Australian Search Party - A Record Of Discovery, Geography, And Adventure By Charles Henry Eden

 -   It frequents the whole of the north-eastern coast
of Australia, and when the qualities of the oil first became - Page 6
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It Frequents The Whole Of The North-Eastern Coast Of Australia, And When The Qualities Of The Oil First Became Known, It Was Eagerly Sought After By Invalids Who Could Not Overcome Their Repugnance To The Cod-Liver Nastiness.

The fishermen, however, spoilt their own market, for greed induced them to adulterate the new medicine with shark oil,

And all kinds of other abominations, so that the faculty were never quite certain what they were pouring down the throats of their unhappy patients. Thus the oil lost its good name, though I am convinced from personal observation that fresh, pure dugong is quite equal, if not superior, in nourishing qualities to cod-liver oil, and do not doubt that a time will come when it will enter largely into the Pharmacopoeia. The animal itself is so peculiar, that a brief description of it may not be here amiss. Its favourite haunts are bays into which streams empty themselves, and where the water is from two to five fathoms in depth, feeding on the 'Algae' of the submerged banks, for which purpose the upper lip is very large, thick, and as it turns down suddenly at right angles with the head, it much resembles an elephant's trunk shorn off at the mouth. Its length averages from eight to fourteen feet; there is no dorsal fin, and the tail is horizontal; colour blue, and white beneath. Its means of propulsion are two paddles, with which it also crawls along the bottom, and beneath which are situated the udders, with teats exactly like a cow's. Its flesh is far from bad, resembling lean beef in appearance, though hardly so good to the taste, and the skin can be manufactured into gelatine.

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