Page:The Aborigines of Victoria and Riverina.djvu/87

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82

a native takes his canoe into the midst of one of these shoals, and harpoons as many as he wishes, or until he becomes tired of the fun.

The water continues to run through these drains for five or six weeks, and during all that time the natives slay and eat to their hearts' content, and are consequently sleek by reason of the vast quantities of adipose matter which they devour in those times of abundance, together with that with which they fail not plentifully to lubricate their bodies from crown to toe.

During this season the windward side of an aboriginal encampment, or even of a single aboriginal, is by far the most savoury, at least to those who are at all sensitive in the matter of malodours.

When the waters have all receded from the reedy plains behind every weir, fish of all kinds are left by thousands to rot and fester in the sun, or to be devoured by crows and other carrion-feeding creatures which are attracted to those points in countless numbers, but notwithstanding their combined and disgusting efforts the air around becomes as pestilential as is the atmosphere in the vicinity of a fish oil factory on the coast of Newfoundland.

Had the aborigines the very least foresight during the fish season they might cure sufficient food to supply their requirements through the dreary months of winter, at which season game is not very abundant, and hunting toilsome. As native salt abounds in the saline lakes of the Malice Scrub, at no great distance from the fishing grounds it is improvidence alone which prevents them from making the necessary provision. Ignorance of the antiseptic properties.