In commenting at another blog recently, I dug-out and re-read a couple of interesting posts from 2011 about Australian Aborigine life at the time of the first detailed records.
I had a long-standing interest in hunter-gatherers, and thought I knew the anthropology pretty well; but this information surprised me.
I expected the Aborigines to be similar to the Southern African hunter gatherers such as the Kung San or the Hadza. But I should have been prepared for Aborigines to be unique, since it is believed that they were genetically separated from other humans some 50,000 years ago - or about 2,000 generations. This would make them likely to be more different from other humans than any other group.
One difference is that the Aborigines have a 'totemic' religion - relatively fixed in beliefs (within constraints of oral transmission), with something like priests and handed down as accurately as possible between generations.
Whereas most similar 'immediate return', low technology hunter-gatherers, rather than a fluid, (part-time) shaman-led animistic spirituality.
Another difference was that Aborigines had larger 'bands' than the usual immediate-return hunter-gatherers - my theory was that this was because their totemic religion sustained a higher level of cooperation beyond the extended family. Interesting; because most totemic religions are found in more complex (socially-stratified and specialised), sedentary, early agriculture societies - or those with rich food resources available without being nomadic - such as the totem-pole-making Pacific Northwest American Indians - who had resources of shell-fish to gather.
Anyway, the - rather unpleasant - surprises I had about Aborigine life are detailed and referenced below.
Treatment of girls and women:
Infanticide and euthanasia: