Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/117

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chief part of this work; but when the primitive buildings came to be roofed a difficulty presented itself in the want of material for covering. Slates were out of the question; the art of shingle-making was not as yet known or practised; thatch only remained, but whence was even this homely material to come? Some fertile genius, whose faculties brightened in emergency, suggested that rushes would answer the purpose, if they could be found. Accordingly parties were despatched to explore the marshy spots in the neighbourhood of the town, where such would be likely to grow, and at the head of a bay about two miles east of Sydney they were found in abundance, thickly fringing a stream, whose source was a small cascade about half a mile from the beach, and which wound its way thence through a sheltered valley to the waters of the bay. To this spot accordingly were despatched every day two men for the purpose of cutting and drying the rushes, which were conveyed to the town when so prepared by other parties. One evening, those two men failing to return as was their wont to their companions at the Cove, a party was next morning sent to ascertain the cause of their absence, and on proceeding to the spot the lifeless bodies of the unfortunate rushcutters were found, at some distance apart, pierced with several spear wounds and battered with many blows. Hence Rushcutters' Bay.