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3-050 (Text)

Item metadata
Speaker:
author,male,West, John,43 addressee
ns1:discourse_type
Report
Word Count :
470
Plaint Text :
ns1:register
Public Written
ns1:texttype
Reports
ns1:localityName
http://dbpedia.org/resource/Van_Diemen%27s_Land
Created:
1852
Identifier
3-050
Source
West, 1852
pages
258-271
Document metadata
Extent:
2722
Identifier
3-050-plain.txt
Title
3-050#Text
Type
Text

3-050-plain.txt — 2 KB

File contents



PART EIGHT
The Aborigines
SECTION I
1642. - At the era of discovery by Tasman, Van Diemen's Land was in-habited. He heard, or thought he heard, the voices of people and the sound of a trumpet: he noticed the recently cut notches, five feet asunder, on the bark of the trees, and he saw the smoke of fires. He inferred that they possessed some unusual method of climbing, or that their stature was gigantic. In the sound, the colonist recognises the vocal cooey of the aborigines, and learns from the steps "to the birds' nests," that they then hunted the opossum, and employed that method of ascent, which, for agility and daring has never been surpassed. Thus, during more than 150 years, this country was forgotten; and such were the limits of European knowledge, when the expedition of Cook was dispatched by Great Britain to explore this hemisphere. No navigator brought larger views, and a temper more benevolent, to the task of discovery. To some nations he opened the path of civilisation and religion: to this race he was the harbinger of death.
1773. - Furneaux, Captain Cook's second in command, first visited this country. He saw the fires of the natives, ten miles off. They had left their huts, formed but for a day, in which there were fragments of shell-fish, baskets and spears. The British deposited gun-flints, an old barrel, and nails, in payment for the relics they removed; and they left Adventure Bay, concluding that a most miserable race of mortals inhabited a country capable of producing all the necessaries of life, "and the finest climate in the world."
One year before, Captain Marion, a Frenchman, according to the authors of his country, visited this island. The intercourse was hostile and left traces of blood.
1777. - The descriptions of Cook are founded on his own observations, and are, on the whole, favorable to the natives. The English, while wooding and watering, were surprised by the visit of eight men and a boy.  They were unarmed, except that one of them carried a stick, pointed at the end. They were of middling stature, slender, and naked. On different parts of their bodies were ridges, both straight and curved, raised in the skin: the hair of the head and beard was smeared with red ointment. They were indifferent to presents; they rejected bread, and the flesh of the sea elephant, but accepted some birds, which they signified their intention to eat. Cook prevailed on a native to throw the stick at a mark twenty yards distant, but he failed after repeated trial. The Otaheitian, Omai, to exhibit his skill, fired off a musket: at the report they fled, and so great was their fear, that they dropped the axe and knives they had received.
This Otaheitian 

http://ns.ausnc.org.au/corpora/cooee/source/3-050#Text