Download Aboriginal Victorians: A History since 1800 by Richard; with Jackomos, Alick Broome PDF

By Richard; with Jackomos, Alick Broome

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These performances impressed McCabe, but not others, and often confirmed the ‘savagery’ the viewer believed Aborigines possessed. Captain Wood thought the dancers ‘cut throat looking fellows’, while Richard Howitt saw things that ‘will haunt the soul years after such exhibitions. 53 In 1839 William Thomas witnessed other ceremonies. In one, some Daungwurrung women stole locks of hair from Woiwurrung young men, allegedly paralysing them. To save the men from death, all their bodily hair was shaved with a piece of glass, their bodies oiled with ochre and fat and the hair buried, in a procedure lasting almost four hours.

Fights erupted in these situations as tensions developed. The term ‘savages’ fell easily from white lips. However, antagonisms were initially minimal, and especially so around Melbourne, where the presence of the law and mutual curiosity made relations tolerable. *Aboriginal Victorians 31/1/05 2:23 PM Page 18 18 WILD TIMES: 1800–1850 Aboriginal people were also intrigued by the novelty of all before them. They stopped Europeans in the street to shake their hands and the whites responded positively.

He buried his friend in the European manner, but his attempt to erect a memorial tablet over the fenced grave was prevented by ‘horrified’ Woiwurrung. It was possibly the publicising of Billibellary’s name, that of a now deceased person, to which they objected. A revenge party soon departed northwards against the Daungwurrung people, as tradition demanded, for the deaths of mature people were always deemed to be the result of sorcery from afar. 50 The European presence, along with their seductive foods and artefacts, initially did not dent the strength of Aboriginal beliefs.

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