XM6 Aldridge to Howitt 28 September 1899

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P.S. Please let me know if this letter comes to hand

Boorall Maryborough September 28th 1899

A.W. Howitt Esq. Commissioner of Audit Melbourne Victoria

Mr Dear Sir I must apologise for not answering your two letters sooner & trust my information is not be too late for your purposes. I have answered them - the questions - as I know or can remember I believe that although the country & customs I and Mr. Petrie know do over lap they are different as far as I know. I claim to know the customs & habits of the natives round here better than any white man living or even of any native or aboriginal as all the old ones that used to practice these rights & customs are dead I do not question Mr Petrie, he is correct, but he is a long way south from here, even Bundaberg only a short distance north of here, are different, As for Mr. Lay's statement re sacrifices I do not hesitate in saying its pure invention & is quite on a par with the bushmans yarn you give of the "Bunya feast" & the killing of a [??]

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I have seen men women & children eaten, certainly the men & women have been killed, but not for the purpose of eating them. They came to grief in a fight the children have usually met with an accident The Mary River which runs into the Bunga country has fish, anteaters, wallaby & kangaroo in any quantity but when 1,000 natives walk over a patch of country they soon clean it out. They simply move on & do not kill their own people for meat. Large bodies of niggers do not go over the same country for 3 or 4 years thus giving it every chance to recuperate its game &c I have seen 2,000 men & their women together & at the end of a week they broke for home in all directions having eaten out the country for 25 miles round, but I never saw or even heard of killing their own people for food. If I can give you any further information I shall be most happy hoping you are well I remain Yours faithfully Harry. E. Aldridge

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