Wow, starblazie, so he could've used all three as sources, plus the EB? If it were a long-term obsession, perhaps he consulted a newer EB at the New York Public Library, and perhaps that article mentioned Mathew in the footnotes, and he took notes for later, which he used to write SOOT very many years after he had left New York? The ex libris of the Mathew book I downloaded says it is from University of Michigan, so there were copies in the USA.
(slapping head on forehead) Oh duh. So after a brief search: The 1911 edition of EB changes the name from Buddai to Baiame, but the otherwise the story remains the same. John Mathew is not referenced directly in the 1911 edition, but one of the authors, Alfred William Howitt, mentioned in EB did reference John Mathew in his book, "The Native Tribes of South-East Australia". I think it just as likely that HPL visited the public library in Providence and personally I would be surprised if the library in his home town wasn't one of his frequent haunts. On a side note, interlibrary lending officially began stateside in the 1880's, it doesn't seem unreasonable that HPL could have availed himself of the system at some point, too.
(edit) So the answer is yes, I think it plausible he could have referred to all 3 books.
I find the correlations between the description of the woman-inside-a-kangaroo cave painting and the Great Race too close to be a coincidence. Mathew supposedly deciphered the script above some of the other paintings as Sumatran I think, a Sumatran script for one of the Malay languages, right? That script does look very "cosmic" like something an alien might scrawl onto a rock face, say, an alien ca. 1974 or so. Almost "Klingon." And the Inuktikut syllabic script looks similarly "alien" like something you'd read on the side of a flying saucer.
Yes, it was definitely a Sumatran script and I agree it looked very alien even to my very jaded eyes.
On metempsychosis and all that jazz, it's a bit too general of a concept for me to think HP needed to take it directly from "Queensland, Australia." It seems like the bit about Buddai eating the world is an extrapolation of the myth that if he awoke and rolled over again, it would spell the end of the "blackfellows," at least locally.
Perhaps, but I think it was also the matter of fact way in which the aborigines dealt with the reincarnated souls, these individuals were allowed to integrate fully into tribal life and treated well for the most part; I mean after all, the Great Race did allow displaced souls to integrate into their society fully after a probationary period.
Spirits of the dead or just spirits in water holes and a dark cthonic race slumbering under "Pnakotus" are not neccessarily connected, because this is sort of a common device in mythology and dreams and weird tales. It goes with the idea of "little people" living on the fringes, and "Turanian races" as well, I suppose. The other side of it is its emotional value in dreams of a personal nature where something wells up from beneath a foundation, usually signifying the emergence of previously-unconscious material in the psyche. What might be interesting is to compare the architecture in SOOT and HPL's Outsider. The same image of massive stones covering up portals to deeper and darker realms is used several times in DQ/UK. I believe HPL approaches those barriers from both sides, at various times, expressing a sort of sympathy for the beings on both sides of the barriers. If you take that idea further, could it be that the dark forces under "Pnakotus" set to destroy the Great Race--and who presumably did--were actually some sort of very ancient humans with fully-developed powers, third eyes, telekinesis, whatever? Or does the legend of Buddai tell us these beings are dangerous and even fatal to mankind?
I know the links are tenuous, but I felt that they were interesting enough to discuss. Even if it turns out there is no correlation, I felt it was only fair to give others the chance to discuss and disagree. And I wholly agree, shadowy beings are not just found in the myths of Australian aborigines. Even in stories of the fey, they seem to have a hard time interacting with the physical world/physical objects and a couple of the stories are very clear about having a human present in their midst in order to allow that interaction to take place. In "Meetings with the Other Crowd," I think there is a story that the fairy folk enlisted a human so they could have a hurling match. A bit unrelated, but the first story in that book raised the hair on the back of my neck.
You have given me some things to ponder...
Or is Buddai merely the guy who marks the end of each age? I just occurred to me that Lovecraft really understood the cycles of history pretty well; that each age will rise and fall, and nothing can go on forever. Or maybe, it is the Yithians who are the "black-fellows" referred to by HPL; which may make Buddai "none of the above."
Thanks for the praise, you have done some very nice and thorough work yourself. But I have to admit, I am feeling somewhat mind blasted after writing my "dissertation." I am a bit surprised that I am not drooling all over myself at this point. As someone who is relatively new to HPL, it has been a bit surprising just how passionate I have gotten about Lovecraft and his stories; of course, I have been helped much by the ease at which works in the public domain can now be researched. And then there is that whole "esquimaux" thing.
All seriousness aside, if I could just shake that feeling that someone owes me some supplicants (maybe I need to take a short break from HLP)....