The Barrinean People of Australia - The First Settlers
THE BARRINEAN PEOPLE
Professor Joseph B. Birdsell
& adult male Barrinean
native, near lake Barrine
There is some evidence for the presence of different ethnic groups in Australia during the past. For instance,considerable research amongst Aboriginal people was carried out by individuals such as Joseph Birdsell and Norman B. Tindale. They presented a series of papers and publications in which it was argued that the Australian Aboriginal population represented several waves of culture, rather than a single group as is frequently the expounded philosophy. Birdsell... formally named the Australian representatives of this type the Barrinean, after our 1938 work in the Lake Barrine area had confirmed their presence.
Distribution of the ‘main types’ of Australian people at the time of first European contact, as identified by Birdsell and Tindale. After Tindale and Lindsay 1963.
Tindale and Birdsell claimed they ‘probably saw five hundred present-day descendants’ of these small stature indigenous individuals, but their population when the area was first settled in the 1890’s was estimated at two thousand.
Tindale also was of the opinion that the earliest migrating waves of culture represented individuals of small stature, as is evident in this summary of these findings. “Evidence available up to the present suggests that the first human invaders of the virgin Australian continent, some forty thousand or more years ago, were a people of small stature of a type still to be found in small hideaway groups in the rain forests of Southeast Asia and New Guinea, and as far out into the Pacific as the New Hebrides. They are collectively known as the Negritos, a separate small framed type of modern man forming one of the earliest stocks in southern Asia, and geographically somewhat remote from the negrillo peoples of Africa”.
van der Post with an adult male & grandmother
Further information on pygmy populations has been put forward by Peter Bellwood, who claimed that the Negritos of the Andaman Islands (Indian area), central Malaya (Semang), the Philippines and the pygmies of highland New Guinea are all dwarf Australoid populations. Bellwood considers these dwarf populations represent ‘the most daunting phylogenetic problems of the Pacific area’.
The question proposed is, was there once an ancient Negrito continuum from Africa right through Southeast Asia, which has now been swamped, or have the dwarf populations evolved in several places independently? The later seems unlikely but is possible.
J. Michael Fay with a Congo pygmy