- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
- Online publication date: August 2011
- Print publication year: 2010
- First published in: 1878
- Online ISBN: 9780511695230
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511695230
Robert Brough Smyth (1830–1889) was a successful Melbourne-based mining engineer and civil servant who spent 16 years as Secretary of the Board for the Protection of the Aborigines. In this study of the society and customs of indigenous Australians in the Victoria region, first published in 1878, he combines his own observations with those of others who lived or worked closely with the Aboriginal population. The principal focus of volume 2 is language. Smyth discusses the similarities and differences between regional dialects, grammatical rules and the use of sign language, and the vocabularies of different regions. The nine essays by European settlers which form the appendices explore a variety of anthropological topics and shed light on the complex relationship that existed between the indigenous Australian population and the European immigrants. A final chapter outlines the customs and characteristics of the Aborigines of Tasmania.