The Aborigines are a brown skinned people of
medium height, with slender limbs and black wavy to frizzy hair. They have wide nostrils, thick lips and heavy brows over
deep-set brown eyes. The face protrudes.
Being tribal hunters they do not stay in one place for any length of time,
so they have no permanent homes and very few possessions. They build shelters of any variety of materials leafy branches,
grass, bark, reeds etc.
The women are food collectors, they dig for roots, grubs yams, collect seeds, fruit and eggs and catch small animals
such as lizards and snakes. They do the cooking and also collect firewood and drinking water. Women also make string bags,
baskets, bark dishes and mats, and ornaments of grass, reeds, palm leaves animal hair and skins.
The men are the hunters and fishermen, using spears, nets, traps, clubs and the well known boomerang. Children have
very few toys - boys have smaller versions of the men's weapons - girls have no dolls whatsoever. They are very cleaver at
"Cat's Cradle" a game with a circle of string. Musical instruments consist of a tube 10" long, which makes a droning sound
The Aborigine wears either no clothes at all or a very simple string apron attached to a girdle. Sometimes an armlet,
forehead band or bone nose-pin are worn. On festival or ceremonial occasions special ornaments such as emu feathers or cockatoo
feathers head plumes are worn and designs are painted on the body in red, yellow and white oche (clay) and charcoal, or feather
down is stuck to the body with human blood.
The life of the Aborigine to-day varies according to their contact with the white man. A small minority still follow
the tribal way of life, while many now live in contact with Government and Mission stations or take seasonal work as stockmen
and drovers on cattle and sheep stations, but the latter groups return to the tribal ways for varying periods of weeks or
months during the year. Some seek regular employment as labourers and some do valued work with the police as trackers.