George Walford: Australian Aborigines, Captain Cook

CAPTAIN COOK, the first European to meet them, had this to say of the Australian Aborigines:

in reality they are far more happier than we Europeans; being wholly unacquainted not only with the superfluous but the necessary Conveniences so much sought after in Europe, they are happy in not knowing the use of them. They live in a Tranquility which is not disturbed by the Inequality of Condition. The Earth and Sea of their own accord furnishing them with all the things necessary for life, they covet not Magnificent Houses, Household-stuff &c In short they seem’d to set no Value upon any thing we gave them, nor would they ever part with any thing of their own for any one article we could offer them; this in my opinion argues that they think themselves provided with all the necessarys of Life and that they have no superfluities. (Quoted by Glen Barclay, A History of the Pacific from the Stone Age to the Present Day London, Futura Publications Ltd., 1979, p. 60).

from Ideological Commentary 30, November 1987.