The French Explorers and the Aboriginal Australians 1772-1839, Colin Dyer
I had some idea that the Australian land was visited by others than the English. The French I was unaware were frequent visitors. (as to a lesser extent the Russians!) There observations where quite different from the English who where there as colonists while the French appeared mainly for knowledge.
Much I had already gleamed about the Aboriginal life. That they where nomadic and had customs which were totally foreign to Europeans. The book just confirmed this.
I found the later chapters saddening, the decline of Aboriginal culture with introduction of European vices namely Alcohol. The aboriginals would do anything for such things. As such they were often used for entertainment with all stratas of European society. One such distressing narrative was Aboriginals pitted against each other often to the death just for a rich merchants entertainment. Dyer, the author makes this observation 'This us- or abuse- may have made assimilation of these people into European ways all the more difficult."
I could not help wondering how the Aboriginals would have fared under the French. Freycinet the French explorer seems at times sympathetic to there plight. As well as understanding of there Nomadic ways.