Page:Australia, from Port Macquarie to Moreton Bay.djvu/252

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225
COBBERRA WORM.

marrow, and probably resembles a grub found in the trees of Central Africa, where it is esteemed a great delicacy.

The trees which fall into the brackish water in the lower part of the rivers soon become riddled by the Cobberra worm, which is of considerable length, and half an inch thick. It exhibits but faint indications of being a living animal when extracted from the wood, as it appears almost devoid of motion, and the natives let it slide down their throats with great gusto, in much the same way that the Italian lazzaroni swallow macaroni, to which cobbera has a great resemblance.

Several kinds of birds also fell a prey to the blacks in the dense brushes of the northern district, especially the brush-turkey, which I have already described, and whose large nests are often robbed by the native women or gins. These brushes also abound in many vegetable productions from which the natives obtain food. The principal of these is a large sort of yam or sweet potatoe, resulting from a small creeper, the roots of which penetrate to a considerable depth in the alluvial soil, from whence they are dug out by the gins, one of whose duties it is to collect them. The fern root, obtained from a species of fern, apparently identical ' with that of New Zealand, is rendered edible by beating it on a stone into a sort of paste, and then cooking it on hot embers. The root of the Conjeboi, a large-leaved plant, which grows on very moist