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7
Dawson in his work on the Port Stephens blacks says:
"a mother amputates the little finger of the right hand of one of
her female children as soon as it is born in token
of its appointment to the office of fisherwoman to the
family" - p 314
"Scars are made by cutting on the chest, back, shoulders
or loins with sharp edges of shells according to the taste of
the operator x x the operation is performed at various
ages from one to two years, to ten or twelve" - p 319.
The nosehole is bored with a pointed bone at the age of
puberty and then they go away to some remote place
accompanied by several of their male friends with the
person who performs the operation who is looked up to as
a kind of doctor upon other occasions. As soon as the cartilege
is perforated a small bundle of the clear round stems of withered grass
is introduced into the orifice which is extended every day by thrusting fresh
stems into the centre of the bundle until it is increased to teh required size
x x the females are [excluded - crossed out] exempt from the barbarous custom
x x a bone from the leg of a kangaroo about an inch and a half in circumference
is inserted in the nose perforation." - p319
nose flattening "The mothers in Australia sometimes flatten the noses of their
infants x x the custom however is not universal.* p339 L

8 Dawson says as to game "and the natives in wet seasons sundown, old
men Kangaroos who are very large, their weight causing them to sink into
the ground and thus to become tired." p139

9 Gesture language + interview Mr Dawson says as to meeting
with wild blacks: "I now ordered Wickie and his companion
to make the sign of peace to them, which they did by waving the right
hand over the head and then pointing to the ground. No return was
made to this x x x I ordered the blacks to make that sign of peace again
and then to speak to them. This was done and an answer was returned
in a very loud and as I thought menacing tone x x a good deal of loud
talk in the nature of an harangue on each side then took place between
the parties, the one waiting patiently till the other had finished. This then
ended in the strange blacks placing their spears against the
tree as before and with an invitation to join them x x p 128 M

*This fashion prevailed among the Maitland natives
when on [??] [??] came here and also the father's
wearing a transverse bone in the nose - both men + women
J. F.

7 Infanticide - Was certainly practised by the Port Stephens tribes
I have heard my father mention an instance - Twins (girls) were
born it was decided that one must be killed. The brother
a boy of 6 or 7 was called to choose which one
should be kept. He looked at them for a little when
one of them commencing to cry he decided that it
was the one to kill. Kill that one said he and they did
so. There was one old woman who was said to be
the person whose duty it was to dispose of any
children who were not wanted. She was a hideous
old creature. The other blacks said she choked the babies with
sand. N S

[written in right side margin]
The Port S Blacks * used their
"nose bone" to pin their blanket
or rug across the breast - when
not wanted for this purpose
kept it on the nose
N Scott

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