After a description of the chief physical and natural characteristics of the country, its flora, fauna, peculiar scenery, which makes the landscape grotesque rather than picturesque, he went on to tell how he happened to visit "the land of the dawning" as a naturalist and investigator. The description of his life among the natives, of its dangers, trials, and compensations, was one of the most interesting portions of the lecture.
What Professor Lumholtz had to say of the natives themselves was, however, the most instructive part of the talk. He is the only European who has ever made this people a study. They are unquestionably the lowest of the human race in the scale of civilization; everything connected with their life proves this. The language is very simple, the vocabulary being extremely limited: there are no general words, as the natives do not make the simplest generalization; whole ideas are expressed by single words, and everything marks a primitive phase of human life. This is even more clearly shown in their weapons and other instruments. The civil customs are similar to those of other people who rank low in civilization. Their religious ideas are very limited; there is no idolatry among the Australians, but their few religions conceptions take the form of the lowest superstitions. To civilization, and Christianity they have not proved susceptible; they are without future, without home, without hope-a doomed people.