[Excerpt from pp. 68–69] Swimming.—TheLower Tully River Natives swim in a far more vertical position than do Europeans; furthermore, instead of breasting the water, the right shoulder appears to occupy the most advanced position. The right arm, starting with bent elbow, makes a clean sweep downwards, outwards and backwards until, at the end of the stroke, the elbow is fully extended. The left arm remains sharply bent throughout the stroke and limits a far smaller circle, the elbow appearing above the water-surface at each stroke. The legs, not much separated, would seem to work "dog-fashion." If I could liken this manner of swimming to anything of ours, it would be something after the style of the ordinary side-stroke. When swimming any long distances, the Bloomfield River Blacks will go hand-over-hand fashion like a dog; otherwise, the body is tilted laterally, one arm doing the usual side-stroke, the other working pretty close to the body, and moving the fore-arm somewhat vertically. In diving any long distance, and to ensure rapidity of speed, the one arm, instead of doing the ordinary side-stroke will be strongly circumrotated vertically from behind forwards over the head. In all cases, the lower extremities are markedly brought into requisition. On the Pennefather River and at Cape Bedford, either the breast-or side-stroke, according to pace required is brought into requisition. The fact of a whole group of natives, though occupying the lands bordering a river, not being able to swim has already been drawn attention to.
Please note: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this publication may relate to religious beliefs, death, burial practices or initiation ceremonies and rites; or it may contain images or names of deceased persons or images that may be regarded as unsuitable for children.