In traditional society the old men were paramount in matters of ritual and belief but more in secular areas the fundamental egalitarianism of Aboriginal society militated against the emergence of permanent leadership. Europeans who knew the Aborigines best were aware of this. Symmons, the West Australian Protector, remarked in 1841 that the blacks were a people ‘owning no chief - literally a pure democracy’. Writing of South Australian Aborigines Taplin noted that ‘all members of the clan are held to be equal’.[p.141, 1]
Reynolds, Henry. (1981) 2006. The Other Side of the Frontier. Sydney: UNSW Press. ISBN: 0–86840–892–1.