Aboriginal boys' initiation ritual, Australia, 1798.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by Neagle. Boo-der-ro (centre), took the principal part throughout. He beat time with his shield and club; on every third stroke the boys presented their spears to him, touching the centre of the shield. This part of the ritual 'appeared significant of an exercise which was to form the principal busines of their lives, the use of the spear'. From 'An account of the English colony in New South Wales: with remarks on the dispositions, customs, manners, &c, of the native inhabitants of that country' by David Collins (1756-1810), published in London, 1798-1802. Collins was Judge Advocate and Governor's Secretary under Arthur Phillip at the British colony at Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, Australia, 1787-1796, and colonial governor of Tasmania, 1804-1810.