National Geographic : 1939 Jul
AT HOME ON THE OCEANS the Christmas Is land Phosphate Company. A daughter of Sir John is the wife of the present manager and was on the island when we arrived. PHOSPHATE KEEPS HOUSE KEEPERS BUSY Phosphate is king here, not only for the men but for the women also. The men work with it all day, and so do the women-try ing to keep it out of the food and off of the fur niture. Soon even the Igdrasil was get ting a covering of white powder, inside as well as out, so I didn't mind much when my husband came home one day with large white patches on his clothes. He had crossed a damp spot under the phosphate bins, without realizing how treacherous the innocent- MAGNETIC ANTHILLS POINT NORTH AND SOUTH These homes of "white ants" of northern Australia are called "magnetic" because the narrow sides of the wedgelike structures always face north and south in perfect alignment. Photographed with the camera facing directly north, the hills appear conical and their extreme width is concealed (pages 63 and 64). looking white powder can be when wet. "Now you are one of us," remarked the Englishman who was showing him around. "We all do that sooner or later, and we don't feel as though we belonged to the group until we have taken at least one tumble." Fortunately it has no odor and is easy to wash off. Over Christmas Island's one motor road, six miles to the water pumping stations, we drove in an open car. Having no lan guage in common with the Malay-speaking chauffeur, we controlled him by the much- advertised "push-to-stop" system of mo tor control. A push from behind and the car stopped for pictures; when we were aboard again it went on. As there were no intersections, no instructions were nec essary ! Near the pumping station we were for tunate to see one of the large crabs, for this was the off season and there were few around. But during the rainy season these crabs are so voracious that they will attack a man sleeping in the bush. Indeed, they constitute the greatest danger should a per son get lost on the island.