The racial origin of the Australian Aboriginal is still the subject of much controversy, despite the considerable number of studies which have been made over the last 100 years. Past investigations have included many aspects of physical anthropology, archaeology, linguistics and social anthropology, but different approaches, techniques and interpretations have resulted primarily in two basically opposed hypotheses. These are: (a)The Aboriginal Australians are the descendants of a single basic stock which invaded the virgin continent. Local differences found to-day in the frequencies of some of their physical features are primarily the result of chance variations which became established in semi-isolated populations (cf. Abbie, 1951). (b) Successive waves of immigrants of different basic stock colonized the Australian continent. The frequency variations of certain features found between Aborigines inhabiting the different parts of the Australian continent are closely related to the varying proportions of the contributing stocks in these populations (cf. Birdsell, 1949 and 1950).
The current study deals with the variations in certain metrical features of Aboriginal crania from various parts of coastal New South Wales. With this as a basis, it is hoped to record, analyse and compare cranial data from Aboriginal populations of various other localised areas of Australia in an attempt to test, and possibly help resolve, the differences between the two currently held divergent views.
Please note: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this publication may relate to religious beliefs, death, burial practices or initiation ceremonies and rites; or it may contain images or names of deceased persons or images that may be regarded as unsuitable for children.