboriginal Tribes of New South Wales and Victoria’, R.S.N.S.W., 1904, pp. 255–6.Google Scholar
  5. 132.
    Sign language: W. E. Roth, in Records of the Australian Museum (Sydney, 1908–10), vol. 7, p. 82 ff, W. E. Roth. Ethnological Studies, preface.Google Scholar
  6. 132.
    Platypus egg: F. Wood Jones, The Mammals of South Australia (Adelaide, 1923–5), p. 29. For a contrasting example of aboriginals’ ignorance—about the nesting habits of lyrebirds—see A. H. Chisholm, in A.D.B. vol. 1, p. 86.Google Scholar
  7. 135.
    Stranded seal: P. P. King, Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia (London, 1827), vol. 2, pp. 126–7.Google Scholar
  8. 136.
    Tasmanian shell fish: Plomley, p. 79; A. J. Dartnell, ‘Marine Molluscs of Tasmania’, in Tasmanian Year Book, 1973, pp. 55–6.Google Scholar
  9. 137.
    Wilson’s Promontory: G. S. Hope and P. J. F. Coutts, ‘Past and Present Aboriginal Food Resources at Wilsons Promontory, Victoria’, Mankind, 1971, vol. 8, pp. 104–14.Google Scholar
  10. 140.
    Fish traps and weirs: P. Beveridge, p. 48; T. F. Bride ed., Letters from Victorian Pioneers (Melbourne, 1969 edn), p. 271.Google Scholar
  11. 141.
    Glyde River fish trap: D. F. Thomson, ‘A New Type of Fish Trap from Arnhem Land …’ Man, 1938, vol. 38, pp. 193–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 142.
    The simplest vessels: P. P. King, Narrative of a Survey, vol. 2, p. 69; J. L. Stokes, Discoveries in Australia (London, 1846), vol. 1, p. 112;Google Scholar
  13. D. F. Thomson, ‘Notes on Some Primitive Water-craft’, Man, 1952, vol. 52, p. 1 ff.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 143.
    Robert Edwards, Aboriginal Bark Canoes of the Murray Valley (Adelaide, 1972), pp. 29–30.Google Scholar
  15. 144.
    Dug-out canoes: W. E. Roth, ‘North Queensland Ethnography’, in Records of the Australian Museum (Sydney, 1910–13), vol. 8, pp. 11–16; D. F. Thomson, Economic Structure, pp. 52, 57–60.Google Scholar
  16. 145.
    Goose hunters in Arafura Swamp: unpublished notes by Donald Thomson on magpie geese in N.T., 1935–7, kindly supplied by Miss Judith Wiseman of Melbourne University: D. F. Thomson, ‘The Tree Dwellers of the Arafura Swamps: A New Type of Bark Ganoe from Central Arnhem Land’, Man, 1939, reprint article;Google Scholar
  17. D. F. Thomson, ‘Arnhem Land: Explorations among an Unknown People’, Geographical Journal, 1949, vol. 114, pp. 31–34;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. H. J. Frith and S. J. J. F. Davies, ‘Ecology of the Magpie Goose’, C.S.I.R.O. Wildlife Research, 1961, vol. 6, pp. 91–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 153.
    Bogong moth: W. K. Hancock, Discovering Monaro: a Study of Man’s Impact on his Environment, (Cambridge, 1972), pp. 21–2; R. B. Smyth, vol. 1, p. 207 n.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey Blainey

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations