"The Australian Aborigines: A Portrait of their Society" gives information about the customs, legal system, beliefs and cultures of Aborigines in Australia which is a comprehensive read for all people attempting to write an essay on Aboriginals in Australia.
Maddock graduated in law and anthropology from the University of Auckland and has also been awarded a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Sydney. He has written numerous papers on Aboriginal land rights and customary law and thus I believe that he is more than qualified to write on this subject. The book consists of 7 parts, 8 chapters and 181 pages. The table of contents list the page numbers of chapters so it is easy to navigate this book to look for relevant information. .
"Questions about Aborigines are among the most controversial in Australia. Some of the most interesting and difficult of these questions arise in conjunction with traditional Aboriginal culture- (Maddock, 1982) The author gives us an example of how problems with Aboriginal people originated: the fact that many of us do not understand their culture and their way of life. It also tells us that it is important to understand the Aboriginal culture when dealing with Aboriginal people so that we would not be offending them in anyway.
The book explores the Aboriginal culture with a view to bring out its prevailing themes and foremost characteristics. There is a rough division between chapters devoted mainly to the organization of society and chapters devoted mainly to religion and world-view. Marriage, relations of kinship, ritual, mythology, the ordering of persons in clans and classes, relationships to land and to non-human forms of life are all written in great detail in different chapters. .
In the first chapter of the book titled "Remodelling Society", the author immediately brings up the idea of assimilation and how badly the Aborigines reacted to it. It also talks about the recovery of land by the Aborigines and how the government in power then completely shut down claims by Aborigines.