Native Problems in North Australia


    THE natives of Arnhem Larid in North Australia are presenting an interesting proiblem to the Commonwealth Government. The methods usually adopted in dealing with disturbances among the natives are the old-time punitive police expedition or special missionary enterprise; quite recently a mixture of the two has been tried. As Prof. F. Wood Jones has pointed out, the former is apt to lead merely to massacre, and the latter must be admitted to have failed to effect any permanent solution of the problem. It is properly soluble only by rigorous segregation of the blacks from settlers, traders and the like (European and Asiatic), and by prolonged intimate study of them by highly trained anthropologists willing and able to live amongst them as members of their tribes. The University of Melbourne has made an admirable and practical move in offering to the Department of the Interior the services of an able and experienced research student to work amongst the Arnhem Land natives. To the great regret of all who are interested in these primitive peoples, the offer has been declined; but the last has not been heard of it. On scientific, no less than humanitarian, grounds a determined effort along sound modern lines should be made to resolve this long-neglected native problem. The establishment of a Commonwealth Department of Native Affairs would be a step in the right direction.

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