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Symptoms of scurvy among the men
Title : Symptoms of scurvy among the men Symptoms of scurvy among the men
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Creator : Sturt, Charles, 1795-1869
Source : Narrative of an expedition into Central Australia ..., volume 1, p. 403
Place Of Creation : London
Publisher : T. and W. Boone
Date of creation : 1849
Format : Book
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
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Description :

All of the men are suffering from varying degrees of scurvy, in particular Mr Browne. Sturt considered this carefully as he assessed their situation. He was very familiar with all of the symptoms of the disease: his second in command James Poole had died of it and been buried at Depot Glen. The men were living on flour and tea, a diet without the fresh food and vitamins that would prevent the disease.

In the late 18th century Captain James Cook had shown that by ensuring his men ate fresh food, including fruit and vegetables as often as possible, scurvy, a disease long dreaded by seamen, particularly on long voyages, could be kept at bay. Scurvy however was not just a disease of seamen. The exact causes were not well understood until the 20th century. Australian explorers could and would endeavour to use fresh food, using bush foods where possible. The needs of exploration however drove them on, giving them little time to search for these foods. Famously, Burke and Wills were shown how to use nardoo by the Aboriginal peoples along Cooper Creek. Nardoo is an aquatic fern that grows in the Inland, the spores of which are edible and nutritious, However Burke and Wills did not observe the preparation closely enough, and omitted an important step that eliminated the poison from the seeds.
Related names :

Sturt, Charles 1795-1869

Browne, John Harris, 1817-1904

Poole, J., d. 1845

Period : 1836-1851
Region : Flinders Ranges and Far North - Outback
Further reading :

Carpenter, Kenneth J. The history of scurvy and vitamin C Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986

Beale, Edgar Sturt, the chipped idol: a study of Charles Sturt, explorer Sydney: Sydney University Press, 1979

Hiddins, Les, Bush tucker field guide Ringwood, Vic.: Penguin, 2001

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