Charles Pickering, travels up the Hunter River

Around this time, American comparative anatomist with the same US exploration expedition, Charles Pickering, travels up the Hunter River via Green Hill, Maitland and Harper’s Hill to Mr Stephens property at Peuen Beuen. An Aboriginal man and woman row a bark canoe across the river in front of his steamer wearing “worn-out European clothing”. Three or four “natives” greet Pickering as he disembarks from the steamer. They hold “implements of warfare”. One presents himself to the visitor as “king of the country”, and later admits that he is at this time residing “in his master’s kitchen”. Two Aboriginal men meet and greet Pickering. They find common ground: all are employed as “mariners”. Despite all this evidence of adaptation to colonisation and Pickering’s surprise at the “facility” with which “natives” acquire the English language, Pickering decides that “The Australian race” is strictly in the “hunter state” while marvelling at the “ingenuity” of Australian “arts”: ascending trees by making notches, using throwing-sticks as javelins, and using the boomerang as a curving missile.