Page:Aboriginesofvictoria02.djvu/265

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247
NOTES AND ANECDOTES.

a time—from fissures in the wood of the paper-bark tree, a large species of melaleuca; they make a hole through the thick bark, and the water gushes out; they then plug the hole up, and find a fresh supply next time they pass that way.

The powers and endurance as divers and swimmers of those Aborigines who inhabit the borders of rivers and the sea-coast are worthy of note. I have timed a man diving in the Goulburn River, and found he could remain under water from one minute fifty seconds to two minutes; but some of them could probably continue longer than this. The greater number of vessels engaged in pearl-fishing off the coast of Western Australia prefer employing the natives as divers to undertaking a voyage for Malays.

Aborigines of Victoria - Fig 251 - Mocata (King John's wife).jpg

Mocata (King John's wife).
FIG. 251.

I have often been surprised at the flexibility of the muscles even of the old people. They are in the habit of sitting round their fires with their feet and legs doubled under them for hours together, in a manner that would be most painful to a European, even if he could do it at all. They sometimes sit on their feet.

Annexed are a few profiles of some King George's Sound Aborigines, which I took in 1846. They are good likenesses. No. 7 is Wylie, the lad who so faithfully accompanied Mr. Eyre in his perilous journey round the coast, in 1841, from Port Lincoln to King George's Sound, and to whom Mr. Eyre afterwards sent, from England, as an acknowledgment of his fidelity and services, a handsome double-barrelled gun. No. 8 is his wife, whose hair