PREFACE  pp. v-x


By Henry Ling Roth et al.

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In the present work, the recorded knowledge as to the extinct native race of Tasmania has been brought together with, I think, an approach to absolute completeness.

If there have remained anywhere up to modern times men whose condition has changed little since the early Stone Age, the Tasmanians seem to have been such a people. They stand before us as a branch of the Negroid race illustrating the condition of man near his lowest known level of culture. Tribes who like them knew no agriculture nor pastoral life are common enough, indeed this is the most convenient definition, of savages. Many tribes in the late Stone Age have lasted on into modern times, but it appears that the aborigines of Tasmania, whose last survivors have but just died out, by the workmanship of their stone implements rather represented the condition of Palaeolithic Man. Years ago, the evidence already pointed towards this important point in the history of civilization. In 1865, in comparing the implements of the Drift with those found elsewhere, I put on record as follows: –“The Tasmanians sometimes used for cutting or notching wood a very rude instrument. Eye-witnesses describe how they would pick up a suitable flat stone, knock off chips from one side, partly or all round the edge, and use it without more ado; and there is a speciinen corresponding exactly to this description in the Taunton Museum.”