Charles Darwin stays on Nepean River

Charles Darwin, on route to Bathurst, stays on the Nepean River, meeting a band of some 20 Koories. That night “a score of the black Aborigines pass by, ‘each carrying in their accustomed manner, among them spears and other weapons. By giving a leading young man a shilling, they were easily detained, and threw their spears for my amusement. They were all partly clothed, and several could speak a little English: their countenances were good-humoured and pleasant, and they appeared far from being such utterly degraded beings as they have usually been represented. In their own arts they are admirable. A cap being fixed at 30 yards distance, they transfixed it with a spear, delivered by their throwing-stick [woomera] with the rapidity of an arrow from the bow of a practised archer. In tracking animals or men they show such wonderful sagacity; and I heard of several of their remarks which manifested considerable acuteness. They will not, however, cultivate the ground, or build houses and remain stationary, or even take the trouble of tending a flock of sheep when given to them. Darwin, pp. 435-438.

  • Charles Darwin