Page:Australia, from Port Macquarie to Moreton Bay.djvu/276

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cleaning, and having unscrewed the lock of one of them, he shewed the black how to clean it with a bit of rag. This native had, no doubt, heard of guns, but had never before had one in his hands; yet, he not only cleaned the locks of the muskets, but even took a percussion gun, which my servant had brought out with the intention of cleaning it himself, and without a word being said to him on the subject, took the lock entirely to pieces, although its construction was so different to that of a flint lock, and having carefully cleaned and oiled it, he put it together again, which I am sure not one Englishman out of ten would have been able to do, if previously unacquainted with the mechanism of gun locks.

A boy, belonging to a tribe at the Manning river, who had been induced to accompany a friend of mine as far as the MacLeay, drew, with a piece of chalk, human heads and figures, kangaroos, &c. with a firm well defined outline, which few English boys of his age could have done better, unless they had had lessons in drawing.

Some natives I have seen exhibit a dexterity in carpentery, and in the use of various tools, which a white man could not acquire until he had practised with them for some time; and indeed in every thing requiring the exercise of mechanical ingenuity or dexterity, the Australian Aborigines are most apt scholars.