Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/45

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25
Description of the Natives of King George's Sound.

ally experienced at King George’s Sound; and, during the summer, there is much thunder and lightning. Taking it generally, the climate certainly is fine, and with a sufficiency of rain for all the purposes of assisting vegetation.


The natives of King George’s Sound differ little in their general appearance from the Aborigines of the neighbourhood of Sydney. They are of middle stature, slender in their limbs, and many of them with a protuberant abdomen.

The only article of dress used by them is a cloak of kangaroo skin, reaching nearly to the knee; it is worn as a mantle over the shoulders, and is fastened at the right shoulder with a rush, by which the right arm is left free and disencumbered. They are seldom seen without their cloaks, which in rainy weather are worn with the fur outwards; some of them, however, are so scanty, that the wearer may be almost considered in a state of nudity, particularly the children, for their cloak is but a mere strip of skin. The larger skins, which are procured from the male kangaroos, are appropriated to the women.

The mode of preparing the mantles is as follows:—the skins are pegged out upon the ground to dry, and are then cut into the proper shape with a sharpened stone; with the same instrument the inner surface is scraped away until the skin becomes soft and pliable; it is afterwards rubbed over with grease, and a sort of red ochreous earth, which they also use to paint the body. The skins thus prepared are stitched together with the sinews of the animal, which are drawn from the tail.

The other articles of dress are the noodle-bul, or waistband, armlets, and head-dress. The noodle-bul is a long yarn of worsted spun from the fur of the opossum, wound round the waist several hundred times. A similar band is also worn occasionally round the left arm and the head.

The single men, who are called man-jah-lies, ornament their heads with feathers, dogs' tails, and other similar articles, and sometimes have the hair long, and bound round the head. The women use no ornaments, or noodle-buls, and wear their hair quite short; but the girls have sometimes a fillet of worsted yarn round the neck, which is called a woortill. Both sexes smear their faces and the upper part of the body with red pigment (paloil) mixed with grease, which gives them a disagreeable odour. This they do, as they say, for the purpose of keeping themselves clean, and as a defence from the sun or rain. Their hair is frequently matted with the same pigment. When fresh painted, they are all over of a brick—dust colour, which gives them a most singular appearance.

When they are in mourning, they paint a white streak (kaingin)