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The Bushman's Handbook

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The Bushman's Handbook

H a Lindsay

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Here’s what the Literary Editor of Adelaide’s Advertiser newspaper had to say about “The Bushman’s Handbook” in late 1948: “If an ordinary city dweller were to be dumped down in the arid central regions of Australia it is fairly certain that if the season was cold he would perhaps survive a few days, but it’s also certain that in the heat of summer he would be dead within 48 hours. But the aborigine would be quite at home in such circumstances, which would not be dire straits to him at all. He would know how to find water where apparently none existed, and would unearth sufficient food to enable him to travel safely to better country. The author of “The Bushman’s Handbook,” who is an expert bushman and descendant of bushmen, and who instructed thousands of Australian and American troops in bushcraft during WWII, here tells exactly how to survive in inhospitable terrain. As to your thirst, he describes how moisture may be obtained from the stems of plants and the limbs of trees – and he shows by illustrations just how the parched outback traveler should proceed. Food can be obtained from all sorts of unlikely sources – for instance, the bilious-looking but tasty and nutritious “witjuti” grubs can be gouged out from the bark of trees. For larger foods the reader is carefully instructed how to make simple but effective snares – to the undoing of rabbits, hares, squirrels and similar game. If you are near streams or pools you have no need to hunger if you follow the Author’s instructions and diagrams which will enable you to catch the various kinds of fish without rod, reel or hook. There are also interesting and instructive talks about fire lighting (without matches); the art of camping out; direction finding if you happen to be lost; or how to cord and thatch a shelter for yourself; and on the various special plants and roots which it is safe to eat if driven to extremities. Lastly, the Author gives valuable advice on how to maintain health in the bush, and stresses the value of bushcraft, and the hardiness and self-reliance which it brings, in both peace and war. In all, an admirable and comprehensive bushman’s text-book.”

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