Native Tribes of South-East Australia/Chapter 9

Native Tribes of South-East Australia by Alfred William Howitt
Chapter IX - Initiation Ceremonies, Eastern Type

CHAPTER IX

INITIATION CEREMONIES, EASTERN TYPE

First accounts of ceremonies—Eastern and Western types—Discovery of use of Bull-roarer—Headmen summon the people for ceremonies by accredited messengers—Kuringal of the Yuin—Extent of the Kuringal ceremonies—Those of the Gweawe-gal, Gringai and Chepara tribes—The Wiradjuri Burbung—The Wonghibon ceremonies—The Ta-tathi Burbung—The Kamilaroi Bora—The Turrbal ceremonies—Dora ceremonies in Queensland—The Wakelbura Umba—The Kulin Jibauk—The Kurnai Jeraeil—Influence of the ceremonies.

One of the very earliest works on Australia, that of Collins, describes parts of the ceremonies practised by the natives of Port Jackson. Since that time travellers, missionaries, and residents in the Australian bush have become aware of and reported the existence of certain ceremonies—the "making of young men" as the practice has come to be called. Fragmentary accounts are to be found in works describing Australia and its inhabitants, but so far as I am aware no one has attempted to give any authentic, detailed description of the ceremonies themselves, from the observation of an eye-witness accustomed to scientific methods of investigation, until I published an account of the Kuringal and Jeraeil ceremonies in 1884.[1]

It is perhaps worth recording here that I discovered the bull-roarer in the Kurnai tribe, and was, I think, the first to draw attention to the important part it plays in the ceremonies of Australian tribes. I had been for some time obtaining particulars from my friends among the Kurnai as to their ceremonies at which boys were made into men. I had been able to piece together a good deal, which I now know related to the part of the ceremonies in which women take part, and which might lawfully be told to any one. I once happened to meet Turlburn, whom I have before mentioned, on the plains between Sale and Rosedale, and stopped to have a talk. After a little I brought up the subject of the ceremonies, and he finally said, "There is one thing you do not know." We were sitting by a little bridge which crossed a shallow gully, with open country around us and a straight road for a considerable distance. Looking all round, he then said, "Come down here," going under the bridge and speaking in a low tone of voice. I went there and sat down, and he then, with much mystery and a watchful air, lest any one might come, told me of the Tundun, that is the Bull-roarer, and of the part it plays in their ceremonies. If I had not known this, I should never have gained the influence I afterwards had, which enabled me to cause the Jeraeil to be revived, at which I took part, and which is described in this chapter.

There are two Bull-roarers used by the Kurnai tribe. The larger is called Wehntwin, or grandfather, also Mukbrogan, or, as I may put it, the Arch-companion, for Muk is a superlative, and Brogan is one who has been initiated with others, who are all Brogan. The smaller is the Rukut, or woman, that is, the wife of Tundun.

Since that time, and especially since the year 1890, much has been done in describing the Bora ceremonies of New South Wales, and the similar ceremonies of Queensland. But in no instance has the work been so thorough or so comprehensive and detailed as the account of the ceremonies of the Arunta tribe by Professor Spencer and Mr. Gillen.[2]

The absence of authentic information, prior to my publication in 1884, did not arise from no white man having been present at the Bora or other similar ceremonies; for it is known that even from the early times of settlement white men have been initiated in these mysteries, having been either escaped convicts who had lived with the tribes in the interior, or white settlers who, brought up from childhood in contact with some tribe, came to be regarded as one of themselves, and were therefore permitted to be present at the sacred ceremonies, even if they were not, as happened in some cases, actually initiated in the same manner as the aboriginal youths. Such a case is known to me in New South Wales, in which the white man, having been initiated as a youth, refused persistently to make the ceremonies known to my fellow-worker Dr. Lorimer Fison.

My account will be drawn partly from what I have witnessed and taken part in, as an initiated person, and partly from conversations which I have had with blacks as to the ceremonies of their own tribes. I can rely on these statements, not only being in a position, from my own knowledge, to form an opinion as to their truthfulness, but also because there is, as I have found, between initiated persons, not only no reservation, but a feeling of confidence, I may even say almost of brotherhood. For the sake of comparison, I draw some illustrations from the statements of competent correspondents, and extracts from certain authors, to complete my work.

It is very rarely the case that the initiation ceremonies of a tribe are peculiar to it, and therefore not attended by other neighbouring tribes. Such a case means that the

tribe does not intermarry with its neighbours. The Kurnai are such an example, whose Jeraeil ceremonies are attended by four only out of the five clans of the tribe. The fifth clan has no ceremonies of their own, nor did it attend those of any other tribe. But there were in it cases such as that of my messenger to the Yuin who was free of the Ngarigo tribe, because his mother belonged to it, and he himself had been initiated at their Kuringal ceremonies. Another instance of such cases is that of the before-mentioned Yibai-malian, whose father was a renowned "blackfellow doctor" of the Wiradjuri tribe, who joined the Wolgal, with whom he was related by marriage, and then obtained a wife from the Theddora of Omeo. By this he became connected with the Ngarigo through her relations, and thus met the Yuin and became a man of influence in their tribe.

But the rule is, that a certain ceremony brings together a number of tribes. Thus the Kuringal of the Yuin is attended by people from Manero, Shoalhaven, and Braidwood, and they therefore form what may be called a "community," which in this sense includes a number of tribes. In other words, all the tribes which attend the same ceremonies form an intermarrying community larger than any one tribe, and approaching what I have called a "nation." Intermarriage usually takes place in a friendly manner, but also in what may be called a "veiled hostility," as will be seen in speaking of the tribal meetings within fifty miles of Maryborough (Queensland). The community which thus meets periodically for the purpose of initiating its youths into the status of manhood, and membership in the tribe, is in principle also that of the united exogamous class divisions. Calling the classes for convenience A and B, then it may be said that it is the men of A class who initiate the youths of class B, and vice versâ. A class cannot initiate its own young men, but both classes cooperate in this ceremony. On the other hand, in those tribes which have no longer any class organisation in a vigorous state, it is the local organisation by its assembled initiated men which conducts the ceremonies. Such a case is that of the Kurnai and the Chepara tribes.

Speaking broadly, it may be said in all but exceptional cases that initiation ceremonies of some kind, having invariably certain fundamental principles in common, are practised by the native tribes all over Australia.

These ceremonies may be conveniently separated into two types, namely one which extends over most of the eastern part of Australia, and another which occurs in the western half. The line which separates these types may be roughly indicated as extending from the mouth of the Murray River to the head of the Gulf of Carpentaria. But this line only approximately shows the range of those who practise circumcision, or circumcision together with sub-incision, from those who have ceremonies of the character of the Bora or Kuringal.

The ceremonies which I shall take as an illustration of the eastern type are those of the tribes which inhabit the south coast of New South Wales, and who may be conveniently spoken of generally as the Coast Murring. The ceremonies are called Kuringal, or Bunan when a mound is made in connection with them, and Kadja-wallung[3] when there is no mound.

These ceremonies are, according to my aboriginal informants, an example of those of the tribes extending from Twofold Bay along the coast to Port Macquarie, at least, and inland to the Turon River, thus including the tribes of Port Jackson, whose ceremonies were described by Collins a century ago. To my own knowledge, the last Kuringal was attended by the Katungal from Twofold Bay to Shoalhaven, and by others from as far inland as the upper waters of the Snowy River, and Braid wood. It was, in fact, the great intermarrying group which met at this ceremony, and the component parts of it differed so much in language, that the most distant could not understand each other without making use of the broken English which passes current over all Australia in those native tribes which have been brought under the white man's influence.

But this assemblage did not include any of the Biduelli, a few of whom still lived, and had temporarily joined the Yuin. They were excluded from the ceremonies, because they had none of their own, and had never been initiated by any of their tribal neighbours.

In these tribes it is the Headman of some locality, in one geographical moiety of the tribe, who summons the assembly for initiation, by a message to a Headman in the other moiety. Assuming that it was the principal Headman of the Katungal or coast people who initiated the Bunan or Kuringal ceremonies, he would send his messenger, called by them Jerri-irr or Gudjin, to the Headman of the Baiangal, or forest people, who would then take action on his part. The messenger need not be of the same totem as the sender, nor of the same local group, but it is usually the case that he is. This message is sent after consultation with the other old men. For distant places two messengers go in company, as far as their roads are the same, and then separate. A messenger is, of course, an initiated man, and is chosen especially as being a good speaker. He carries with him a bull-roarer, which the head Gommera gives him. The points of his message are impressed on his memory, or it is aided by so many strands of a man's kilt,[4] which he carries with him. In addition to the bull-roarer, he also carries, wrapped up in the skin of one of the animals of whose pelts the men's kilts are made, a belt of opossum-fur string, arm bands of ringtail opossum skin,[5] and a forehead band.[6] When he arrives at the place where the Gommera is to whom he is sent, he opens his bundle in the council-place, the Wirri-wirri-than,[7] and there delivers his message, exhibiting to the Gommera the bull-roarer and the other things. Holding the kilt in one hand, he then takes the strings seriatim, and says, "This tail is for so-and-so," naming a Gommera until he has named all of those whom he has to call together. The Gommera then announces the message to the men at the council-place, and after consulting with them, fixes the time when he and his men will start for the appointed place.

The Burbung of the Wiradjuri is analogous to the Bunan of the Yuin, and is called together by the Headman of one of the totems, the message being sent through the totem to the several Headmen of it, in the local divisions, who communicate it to the other men of their localities. It may be noted that in these tribes the class system is in full vigour.

Assuming that the sender of the message is the head of the Yibai-gurimul, that is, of the Yibai sub-class and the opossum totem, the messenger would also be Yibai-gurimul, and he would carry the message to the head of the same sub-class and totem in the local group, to which he is sent, who would similarly send it on till, in the course of time, it would have gone through the whole tribe. Thus the message travels through the whole community, being carried by members of the opossum totem, whose Headmen communicate it to the other men of their groups. The messenger carries with him a whole set of male attire, together with a bull-roarer (mudji) carefully wrapped in a skin and concealed from women and children. Hence in such tribes the community is assembled by a totem.

In the Kurnai tribe the Jeraeil was called by the Headman of either the southern or the northern moiety of the tribe. So far as I know, there was no rule as to which it should be. The initiative was taken by the local organisation. It could not be by the social organisation, for in this tribe that organisation had become totally extinct.

This action was preceded by long consultations between the elders of the clan in which it originated. When it was found that there was a sufficient number of boys to be made men, the Gweraeil-kurnai in that clan sent out his Baiaur, or messenger, to summon the principal Headman of the next clan. He carried with him some token from the sender, such as his club,[8] or boomerang,[9] or shield,[10] and he had given to him to convey with great secrecy one of the larger of the two bull-roarers used in this tribe. He delivered his message to the old man to whom he was sent, together with the bull-roarer and the tokens. The Gweraeil-kurnai then called together the elders at some suitable place apart from the camp, and, showing them the tokens and bull-roarer, told them the message. After due consideration, the message was announced in a general assemblage of all the initiated men, and the Gweraeil-kurnai sent forward the message by one of his own men. These proceedings are carefully concealed from the women, excepting the old women of consideration, to whom a hint is given by some such expression as "the Mrarts (ghosts) are going to kill a kangaroo." This hint is given because the old women take a part in the earlier stages of the ceremonies.

In this manner the message travelled from clan to clan and from group to group, till the whole Kurnai community, that is to say the initiated men, became aware of the intention to hold a Jeraeil. These preliminary proceedings take up a long time, extending over several months. More than one set of messengers would travel to and fro before the final arrangements would be completed, and the time and locality were settled. The latter would in all probability be in the country of the Headman by whom the Jeraeil was called together, for it would be to him, and at his call, that the others came.

The manner of explaining the time at which the meeting would take place, and even the different stages of the route to it, would be described as explained in the chapter on "Messengers."

In the great group of tribes, of which the Wakelbura is my example, it was also the practice to send a message for the initiation ceremonies through a totem; but in this case a message-stick accompanied it, and this was made of the wood of some tree which was of the same class division as the sender, and also of the bearer of the message.

These instances will show the manner in which the meetings for initiating the youth of the several tribes into the privileges and the obligations of manhood are called, together. I will now show what these ceremonies are.

The Ceremonies

The Kuringal Ceremonies.—In addition to the particulars which I have given as to the manner of assembling the tribes which attended the ceremonies of the Yuin tribe, I may now add some further particulars as to those who were present at that which I attended.

For many years I had known a medicine-man of the Wolgal tribe, the before-mentioned Yibai-malian, and through him became acquainted with one of the principal Gommeras of the Yuin. On several occasions I had spoken with Yibai about the initiations, and to his surprise he found that I knew much about them; and I also produced to him several of the bull-roarers from different parts of Australia. Thus at last he came to look on me as one of the initiated, and in consequence spoke to me unreservedly on the otherwise forbidden subjects. I then arranged with him that one of the most influential of the Yuin Gommeras,
FIG. 29.—1. YUIN BULL-ROARER, MUDTHI; 2. DIERI BULL-ROARER, YUNTHA.
who lived at Twofold Bay, should come up to Manero with some of his men and meet me on the occasion of my next visit to that part of New South Wales. At this meeting, amongst other things, we discussed the advisability of holding a Kuringal, and it was at last decided that one should be held. I was greatly struck by the manner in which the old man received a bull-roarer which I had made for the occasion, it being the facsimile of those with which I had played as a boy. I drew it from a small bag and secretly presented it to him, saying: "This I used when I was a lad, and you know that these mudthi were first made by that great one (pointing upwards), and that he ordered your fathers to hold the Kuringal, and to make your boys into men." He and Yibai, who was standing by him, each placed his hand over his mouth, and looked at the bull-roarer for some moments. Then the Yuin Gommera Brupin said: " Yes, that is it," and he called the three men whom he had brought with him, and holding the bull-roarer before him said: "This is a mudthi which he (pointing to me) has brought from a long way off. It is the same as that which we know of, and which was given to our fathers by that great Biamban you know about." The men looked at it with every appearance of awe, but said nothing, and then returned to their fire.

When we parted it was understood that I should send up my messenger to Brupin, who would consult with the other Gommeras, and I shortly after sent a man of the Krauatun Kurnai as my messenger to the Yuin to ask them to call together a Kuringal, and to let me know when they were ready, and I would go up to help them. This man was, in fact, the proper intermediary between the Kurnai and the Yuin. His mother was a Ngarigo, and his wife was Yuin, so that he was as one of themselves; and he had been, moreover, initiated at the Ngarigo Bunan.

He carried from me the bull-roarer which I had shown to Yibai-malian and Brupin, and delivered it with my message to the latter at Bega. In going to and from that place he journeyed on foot a distance of about four hundred miles over some of the most mountainous country in South-east Australia. He made the journey a second time before the arrangements were completed, and he brought back a message to me that Brupin would send his messenger carrying my mudthi to the principal Gommera of the Kurial, who lived at the Shoalhaven River, asking him to bring his people to a meeting on the east side of the Bega River, not far from the coast.

Word was sent to me when the Murring were assembling. Being, so to say, in the position of a Gommera of the Kurnai, I was told that I was to bring a contingent of my men to the meeting; and I accordingly arranged with my messenger that he was to take certain of the Kurnai, starting from the Snowy River mouth, and meet me on the upper waters of the Delegate River.

The term Kuringal, which means "of the bush," or "belonging to the bush," includes two slightly different forms of the initiation ceremonies, which are called respectively Bunan and Kadja-wallung. The difference and resemblances of each will be seen from the following statements. But for the moment it will suffice to say that, broadly speaking, the Bunan is distinguished from the Kadja-wallung by having a circular ring of earth, within which the preliminary ceremonies take place, and a small sacred enclosure, at a distance, connected with the Bunan by a path. This form connects the Bunan with the Burbung of the Wiradjuri, the Bora of the Kamilaroi, and the Dora of some Queensland tribes.

The Kadja-wallung ceremonies dispense with the circular mound, and the small circular enclosure is represented by the small clear space which will be described farther on in this chapter. With these differences, the ceremonies are substantially, and in some particulars identically, the same. I shall, however, describe the whole of the ceremonies, beginning with the Bunan.

The ceremonial meeting having been called, that part of the community which took the initiative prepares the ground, and gets everything ready for the arrival of the various contingents; some spot being selected where a good supply of food is obtainable.

In forming the Bunan ground a larger space is cleared, and on it a low circular embankment is made, having a diameter of from thirty to fifty yards, according to the number of people who will attend it. At a distance of 400 to 500 yards from the circular mound a lesser space is also cleared, and is so selected that saplings can be arched over, and thus make an enclosure, with only one opening facing the larger Bunan. If there are not sufficient saplings, or if there are not any, some are cut elsewhere, and, being stuck in the ground, are bent over as before mentioned. A path is cleared from the great to the small Bunan; and where young trees or bushes border it, they are also arched across the path, but this is not essential.

The Bunan is got ready, and the proceedings commence about the time when the contingents are expected to arrive.

Assuming that the Bunan was to be attended by the clans from Moruya, Bega, and Twofold Bay, that is, by both the Kurial and Guyangal, and that the meeting was to be near Bega, the following would be the procedure as the contingents arrived.

The people from Braidwood, Ulladulla, and Shoalhaven would accompany those from Moruya. With them, people from Broulee would occasionally come. Next would arrive those from Queanbeyan, then the Gurungatta from beyond Shoalhaven, with whom there might be even some from Jervis Bay; and all these people are true Kurial.

The Wollngong people did not attend this ceremony, because they go to one farther up the coast. The people from Twofold Bay would arrive about the same time, and bring with them some of the Bemeringal from the country along the coast range, being some of those living to the east of the Ngarigo.

The limits within which people would come may be roughly stated as Jimberoo, Kangaroo Valley, Nowra; but at this latter place were Bemeringal, that is, those who lived upon the high tableland, who went to the ceremonies at Goulburn. Nor did the Bemeringal come to these ceremonies from as great a distance as the country of the Ngarigo.

The Bunan ground being prepared by the initiated men, the ceremonies are commenced by a young man, who was initiated at the last Kuringal, and who is therefore selected to commence this. Walking past a log near the camp, he starts back as if in surprise, and shouts out "Gari! gari!" that is, "A snake, a snake!"[11] The men also, pretending surprise, run up to him, saying: "Where is it?" He replies, "In this log," and pretends to be afraid, calling out, "Kai! kai!" as we might say, "Oh! Oh!" and as a child might do if frightened. He then runs off, and all the men run after him in a long line. Each man has a bough in either hand, or, as I have seen, some of the leading men have a boomerang in one hand instead. The young man, with a bough in each hand, runs a sinuous course, and strikes the ground alternately on the right and the left, with a swaying motion of the body. The men following him as a tail exactly imitate his movements, shaking their boughs with a rustling sound alternately on either side, and shouting at each blow, "Hai! Hai!" The leader and all his following halt at each camp, making a sound which can only be represented by "prr! prr!" at the same time raising the bough or boomerang with one hand to the sky, while pointing to the ground with the other. After each camp has been visited, they separate. In this manner women are informed that an initiation ceremony is to be held.

This, of course, takes place when it is expected that the first contingent is about to arrive. When it reaches a place about a day's journey from the Bunan ground, it halts for a time to allow the messenger to go on and announce their arrival, and also to give themselves time to paint and adorn themselves properly.

When such a contingent arrives within hearing distance of the camp, the women and children are sent on a little way, while the men remain behind. Those two of the men who have the most muscular arms take the bull-roarers, which are carried with the party, and make as loud a noise with them as they are able. The other men, at the same time, raise a great shouting, so that the noise made by the mudthis may be notified to the initiated at the Bunan camp, and yet may be masked from the women and children. From this the men at the camp know when to expect them.

The messenger having now rejoined the contingent, they all run forwards towards the camp, leaving their weapons with their bundles. Each man carries a bough, or the old men carry boomerangs, and the procedure is like that before described, all the people being assembled at the circular mound. Each hut having been visited, and, as in the Gari ceremony, the men having halted at each, and pointed to the sky and the ground, they finally reach the Bunan, where the people are waiting for them.

The women and the children arc collected in the centre of the circle, the men standing outside and on the side acing the path to the lesser Bunan. Meanwhile the women and children of the contingent have joined the other women and children in the circle.

When the messenger reaches it, followed by the men of this contingent, he runs round to a point not far from the entrance and jumps over the mound, followed by his men. Then he moves rhythmically round the women and children until all his men are within the circle. One of them then shouts out the name of one of the local divisions of the makers of the Bunan, to which all his followers shout "Yau!" that is "Come here!" Then other names of the local divisions of the Bunan-makers are shouted, while the men of the contingent are dancing. The women and children dance in imitation of the men of the contingent, but in silence.

The visitors now run out of the circle, and the Bunan-makers run into it, the former taking their places outside the circle. The latter now dance in their turn, and shout out the names of the local divisions of the visitors. These names are received with shouts of "Yau!"

This being finished, the women and children go outside, and the Bunan-makers join the contingent in the ring, where all dance a ceremonial dance. The women and children during this sit down outside the entrance, but with their backs to it, and are under the surveillance of one of the older Gommeras, to prevent their looking at what the men are doing.

The women and children, the novices being among them, sing the "tooth"-song during this dance, the intention being to cause the novice's tooth to come out easily. The following are the words of this song:—

Bunde (be) lanya miri yeringya.
Eel the bush dingo mother's brother.

While they are occupied in singing the "tooth"-song, the men quietly steal away, led by one of the Gommeras, along the path to the lesser Bunan. A few men are left for a time singing in the circle, so that the women shall not know that the men have left.

The men of the contingent are taken by the path and shown the various representations, or emblems, or figures as they may be called, with each of which a magical substance, that is, a Joïa, which is used by the medicine-men, is specially connected. Indeed some of them have certain Joïas peculiar to themselves. The following is a description of the figures and proceedings at this part of the Bunan ground. The series commences with that figure nearest to the greater Bunan.

1. Gurama, that is, "a hole," otherwise "a grave." At it one of the medicine-men dances the magical dance peculiar to these ceremonies, in which he squats down near to the ground while dancing, moving his legs alternately from one side to the other, at the same time swinging his arms perpendicularly in front of his body. He seems possessed by a sort of frenzy while doing this, and apparently brings up from within himself and exhibits between his teeth the Joïa peculiar either to himself or to the object exhibited or sung. In the case of the Guraua, the Joïa is a quartz crystal, which is considered to be one of the most deadly of the magical substances which the Gomeras receive from Daramulun.

2. Junnung-ga-batch. This is the figure of the spiny ant-eater made of earth, with sticks for quills. Here all the men stand round, and make a noise as if blowing something out of their mouths, and then shout whish to rouse the creature up, this being the sound made by them when digging it out of the ground. It is supposed to distract its attention from its burrowing out of sight in the ground. One of the medicine-men, while this is going on, dances round the figure, producing a white frothy substance out of his mouth having the appearance of soap. This is said to be a deadly Joïa if blown over a person or put into his food.

3. Murumbul. The figure of a brown snake[12] made of clay. At this stage one of the medicine-men, at the Bunan which I am now describing, dropped a small live brown snake from his mouth on to the ground while dancing, which he then picked up and held up before putting into his bag. This Joïa is said to be "very strong," and that the medicine-man having it can send it at night into people's camps to kill them while they sleep.

4. Daramulun. A figure the size, or more than the size, of life is made of earth in relief representing a man in the act of dancing the magic dance, and surrounded by the implements and weapons of the Yuin. These were, it is said, invented by Daramulun, and given by him to their fathers. Round this all the medicine-men dance, shouting the name of Daramulun, and each producing his special Joïa; amongst others, one looked like a black membrane, and another was, to all appearances, a piece of one of the lesser intestines of some small animal, which the Gommera let hang from, and then withdrew into, his mouth.

5. Finally the lesser Bunan is reached, in which one medicine-man dances while the others dance round it. He who was inside it exhibited a black substance about five inches in length which hung from his mouth, and was then withdrawn. It is a Joïa called Braun the meaning of which word I did not learn, but the Joïa itself is said to enable its possessor to cause an enemy's eyesight to become dim, so that he would be unable to defend himself.

After all these magical substances have been exhibited to the contingent, they return quietly to the Bunan circle, the first entering making a sound like "prr! prr!" and each joining in this as he enters, so that, as the women have all the time continued singing the "tooth"-song under surveillance, they could not be aware of what has been going on.

The men being now all within the circle, one of them calls out the name of some place a number of times, and they all go off to their respective camps. In the evening there is a dancing corrobboree, the Bunan-makers being the performers, and the contingent the spectators, in whose honour it is held.

This ceremonial is repeated on the arrival of each contingent, and may extend over several weeks. During this time the "tooth"-song is sung by the women each night when they hear the mudthi sounded at the camp of the young men, that is, of those who have been at one initiation only. This camp is at about 200 to 300 yards from those of the married men.

When all the contingents have arrived, the men about daybreak rush off, each carrying a fire-stick or a burning log. They run into the great Bunan and throw the burning wood into a heap in the centre of the circle, and pile up bark and dead wood on it to make a great fire. Meanwhile the guardians of the boys who are to be initiated have taken them to another small fire made about a hundred yards from the Bunan, where they paint them with dabs of white clay over the shoulders, arms, and chest, and with bars of the same across the legs. Each boy has also a fillet of white grass twine bound round his forehead.

It may be mentioned here that these guardians, two of whom are selected for each novice, are men who stand in the relation of Kabo to him; that is, who are own or tribal brothers of those girls or women who form the group from which his future wife must be taken, or, which is the same thing, are own or tribal husbands (actual or potential) of the own or tribal sisters of the novice. During the Kuringal the Kabos look after their boy and do everything for him, cook for him, bring him water, and so on. They explain everything to him, tell him what his duties as one of the tribe are, repeat to him the tribal legends which he now hears for the first time, impress on him the tribal laws and the tribal morality, describe the powers of the Gommeras and their ability to see in dreams what others do, and finally their power to kill by magic at a distance.

The large fire being ready, the men assemble at the boys' fire. Each boy is lifted by one of his guardians on to his shoulders, and carried in this manner to the mound. The Kabos walk first, and after them come the women.

The boys are placed sitting on the mound with their feet in the Bunan. Each holds a woman's digging-stick upright between his feet, and on it hangs a woman's netted bag,[13] containing the cord of twisted opossum-fur many yards in length, which when wrapped round his waist forms his belt, also a man's kilt, a forehead band, and the pointed bone which is worn through the perforated septum of the nose. These comprise a man's full ceremonial dress, and this set is given to him by some relative or friend, or by several of them conjointly.[14]

The boy is told by his Kabos to look at the fire, and not to move away on any account. While this is being arranged the Gommeras are building up a fire fit to roast the boys. The head Gommera, however, only looks on, having given his instructions to the others early in the morning, at the council-place, so that each one knows what he has to do.

The fire is built up only twelve or fourteen paces from the boys, and they are kept before it for ten or twelve minutes, or even longer, if they can bear the heat. Even if the wind blows it towards them, they must not move of themselves, for it is the duty of the Kabos to look out for such an event, and to move them farther off, before any harm can happen to them.

Behind each boy, that is to say, outside the mound, crouches his mother, or failing her, his mother's sister, or the sister of his father (Mimung), closely covered with boughs. When the head Gommera thinks that the boys have been roasted enough, the bull-roarer is sounded at a little distance away and behind the women, and at this signal the Kabos make the boys run across the Bunan and along the path, where they He down, and are closely covered with opossum rugs or blankets.

After a little time the boys are allowed to sit up, but still covered so that they cannot see what is going on. Meanwhile the men have brought their bundles, and then remove the boughs from the women, who are sent away to some place several miles' distant, where they make a new camp and await the return of the men the next day. In order to ensure discretion on their part, and that none of them shall spy out the proceedings at the secret ceremonies, an old man is left behind in charge of them, who sees that they do their part in readiness for the return of the men.

The men having joined the boys with their bundles, they all move along the path, and at each stage the medicine-men go through their magical performances. The Kabos explain everything to their boys, and also tell them about Daramulun, warning them never to mention these things to women or children.

These matters are more fully described in speaking of the other variety of the Kuringal, the Kadja-wallung ceremonies.

The Kabos during the day take their boys out to hunt for food, and remain away until evening, when the men, having cleared a space near the lesser Bunan, capable of accommodating twenty or thirty people, take the boys there for the ceremony of knocking out the tooth.

From this point the Bunan and Kadja-wallung ceremonies are the same, and it will be convenient, before proceeding farther, to describe the other ceremonies up to this point. For this purpose I will now describe the visit which I made to the Murring, when they were ready for the Kuringal which had been held at my suggestion.

Having received notice from Yibai-malian and Brupin that the people were assembling for the Kuringal, and having sent off my contingent of the Kurnai under the guidance of my messenger from the Snowy River, I went to the south coast and there found about one hundred and thirty blacks,—men, women, and children,—waiting for me. They represented mainly the two great divisions of the Murring of the south coast, but there were also people from as far as Bateman's Bay and Braidwood, who accompanied the Shoalhaven contingent. Besides these, there were also a few of the Biduelli. After waiting a few days for the Kurnai, I learned that owing to their guide having been attacked by ophthalmia, they had returned from the Coast Range before descending to the sea-coast where we were waiting for them.

Thus some time was lost, which I could not make up, and in order that the whole of the ceremonies should be completed while I could remain, it was decided that, as the men had not yet prepared the circular mound, the Kadja-wallung should be at once proceeded with. This was settled at a meeting of the old men at their council-place, about a quarter of a mile from the general camp. The preliminary ceremonial receptions of the several contingents had been held as they came in, although they could not have been done fully according to the usual rule, in the absence of a proper ring. In my case, although my party had not met me as arranged, there was the ceremonial visit to the several huts, starting from council-place, the Wirri-wirri-than. The messenger who had been entrusted with my bull-roarer swung it a little distance from the council-place, and at its roaring sound the men sprang up and ran in a long line, following Umbara, the tribal bard, who held a boomerang in his hand, the others holding boughs.

They ran towards the camp, in a long sinuous line, following the actions of their leader, rhythmically striking the ground on alternate sides, and shouting "Wah!" Once or twice in their course the leader and his men stopped and raised their boughs and boomerangs silently to the sky. When they reached the camp the long line wound through it, stamping in time, waving boughs and shouting "Wah!" They visited each hut, from which the women and children hastened to join the others who had assembled just outside the camp, encircled by the men, while the women sang the "tooth"-song to the time beaten on rolled-up rugs. The men now ranged themselves at the east side of the women, and shouted alternately the name of one of the local groups, the most distant one being first used.

This having been done, the men closed rapidly and closely round the women and children so as to crowd them together; and, having done so, shouted "Wah!" and raised their boomerangs and boughs to the sky. This is the gesture signifying "the great master" (Biamban), whose true but secret name of Daramulun it is not lawful to utter, excepting at the ceremonies, on the initiation ground.

In the evening the friendly welcome of the dancing corrobboree was held. The only notable variation in this from the corrobborees which I had seen elsewhere was that of a dance by the women of the Braidwood contingent, the wives of Katungal (sea-coasters). These women danced together in the usual corrobboree style, but wearing short fringe-like skirts, which represented the "women's aprons" of the olden time. Their faces were whitened with pipe-clay, and they wore large head-dresses made of swans' feathers.

On the following morning a general council of the men was held at the Wirri-wirri-than to decide the procedure. Some of the Gommeras were desirous of forming the Bunan, which had been left pending my arrival, but to this I objected that, as my time was now so short, I could not wait to the end of the ceremonies if that were done. Some of the old men agreed with me, and after Umbara, who had much influence, had spoken, it was decided that the Kadja-wallung should be begun on the following morning.

Therefore on the next morning about ten o'clock the men all assembled at the Wirri-wirri-than, and Gunjerung,[15] the principal Headman, finding that all were ready, gave the order that each one should make up his bundle and place it behind a clump of Ti-tree close at hand. This having been done, two men were left to sound the bull-roarer, as soon as the others should have reached the camp. Two bull-roarers were used for this, one which Yibai-malian had made when the one which I had sent in the first instance by my messenger, and which had been hidden, was accidentally burned by a bush fire, and the other which I had brought up with me to show the old men. It was one from the Dieri tribe, and had been used at one of their ceremonies. The Yuin looked at it with great interest. I was surprised that they should wish to use it, but such being the case, I had no objection. According to rule, the two men who were to sound the mudtjis should have been those who had been sent with the message by Brupin and Yibai-malian, but one of them was temporarily away, getting some supplies to take with the men to the place of the ceremonies, and another was told off to take his place. As soon as we had reached the camp, and the men were distributed through it, the distant roaring sound of the Mudthis was heard and the whole camp was instantly in commotion. The women started up, and, seizing their rugs and blankets, hastily went with their children to a vacant space on the north side of the encampment, where they re-commenced the "tooth"-song. Meanwhile the men were stalking about among the camps shouting "Ha! Wah!"[16] commanding silence among the women. In a very short time these with their children were huddled together in a close group, surrounded by the men, who were stamping a dance to the word "Wah!" finally closing in round them, and silently raising their hands to the sky. This silent gesture again means Daramulun, whose name cannot be lawfully spoken there.

A singular feature now showed itself. There were at this time two or three Biduelli men with their wives and children in the encampment, and also one of the Krauatungalung Kurnai, with his wife and child.[17] When these ceremonies commenced they, with one exception, went away, because neither the Biduelli or the Krauatun Kurnai had, as I have said before, any initiation ceremonies, and these men had therefore never been "made men." The one man who remained was the old patriarch of the Biduelli, and he was now driven crouching among the women and children. The reason was self-evident; he had never been made a man, and therefore was no more than a mere boy.

The women and children being thus driven together, the old men proceeded to draw from them those boys who were considered to be ripe for initiation.[18] The old men pointed out those who were to be taken, and their Kabos seized them and placed them in the front rank of the women. There was one boy, a half-caste, indeed he was nearer white than black, as to whom the old men were divided in opinion. He was in an agony of terror, clinging to his mother, but by the order of the head Gommera he was dragged out and discussed. After a few minutes the decision was given, "He is too young, put him back again." The women and children were now pushed together into as small a compass as possible, with the old Biduelli patriarch among them. Skin rugs and blankets were then placed over them, so that they were completely hidden, and were themselves unable to see anything. At a signal from Gunjerung, a Kabo seized his boy from under the covering, and holding him by one arm, ran him off to the place where the bundles were left. All of us followed as fast as possible, and as I left I could hear the muffled sound of the "tooth"-song being sung by the women under their coverings.

It was expected that there would be eight boys ready to be made men, but owing to the delays and to the non-arrival of the Kurnai contingent, there were only three who were passed by the old men. Two were about fourteen or fifteen, the other was older and had an incipient moustache.

The first proceeding at the trysting-place was that the Kabos placed on each boy, who had been stripped naked, a new blanket folded twice, so that when fastened down the front it formed a cone, the apex of which was over the boy's head and the base barely touched the ground. The wooden skewers with which the sides of the blanket were fastened were so placed that the boy's face appeared just over the uppermost one. The upper fold fell over the head so as to shade the eyes and in fact most of the face.

This being all arranged, Gunjerung gave the signal to start, and our procession began to ascend the steep side of a grassy hill leading to the mountain. Some of the old men led the way, then came the three sets of Kabos, one on each side of a boy, holding the upper part of his arm, and in deep converse with him as they went. All the other men followed as they liked, each one carrying his bundle, and the Kabos carried, not only their own, but also their boys' things.

The duty of the Kabos is to take charge of the boys during the ceremonies. They never leave them alone, and if one of them has to absent himself for a time, he calls some other man, of the same relation to the boy as himself, to take his place. It is the duty of the Kabo to prepare his boy for the coming ceremony by instruction, admonition, and advice, and this commences the moment the procession moves forward. One of the earliest, if not the first, instruction is that the boy must not under any possible circumstances show any surprise or fear, and no matter what is said or done to him, he is not by word or deed to show that he is conscious of what is going on, yet that he must narrowly observe everything, and remember all he sees and hears. It is explained that everything he hears said, to which the word "Yah" is appended, means the exact opposite to the apparent meaning. This word was explained when we started by Umbara. He said that it was like a white man saying "I sell you"; my messenger Jenbin said it was like a white man saying "gammon." The use of the word will be seen by illustration farther on.

The intention of all that is done at this ceremony is to make a momentous change in the boy's life; the past is to be cut off from him by a gulf which he can never re-pass. His connection with his mother as her child is broken off, and he becomes henceforth attached to the men. All the sports and games of his boyhood are to be abandoned with the severance of the old domestic ties between himself and his mother and sisters. He is now to be a man, instructed in and sensible of the duties which devolve upon him as a member of the Murring community. To do all this is partly the object of the ceremonies, and the process by which this is reached is a singular one. The ceremonies are intended to impress and terrify the boy in such a manner that the lesson may be indelible, and may govern the whole of his future life. But the intention is also to amuse in the intervals of the serious rites.

The ceremonies, therefore, are marked by what may be called major and minor stages, and the intervals are filled in by magic dances, by amusing interludes and buffoonery, in which all the men take part, excepting the Kabos, whose duty is to unceasingly explain and admonish during the whole ceremony; to point the moral and adorn the tale. The pieces of buffoonery are perhaps some of the most remarkable features of the proceeding. If one were to imagine all sorts of childish mischief mixed up with the cardinal sins represented in burlesque, and ironically recommended to the boys on their return to the camp and afterwards, it would give a not unapt representation of what takes place. But there is the remarkable feature that at the end of almost every sentence, indeed of every indecent, immoral, or lewd suggestion, the speaker adds "Yah!" which negatives all that has been said and done. Indeed the use of the word "Yah" runs through the whole conversation carried on during the ceremonies, as when a man in the rear of the procession calls to some one in the front, "Hallo there, you (mentioning his name), stop and come back to me—yah!" This gave to the whole of the proceedings, up to the time when we reached the Talmaru camp, in the recesses of the mountain, a sort of Carnival and April fool aspect.

The old men told me that the meaning of this inverted manner of speaking, of saying one thing when the speaker intended another, was to break the boys of a habit of telling lies, and to make them for the future truth-speaking.

The ceremonies are also intended to rivet the influence and power of the old men on the novices, who have heard from their earliest childhood tales of the fearful powers of the Gommeras, and of the Joïas by which they can cause sickness and death. At these ceremonies the Joïas are exhibited. A young man said to me after his initiation, "When I was a little boy I did not believe all I heard about the Joïas, but when I saw the Gommeras at the Kuringal bringing them up from their insides, I believed it all."

These remarks will be illustrated by the incidents which I am about to describe.

At the halt made the Kabos placed their boys in a row, and two old men sat down before them on the ground, facing each other with their feet touching. In the oval space thus enclosed by their legs they proceeded to make a "mud pie" of the wet soil, which they smoothed and patted into the semblance of a cake, with childish manner and gestures. All the men danced round them uttering some word which I omitted to note. Several men then came to the boys and spoke to them, in their buffoon manner, pointing at the same time to the dirt cake. It fortunately happened that one of the boys was a Bemeringal, whose language differed from that of the Katungal so much that throughout the ceremonies, while the men spoke to the Katungal boys in their own language, they spoke to the Bemering boy in the broken English which is used by the blacks and whites in speaking to each other. Thus I was able to follow the whole course of instruction and admonition very satisfactorily, and also to check the explanations given me by my friends Yibai-malian and Umbara and others. The men said, "Look at that! look at those old men! when you get back to the camp go and do like that, and play with the little children—Yah!"

After a march of another quarter of a mile there was another halt. Some of the old men came out of the scrub with boughs held round their heads representing a mob of bullocks, and went through some absurd antics to make the boys laugh at their child's play. But the boys, having been warned by their Kabos, looked on with the utmost stolidity.

From here we marched slowly up the mountain side, until at another little level a third halt was made. Here the second stage was marked by all the men rubbing themselves with powdered charcoal, making themselves almost unrecognisable. The use of powdered charcoal in this manner seems to have a very general application in these ceremonies and in other tribes to magic, as for instance the Bunjil-barn among the Kurnai.

This interlude was an amusing one. The men, led by Umbara, pretended to be a team of working bullocks. Each man held a stick by both hands over his neck to represent a yoke, and the team danced slowly among the trees, past the boys with ludicrous gestures. Thence a further march was made, the men making laughable remarks to the boys, such as "You can go home now—Yah! We are going to the sea-shore to get oysters—Yah!"

On the summit of the hill there was another halt, and here was the first magic dance. The boys and their Kabos stood in a row and the men danced in a circle before them, shouting the name for "legs." This kind of dance is merely jumping round in a circle, with the legs wide apart and the arms stretched straight downwards swinging across each other in front, the word being loudly uttered, rhythmically with the body movement. After doing this for a minute or two, the circle of dancers opened, and joined on to the end of the line of Kabos and novices, the whole then forming a new circle. One of the Gommeras darted into this enclosed space, and danced the magic dance. This is done as if sitting almost on the heels, but the knees are widely apart, and the two hands are extended downwards until the fingers almost touch the ground. The medicine-man then hops backwards and forwards with a staring expression of face, his head vibrates from side to side, and he suddenly shows, sometimes after apparently internal struggles, one of his Joïas between his teeth. This is supposed to have been brought from within himself. The other men are meantime dancing round him, and I have occasionally seen him work himself into a kind of ecstatic frenzy, and fall down, once almost into the fire, utterly exhausted. While this was going on, the Kabos spoke in earnest tones to their boys, explaining to them the great and deadly powers of the Gommeras, and the necessity of their obeying every instruction given to them.

After a further ascent of a steep mountain ridge, there was another halt before crossing the summit of the range, which was marked by the men representing to the boys a procession of old men, slowly and with rhythmical movements marching out of the forest into the little open space in which the boys had been halted. Great age was shown, as in all these representations, by each man walking in a stooping position, supported by a staff in each hand. After circling round the boys twice, the procession resolved itself into a ring in front of the boys, and the men danced the usual magic dance round one who exhibited his Joïas in the usual manner. The men then, ceasing to dance, rushed to the boys in an excited manner, old Yibai-malian leading the way, and for the first time went through one of their most characteristic performances. They all shouted "Ngai!" meaning "Good," and at the same time moved their arms and hands as if passing something from themselves to the boys, who, being instructed by the Kabos, moved their hands and arms as if pulling a rope towards themselves, the palms of the hands being held upwards. The intention of this is that the boys shall be completely filled—saturated, I might say—with the magic proceeding from the initiated and the medicine-men, so that "Daramulun will like them."

Perhaps the best expression that could be used in English would be that by their thus passing their magical influence to the boys, the medicine-men and the initiated made the novices acceptable to Daramulun.

The bull-roarer was now sounded in the distance and the procession, obeying its call, moved again up the mountain.

The fifth halt was merely a burlesque of a number of women sitting on the ground and beating on their rolled -up rugs as they sang a song. The sixth halt was near the summit of the mountain, and a number of the men crouched on the ground covered with grass representing kangaroo rats. As the boys came up, these men started to their feet and danced, forming a circle, in which Yibai-malian exhibited his magical powers. The name of the animal was the word sung here.

From this place the ground fell a little, so as to lead by a gentle slope of about a quarter of a mile into a small grassy depression lying back from the range, and falling slightly to the south. Here we halted, the bundles were laid down or hung on the trees, and the first of the minor stages was completed. The procession from the camp to this place in the mountain represents the cleared path from the circle to the little Bunan. The various stages to be now described represent some of the stages on the path, and the little Bunan is represented, partly by this grassy depression and partly by a small grassy glen below it. This latter was connected with the grassy depression above it by a little water channel which had cut its way down a steep rocky slope and joined a small creek leading down to a valley where there was a fine pool of water. It then formed a stream, bordered by shrubs and tall sedges, and flowing through a series of small basin-like hollows, ultimately ran into a lake on the sea-shore.

On the way down from the summit to the place where we had halted the old men had bent down small saplings to form arches, under which the novices had to pass. Some of them were so low that the boys had to crawl under them. These arches are made to impress obedience on the boys.

The forest was not very dense, but the trees were high, and the whole was secluded by a dense growth of wattles, which covered the upper slopes of the mountain-top over which we had come.

Here we made our camp, each contingent being on that side of it nearest to its own country. The Kabos and their boys had a camp by themselves, in the rear of the huts of the men from Manero and Braidwood, in order to separate them from any of their relations and friends. The Kabos cut boughs and made a couch on which the novices lay down covered with their blankets. Their guardians sat by them, occasionally talking to and instructing them.

The younger men stripped sheets of bark from the trees[19] and made the huts which composed the camp, went down to the creek for water, and built up the fires, one for each hut, while in the middle of the open space round which the huts had been pitched the old men built up the magic fire called Talmaru, which was soon burning brightly. This fire is built by driving a stake into the ground and then leaning pieces of wood up against it all round to form a cone about three feet in height.

All the fires at the camp are spoken of in the language of the ceremonies as Talmaru, and not by the word which means "fire" in their tongue. It may be said with truth that there is a special language appropriate to the Kuringal ceremonies, which is not used elsewhere, and which is only known to the initiated.

On the north side of the Talmaru was the Moruya camp, on the south side that of the men from the coast, south of Bega, while on the western side were the Bemeringal; and, as I came from that direction, my camp was with them. With me was my messenger, having in his charge my bull-roarer, and it was his duty "officially," if I may so use that word, to look after me and obey my orders, as being one of the Gommeras or Headmen who had started the Kuringal. My old friend Umbara, who was alone, having come in a boat from his home at the Waloga lake, joined me, and had his hut on one side, while Yibai-malian, being a Bemeringal, was on the other.

The encampment having been thus satisfactorily arranged, and the men having rested after their exertions, it became necessary, as Umbara put it, to rouse them up by swinging the Mudthi; but as Mragula, the old Wolgal singer, was not satisfied with the sound of mine, he set to and made another from a piece of the wood of a native cherry-tree[20] which grew near by. While he was doing this, I went with my messenger to a pile of rocks near at hand, where he had secreted the Dieri bull-roarer, and set him to swing it vigorously. Instantly, when the sound was heard, all the men started to their feet, the Kabos roused their boys up with a shout of "Huh! Yakai!" which may be rendered "Hallo! Oh, dear!" The roaring of the Mudthi represents the muttering of thunder, and the thunder is the voice of Daramulun, and therefore its sound is of the most sacred character. Umbara once said to me, "Thunder is the voice of him (pointing upwards to the sky) calling on the rain to fall and make everything grow up new."

All the men now went to their camps and had their dinners, but the boys had only a small quantity of tea and a piece of bread each, this being the commencement of short commons for them during their novitiate.

The old men being ready, we went down a cattle-track to the lower glen, where a place was chosen and a space cleared for the tooth ceremony. All the bushes were chopped up, the stones gathered, and even the grass plucked up by the roots—in fact, everything cleared from it for a space of about twenty-five feet square. In a line along one side three pairs of holes were dug, about a foot in depth, in which the novices were to stand. A great stringy-bark tree was close to the northern side, and on this the Bega Gommera cut in relief the figure of a man of life-size in the attitude of dancing. This represented Daramulun, whose ceremonies they are, and who, as is taught to the novices, is cognisant of all the Kuringal proceedings.

While some of the old men were making these preparations, other men prepared sheets of stringy bark for the dresses of the performers in the next ceremony. These dresses were prepared by cutting the bark of the tree through all round the bole in two places about three feet apart. The outer bark is then chipped off and the inner bark beaten with the back of the tomahawk before being separated from the tree. It is then taken off as a sheet of fibres, and being extended on the ground, is at least three times its former circumference. The
FIG. 30.—MAN DECORATED FOR THE KURINGAL CEREMONY.
sheets of fibre are about three inches thick, and look like coarse bright yellow tow. Ten men were now decorated with this fibre round their bodies, tied round their legs and arms, and placed as monstrous wigs on their heads. Their faces were further disguised by reverting the upper and lower lips by cords made of the fibre tied behind the head, thereby showing the teeth and gums, and the effect was hideous. Two pieces of bark were now stripped, each about four feet in length, by fifteen inches at one end and nine at the other. The ten men now knelt down in a row on the southern edge of the cleared space, and about six or seven feet distant from, and parallel with, the row of holes, which faced them. The kneeling men were shoulder to shoulder; the man at either end had one of the pieces of bark in his hands, and in front of him a small mound of earth raised up in such a position that he could strike it with the concave side of his piece of bark.

All being now ready, including the new bull-roarer, my messenger was sent to sound it on the mound of rocks overlooking our camp. The Kabos soon appeared, carefully leading their charges over the rocks and among the fallen trees, and down the cattle-track. The boys were ordered to keep their eyes fixed on their feet, and could therefore only proceed slowly, each one being guided by a Kabo. The remainder of the men who had remained at the camp followed them.

When the novices reached the cleared ground, still with bent heads and downcast eyes, each was placed with his feet in one pair of holes. Then they were told to raise their eyes and look, and the sight of the ten disguised figures must have been startling to them, but I could not see the slightest trace of emotion on the face of either of them.

At this time the scene was striking. Some of the men were standing at the east side of the cleared space, some on
FIG. 31.—THE FIGURE OF DARAMULUN.
Cut on a tree.
the west side, the boys and their Kabos being on the north, almost at the foot of the tree on which the figure, about three feet in length, of Daramulun was cut. In front of them were these motionless disguised figures. The Gommera Brupin was at a little distance almost hidden in some scrub, and old Gunjerung, the head Gommera, stood apart from all as was his custom, leaning on his staff, waiting for the moment when all being ready, he would give the signal for the ceremony to commence.[21]

At length Gunjerung raised his staff, and the kneeling man nearest to the sea, that is at the east end of the row, raised his strip of bark and brought it down on the earthen mound before him with a sound like the muffled report of a gun. Then he and all the other men surged over to the west, uttering a sound like "sh" or "ush," long drawn out. The western man now, in his turn, struck his mound with a resounding blow, and all surged back making a rumbling sound; so they went on for some little time with the regularity of clockwork. This represents the waves breaking on the land, and rushing up on the shore, and the thunder answering it from the mountains.

Gunjerung now signed with his staff, and the masked figures, springing up, rushed to the novices, and commenced to dance to the words "Wirri-wirri-wirri," that is, "Quick, quick, quick." As they did this, one of the Kabos knelt behind his boy, with his right knee on the ground, and the boy sat on his left as a seat. The other Kabo came behind and drew the boy's head on to his breast, having his left arm round his chest, and his right hand over the boy's eyes. The Kabo kneeling on the ground held the boy's legs, his feet being in the holes.

From behind the bushes where he had been concealed, the Gommera Brupin now suddenly emerged dancing, bearing in one hand a short wooden club[22] and in the other a piece of wood about eight inches long and chisel-shaped at the end.[23] Being the representative of Daramulun, he was clothed only in a complete suit of charcoal dust.

The boy's eyes being covered, he danced into the space between them and the masked men to excited shouts of "Wirri" to which the other men were also dancing, and thus approached the first boy. He now handed his implements to the man nearest to him, and seizing the boy's head with his hands, applied his lower incisor to the left upper incisor of the boy, and forcibly pressed it upwards. He then, dancing all the time, placed the chisel on the tooth and struck a blow with the mallet. This time the tooth was loosened, and I could see blood. Some of the dancing-men now came between the boy and me, so that I lost count of the blows for a few seconds. However, I counted seven, and I think that there was at least one more. The tooth then fell out of its socket, and Brupin gave it to one of the old men. The boy was then led aside by the Kabo, who told him that he must on no account spit out the blood, but swallow it, otherwise the wound would not heal. The stoical indifference shown by this boy, to what must have been an exquisitely painful operation, was most surprising. I watched him carefully, and he could not have shown less feeling had he been a block of wood. But as he was led away I noticed that the muscles of his legs quivered in an extraordinary manner.

The Gommera now danced up to the second boy, and amidst the same shouts of "Wirri" gave a hoist to the boy's tooth with his own, and then struck his first blow. This, however, produced a different effect on this boy, for he set up a tremendous yell and struggled violently. His outcry was, however, drowned by the cries of "Wirri" and the boy's eyes being still covered, the Gommera again danced in from the masked figures, behind whom he had been crouching, and again struck his blow. This produced the same effect as before. The old men now said that the boy had been too much with the women, and had played too much with the little girls, thereby causing his tooth to be so firmly fixed. Yibai-malian now came forward, in his character of a great medicine-man, and first of all gave the tooth a tremendous hoist up with his lower jaw, then he put his mouth to that of the boy, who made a tremendous struggle, and got his arms free. Yibai told me afterwards that he then forced one of his Joïas, a quartz crystal, up against the tooth to loosen it. The boy, feeling this hard substance coming out of the medicine-man's mouth, thought, as he afterwards told his Kabo, that the man was going to kill him by something out of his inside. While this was going on, the men near to the boy said to him, "Now you be quiet, only a little more and it will be out."

As soon as the boy was soothed down, the Gommera danced in again and succeeded in getting a good blow which knocked the tooth out. He struck thirteen blows in all.

The third boy now only remained, the smallest of the three, and in his case one of his Kabos, a man of the Ngarigo tribe, having first of all pushed the gum back from the tooth with his finger-nail, Yibai-malian gave the tooth the regulation hoist, and the Gommera, dancing in, knocked the tooth out with a few blows.

The three boys, having somewhat recovered from the severe ordeal through which they had gone, were led by their Kabos to the tree on which the figure of Daramulun was cut, and were told of him and his powers, and that he lived beyond the sky and watched what the Murring did. When a man died he met him and took care of him. It was he who first made the Kuringal, and taught it to their fathers, and he taught them also to make weapons, and all that they know. The Gommeras receive their powers from him, and he gives them the Krugullung. He is the great Biamban who can do anything and go anywhere, and he gave the tribal laws to their fathers, who have handed them down from father to son until now.

As the boys were then being led away to their camp, Gunjerung stopped them, and spoke to them in a most impressive manner. Alluding to the figure of Daramulun, he said, "If you make anything like that when you go back to the camp, I will kill you."

When the boys were taken away, the men stripped off their bark-fibre disguises and piled them over the foot-holes. Then they all formed a ring round the cleared space, standing with their faces outwards. At a signal from Brupin they all bent forwards, and with their hands scratched leaves, sticks, rubbish, anything they could reach, towards themselves, throwing it backwards on to the heap. Then they simultaneously jumped backwards, uttering the sounds "prr! prr! prr! wah! wah! wah!" three times. A large quantity of rubbish being thus gathered over the sacred ground, they all turned round, and each one motioning with his outstretched hands towards the heap with the palms downwards repeated the words "Yah! wah!" as a final conclusion.

We all now went up to the camp, and standing by the Talmaru fire, the boys were invested with the man's belt. A long cord of opossum-fur string, folded a number of times, was wound round the waist, and fastened by the end being tucked under the folds. This belt is coloured with red ochre. In front hangs the narrow kilt (Burrain), thrust up under it so as to hang down and preserve decency, being fastened to the belt by the two outside thongs, which are tucked once or twice under and round the belt. A Burrain also hangs down behind.

The novices were now covered as before with their blankets; and, being seated beside their Kabos, were told that, their teeth being out, nothing more would be done to them, that they were no longer boys, but were to look on and attend to all the Kabos told them.

The proceedings which I shall now describe continued all night, and are intended to enforce the teachings of the Kabos, to amuse the boys, and at the same time to securely establish the authority of the old men over them.

The magic fire was freshly built up, and the novices were told to stand up and observe. I may now mention once for all that the evening's ceremonial entertainments and proceedings were carried on alternately by the two sections of the community—the mountain Bemeringal and the sea-coast Katungal.

Dances and performances alternated, some merely to amuse, others to illustrate the magical powers of the Gommeras, and others to enforce tribal morality, or to perpetuate tribal legends. These were all strung together by a series of buffooneries, some of them of the broadest kind, and pervaded by the inverted manner of speaking before mentioned. Jokes, which were too broad for translation, were bandied about from side to side with the inevitable "Yah!" attached, which implied that they were not to be taken as serious.

In all these performances the men are naked, and even towards morning, when it clouded over and a smart shower fell, only a few put on a little covering. The old men especially adhered to the rules of their fathers, so far as they could do so, in the conduct of the ceremonies and their own procedure. One old man put on nothing when it rained but a pair of boots.

The first performance was by the Bega Gommera, and it was a ludicrous one. It represents an old man tormented by opossums. It must be mentioned that, whenever possible, the men who represented animals were of those totems, and indeed all the animals which were represented in these performances were the totem animals of the tribe. Thus, when it is a kangaroo hunt, it is a kangaroo man who performs, and the wild-dog men hunt him. But if there are not sufficient of the necessary totems, then other men help them.

In this instance the great age of the performer was indicated, as in all other cases, by his leaning on a staff. He was occupied in chopping some animal out of a hollow log, and behind him were a number of opossums, crouching in the bushes. As he chopped, an opossum came behind him and scratched his bare leg, frightening him, to judge by the caper he cut and the yell he uttered, as he turned round and hit at it with his staff. His tormentor dodged him, and, running past on all fours, lay down at the edge of the cleared space. The old man now resumed his chopping, when another opossum ran out and bit his leg, and the old man, jumping and yelling, hit at and missed him. So it went on till all the opossum men had passed from one side of the fire to the other, and were lying side by side. The performer now dropped his staff and tomahawk and rushed to the fire, where he clapped his hands, shouting the word for opossum, whereupon all the opossum men sprang up and danced round him and the fire.

The next was a magic dance to the word meaning "legs." In this the dancing of the Gommeras and the exhibition of their Joïas was a marked feature of the dance. At one time there would be only one, then others would rush into the ring, until there were four or five, once there were six, all dancing in an excited state, staring with goggle eyes, with their lips drawn back, showing their Joïas held between their teeth, in the firelight, for it had become dark. One man in his frenzy threw himself down on his knees, and danced on them. Others danced until, apparently overcome by their own magic, they fell down seemingly senseless.

The purely magical dances were performed when the word rhythmically shouted was Daramulun or Murunga, that is, the bull-roarer, this synonym being lawfully used only at the Kuringal, Ngalalbal, the mother of Daramulun, or the names of different parts of the body which might be affected by the Joïas, and lastly the Joïas themselves.

The different Joïas which were "danced" during the night were as follows: Krugialla, the quartz crystal; Kunambrun, a black stone, apparently lydianite; Bundnin, resembling the flesh or the intestine of an animal, and also a substance looking like chalk, of which I did not obtain a sample.

The dance of Daramulun, which was indeed the invocation of him by name, accompanied by dancing, was repeated several times. The dance of Ngalalbal took place only once, and it was partly a performance. The old Wolgal singer struck up a plaintive air, beginning in a high note, and gradually falling, all joining in it, excepting those who represented Ngalalbal.[24] The words of the song are:—

Ngalalbal Ngalalbal walulbal gilli-gulli bela,

or, freely translated, "Oh! Ngalalbal, where do you go, coming from afar?" As the song rose louder from the number of voices that joined in, two figures glided in from the black shadows of the forest to the light of the fire. The word "glided" best expresses the slow movement with which the two figures came forward side by side, as one person, and again vanished out of the circle of firelight into the forest beyond. They glided past silently, almost motionless, each one shrouded from head to foot in the same manner as the novices, and each one protruding from the space in which the face was visible a crooked stick to represent a boomerang, held concave edge outwards, with which, tradition says, the two Ngalalbal, the mothers of Daramulun, were armed. After they passed, there was a magic dance to the word Ngalalbal.

Of the totem dances some were merely the magic dance to the name of the totem. Others were prefaced by pantomimic representations of the totem animal, bird, or reptile. Thus there was a dance to the word Yirai-kapin, the dog's tooth, referring to the "ravenous tooth which devours everything." It commenced with the life-like howling of a dingo in the forest, answered by other dogs on the other side. Then nearer, till a man ran into the firelight on all fours, with a bush stuck in his belt behind, to represent a dingo's tail. Others followed, till half a score were running round the fire, smelling each other, snarling and snapping, scratching the ground, in fact representing the actions of wild dogs, until the medicine-man leading them sprang to his feet, clapped his hands, vociferating in, measured tones, "Yirai-kapin." While he danced, the others followed him, dancing round him, and the usual totem dance was made.

Another was the crow dance, in which men, with leaves round their heads, croaked like those birds, and then danced; the owl dance, in which they imitated the hooting of the Takula, owl; the lyre-bird dance, and that of the stone-plover. Finally, there was the dance of the rock-wallaby, which was pantomimic.

In this the rock-wallaby were at first concealed in the shadows to the right front of the fire, that is, looking north from where I sat. Brupin and Yibai-malian were the principal performers, the animals being represented by two or three of that totem, with other men helping them. Yibai had charge of the rock-wallaby, and Brupin tried, in a grotesque manner, to entice them from him, while talking to the former. When they ran to Brupin's side, Yibai threatened him, and they had a comic combat, as if with club and shield. So it went on till all the wallaby had been enticed from Yibai, who evinced his grief at the loss in the most comical manner. It ended with the usual dance to the word Yalonga, that is, rock-wallaby.

Some of the pantomimes were curious, particularly one which represented a Gommera curing a sick child, which was a small log which one of the old men had taken from the fire and carried in his arms to and fro, imitating the crying of a sick child. Several of the men came up and imitated the actions of a "doctor," in stroking the child with their hands, and extracting from it stones, pieces of wood, bark, and other things, as the cause of the disease. This was received with shouts of laughter from all, from the medicine-men as well as the others. The only ones who did not even smile were the utterly unmoved novices.

Another pantomime represented a number of very old men who came up, following each other, out of the forest, and circled round the fire in the usual rhythmical manner, swaying from side to side at each step, and each holding his head with both hands, one at each temple. After going round the fire several times, the chain broke up into individuals, who began tickling each other, finally falling down into a heap, screeching with laughter. Such an exhibition of childishness in venerable old greybeards was ridiculous, and this was impressed on the novices by going up to them and saying, "When you go back to the camp do like that—yah!" by this warning them not to be guilty of such childish acts in their new characters of men.

Other pantomimic representations were to impress rules of tribal morality by visible instances.

A man lay down on the ground near the fire, as if a woman asleep. The other performers were hidden by the shadows thrown by the trees beyond the fire. One man then stole out, and seeing the woman sleeping, cautiously approached, after peering all round to see if any one were near. He tried in vain to wake her, and made comic gestures which left no doubt of his intentions. Being unable to succeed, he went across and lay down at the edge of the clear space. One by one the other men came by, each fruitlessly endeavouring to waken the sleeping woman, and also making gestures showing what he intended. When all had passed the pseudo-woman, one of the Gommeras jumped up and commenced his dance, the disappointed suitors joining in it. This play, taken by itself, was comic, but when looked at in reference to the gestures made by the men, suggested what might happen if a savage found a solitary woman sleeping in the bush. But a remarkable commentary was applied, not only by the broad allusions made by the men looking on, addressed to the novices, and always followed by the emphatic "Yah!" but by the direct statements of Gunjerung to the boys in the coast language, and to the Wolgal boy in English, which was, "Look at me! if you do anything like that when you go back to the camp, I will kill you; by and by, when you are older, you will get a wife of your own."

Another pantomime was still more striking. By itself it seemed to be merely beastliness of behaviour. The pantomimic actions and words left no doubt that this represented the offences for which, it is said, the cities of the plain were destroyed by celestial fire.

When the dance was over, and Gunjerung went to speak to the boys, I had moved up close to them to hear with certainty what he might say to the Wolgal boy, and thus have at first hand what otherwise I should have to take from a translation. Looking at him with the expression of a malignant wizard, he said, "Look at me!" The boy took no more notice than if he had been blind, deaf, and dumb. He said again, "Look at me!" The Kabo said, "Look at him"; the boy then looked Gunjerung full in the face, who said, "Look at that man!" pointing to one of the most prominent Gommeras who had been dancing; "if you do anything like that when you go back to the camp, he will see you and will kill you dead."

These representations went on from about six in the evening to near three o'clock in the morning. When one section had wearied themselves a short halt was called, and the boys were told, as in one instance, "You can go and lie down, we are going to sleep—yah!" The Kabos led them to the couch of leaves, and caused them to lie down covered by blankets. The men sat by their fires, or rolled themselves in their rugs; some smoked, some chatted, but before long, sometimes after no more than five minutes had passed, one of the leading Gommeras would start up, clap his hands, and rush to the Talmaru fire, shouting some word, in most cases either "Mirambul" (legs) or "Katir" (dance). The section to which he belonged then joined in, the proceedings recommenced, and the other section remained spectators.

Twice when the proceedings flagged a little, Yibai-malian made me the sign for Mudthi, namely, moving the forefinger of the right hand in a small circle, and I sent my messenger to the mound of rocks to sound the bull-roarer out of sight. Directly the sound was heard the whole camp, excepting the Kabos and novices, was in a state of excitement, the men shouting "Huh! huh!" and the dancing went on with renewed vigour.

The novices were thus kept in a constant state of excitement and suspense until, as I have said, at about three in the morning, when the old men danced to the word Kair, that is, the end, the finish. The magic fire was let burn low, the boys were laid on their couch of leaves, and all hands rolled themselves in their rugs or blankets and slept.

Towards five o'clock I was roused, partly by the cold mountain air, my fire having burned out, and partly by old Umbara's nasal song not far away. When I told him of this afterwards, he said, "When I snore, that is the time I dream and am walking about." Making up my fire, I sat by it thinking of the strange scenes of the past twenty-four hours, till, as the first signs of the dawn were showing in the east, Yibai-malian woke and instantly rushed to the Talmaru, shouting "Bau! bau!" that is, "Hallo! hallo!"

The whole camp woke up at once, and by the time he had lit up the fire the other fires were burning at the several camps, and the men were either having an early smoke, or were warming up tea left from the night before. As the light came stronger a song was raised in the Bega camp about the dawning, which was sung for some time. As it died away the Wolgal singer commenced a song about the bat, and as we sat by the fire Umbara explained it to me as being about "that miserable little fellow flying about."

He then sang a song about "the clear space in the tree tops through which the dawn shines." Then the laughing-jackasses commenced their cackling laughs, and one and all joined in singing a song about the Kakoberi, that is, the laughing-jackass. By this time it was daylight, and the pots and "billies" were boiling for breakfast, the younger men having fetched water up from the creek for the others. I had gone there also for mine, and I broke the rule which forbids washing the person during the Kuringal ceremonies.

After breakfast the dances recommenced vigorously. The sequence was Katir (dance), Yiramil (teeth), and a pantomimic dance for which the men covered themselves with boughs. It was called Ngadjigar (bushes), and was followed by a magic ring, in which the Gommeras danced and exhibited their Joïas. Then occurred one of the periodic rushes of these men to the novices, and the transference of the magical influence to them, followed by the three emphatic words, "Wah! Huh! Wah!" with the downward motion of the outstretched hands.

The novices were told to go and sit down by their fire. The day's ceremonies had been commenced and the old men had a consultation as to the further course to be pursued. One of the principal old men had had a dream in the night. It was that the Kurnai had arrived since our departure, and that as we had left and commenced the Kuringal without them, they would follow the old law and "kill our women."

This seemed to impress some of the others, and a discussion arose. One man said that he was sure that the dream was true, because his nose had been itching all night, which was a sign that strangers were coming to the camp. Another man said that during the night a log on his fire had "sung out," which is one of the omens with these people foretelling the arrival of strangers.

The arranged programme was that we should remain in camp another day, go out hunting for food, and in the evening repeat the programme of the night before. Then on the next morning we should finish and return to the camp, or rather go to the new camp, which the women were to make. Such being the case, I said that, as my time was short, we would finish the ceremonies that day, and return in the afternoon to the new camp.

This being settled, we recommenced with the Crow dance, after which all the men formed a ring round the Talmaru fire, and shouting "Yah! Yah! Yah! Prr! Prr! Prr! Wah! Wah! Wah!" scratched leaves, sticks, rubbish, earth over it till it was completely covered up. Then they stamped on it, danced on it, and finally sat down on it, till they were fully satisfied that it was quite extinguished. Then they stood over it and uttered the usual formula,"Yah! Huh! Wah!" concluding with downward motion of the extended hands.

Before the fire was extinguished, one of the Kabos had cut six pieces of dry bark from a dead tree, each piece being about eighteen inches long and four wide. These were tied two and two, and small leafy twigs were tied round one end. The other end was then lighted at the Talmaru, and one of these fire-sticks was given to each boy to carry with him, and he was to light his fire with it when, at the final close of the ceremonies, he commenced his life of probation in the bush. If this is omitted, the belief is that it will cause a terrible storm of wind and rain.

All being ready to start, Gunjerung standing apart, leaning on his staff, said, "Go!" and moved off followed by all, the Kabos and the novices being last. Yibai-malian and my messenger remained with me, and when the procession had disappeared down the steep eastern side of the mountain we sounded the two bull-roarers, and then having carefully wrapped them up so that they could not be seen, followed the party.

The Yuin believe that the Gommeras leave things lying on the Kuringal ground filled with evil magic; but if this is done, these are probably poisoned pieces of sharp bone, which, penetrating the bare foot of a blackfellow or a woman, might produce blood-poisoning. Such at any rate seems to be a fair explanation of a case which happened. Two men were crossing a Bunan ground which had been used some little time before, when one of them trod on something sharp. His friend picked it out of his foot for him, and found it to be a piece of fish bone. That night the man was in great pain, and in a few days he died. The Yuin attributed his death to some Gommera having left something behind in the form of a Joïa, by which the man was "caught" by evil magic.

When we overtook the Kabos and the novices we found them seated on the hill-side, a little way from the other men, who were on a small level clear space. Brupin and another man were carefully clearing a small piece of ground, and with pointed sticks dug out a figure of Daramulun, leaving it about twelve inches in relief. It was in the attitude of the magic dance, and was provided with pieces of wood for teeth, and a mouthful of quartz fragments as Joïas, the male member being much exaggerated. According to ancient usage, a collection of the implements and weapons used by the Yuin should have been
FIG. 32.—EARTH FIGURE IN RELIEF OF DARAMULUN.
placed round the figure, but, as most of these are not

now used by the Murring, they were omitted. When completed the figure was nearly life-size. The men then disguised themselves with boughs over their heads, and formed a close row across and in front of the feet of the figure. The novices were now brought down by their Kabos to the rear of the men who were dancing, and who then formed a ring, danced five times round the figure shouting the name Daramulun in time to the dance. Another dance to the name Ngalalbal followed, and the novices were then led to the figure. Gunjerung discoursed to them about it. What he said I gathered first from a rapid explanation by Umbara, and then from what Gunjerung said to the Wolgal boy in English: "That is the Biamban you have been told about, who can go anywhere and do anything. If you make a thing like that when you go back to the camp, or speak of it to the women and children, you will be killed." The boughs were now thrown on to the figure, and the whole covered up as had been done with the foot-holes and the Talmaru.

The joking was now recommenced, the novices being told, "Now we are going to catch some fish—yah!" and other such sayings as we moved down to the creek, crossed its course amongst dense masses of tall sharp-edged sedges, from the flower stems of which spear-points were formerly made, and followed down the valley till the old men found a pool which would suit their purpose for the last ceremony before returning to the new camp.

Although it was now between ten and eleven o'clock, the sun had only just peeped over the high mountain-side of the valley into which we had descended, and shone through the tall mountain ash and stringy-bark trees which clothed it. Although the hill-sides were sunny and warm where we sat down to rest, the bottom of the valley was still in deep shadow, and dank with the moisture of the night's rain.

Another important ceremony had now to be performed before the final one of which the men had jokingly said that they were going to "catch fish." While Gunjerung and his section of the party rested by a fire, which they had lit, and the Kabos and the novices rested by another, which they lighted with the fire brought from the Talmaru, Yibai-malian and Brupin prepared for the next ceremony. Some of the men under their direction prepared a new stock of bark-fibre decorations, while others dug a grave. There was now a discussion as to the way in which it was to be done. Brupin said that it must be dug in the manner in which the body is buried in a sitting position, with the knees drawn up and the arms across the chest, but Yibai said that as he was to be buried, he would have the grave made as in the case where the body was to be laid out at length on its back. Two men therefore set to work to excavate it with digging-sticks in the friable granitic soil, while he went off to superintend the costuming of the other actors.

Sheets of bark were again beaten into fleeces of fibre, and we dressed up six performers, this time completely covering them from head to foot, so that not even a glimpse of their faces could be seen. Four of them were attached to each other by a cord of stringy-bark fibre fastened to a tuft left on the back of the head of the first, the cord then tied to the tuft on the head of the second, and so on to the last. Each man had a piece of bark twelve inches long and four wide in each hand. The two remaining actors were not tied to any one, and each walked nearly bent double by the weight of supposititious years, resting on a staff—this indicating a great age and, as they represented two medicine-men, also great magical powers.

By this time the grave was completed, and leaves having been laid on the bottom as a couch, Yibai stretched himself out on them with a rolled-up blanket under his head, as if he were a dead man. In his two hands, which were crossed on his chest, he held the stem of a young Geebung tree,[25] which had been pulled up by the roots, and now stood planted on his chest several feet above the level of the ground. A light covering of dead sticks filled the grave, and on them were scattered dead leaves and grass, artistically levelled off with the ground, by sticking little tufts of grass, small plants and such like, to make the illusion complete.

All being now ready, the novices were led by their Kabos and placed alongside the grave, and the Wolgal singer perched himself on the bole of a fallen tree close by the head of the grave, and commenced a melancholy but well-marked song, called the "Song of Yibai."[26]

The words of this song are, as is often the case, merely suggestive of its meaning rather than descriptive of it, being the repetition of the words Burrin-burrin Yibai, that is, Stringy-bark Yibai. This song is said to have been handed down by their fathers at these ceremonies, and further, that it refers to the incantation by the medicine-men. It refers to Malian, that is eagle-hawk, in connection with Yibai, and Daramulun is also Malian. In this aspect the burial of the man Yibai has a new significance, he being of the sub-class Yibai and of the totem Malian.

To the slow, plaintive, but well-marked air of this song the actors began to move forward, winding among the trees, logs, and rocks. In accord with the time of the song the four men kept step, at each step striking their two bark clappers together, and simultaneously swaying first to the one side and then to the other. The two old men kept pace with them, but a little to one side as became their dignity. This represented a party of medicine-men, guided by two Gommeras, proceeding to the grave of the medicine-man Yibai-malian and chanting an invocation to Daramulun under his synonyms. As they came near to the grave they wound round its foot and ranged themselves at the side facing the novices and the Kabos. The two old men stood behind them as the chant and dance still went on. Then there was seen a slight quivering of the Geebung tree, and the Kabos directed the attention of the novices to it, saying, "Look there." It quivered more, was then violently agitated, then the whole structure fell to pieces, and to the excited dancing of the actors, to the song of Yibai, the supposed dead man rose up and danced his magic dance in the grave, showing the Joïas in his mouth, which he is supposed to have received from Daramulun himself.

I found afterwards that this song of Yibai is known to the Wiradjuri in their Burbung ceremonies.

This being ended, the trappings of the actors and the Geebung sapling were thrown into the grave, and the whole covered up by scratching rubbish over it as in the cases of the other sacred representations.

It was now noon, and we all rested and cooked and ate our mid-day meal. After that the bundles were again tied up and the "fish-catching ceremony" commenced.

Properly speaking, every one ought to have gone into the water and have washed off all traces of the charcoal dust, which is the covering appropriate to the Kuringal ceremonies. But it had become so cold that a considerable number of the men compounded by only washing their faces, heads, and arms. The other more punctilious men went into the water up to their middles and washed themselves thoroughly, shouting while they did so, "We are going fishing—yah!" The novices were led to the edge of the pool and plentifully sprinkled with water by the men, who then danced, and, as in former cases, passed the magical influence to the novices. Then they came out of the water and put on clothes, and with them they put on also their usual demeanour.

The novices were led away ahead of the party, being now "completed" and made "ngai" so as to "please Daramulun."

The intention of this washing is that everything belonging to the ceremonies shall be left behind with the charcoal, which is the indication of them. To use their own expression, "Everything belonging to the bush work is washed away, so that the women may not know anything about it."[27]

The novices are forbidden, during their period of probation, to wash themselves, or to go into the water, especially if running, lest the influence with which the ceremonies have filled them should be washed off. The men had "gone to catch fish" full of buffoonery, with the word Yah! on the tip of their tongues; when they came out of the pool, having left behind them all I have described as peculiar to these ceremonies, they resumed their usual quiet and impassible demeanour. The bundles were picked up and we started on our way to the new camp. When we had almost reached the crest of the range we overtook the Kabos and the novices. Gunjerung called a halt, and the bull-roarers were produced from the bundles and swung loudly. The novices were brought back to us, and Gunjerung spoke to them about these things, showing them the tooth-stick, the mallet, and the Mudthis. Finally, turning to the Wolgal boy, he said, pointing to the bull-roarers, and especially to the one which had been sent to him: "These are what made the noise you heard, and this one was very strong, it brought me all the way from Moruya." I may mention here that the head Gommera takes care of the Mudthis from one Kuringal to the other.

We now started again, the "young men" no longer being led by their Kabos, but walking by themselves alongside the other men.

The whole of the secret ceremonies were now completed, having been, by stress of circumstances, condensed into about one-third of the time usually taken for them. The three boys had been made men, probationers certainly, but ranking with the men, and for ever separated from the control of their mothers and the companionship of their sisters.

All the boys who are made men at the same time are in the relation of Mudthi. All who have had a tooth knocked out are Gumbang-ira, that is, "Raw-tooth."

When we reached the summit of a rocky spur which jutted out from the mountain, we overlooked the distant river valley. Then, about half a mile farther on, we halted on a small peak above a steep descent, and here the young men were divested of their blankets and carefully painted with yellow ochre by their Kabos in lines and dots. Three bands were drawn across the face, and the legs from the knee down were wholly covered with ochre. The belt of manhood was carefully wound round the waist, and the two Burrain were hung thereto, before and behind. The head-bands and the arm-bands completed their costume.

The two elder boys took it all with the greatest equanimity, but the younger one, who had shown an utterly unmoved demeanour, except when his tooth was being knocked out, through all the ceremonies of nearly thirty hours, was now scarcely able to contain himself, as he stood and admired his costume. His face was radiant as he looked down first on one side and then on the other.

This having been done, we were ready to start, but first of all a signal was made to learn whether the women were ready to receive us. This was done by one of the men uttering a shrill cry three times like "Trr, trr, trr," and then all joining in a great shout of "Yau! yau! yau!" This was repeated three times with intervals of listening, until at length a shrill answering signal of the same kind came up from the distant forest below.

We now descended the remaining part of the mountain; and at its foot, when about a quarter of a mile from the new camp, we halted, and, the bundles being put down, the men broke off boughs or young trees, and formed a close group bearing them, within which were the Kabos, one of each pair carrying his boy on his shoulders. Old Gunjerung alone did not carry anything; but, as the Biamban, walked apart a little at one side and in the rear. Holding boughs high up so as to conceal the newly-made young men in a moving forest, we all walked slowly to the camp, in front of which was constructed the semblance, made of boughs, of a double hut such as is used here. It had been made large enough to hold ten or a dozen people, and at the farther opening and inside stood four women, the three mothers of the boys and the sister of one of the former, that is, a tribal mother of the boy. These women had each a band of white clay across her face as a sign of mourning.

As we came to this simulated camp, the leading men entered and the Kabos placed their boys on the ground before the women. The oldest woman then carefully scrutinised them, as if to find out who they were, and then turning one of them with his face in the direction in which he had come, struck him lightly on the back with two boomerangs which she held in her hand. The men then shouted to the boys to run, and opening a lane, they having been instructed by their Kabos what to do, raced off at the top of their speed to the place where the bundles and their Talmaru fire-sticks had been left. All the men followed fast after them, and when I came up with them more leisurely, found them recovering their breath after their race.

The three novices had now to go and live by themselves in the bush, on such food as they could catch, and which it might be lawful for them to eat. They were still under the charge of the Kabos, who would visit them from time to time, continue to instruct them, and see that they followed the rules laid down for them. In the case of the elder of the three, the period of probation would be shortened, because he was employed as a stock-rider on a cattle station. But in all the cases the Gommeras would not consent to either of them taking his place in the tribal community until they were satisfied as to his conduct. For instance, he would not be allowed to take a wife for possibly several years.

Among the things which are told to the novice by his Kabos, is his Budjan, that is his totem name. These names are not much used, and a person does not know much of the Budjans of others. It is the personal name which is used, not the Budjan. The personal name is a tribal one given to an individual in childhood, and the use of the totem name is avoided, lest an enemy might get hold of it and do him an injury by evil magic. In this there is a difference between the Yuin and other tribes, in which the totem name is used, and the personal name strictly kept secret. The rule is that during the period of probation the novice is absolutely prohibited from holding any communication with a woman, even his own mother. He must not even look at one, and this prohibition extends to the emu, for the emu is Ngalalbal, the mother of Daramulun.

The food restrictions in connection with these ceremonies are that the Gumbang-ira (raw-tooth novice) may not eat any of the following: emu, because it is Ngalalbal; any animal, e.g. the wombat, which burrows in the ground, and therefore reminds of the foot-holes; such creatures as have very prominent teeth, such as the kangaroo, because they remind of the tooth itself; any animal that climbs to the tree-tops, like the koala, because it is then near to Daramulun; any bird that swims, because it reminds of the final washing ceremony. Other food forbidden is spiny ant-eater, common opossum, lace-lizard, snakes, eels, perch, and others.

Thus the young man during his probation is placed in an artificial state of scarcity as to food, although perhaps surrounded by plenty. Included in the forbidden is the Budjan of the novice, although this rule is becoming more and more disregarded in the younger generations.

The novices were told that if they eat any of the forbidden animals, the Joïa belonging to it would get into them and kill them. But not only is there an immaterial Joïa which acts magically, but also a special magical substance which belongs to each such animal. In fact, these magical substances are some of the Joïas which the medicine-men exhibit at the Kuringal. As each Gommera has a totem name, his Budjan and the magical substance belonging to it are his special Joïas.

It is the evil magic of the Budjan that in great measure commands obedience, but there is also the belief that the Gommera can see in dreams the actions of the novices, and punish them by Joïa. In the old times a novice, known to have broken the food rules after initiation, would have been killed by violence.

The strictness with which these food rules are observed by the old men affords a measure of their force in the olden times. The old man whom I have mentioned as the Wolgal singer, and who seemed to be about seventy years of age, told me, when we were speaking of these rules, that he had never eaten of the flesh of the emu. He said that he had never been made free of its flesh, by some one stealthily rubbing a piece of it, or the fat, on his mouth.

When the Gommeras are satisfied that the youth is fit to take his place in the tribe, he is allowed to return. In one case known to me, it was between five and six months before the old men were satisfied as to this. For some reason they were dissatisfied with the novices, and after a meeting was held of the old men, some of them went out to and told the novices that they must not let the women see them stripped of their rugs for some months after coming in.

After the novice is allowed to come into the camp, and till he is permitted to marry, the Gommeras can order him to do things for them, and he obeys them.

The ceremonies being now completed, there remained nothing for the people to do but gradually to return to their own districts. The tooth would be carried by the Gommera of the place most distant from that of the youth it belonged to. He would then send or hand it to the Headman of the locality next to him, and thus it would pass from group to group of the inter-marrying community which had attended the Kuringal. It conveys its message, which is that so-and-so has been made a man. Finally it returns to its owner.

I took on myself, as being in their eyes a "Gommera of the Kurnai," and as having joined in causing the Kuringal to be held, to carry off two of the teeth, which were fastened with grass-tree gum one to each end of a piece of twisted fibre. An old man, the father of one of the boys, begged me not to put the teeth into my "Joïa bag," and Yibai, who was present, said that he would by and by fetch them back.

Some twelve months after, I was surprised by the arrival at Sale, in Gippsland, where I was then living, of the
FIG. 33.—1 AND 3. WOODEN IMPLEMENT USED TO EXTRACT TEETH AT YUIN KURINGAL; 2. TEETH WHEN EXTRACTED ATTACHED TO TWISTED FIBRE BY GUM. ×½
man who had acted as my messenger during the ceremonies. In the usual secret manner in which anything relating to the Kuringal is spoken of, he whispered to me that one of the boys had been taken ill, and that the old men feared that I had placed the teeth in my bag with Joïas, and had thereby caused his sickness. The old men had therefore sent him to ask me for them. I relieved his mind by showing him the teeth carefully packed in a small tin box by themselves, and sent him off with them on his return journey of some two hundred and fifty miles.

The Ngarigo Ceremonies

In one of the talks which I had with the old men at their Wirri-wirri-than, I asked them what would be done if a woman saw a Mudthi. The consensus of opinion was that if a woman found a Mudthi and showed it to a man, he would kill her. If a man showed a Mudthi to a woman or a child, he would be killed, and not unlikely those belonging to him also. If a woman were seen in the little Bunan ground, she would be killed.

I have mentioned that some of the Bemeringal attended the Yuin ceremonies, but the "true Bemeringal," according to the Yuin, are the Ngarigo of the Manero tableland. Their ceremonies are almost precisely the same as the Kuringal, but the following details may be added.

During the time that the novice (Kuringun) is away in the mountains after the ceremonies, he is in the charge of some old man, or more than one. He may be absent more than six months, and during this time he is not allowed to touch cooked food with his hands. The food is put into his mouth by the man who has charge of him. Tharamulun is believed to be watching him, and his dread is very great. During the time when the novices are at the Kuringal before they are shown to their mothers, their food is brought by women who have not any boys to be made men. When the tooth is taken out, it is fastened to a piece of Kaiung, the woman's apron, and is sent round to Tumut in a bag with some kangaroo teeth and red ochre. The bag is made of the skin of small wallaby called Kulbut.

The Wolgal Kuringal

The initiation ceremonies of the Wolgal were described to me by Yibai-malian and the old Wolgal singer, with diagrams drawn in the sand to explain matters. They said that the ceremony is also called Kuringal, and the boys who are made men at it are called by that name. There is the earthen mound with a path leading to a small enclosure at some distance. Huts are made at a little distance from the mound, in which the boys and their mothers sit. When the ceremonies commence, in the same manner as with the Coast Murring, the boys are placed on the mound before a great fire, and behind each boy stands his mother. All the other women are at the camp covered with boughs and skin rugs, or blankets, as the case may be. The principal medicine-man, or, in the instance which Yibai described to me, the two medicine-men, stood just inside the ring, a little way from the fire, but so as to be able to prevent the boys from shifting before the medicine-men think they have been sufficiently put to the test.

The dances described when speaking of the Kuringal of the Yuin were used here, and the novices were attended by their Jambis, who are in the same relation to the boys as the Kabos are in the Yuin.

The boys are covered with rugs in the same manner as at the Kuringal, and are led along the path to the small enclosure, where there are the same figures and emblems as described for the Bunan, and the saplings along the path are bent down to form arches, under which the boys have to stoop or even crawl, to make them obedient. The magic dances are those described, and in the small enclosure two holes are dug in which the novice stands when his tooth is knocked out by one of the medicine-men. During this operation the men sing in a loud voice to make the tooth come out easily. If the tooth holds fast, the old men say it is because the boys have had improper relations with the women.

The ceremonies last for three or four days, during which the songs and dances are the same as at the Kuringal. The novices are instructed by their Jambis, and admonished to obey the rules laid down for their conduct. They are also told about Tharamulun, and that he watches what men do.

The novices are forbidden to eat opossum, bandicoot, and, above all, emu eggs. They are told that if they eat forbidden food they will become ill by the magic of the creature eaten. But they are allowed to eat kangaroo, ring-tail opossum, fish, and other things.

The boys, having been properly instructed, are taken to where the women are, where a hut has been built, in which the boys' mothers are with a smoky fire in front. The boys, seeing their mothers in the smoke, run off into the bush with some of the men.

The bull-roarer is called Marangrang.

While the people are waiting for the arrival of the contingents there is singing and dancing each evening. The contingents when they arrive perform their songs and dances for the amusement of the others. New dances are brought by them and taught to the makers of the Kuringal. In these dances the novices take part with the men.

The teeth knocked out are put in a bag with kangaroo teeth and red ochre, and sent away by the medicine-man who extracted them round to the places from which the contingents came—for instance, as far off as Lambing Flat. With the teeth are sent a boomerang, a club (nulla-nulla), and a shield for club-fighting.

Before his tooth is out a boy is called Bruebul; afterwards he is Nurmung or Kuringun.

The Ya-itma-thang Ceremonies

The Ya-itma-thang tribe of the Omeo tableland attended the initiation ceremonies on the one side of the tribes on the Upper Ovens River, and those of the Wolgal and Ngarigo on the other. I was not able to learn anything at first-hand as to these ceremonies, excepting that Mallur came down from the sky to knock out the tooth of the boy when he was made a man. As this was the statement of an old woman who had survived all her tribes-people, it merely tells us what was told to the uninitiated by the medicine-men of that tribe. However, as the Theddora branch of the tribe went to the Kuringal of the Ngarigo, we may fairly infer what the ceremonies of the Theddora were.

The bull-roarer of this tribe was about four inches in length, and with notched edges, being fastened by a string to a short stick. Such a one was shown to one of my correspondents, secretly, by a Theddora medicine-man in the very early days before Gippsland was settled. He was told that the women and children might not see it.[28]

The best, indeed the only account which I have seen of this tribe is that of Mr. Richard Helms,[29] which I quote from to make my remarks more complete. He says as follows:—

"At about fourteen to sixteen years the young man was made Kurrong by knocking out one of his front teeth. This removed him from the care of his mother and the influence of the women, and, so to say, raised him from boyhood to youth. At eighteen to twenty, when his beard had started to develop properly, he was made Wahu. All the hair of his head was singed off gradually, the women being excluded. When the hair was removed, the men ran up and waved green boughs over his head. After this the men would run some way, returning swinging the boughs, with a swishing sound, in a certain direction, mentioning at the same time the name of the district towards which they were pointing. This was repeated three times for each of the various directions they might point to. Each name mentioned was preceded by the emphasised exclamation of 'Wau! wau!'—for instance, 'Wau! wau! Tumut!' If the Wau was followed by an exclamation or malediction, it meant that the Wahu might go to the one as a friend; or that in the other direction lived tribes with whom he would have to carry on the hereditary feud. He was now considered to have been raised to the position of a warrior."

As soon as the initiation was completed the women were again admitted to the presence of the men, and dancing and corrobborees were held for the benefit of the visitors present on these occasions.

A newly-made Wahu might choose any woman of the tribe he liked, his blood relations excepted, for the night. But such a privilege was for the night only.

The Yoohlang Ceremonies of Port Jackson

According to the Yuin, the Kuringal extended up the coast northwards as far as the Hunter River, and therefore included the now extinct Port Jackson tribe. Collins, in his work, An Account of the English Colony of New South Wales,[30] gives particulars of the ceremony of initiation, which he saw, at least in great part, in the year 1796, and which was called, by the native tribes which inhabited Port Jackson, Yoolahng, from the cleared space in which the ceremonies were held. The people who assembled at the Yoolahng were apparently not only the Geawe-gal of the southern shores of Botany Bay, and the Cam-mer-ray-gal, who lived on the north shore of Port Jackson, but also "wood-natives and many strangers." The place selected for the Yoolahng was Farm Cove, where the ceremonial ground had been prepared. It was of an oval figure, twenty-seven feet by eighteen.

The Cam-mer-ray-gal stood at one end; the boys to be initiated, with their friends, at the other. The Cam-mer-ray-gal advanced from their end of the Yoolahng with a shout peculiar to the occasion, and the clattering of shields and spears, and raised a dust with their feet that nearly obscured the objects around them. One of them stepped forward, and, seizing one of the boys, placed him in the middle of his party. Fifteen boys were thus taken and placed at the upper end of the Yoolahng, where they sat, each holding down his head, his hands clasped and his legs crossed under him. In this manner they were to remain all night, and until the ceremonies were ended they were not to look up or take any refreshment whatever.

One of the Carrahdis then suddenly fell on the ground, a crowd of natives dancing round him and singing vociferously, until he produced a bone which was to be used in the ensuing ceremony. Another then went through the same ceremony, producing another bone, the boys being assured that the ensuing operation would be attended with little pain, and that the more the Carrahdis suffered, the less would be felt by them.

It being now perfectly dark. Colonel Collins left, with an invitation to return early in the morning.

On the next morning he found the Cam-mer-ray-gal camped by themselves, and the boys lying also by selves. Soon after sunrise the Carrahdis and their party advanced in quick movements towards the Yoolahng, one after the other, shouting as they entered it and running twice or thrice round it.

The boys were then brought to the Yoolahng, hanging their heads and clasping their hands. On being seated in this manner the ceremonies began, the principal performers being about twenty in number, and all of the Cam-mer-ray tribe.

The exhibitions were numerous and various, and all in their tendency pointed towards the boys and had some allusions to the principal act of the day which was to be the concluding scene of it.

Shortly, the different parts of the ceremony are as follows. There was a dance in which the performers represented dingoes, and during it the boys continued perfectly still and quiet, never moving from the position in which they were placed, nor seeming in the least to notice the ridiculous appearance of the Carrahdis and their associates.

The next was the carrying by two men of a kangaroo made of grass, and also of a load of brushwood, which were laid respectively at the feet of the boys, other men singing and beating time to which the two men walked. In the third some men dressed to represent a flock of kangaroos, other men pretending to steal on them and spear them.

The next appeared to be a pendant to the preceding one. The men disguised as kangaroos, divesting themselves of the disguises, each caught up a boy and placing him on his shoulders carried him to the last scene of the ceremony. The account is here imperfect, Collins not having been, as it seems to me, permitted to see all. From the description of what he saw, it may be conjectured that it was one of those representations which at the Kuringal are intended to impart qualities to the boy such as will make him a more worthy member of the community to which he is to be admitted. The men who lifted the boys on their shoulders were most likely the analogues of the Kabos. The ceremony of knocking out the tooth is fully described. The gums were lanced with the bone which the night before had been apparently produced from his inward parts by the Carrahdis. The tooth was extracted by means of a wooden chisel made from a piece of a spear-thrower, a large stone being used to strike with. The gum was closed by the boy's friends, who equipped him in the style in which he was to appear for some days. A girdle was tied round his waist, in which was stuck a boomerang. A head-band was tied on, in which were stuck slips of the grass-tree. The mouth was to be kept shut and the left hand was placed over it, and for that day he was not to eat.

During the whole operation the assistants made the most hideous noise in the ears of the patients, who made it a point of honour to bear the pain without a murmur. The blood that issued from the lacerated gum was not wiped away, but suffered to run down the breast, and fall upon the head of the man on whose shoulders the patient sat, and whose name was added to his.

Collins says that the boys were also called Ke-ba-ra, which has reference in the construction of the "singular instrument" used on this occasion, Kebar signifying a rock or stone. He does not explain what the singular instrument was, but I assume it was the stone used for striking the chisel.

The extracted tooth would be, it may be inferred from the context, sent to the Cam-mer-ray tribe, who it is said in one place had the privilege of calling the people together for these ceremonies, and also "to extract a tooth from the natives of the other tribes inhabiting the sea-coast."

The Ceremonies of the Geawe-gal Tribe

In connection with the ceremonies of the Geawe-gal tribe of the Hunter River, a wooden booming instrument was whirled round at the end of a cord. It was used then, and then only. A particular coo-ee and a particular reply to it, were made known to the young men when they were initiated. Among the symbols used were the form of the cross moulded on the earth, also a circle similarly formed, and sinuous parallel lines with other marks on the trees surrounding the site of the ceremony; which sites the women and children were never allowed to approach. The Murramai, or rock crystal, was first seen by the young men at their initiation. It was held in reverence. "Think of the defeat of tribal reverence which was brought about, when a white man put a station close to one of these secret places and it became a thoroughfare!"

A European who had gained the confidence of the tribe might be permitted to be present at the ceremonies of initiation; and a knowledge of them might be a safe passport for a traveller in a strange tribe, if by any means he could communicate the fact of this initiation. The wonder and the readiness to fraternise shown by strange blacks to an initiated white man seen for the first time by them are very great, accompanied by the earnest entreaties not to reveal anything unlawful."[31]

The Ceremonies of the Gringai Tribe

The following particulars relate to the Gringai tribe, which also inhabited country on the Hunter River. A large assembly is called together to celebrate the ceremonies of initiation. The boy to be made a man is painted red all over, and is then taken to the centre of an earthen ring, where he sits facing the track which leads to another ring about a quarter of a mile distant. The women with their faces covered lie round the large ring. An old man steps up to where the boy is sitting, and blowing in his face bends his head down. Two other old men then take him by the arm and lead him to the other ring, where he sits down, all the time keeping his head bent and looking on the ground. The women now rise up, and having sung and danced, go away to another camp and take no part in the ceremonies till their termination.

Trees which grow near to both of the circles have been carved, and the boy is taken to each of them. He looks at them for a moment, when the old men give a great shout. He is then taken away to a place some miles distant, still keeping his face to the ground, even when he is eating. Here a large camp is made, and the boy learns dances and songs, and is for the first time allowed to look up and see what is going on. He is kept here in this manner for about ten days, being placed by himself in lonely and secluded places, while at night the men make hideous noises at which he must not show the least sign of fear, on pain of death. After this time they take the boy to a large water-hole, where they all wash off the red paint, and on coming out are painted white.

When the men return to the new camp, the women are lying down by a large fire with their faces covered. The old men who took the boy away bring him back at a run towards the fire, the other men following clattering their boomerangs, but not speaking or shouting. The men form a ring round the fire, and one old man runs round inside the ring beating a shield (hiela-man). At this signal the boy's mother, or failing her, some other woman, comes out of the company of women, and taking the boy under the arm lifts him up, rubs her hands over him, and then goes away.

The fire has by this time burned down to red coals, and the men, including the novice, extinguish them by jumping on them with their feet. The boy now camps in sight of where the women are and is allowed to eat food which was before forbidden to him, such as kangaroo, snake, etc.

The bull-roarer is called by the Gringai Torikotti, and is used in these ceremonies.

The young man is not allowed to marry till three years after the ceremony.[32]

Another statement has been made to me which has a bearing on this ceremony, and may be added to it. At Port Stephens the blacks when making a Bumbat, that is, when initiating a boy, remove a tooth, by one of the old men placing his bottom tooth against the Bumbat's upper tooth, and by giving a sudden jerk snaps the boy's tooth off.[33]

An extraordinary mystery attaches to the large quartz crystal in these tribes. They are possessed by the Koradjis or medicine-men. The Bumbat is presented on his initiation with one, which is wrapped up with the greatest solemnity, caution, and secrecy, and concealed in his belt. If a woman by chance saw one of these, her brains were knocked out, and women were therefore in great dread of seeing one of them by any chance.[34]

The Ceremonies at Port Stephens

A description of what was certainly part of the initiation ceremonies at Port Stephens has been given me by an eye-witness, who accidentally came across it and was permitted to see the final part.[35] I quote his own words:—

"A number of blacks were camped at the foot of a hill, the camp being in the form of a half-circle, round an oval cleared space, about thirty or forty feet in area. The edges of the space were raised about nine inches. This cleared space was connected with the top of the hill, and another cleared space by a narrow path. The women were not allowed to go up this path or to approach the top of the hill at all. When going to the creek for water they were careful to look another way. On more than one occasion when riding past the camp I heard most extraordinary noises proceeding from the top of the hill, a kind of bellowing or booming sound, continuing for a long time, then sinking away at times, and then swelling out as loud as ever. The blacks would not tell me what it meant, so I determined to see for myself. I therefore rode carefully round the hill, and up the other side from the camp. I found that a conical fire was burning in the centre of a cleared space, similar to the one at the foot of the hill. Round this fire, radiating from it like the spokes of a wheel, and painted like skeletons, were a number of naked blacks on their faces. Within the cleared space, and on one side of it, was a rough figure painted red, made of wood, formed by a stake driven in the ground with a cross piece for arms and the top dressed up with grass and bark, in the style used by the blacks when prepared for hunting. The blacks were so absorbed in what they were doing that I sat some time unobserved. When they did see me, they seemed much annoyed. One of our own blacks came to me and said that he did not mind, because I was 'Gimbail,'[36] but the up-country blacks would not go on with the ceremony while I remained. I then rode away, but in a few days after he told me that
FIG. 34.—ROUGH FIGURE USED AT THE PORT STEPHENS CEREMONIES.
I could see the great finishing ceremony. I rode to the camp at the foot of the hill and saw a large fire burning in the centre of the large cleared space. The booming noise from the top of the hill was also going on, and grew louder and louder, and at last was succeeded by great shouts and yells. Then about two hundred painted blackfellows appeared over the brow of the hill. They were all armed with boomerangs, shields, and spears, which they clashed together in time as they ran. They were in two divisions, and kept crossing and recrossing the path, interlacing as they met at a run, while descending the hill, and yelling at the top of their voices. The effect was very startling, especially to my horse, who took fright. Arriving at the foot of the hill, they threw their weapons on the ground, and springing on to the clear space, danced on the fire with their bare feet till it was extinguished, all the time bearing up amongst them the youths who were being made Bumbat. "This part of the ceremony being over, the Port Stephens blacks, accompanied by the Bumbats, ran up the trees like monkeys, and breaking off small branches, threw them down on the ground, where they were eagerly scrambled for by the women, who put them in their nets. The up-country blacks took no part in the branch-breaking, and one of them told me that they never did that sort of thing in his part of the country. This concluded the first part of the ceremony, and the women were not allowed to see the next part. They were made to lie down and were covered with blankets and bark, and a blackfellow was placed over them as a guard, waddy in hand. At this stage of the proceedings some of the up-country blacks objected to my being present with a gun, for I had a small one with me. One of our blacks asked me to give it up, and it would be all right, but I did not do so and went away."

The Ceremonies in the Dungog District

The following account relates to the ceremonies of the tribe which occupied the country about Dungog, and which appears to be part of the great group to which the Gringai belong. I follow my informant's words in describing what he saw, and also ascertained, about the ceremonies.[37] The juvenile males of this tribe were, from the age of about twelve to eighteen, allowed to accompany their parents and friends in hunting excursions, and assisted in the incidental fagging necessary about the camps, and then in the course of time were thoroughly disciplined and properly trained. When they are considered ready to be made full members of the tribe, the elders hold a convention, and decide on a Bumbat being held, generally when there are three or four youths to be initiated.

Messengers are despatched to summon the tribes far and near; and on their return, full preparations are made for the celebration, a place being selected and a day appointed. As part of the ceremonies, the aspirants undergo the ordeal of having an upper front tooth either bitten or knocked out with a stick prepared for the occasion. It is said that the youth's mother is the custodian of the tooth, and takes much care of it. As everything relating to these ceremonies is kept very secret, this is only hearsay. White men are not allowed to be present at this great ceremony, but by bribing one of the leading men my correspondent was permitted to be present at part of the performance, on the condition that he did not come so near to the ceremony as to annoy the assembled tribes. On the eventful morning (about the year 1844) he went to the place indicated, where he found about two hundred of the tribesmen differently but tastefully painted in red, white, and yellow, and armed to the teeth. They were in groups here and there in a little valley. On riding about he noticed a large gum-tree deeply carved with hieroglyphics, which he was informed was a record to future generations that a Bumbat had been celebrated in that locality. A circle of eighty to ninety feet in diameter was dug, or scratched, on a level piece of ground, leaving a space of four or five feet undisturbed to enter the circle by. In the centre of this circle there was a fire of moderate dimensions, and attended to by one of the men. Shortly there was a stir when a detachment entered the circle, and with dancing, yelling, and gesticulations, and brandishing of arms at intervals, all made a rush to the fire, yelling and jumping on it, until it was quite extinguished, when they retired. The spot where the fire had been being now cool, the embers and ashes were levelled, and boughs were brought and disposed of in the middle of the circle. Then two men proceeded to the camp of the females, two or three hundred yards' distant, and marched them and the children with their heads prone to the circle, where they were made to lie down and be covered up with boughs, rugs, bark, and whatever was at hand. This being done, the whole force of the assembled tribes came up, running, shouting, and striking their shields with their clubs, and using a roarer which produced the most fearful and unnatural sounds. A sort of warlike pantomime was then enacted, and the women and children, closely covered up, were frightened out of their wits, and cried out lustily. Suddenly the fearful noises ceased, and all the men rushed out of the ring and seemed to be engaged in a fearful fight, spears and boomerangs flying about in hundreds. This, he was told, was the end, but to me it seems clear that was but the beginning of the ceremonies, being the time when the contingents have arrived, and before the final part when the boys who are to be initiated are taken from their mothers.

The Kabbarah Ceremonies

I have met with a notice of these ceremonies in Breton's work,[38] dating back to 1830, and I extract it to make more complete the fragmentary account which I have been able to piece together of the ceremonies of initiation of the tribes of the Hunter River country, which include the blacks of Port Stephens; and to the same great group those of Port Macquarie may be added.

Breton says: "There is a remarkable ceremony performed at Port Macquarie. It is called Kabbarah. The summit of a low hill is chosen for the scene of this singular rite. The surface is carefully cleaned from grass, and the bark of any trees that may be near is carved into rude representations of different animals. After this, a fire is lighted in the centre, and the youth who is to be initiated is held by the heels, while the natives dance round him uttering loud shouts. A man called the Cradji, or 'doctor,' then bites out the upper front tooth on the left side; or, if he fails, it is knocked out. After the extraction of the tooth the youth is supposed to have arrived at the age of manhood, and is then at liberty to steal a woman from another tribe. No female is permitted to be present at the celebration of the rites, nor may she approach within several hundred yards of the spot, and any attempt on the part of a woman to witness the ceremony would be punished by instant death. The Kabbarah always includes several tribes, some of whom come from a distance of some hundreds of miles, and probably much farther. As a preliminary to the meeting, two messengers are despatched from each tribe intending to be present; and these men, together with the leading men of the Port Macquarie natives, form a council by whose authority wars are proclaimed, boundaries are settled, and the tribes prevented from interfering with or encroaching on each other."

The author says that Corborn Comleroi are present at the meeting. This means that the Port Macquarie tribe and the Kamilaroi intermarried, and that therefore they met at the initiation ceremonies, just as the tribes enumerated by me met at the Kuringal. He further says that while the meeting lasted the tribes attending it were on the most friendly terms.

I have unfortunately no information farther north than Port Stephens. But that which I have been able to record of the tribal ceremonies so far north of the Yuin country confirms the statements of the old men of that tribe, that the Kuringal ceremonies extend "at least as far as Newcastle," that is, as far as the Hunter River, and the tribes of which the Geawe-gal is one. The evidence of Mr. W. Scott as to the tribe at Port Stephens makes it clear, to my mind, that what he saw was part of the initiation ceremonies exactly of the Bunan type. The figure described by Mr. Scott is the analogue of Daramulun; the division of the men present shows the two moieties of the intermarrying community, whether of the social or the local organisation I have no means of knowing. But since the Kamilaroi attended the Kabbarah at Port Macquarie, it may be that the "up-country blacks" mentioned by Mr. Scott were of that nation. If so, there must have been some common organisation which admitted of intermarriage.

The account which I have quoted from Lieutenant Breton is valuable, because it was written when the olden-time customs were still in full strength.

The statements as to the Gringai and other tribes of the Hunter River are evidently from native informants, who told all that it was lawful to tell to an uninitiated person. What Mr. Scott says is from observation of occurrences, parts of ceremonies which were of such a character that a blackfellow would not reveal them to an outsider. It is perhaps hardly necessary to say that the roaring and booming noise which Mr. Scott heard was the sound of the bull-roarers at the lesser enclosure, which is the equivalent of the lesser Bunan of the Kuringal. No better description could be given of the uproar made by near a score of bull-roarers, as I heard it at the Kurnai Jeraeil.

I feel no doubt that the equivalent of the Yuin Kuringal extends up the coast, northwards, as far as Port Macquarie.

Before proceeding to describe the Burbung of the Wiradjuri, which is the analogue of the Kuringal, I shall complete what I have to record as to the ceremonies of tribes on the east coast, leaving to a later part an account of those of the tribes on the coast of southern Queensland.

I have not been able to obtain any information as to the initiation ceremonies of the tribes along the great extent of coast from Port Macquarie to the boundary of Queensland, where we find the Chepara tribe.

Ceremonies of the Chepara Tribe

Its initiation ceremonies were held when the principal Headman, after consultation with the other men of importance, sent his messenger (Buira) (usually his Kanil, that is, sister's son), who carried with him two objects which certified his message. One was the message-stick called Kabugabul-bajeru, the markings on which are always the same, and are well known to the Headmen as calling the people together. The other is the Bribbun, or bull-roarer. This latter is kept very secret and hidden by the Headman until wanted for the ceremonies. It is held to possess a mysterious and secret power. Women and children are not permitted to see it, and if seen by a woman, or if shown to one by a man, the penalty is death, in the latter case to both.

The messenger goes the whole round of the tribe, carrying with him not only the message-stick and bull-roarer, but also a spear, to the point of which is attached a bag containing small quartz crystals. These emblems he shows to the Headmen of the several clans, who in due course bring their people to the ceremonies.


FIG 35.—BRIBBUN OF THE CHEPARA TRIBE. (2) WABULKAN OF THE CHEPARA TRIBE. ×½.
These ceremonies are the occasion of a gathering, not only of the Chepara clans, but of outlying tribes, as, for instance, those of the Richmond River, across the border of New South Wales.

As the messenger has to go the round of all the Chepara clans, it takes a long time before the whole of the community is gathered together. On arriving at a camp he approaches it at sundown, and concealing himself at a little distance, he sounds the bull-roarer. The men hearing this, jump up, holding their spears and shields aloft, and raise a great shout. The women gather in a circle and sing a song which is always used at this time, drumming on their rolled-up skin rugs held between their thighs.

The men go out, in reply to the Bribbun, to where the messenger is concealed, simulating sleep or a sort of trance. The bull-roarer is exhibited by him to the Headman, and they return to the camp, taking the messenger with them.

The following morning the men being painted and decorated with feathers and dingo tails, the women being also painted, start with the messenger for the trysting-place.

While the contingents are being collected, those who are calling them to the Bora prepare the ground. A space of ground of nearly a mile in circumference is prepared by stripping the bark from the trees, and marking them, as well as clearing away the bushes. Within this the women and children are not permitted to enter, and therefore the camps are situated at a distance from it. When a contingent arrives near the Bora ground, it being arranged that it shall be about sundown, the messenger goes on ahead, so as to arrive about half-an-hour before the party. He sounds the bull-roarer, on hearing which the men at the Bora camp raise a great shout, and the women drum on the skin rugs and sing. Here again the messenger sits down as if in a trance, while the arriving party is received by the men who have gone out from their camp, and kneel in a row at one side of the Bora ground. The new arrivals approach in a crouching attitude, their women making as much smoke as possible with fire-sticks. On reaching the outside of the Bora circle, they are received with a great shout, and a ceremonial dance performed by those who have arranged the ground.

The initiation ceremonies take place in the cleared ground, and extend over many days, during which pantomimic performances take place. The first commencement of the Bora itself is marked by the boys to be initiated being taken from the women and painted red in a line straight down the back, front, and sides. Each one sits down with his head covered with his rug, and he is told that he must look down on the ground. During this time the women and children silently leave the camp, and the boys then being told to look round are surprised to find them gone.

The boys are now called Kippers, and are under the control of certain men, who see that they keep their heads covered and obey orders. They are only permitted to speak to these men when they require something, and then only in a subdued voice. All the time during the ceremonies, they are kept in a crouching position, and with their heads covered and their eyes cast down.

The various ceremonial performances, which are held both in the daytime and at night, are arranged while the Kippers have their heads covered; and when told to look round they are expected to show surprise, which no doubt they feel.

In the middle of the clear space in which the ceremonies take place, a small tree is taken up and placed with its roots in the air, and around it saplings, peeled of their bark, are placed, the whole being tied together with strips of bark, thus making a sort of small enclosure. The saplings are painted with ochre. On this structure one of the medicine-men stands with a cord hanging out of his mouth. He is said to represent a supernatural being called Maamba. The medicine-men are called Bujerum, and the one just spoken of is the principal one of the tribe, and is believed to ascend at night to the sky to see Maamba about the welfare of the tribes-people. During this part of the ceremonies the initiated men sit round the upturned tree and chant a song in low tones, which is only used at this time, and which it is forbidden for the women to hear. A woman who was found to have listened to this song would be killed.[39]

My valued correspondent, Mr. Tom Petrie, tells me that he knows of this ceremony as being used by tribes beyond the Turrbal, and he confirms the statement that women who heard this low chant were killed.

At one part of the ceremonies the men, while the Kippers are lying down, make a long and narrow fire, on one side of which they sit, while the boys, who have been roused up, sit on the other in a sleepy state. The men pretend that it is stormy, and that it rains, making noises to represent the wind. Then a number of the men hop about and croak like frogs. Finally the men all dance and then extinguish the fire by jumping on it with their feet. In the darkness the Kippers are led back to their camp.

Among the pantomimic representations by the men are those of flying-foxes on the branches of the trees, of bees flying about, of curlews, and of many other creatures. It seems to me that in these we may see the survivals of the totems which have otherwise disappeared in this tribe; and this doubtless represents a still more advanced stage towards the obliteration of the social organisation than is shown by the totems of the Kurnai and Yuin.

Besides these representations of animated creatures there are others. For instance, the men twist ropes of grass and make disguises of them. Mounds of grass are also built up in the centre of the cleared space, round which the men dance. Another is that the men stand in a row with fire-sticks in their hands, and wave them about. The Kippers are told that the whole country is on fire.

At the later part of the ceremonies, the Kippers are no longer covered up but walk about, being now initiated, and accompany the men to the new camp where the women and children are, and which has been made at some place fixed upon beforehand. Here there is a ceremonial fight between the several clans of the tribe, which the Kippers see, but do not take a part in.

The last ceremony of all is that a large circle is made on the fighting ground, with a fire in the middle of it, to which the Kippers are brought. There they find all their mothers (own and tribal), each with a branch in her hand, dancing together. On seeing them, the women throw the branches down, and each rubs down the back of her son with a bunch of grass, and goes away. The man who, as the Bujerum, has charge of the Bribbun, comes and shows it to the boys for the first time, also giving to each one a small one called Wabulkan, which is a sort of warrant to them and others that they have been initiated. It is supposed to possess, but in a smaller degree, the magical power and virtue of the larger one, the Bribbun, and is carefully concealed by the owner.

At one part of the ceremonies the Bujerum holds up a large quartz crystal and makes it flash in the sunlight. The Kippers are told that it came from Maamba, and that those who swallow a piece of it will be able to fly a long way out of sight, that is, to become medicine-men, and go up to the sky like the Bujerum.

This it seems was the only part of the ceremonies which approached to the magical practices of the more southern tribes, nor was there a tooth knocked out by the Chepara. The Kipper, after the ceremonies, was prohibited from eating female opossums, and indeed the only food that he might eat during the period of his probation was kangaroo, male opossum, native bear, and honey. If he disregards any of these restrictions, and is found to have eaten forbidden food, he is first warned by his kindred, and if he still continues to do it, is killed by others not related to him.

After a young man has been to three of these ceremonies, he may eat of the forbidden food, and then takes part in the tribal combats which follow the ceremonies; is in fact a full man and may take his promised wife.

The Wiradjuri Burbung

Before speaking of some other Queensland tribes, which have four sub-classes and descent in the male line, it will be convenient to consider the Burbung of the Wiradjuri and others, who have ceremonies which are intimately related to the Kuringal.

My account of the Wiradjuri ceremonies is derived mainly from the statements of the man Murri-kangaroo before mentioned.

When a Headman of one of the great local divisions of the tribe finds that there are a number of boys ready for the Burbung, he consults with the other old men, and if they are all agreed, he sends out a messenger (Duran-duran) to gather the people together. The messenger is of the same sub-class and totem as the sender, as must be also the person to whom he is sent. Thus, supposing that the Headman were a Kubbi-butharung (flying-squirrel), the messenger and the old man to whom he was sent would both be the same. The messenger carries a bull-roarer (Mudjigang or Bobu), a man's belt (Gulir), a kilt (Buran or Tala-bulg) made of kangaroo-rat skin, a head string (Ulungau-ir), and a white head-band (Kambrun).

On arriving at the place he is sent to, he gives the message to the Headman, who then assembles the initiated men at the council-place (Ngulubul). The messenger shows the bull-roarer to the old men, and delivers his message, which is impressed on his memory by markings cut on a message-stick given him by his sender, or by the strands of the man's kilt, which are used for the same purpose.

The recipient of the message then sends the message on by a Duran-duran of his own, to the Headman of the next great local group, together with the articles above enumerated. So the message travels through the whole tribe, and also the adjoining tribes, who attend the Burbung. In the instance given, it would pass through the whole community by means of the Kubbi sub-class and the Butharung totem; and its members make it known to their fellow-tribesmen. It must be remembered that a class, or sub-class, or a totem, cannot initiate its own boys, but calls in those of the intermarrying class, sub-class, and totem to assist in doing it. Having reached the further limit, the messenger returns, bringing with him the emblematic articles, and accompanied by the tribes-people, who join the party on its way back to the chosen Burbung ground, where each contingent camps on the side nearest to its own country.

Meanwhile the originators of the Burbung have prepared the ground, the circular mound, and the path to the Gumbu, which is the same as the lesser Bunan of the Yuin. It is also called by the Wiradjuri, Pataguna, and it is lawful to speak of it at the Burbung, also of the Tarumbul, or track, which leads from the Burbung to the Pataguna, by those names. But it is not lawful to speak of the latter place by its secret name Gumbu, in the public camp or near women and the uninitiated. The ceremonies, as a whole, are spoken of as the Guringal, that is "belonging to the bush," or, in other words, the forest, or open country.

When the whole community has arrived at the Burbung ground, the ceremonies are commenced by the men carrying boughs, headed by their principal man, running from the council-place to each of the separate camps and gathering the women and children together. The men then shout out the name of each place from which a contingent has come, and the women, as they are collected, sing one of the songs belonging to the Burbung. At the main ceremonies the boys are seated on the mound, each with his guardians (Muriwung) behind him. They are in front of a structure made of green boughs, and behind this the women crouch together, closely covered with boughs and blankets.

Meanwhile the younger initiated men who have been hidden in the scrub about a quarter of a mile off run up shouting, headed by the medicine-man (Ngoura-turai or Wulla-mulla), who sounds the bull-roarer, to which he is believed to have imparted great power by means of magical quartz crystals (Ngalun) brought up from his inside. In order to increase the din, and thus to frighten the women the more, each man carries a long strip of bark in his hand, with which he strikes resounding blows on the ground as he runs.

The boys are now seized by their guardians and hurried off to the forest, followed by the men, one man remaining to see that the women do not look after, or follow them. Each boy is now rubbed over with red ochre, and clothed with a rug or blanket, which conceals the whole of him except his face, over which the upper part hangs like a hood.

The ceremonies are marked off into various stages by particular representations. For instance, the men strip off from a tree near the Gumbu a spiral piece of bark round the bole, from the limbs to the ground, which represents the path from the sky to the earth, and they cut on the ground the figure of Daramulun, who is not the Supernatural Being of the Yuin beliefs, but the "boy," or son, of Baiame. He is always represented as having only one leg, the other terminating in a sharp point of bone. There is also figured on the ground the tomahawk which Daramulun let fall as he slipped down from the tree before mentioned to the ground; then two footprints of an emu a little distance from each other, made when trying to escape from Daramulun. Finally there is the figure of the emu where it fell when he killed it.

At each of these stages there is a magic dance in which the medicine-men, who are rubbed over with powdered charcoal, exhibit their powers and show things which they appear to bring up from their insides. At the figure of Daramulun a special song is called Wondung.

At the most sacred of all these places, namely the Gumbu, there is the magic fire called Gudji-wirri, which is one of the words which it is not lawful to speak out of the Burbung ground, the common term for fire being we. The medicine-men and the other men dance at the Gudji-wirri, and these dances are also called Wondung.

During this time the two guardians have been instructing the boy in his duties: not to take notice of anything that is done to him or to show surprise or fear at anything, not to tell lies or to play with children, but to behave himself as becomes a man. Above all, not to go near women, and especially not to reveal anything that he has seen or heard at the Burbung, under pain of being killed.

At the place where the tooth is knocked out the boy is placed with his feet in two holes. One of his guardians stands behind him and holds him fast by the arms, which are placed down his sides, while the other stands at his right side and holds his head back, so that his eyes look upwards and he cannot see what goes on. In front and all round are the medicine-men dancing quite naked. Some old medicine-man pushes the gums back from the upper incisor of the central pair, and placing his lower incisors against it, he jerks it violently upwards. If it will not come out without being punched out, it is said that the boy has been too much with the women and played too much with the little girls.

Murri-kangaroo said that his tooth came out at the first jerk, but that of the boy next to him had to be knocked out by the medicine-man, who some time before at the camp had looked earnestly at him and said, "You have been too much with the women, and some of their Gumilga (waist fringe) has got into you." He then rubbed the boy's legs and produced some pieces of a woman's skirt from them. When he found at the Gumbu that the tooth would not come out by jerking it with his own, he proceeded to rub the boy's neck, and again produced a lot of Gumilga, which he said "held the tooth fast." The tooth, when knocked out, was taken care of by one of the medicine-men.

Among the spectacular representations at the Burbung there is one in which the head medicine-man goes away for a time, and then returns dressed up in bunches and tufts of grass, saying that he had been for them to Baiame's camp.

After a great number of pantomimic representations, the secret ceremonies being then completed, the men return to the main camp with the boys. On the way back the latter are severely cautioned against telling anything about the ceremonies to women or persons not initiated, and to enforce this the medicine-men strike the ground with pieces of bark to imitate the bursting of stones heated in the fire, with which the boys are told Daramulun will injure or kill them if they tell any of the secrets.

The two last stations on the way back to the camp are, first, a halt to paint and dress the boys as men; and second, for the men to wash off all the charcoal powder used in the ceremonies.

When they are nearing the camp their approach is heralded by shouts of "Yau!"

Meanwhile the women have formed a new camp at a place fixed on before the ceremonies, and at several miles' distance from the former camp. They prepare there a place called gud'l, that is, a camp or hut of boughs with a fire in front of it. In it the boy's mother and sisters stand, and when his guardians take the novice into this place, these women look at him as if looking at a stranger; then they strike him with boughs, and on this he runs off into the bush, accompanied by his guardians.

After three or four days, these guardians return, bringing the novices with them, who are placed on a long embankment, called Mim-bam-mumbia, made of logs and bark, beyond which are all the women watching them. After sitting on the embankment for about five minutes, the novices are surrounded by the men shouting "prr! wau!" and are taken away again, having been finally shown to their mothers.

They remain away in the bush for as long as twelve months, not being allowed to approach the camp or to come near a woman. They are forbidden during their probation, indeed even after it, until permitted by the old men, to eat, among other things, the emu, spiny ant-eater, female opossum, kangaroo-rat, bandicoot, etc. The emu is Baiame's food. Among many restrictive observances, they are not permitted to go to sleep at night until the Milky Way is straight across the sky.

When the old men are satisfied that the probation has been sufficient, and that the boys have duly observed the restrictions, one of them goes out and tells them that if they act properly and do not speak to women for a little longer, they will be permitted to come to the camp. It is at such visits that the old men gradually relax the food rules, for instance by rubbing the boy with the fat of the female opossum, which makes him able to eat that animal.

The Burbung of the Wonghibon

To the north of the Riverina branch of the Wiradjuri, whose ceremonies I have now briefly described, there is the Wonghi or Wonghibon tribe, described to me long ago by Mr. A. L. P. Cameron, and since reported on in his valuable paper "On Some Tribes of New South Wales."[40] I now quote his more complete description of the Burbung of that tribe.

The ceremonies of initiation are secret, and at them none but the men of the tribe who have been initiated attend with the novices. At the spot where the ceremonies are to be performed a large oval space is cleared. The old men of the tribe conduct the ceremonies, and the medicine-man of the tribe is the master of them. Part of the proceedings consist in the knocking out of a tooth, and giving a new designation to the novice, indicating the change from youth to manhood. When the tooth is knocked out, a loud humming noise is heard, which is made by a bull-roarer. Women are forbidden to be present at these ceremonies, and should one by accident or otherwise witness them, the penalty is death. The penalty for revealing the secrets is probably the same.

When everything is prepared, the women and children are covered with boughs, and the men retire with the young fellows who are to be initiated to a little distance. It is said that the youths are sent away a short distance one by one, and that they are each met in turn by a being called Thurmulun, who takes the youth to a distance, kills him, and in some instances cuts him up, after which he restores him to life, and knocks out a tooth.

This account may be divided into two parts: the first, which contains matters which it is not unlawful for an initiated man to reveal to a stranger; the second, giving an account of matters the true nature of which it is unlawful to reveal to an uninitiated person. The account of Thurmulun and his dealings with the novice is just what is told to the women and the children.

It shows very well how impossible it is for an outsider to obtain full information as to these ceremonies. Mr. Cameron has been acquainted for many years with the Wonghibon tribe, and yet the men have carefully kept from him the real secrets of the Burbung.

I have spoken before of the sequence of the groups of tribes along the course of the Murray River from Wentworth upwards. I need not again enumerate them, but merely point out that the Ta-tathi are situated farthest down-stream, being on their western boundary in touch with the tribes of the River Darling, of which the Wiimbaio are my example. The Baraba-baraba are the farthest up-stream, with the Bureppa-bureppa akin to them, as speaking a dialect of the same language, on the Lower Loddon River in Victoria. On the Victorian side of the Murray the sequence of tribes, having the two-class system with the names Mukwara and Kilpara, commences with the Burra-burra about Reedy Lake, who adjoin the Bureppa-bureppa, whose class names are those of the Kulin tribes, namely Bunjil and Waang. The tribe lowest down-stream on the Victorian side is the Grangema, who adjoin the Wiimbaio.

Through all this great stretch of country the tribes with the class-names Mukwara and Kilpara have the same social organisation and ceremonies of the Burbung type.

The Ta-tathi Purbung

As an illustration of this statement I take the Ta-tathi, whose ceremonies were attended by some of the Wotjobaluk people on one side, and the Wathi-wathi tribe near Balranald on the other.

About 1870 the Ta-tathi sent a messenger to the Wotjobaluk to call some of them to attend their Purbung, near Euston. Among those of the Wotjobaluk who went were my informant and his brother, and the son of the latter, who was taken there by them to be initiated by the Ta-tathi. On reaching Euston under the guidance of the messenger, the old men of the Ta-tathi decided that the Purbung should be commenced the next day. Before daybreak the people were all ready, and there were present Ta-tathi, Wathi-wathi, Leitchi-leitchi people, with others, and they waited for the sun to rise. Three boys were to be initiated, each of whom sat in his camp with his mother and father. The old men and the other initiated men were at their "talking-place." When the sun rose they all ran to the camp shouting, and each boy was seized by his Ngierup,[41] who dragged him by the arm into the crowd of men. The boy's father remained in the camp,[42] where the mother was covered by a rug. The other women were collected together in one place.

The Wathi-wathi Burbung

I add to the account of the Ta-tathi Purbung a condensed description of the ceremonies of the Wathi-wathi as described by Mr. Cameron.[43] It will be remembered that my Wotjobaluk informant said that among those who were at the Ta-tathi Purbung were the Wathi-wathi.

When there is a sufficient number of youths old enough for initiation, the Headman sends messengers to the different sections of the tribe to inform them that a Burbung is to be held at a certain time and place. To each messenger there is given an instrument called Pupanderi, which is made of the fur of opossums twisted into yarn, plaited in a circular form and fixed on a piece of thin flat wood. When the messenger arrives, he shows the Pupanderi to the men, and announces his mission. But he is careful not to allow it to be seen by women and children or uninitiated youths. The following day they depart, and on arriving near the place of meeting, advance towards the camp in a sinuous manner, and with many pantomimic gestures. When the whole of the tribe is assembled at the Burbung ground each messenger produces his Pupanderi and places it in his forehead-band. On seeing this, many of the youths who know what it is the signal of, attempt to escape, but are immediately seized by their Waingapuis, that is to say, the men who have the charge of them during the initiation. Each youth is invested with a belt made from the twisted fur of the opossum, and a fringe made of strips of skin of the same animal is hung in front of it. After the adjustment of this belt no further attempt to escape is made.

On the day following, the women and children are made to lie down, and are covered with boughs, while at the same time each of the youths is seized by his Waingapui and hurried off to the scene of initiation, which is generally in a scrubby place two or three hundred yards from the camp. Here they are all laid on the ground in a row, covered with opossum skins, and left in that position for an hour or so, while the men discuss matters connected with the coming ordeal.

They are then raised up, but the rugs are kept over their heads, and they are kept for an hour or more in this position. Should a youth require anything, the Waingapui attends to his wants. Two holes are made, each about a foot or fifteen inches deep, and into these holes the feet of the youth are inserted and the holes filled up. This is done to keep him steady and prevent him struggling. The Waingapui stands behind the youth, and a man who is accustomed to the office advances with a mallet and a small wooden wedge, which is driven between the teeth for the purpose of loosening them. The tooth is then knocked out and kept by the Waingapui.

During this operation one of the tribe, who is concealed in the scrub at some distance, whirls the humming instrument round his head. This instrument is supposed to have a wonderful magic influence, and is called Kalar. After the Burbung it is usually given to some unmarried man, who either carries it about with him, or conceals it in some safe place.

After the knocking out of the tooth is complete, the boys are brought to the camp, and are shown to the women. They are then taken by the Waingapuis into the bush, where they remain secluded from women for two or three months. During this time the Waingapuis live with them; and their return to the camp is gradual. Thus the young men will return to the camp first at night, and each time of returning will prolong their stay. At the initiation the names by which they are known are changed.

Everything connected with the Burbung is considered as sacred, and there is no doubt that any woman found prying into its mysteries would be severely punished, probably killed. It is said that should a Waingapui ever touch a woman in any way while the Burbung is going on she would become seriously ill.

Initiation confers many privileges on the youths, for they are allowed in due course to eat articles of food which were previously forbidden to them. They also leave the camp of their parents, and join that of the young men, and after a time are permitted to take a wife.

I have now spoken of the tribes which have ceremonies either quite the same as those of the Yuin Kuringal, or in principle the same, extending over a large part of Southeast Australia. The Burbung extends from Wentworth eastward to the boundary of the Kamilaroi tribes, and from the southern boundaries of the Baraba-baraba tribe to the extreme waters of the Macquarie River. The Kuringal, which is practically the same as the Burbung, extends certainly, although under a different name, from Twofold Bay along the coast to Port Stephens. Thence it appears to range to the Hastings River, and the ceremonies of the Chepara tribe show some marked resemblances to it. These ceremonies extend inland to varying distances. Roughly speaking, it may be said that in the south they join the Burbung of the Wiradjuri, then farther northward the ceremonies of the Kamilaroi, which are known as the Bora. As, however, the Bora is based upon similar principles with the Burbung, in which Baiaime is the central figure of magical tradition and power, it will be found when the two types of ceremony, the Burbung and the Bora, are critically compared that they are substantially the same, differing merely in what I may perhaps be permitted to speak of as ritual.

One thing is quite clear to me, namely, that a man who has been initiated in the ceremonies either of the Kuringal, the Burbung, or the Bora, would be accepted as one of the initiated by any one of them if he could make himself known to the tribes-people in question. My own experience is in point. Thrice I have met blacks who were strangers to me, but who, after I had satisfied them that I was one of the initiated, have at once accepted me in that character as to their own ceremonies.

I have no personal knowledge of the Bora ceremonies of the Kamilaroi tribes, but from what I have learned they resemble those of the Wiradjuri.

The Bora Ceremonies

The following particulars relate to the Bora as it was about the year 1830. Any section of a tribe might hold a Bora. The fathers of families, say at Murrurundi, might tell their Headman that they had sons ready to be initiated, and he would order the Bora to be held. It took place at the time of full moon, and usually at the same spot, in the several districts, near water and, if possible, on level ground, for convenience in sitting or lying down. At these spots the trees were marked with curious devices right up to the limbs. These markings are traditional.

When the Headman had determined that the Bora should be held at some one of the usual places, notice was given to that effect some weeks before, so that all young men might be assembled.

The greatest Bora of all the Kamilaroi tribes was always held at Terryhaihai. All the Headmen were there, and the oldest was the principal, or president of them, and he could carry some decisions by his own voice.

At the time and place, only the Headmen come together; the youths to be initiated are brought to them later on. They are then instructed in the rules relating to food, the support of the aged and infirm, and their duties to those who have large families. Old and infirm people stand first for their share, then those who have large families.

Hitherto the youth has been Wonal, that is, only allowed to eat certain animals, and only the females of these; but he is now allowed to eat the males of some one animal, say opossum, but not the males of any other. The males of these others which he may find and kill he must bring home to the camp and lay at the huts of those who from sickness or infirmity cannot hunt, or who have large families. He is also told that he may eat the "sugar-bag," that is, the honey from one particular kind of tree.

The penalty for disregarding these food rules is death. At his first Bora he is shown the bull-roarer, and is cautioned on pain of death not to divulge this instrument to women or children. The Kamilaroi belt was worn after the last Bora.[44]

At the Boras following the first, the youth is advanced step by step until he can eat of all animals and all "sugar-bags"; and after his last Bora he can take a wife. All the lads go through the same grades and the same experience.

No woman or child is allowed to come near the Bora ground. No tooth was knocked out by the Northern Kamilaroi, but was by the blacks of Maitland and Newcastle.[45]

The Kamilaroi tribe at the Gwydir River used a bull-roarer made of Brigalow wood,[46] or the Brimble, and it is said to be about eight inches long by four wide. A sinew is tied to it, or sometimes put through a hole in the small end. The young of both sexes are forbidden to eat of the following foods: snakes, emu eggs, body of lace-lizard (they might eat the tail), honey from a gum-tree, and some other things.[47]

I am unable to say where it is that the ceremonies of the Bora type are replaced, by others, but it probably is where the Kamilaroi class system ends with the Bigambul, and is replaced by those of the Ungorri and Emon tribes. This is somewhere about the Condamine River.

The ceremonies of the tribes of Southern Queensland, which are held at the great tribal meetings, for instance at the triennial harvest of the fruit of the Bunya trees, may be illustrated by those of the Turrbal tribe, and of the tribes within a radius of fifty miles of Maryborough. I take the former in the first place.

The Kurbin-aii Ceremonies

The Turrbal represented a large group of allied tribes, and occupied country on the Brisbane River. It is now extinct; but in 1852 it numbered about four hundred men and women.

The initiation ceremonies are called Kurbin-aii, and the youths admitted thereby to the status of manhood are called Kippur. Several tribes assembled at these ceremonies. The old men fixed the time for holding them when there was plenty of food, as when the sea-mullet came in, or when the fruit of the Bunya-bunya was ripe. Messengers were sent to the various tribes which attended the Kurbin-aii; for instance, tribes came from Maryborough and from Ipswich, and brought with them new songs to teach to the others at the festivities attending the ceremonies.

Several tribes assembled at these ceremonies, and the men of one tribe initiated the boys of the other. They are ordered not to speak on pain of death, and in the old times this penalty was certainly inflicted. During the night the boys were made to lie down in a circle, surrounded by boughs, and each boy slept with his head on the hip of the next one. During the day they sat with opossum rugs over their heads. To ask for anything was strictly forbidden. If they desired to scratch themselves, they had to do it with a stick.

Armed sentries were placed over them prepared to spear any boy who might be tempted to look up or laugh. The old men tried the self-control of the boys by telling them that their mothers were calling them, or by working upon superstitious beliefs or fears.

The camp where the boys were kept by day was surrounded by a circle of boughs. At night they were taken to another camp about two hundred yards away. All the ceremonies were conducted during the night. Trees about the place had rude figures cut into the bark.

Two bull-roarers were used in the ceremonies; one, the larger of the two, was called Bugerum, the other was called Wobblekum, and was about four inches long by an inch wide, and perforated. The Bugerum made a louder and deeper-sounding roar.

The unearthly sounds made by the bull-roarers were believed by the women and children to be made by the medicine-men when swallowing the novices during the ceremonies, and a woman who attempted to spy out the ceremonies would have been certainly killed.

The boys were taught to respect the old men, and to obey all the teachings imparted to them at the ceremonies, and these were enforced by the magical arts which the medicine-men exhibited thereat. The Kurbin-aii lasted for a long time; never less than three weeks, and often much longer.

The boys after initiation were called Kippur, which has now passed among white people as a name for any young blackfellow.

The Kippurs were not allowed to eat the flesh of the female of any kind of animal nor the roes of fish, nor any kind of eggs. All the best of the food was prohibited to them, the old men receiving it and all the dainty pieces.

The ceremonies being concluded, the boys were taken into the bush about four or five hundred yards away by one of the men of the other tribe, and dressed in tribal fashion. Dogs' tails and snakes' skins were tied round the head; ropes of opossum fur crossed over the shoulders like a soldier's cross-belt; long tails of opossum fur hung down from the head to the waist; and strips of kangaroo skin round the arms completed, with a white fillet of braided bark and fibre round the head, the costume of a man. Faces and bodies were painted black, except the nose, which was coloured bright red with grease and ochre. The hair was well greased, and decked with bright parrot feathers.

Each Kippur was armed with two small spears, two boomerangs were stuck in his belt, and he held a small shield and a club called Tabri.

They were then arranged in a row, each with a fringe of green boughs round the waist. The women and girls waited their coming in some small open space near the camp. Stuck in the ground in front of each woman was a digging-stick (Kulgore), with a bunch of leaves tied on the end something like a broom.

When the Kippurs were painted, leaves were stuck under their belts, and they held boughs under their arms. All the people were painted according to the customs of their respective tribes. The Ipswich tribes painted white all down the one side, and red on the other; the coast tribe, black on one side and yellow on the other; the face was also painted yellow, with whiskers made of the feathers of the blue mountain parrot. Some of the men had feathers stuck on them down their sides. The medicine-men wore the yellow crests of the white cockatoo on the top of their heads, and were naked all but a fringe round their middles. Widows, and the women who had recently lost relatives, were painted red with white faces, being in full mourning. They held digging-sticks, with boughs tied to the end.

As the Kippurs came dancing round, each one took branches from his mother's stick, or from that of some female relative, and put them under his arms. After dancing three times round the women, they separated, each one going to his own tribe, who stood facing one of the others in lines about one hundred yards apart, armed with spears, clubs, and boomerangs. The old men retired a little back, and the men commenced to throw spears and boomerangs at each other, the old men and the women looking on. As soon as some one was speared, the blacks rushed towards each other and fought furiously, men with men, and women with women.

They then separated, and each party rested at the side nearest to its country, as in the following diagram:—

Directions.png

Each figure represents a company of blacks. Say that a man of No. 1 runs out and shakes a spear at the men of No. 4, then a man of No. 4 rushes out and shakes his spear at No. 1; then No. 2 does the same to No. 3, and No. 3 as to No. 2, and each one says something offensive to the company opposing his, on which some of each party throw spears at each other, and this melée lasts for some time. After a lull, a man comes out of one of the parties with spears, a club, and boomerangs, and is faced by one of the other party. The spears being stuck in the ground about forty yards apart, the clubs are thrown at each other, then the boomerangs, the women sheltering behind trees while these are thrown, the boomerangs not being of the returning kind. These ceremonial combats may last three or four days.

The Kippurs commenced the fight by attacking each other with spears and clubs, the older men looking on. This fight might last for two minutes, after which the serious business of the day began.

The Kippurs drew off, and the seasoned fighting-men commenced. The former had been fighting in solemn earnest, burning to distinguish themselves; but the older men too had many an ancient feud to satisfy, or they remembered many an ancient tale of murder, or abduction of women, to be revenged, and the fight was sure to be a severe one. Spears flew fast, and sounding blows fell on shields, or even on thick skulls, and the women, behind the fighting-men, hurled sticks and abuse at the opposite fighting-line.

Little harm was, however, done, although the fighting might last for some hours. In parts of the battle-field picked champions began the fray, and were followed by others from each side.

Due time was allowed for hunting, or for seeking other food, so that this fighting might last for perhaps a week.

Single combats also occurred on such occasions, when, if one gave the other several severe cuts, and thus became the victor, he had to allow the friends of the vanquished opponent to give him several cuts to equalise matters.

A man who was killed in this fighting was eaten, and such a catastrophe was the signal for the cessation of hostilities.

After the fighting was all over, the Kippurs were considered to be able to fight for their own hands.

But they were not allowed to go near the women for about three months, each night going into the bush to camp by themselves, and taking with them their respective Wobblekums, which they sounded, making with them sounds like the barking of dogs.

The Dora Ceremonies

The tribes within fifty miles of Maryborough attended the same ceremonies, which are called Dora. These would be decided on by some old man announcing that he had had a vision of the Murang, that is, the eagle-hawk, which is the fighting-bird, and therefore the Dora must be held. He proclaims things to the whole camp—men, women, and children. The vision seen gives him the position of the leader of the ceremonies, but the general conduct of the Dora is governed by the council of the old men. For instance, the old men, having heard the account of the vision, will send messengers to the neighbouring tribelets, telling them that they are going to start a Dora, and asking them to join with them, so that they may be strong enough to have a good fight with their enemies.

I may mention here that there are no ceremonies at night at the Dora, as at the Kuringal, Burbung, or Bora. The medicine-men do not take any special part in these ceremonies; but, being all old men, and especially because of their calling, their opinions carry weight. My informant spent several nights in the camp at the different Doras he attended.[48]

All the men set to work to make the Dora, which is a circle of logs and earth about four feet high and fifteen inches wide at the top. It may be six or seven, or up to twenty-five yards in diameter. It is made not far from some thick scrub. On the side which faces the scrub there is an opening, and a track is cleared from the enclosure to the scrub, which is not more than two or three hundred yards from it. A space is cleared in the scrub, the trees only being left, among which there is a platform made of tough vines and runners of scrub plants, strong enough to bear the weight of several men standing on it. The old man who had the vision is the leading spirit in the affair, or, for shortness, the Headman. He asks for volunteers to carry messages to the other branches of the tribe, and from six to ten are chosen from those who stand out as volunteers. They may be of any sub-class or totem. These form a party under the direction of one, or perhaps two, of the old men who know the country they have to go to. These messengers are called "speech-carriers" (Thungkwa-komwathi). They travel light, without rugs or blankets or fire-stick, only carrying tomahawk, spear, boomerang, and club. If a fire is wanted, one is made, but is carefully extinguished when done with, in order that no indication shall be given of their approach. When the camp of the people they are sent to is found, they sneak round near to it and paint themselves; then when night comes they approach within hearing of the camp, and one of them strikes two boomerangs together. The people in the camp know at once what it means, and answer the signal by a shout something like our Hurrah. The old men go out and make a fire at a convenient place, generally close to a scrub, for these blacks usually camp close to a scrub, if one is near.

The messengers, seeing this, come up to them and stand in a row in perfect silence before the old men, who are at the opposite side of the fire. After about a quarter of an hour one of the old men puts the established question, "You have brought the Murang?" The answer is "Yes"; then, "Who has seen it?" The principal messenger then gives the name of the man who has seen the vision, for instance "Bunda,"[49] also giving the name which he had received at the Dora. Then he is questioned as to where the Dora is to be held, who are coming to it, and so on. After this the conversation becomes easier and less ceremonious.

The messengers do not camp with the people to whom they are sent, but at some place near by, which has been pointed out to them, and always at that side of the encampment which is towards their own country.

Meanwhile other parties of messengers are carrying the Dora to the other divisions of the tribe, and when they have delivered their messages they return home. During this time the people at headquarters have been commencing the Dora by holding the preliminary ceremonies.

At daylight they are all roused up, and the men turn out duly painted and armed, grouping themselves at the entrance to the ring, which is from fifteen to twenty feet wide. They all stand there, facing towards the interior of the ring. One man then commences to run round it, and the others follow him, till they return to the part from which they started, where they now stand facing the path, in the attitude of attack, and three times shout a defiance.

Then another man runs into the ring and the performance is repeated, and this continues for about an hour, till the Headman says, "Enough." On this all the men rush into the ring and run round it, then through the entrance along the path to the clearing in the scrub, where they dance, one of them singing and the others joining in. The words are nonsensical; for instance, "I have seen a fish, a nice little fish." Then one of the men mounts the platform and says, "What was it like?" The singer gives some fantastic name, and they all shout. This goes on for half an hour, when the ceremony is ended for the time, and the men go out hunting. At sundown the ceremony is repeated, but it is not compulsory for all the men to be at it, as is the case in the morning. These ceremonies continue till all the outside portions of the tribe are collected at the Dora camp. Then, all the tribe being present, it is decided to conclude the preliminary ceremonies. It is at this time that messengers are sent off to tribes with which they are at feud outside the boundaries of this community, that is to say, beyond the limits of the Dora. By these messengers they are informed that a Dora is being held, and they are summoned to bring their young men down to fight. Such a tribe is one with which they do not marry except by capture.

The initiation ceremonies now described were the occasion of a gathering of distant tribes, among which were the Chepara before spoken of.

When all those who are to take part in the Dora have arrived, the camp is broken up on the day following. This is decided on at a general council, at which the Headman who saw the vision is the principal. The old men form the council, but the young men are present, listen to what is said, but do not speak. The women are also present. The boys who are to be initiated are gathered together, and they are discussed—who they are, where they come from, and so forth. Each boy has a Quonmie, or guardian, who is a relative or great friend of his. It does not matter of what sub-class the Quonmie is, and a boy may have several Quomnies, both male and female. The boys are now taken by the Quonmies to a place apart from the camp and receive a vast amount of instruction as to their behaviour and duties. They are told not to be frightened, and that the Quonmies will take care that no one hurts them.

When the morning star rises, the whole tribe is on the move, and all the women have their things packed up for removal. The Quonmie women go with them, but the Quonmie men go in charge of the boys. All the others go to the Dora ring, each woman carrying a fire-brand, and this is the first time that they have been permitted to be there. The boys now leave their camp to go to the ring, several of the old men asking, in a rough tone of voice, "Where are the boys who wish to be made men?" The boys are told to close their hands and not to open them till they get their new names, under all kinds of fearful penalties. They are now ordered by the old men in fierce tones to move off, and the men, duly painted and armed, surround and take them to the ring. All this very much alarms the boys, but they are reassured by the Quonmies, who say, "We will see that no harm comes to you."

When the women arrive at the ring, they drop their burdens and all covering, and stand naked, and packed together as close as possible on the top of the mound, each holding a fire-brand in her hand. This is the first time that they have been permitted to approach the ring, and step on to the mound from the outside, for no woman is allowed to go into the enclosure. The men stand at the entrance where the path is. The men of that part of the tribe which called the Dora together now run into and round the enclosure; but instead of running out and along the path, they face round towards the interior of the circle and give a great shout. The Headman now says "Finished," and the women throw their fire-sticks into the middle of the circle and go away, taking a road to the new camp which is to be formed, other than that taken by the men. These have gone off in batches of fifty or more, who form ambuscades along the direction the boys are to be taken by their Quonmies, accompanied by a small band of fighting-men.

As the boys come up to each ambuscade the concealed men rush out and pretend to attack them, taking good care, however, that the weapons which they throw do not hit any one. The Quonmies tell the boys to stand still and not to be frightened, for they will not be hurt, while their escorts often run off for a short distance as if in fear.

This sort of thing continues for some miles, for the purpose of trying the fortitude of the boys, whom they attempt to intimidate in every possible manner. For instance, some of the old men who accompany them, and who take the lead, will suddenly jump aside crying "Murang" which also includes the meaning of snake, and at the same time shout out the name of some snake, as if there were really one there. The Quonmies on all such occasions reassure the boys. After travelling a few miles, some ten to twenty men are left in charge of the boys, who are told to rest while the men spread themselves over the country, to hunt and catch game. At this halt the boys have to crouch down and are fed by the Quonmies with bits of cooked meat and drinks of water, for the boys have their hands closed and may not help themselves in any way. All they can do is to sit down, get up, go on, or stop, as they are told. Nor may they speak, being only permitted to nod or shake their heads, in reply to questions put to them by the Quonmies.

In this manner they make several days' journeys, which are so arranged that on the afternoon of a certain day they may be within reach of the tribe which is being called upon to meet them. At night the boys are laid on the ground close together, like sardines in a tin, their Quonmies lying at their heads or their feet, but so as not to keep the warmth of the fire from them. The old men keep the fire up; and when the morning star rises, the fire having been allowed to go down, they rouse the boys by climbing up the trees and making all kinds of hideous noises and by beating the ground with bark near the boys' heads. This is done to frighten the boys, who however are expected to take no notice of it, and to appear as if still sleeping. After this, a great fire is lit and the men dance.

The other tribe, having received due notice, is camped in the neighbourhood, but at such a distance that it can meet the other party a little before sundown, for the favourite time for fighting is at sunrise or sunset. The rest of the tribe to which the boys belong having also arrived, the boys are led by their Quonmies to where new names are given to them by the old men. These names are supposed to enable them to catch fish or animals, or to do something relating to hunting, better than other people. For instance, the name Bunawunami means "a long while come out," and refers to diving for turtle or fish. Paraing-thuma is "high catch" (or hold), referring to catching flying-foxes, or climbing trees after birds, and so on with other names.

The Headman calls the Quonmie to bring his boy to him; and, this being done, steps out and recites in a sing-song tone the words, "Burrum-burrum burro, nolla-wurro," which have no meaning in their language, and which no one could explain to my informant, who was present, and who spoke their language. The Headman says several times, "What will your name be?" then he speaks the name and says "Shout!" and all the assembled people set up a great shout, and repeat the name. Hereupon the Quonmies, who have been getting ready while the naming has been going on, slip a spear, shield, and boomerang into the hands of the boy, and he now, for the first time since the ceremonies commenced, opens his hands and looks up from the ground and lifts his head up, having previously kept it bent. In the afternoon the boys are painted and instructed how to fight and defend themselves.

The boys of the other tribe have also on their side passed through the Dora and have been named. The old (child's name) is dropped from this time forth.

Late in the afternoon two tribes approach each other, and the respective lots of boys are placed facing each other and are told to fight, under the tuition of the old men behind them, and this they do for some three-quarters of an hour. Then the old men join in, and the fighting is very severe. Five men were killed in one such fight, and the wounded and maimed were very numerous.

The two tribes then camp within hearing of each other, but not within sight. As a rule, they hunt in different tracts of country, so as not to meet; but if the nature of the country is such that they must hunt near each other, there will be left a narrow strip of neutral ground over which neither party will cross.

The party who sent the challenge travels into the country of the other tribe. In one case the challenging party travelled some seventy miles, that is to say, some thirty miles into the enemy's country. The radius from which people came to that Dora was fifty miles, and about three thousand attended, it being on the mainland opposite Frazer's Island.

When the two tribes are travelling to meet each other they have a practice for several days before they meet of burning the grass and everything they can set fire to, as a defiance to each other. The bull-roarer called Pundunda was used after the fight, the boys and the Quonmies going into the thick scrub, within hearing of the camp, and sounding it. The women, when they hear this, run away out of the camp, being told that if they remain and listen to it they will lose their hearing, and if they look back they will become blind. The noise is not continued long. The women are not allowed to see the Pundunda. After the fight and the corrobborees which follow it there is the capturing of women, which has been already described.

When the meeting is over and the people return to their homes, the boys are not placed under any restriction as to the food which they may or may not eat, that is to say by reason of the Dora, but there are general rules which prevent the younger men from eating certain articles of food, which are reserved for the old men. For instance, boys are not allowed to eat emu eggs, nor even to touch them, but they must give them to the old men.

Although the youths on returning from the Dora are accounted as men, they are not permitted to take wives until their beards are grown. Should a youth attempt to take his promised wife before that time, he would be told, "Go away! What do you want with a wife, you beardless boy?"

To the southward of the tribes whose Dora I have described, there are those tribes of which I have taken the Kaiabara as the example. Their ceremonies were held whenever there were a sufficient number of boys approaching puberty to be made men.[50]

The Kaiabara Ceremonies

The ceremonies were held at a place where a circular mound had been made, in the centre of which a hole had been dug in the ground, in which one of the old men was concealed, under a sheet of bark. The boys were brought into the ring, and lay on their faces on the ground, covered by their opossum rugs. They were then taken to the place where the old man was concealed, and he gave a name to each. The name was repeated aloud by another old man, and the men standing round shouted the name and danced.

For a time the boys were kept on short commons, and were not allowed to eat female opossums, which were given to the old men, nor iguana, kangaroo, mullet, turtle, grubs, scrub-turkey, emu, and other things.

But they might eat male opossum, wallaby, bandicoot, yams, and honey.

These particulars, though scanty, suffice to show a general similarity to the Dora ceremonies.

I have greatly regretted that my correspondent in the country of the Wakelbura tribe did not avail himself of the opportunities which offered themselves for seeing the initiation ceremonies of that and other kindred tribes. He was invited to go to them, but did not do so, and when I drew his attention to the great interest attaching to those ceremonies, he had to rely for information on the blacks with whom he was on friendly terms. This, however, did not suffice to justify them in revealing secrets, which can only be made known to those who are within the arcana of these mysteries.

The Umba Ceremonies

The ceremonies are called Umba, and can only be held by Malera or Wuthera men, not by both combined. Thus if there are Kurgilla and Banbe boys to be made men, it would be the Wuthera men who would hold the Umba, that is to say, the men of the one sub-class Kurgilla initiate the boys of the other sub-class Banbe, or vice versa. This is a remarkable innovation on the rule which, so far as I know, is universal in the tribes of South-eastern as well as of Central Australia, that the men of one moiety of the tribe initiate the youths of the other moiety. As I have before pointed out, the reason of this seems to be that it is only when the youth has been admitted to the rights and privileges of manhood in the tribe that he can obtain a wife. As his wife comes to him from the other moiety, it is the men of that moiety who must be satisfied that he is, in fact, able to take his place as the provider for, and the protector of, the woman, their sister, who is to be his wife. In this connection one can therefore see why it is that the future wife's brother, who is also his sister's husband, is the guardian of the youth in the ceremonies.

But in the Wakelbura case it is not the men of the other intermarrying moiety who initiate the youth; for if so, it would have been Malera and Wuthera men who would have respectively initiated each other's sons. So far, this has not received any explanation, further than it is probably connected with food rules, and the food animals which belong to the respective classes; and as the Wakelbura tribe is now practically extinct, it cannot be elucidated.

The Umba ceremonies relieve the individual from certain food restrictions. According to what I have been able to ascertain, the individual receives a new name at each Umba. These names denote accomplishments or qualities, as quick sight, courage, being a good fighter, or a skilful medicine-man. Some of the men received as many as four different names. The tendency of the restrictions is to reserve the best of the food for the older men, and only to admit the younger to the same privileges as they acquire age.

The Umba ground is always made at a sandy place, where there is loose soil, which is banked up, by means of boomerangs and feet, into a ridge, which encloses a square with several interior divisions. At one end there is an opening for the men to go in and out, and it faces the direction from which the visitors have come. It is the men called Tarrima who make the mound, and indeed they do most of the work in making the Umba ground.

During the ceremonies the novice has to climb a straight young tree free from branches, without a tomahawk or any aid whatever. The bystanders utter simultaneously "Yeh!" or "Wah!" at each step he takes in climbing. On his reaching the top they give one united shout. The same exclamations are made at each step of his descent, and when he reaches the ground the same shout is raised.

The youth is called Walba until initiated; after that he is called Kaula, and he also at the same time receives a new personal name, and his former personal name is never afterwards mentioned. To mention his Walba, or boy name, would be a serious cause of offence. To avoid this, and indeed to avoid the mention of the personal name of any one, a young man would be spoken of as Kaula, a man of mature years as Minda (old man), and an uninitiated youth as Walba. Relatives use the term of relationship proper to each. The children of the same mother are spoken of according to age, after the fingers of the hand. Thus the oldest is addressed as Teling, that is thumb, the next in age is Burbi, the forefinger, etc.[51]

The Initiation Ceremonies of Victorian Tribes

The Victorian tribes were so broken down during the early gold discoveries that when I commenced a critical investigation of their social and local organisation and customs, I found that the tribal customs had almost died out, together with many of the tribes themselves. But I was able here and there to rescue some facts from surviving old men, which may enable me to indicate the sort of ceremonies by which the youths were admitted to the privileges and subjected to the obligations of manhood.

As to the Kulin nation, the practice may be illustrated by that of the Wurunjerri, for according to Berak the initiation ceremonies were substantially the same in each of the tribes, from the Wudthaurung at Corio Bay to the Mogullum-bitch at the Buffalo River. From other native informants I have learned also that the range of these ceremonies was also from Port Phillip Heads to Echuca.

When a boy was about ten or eleven years old, that is to say, when his whiskers were beginning to appear, his parents or relations, or even other people, would remark that it was only decent and proper that he should no longer run about naked. Then his Guritch, sister's husband, would tell him that he must be made Jibauk.[52] But some time before this, his parents sent him to live with the young men in their camp, which was always at a distance from the camps of the married men.

The Jibauk Ceremonies

The Jibauk ceremonies were held periodically where Melbourne, Geelong, Bacchus Marsh, Seymour, Bendigo, the Delatite River, Benalla, the Buffalo River, Echuca, and other places now are.

When the ceremonies were held by the Wurunjerri, a screen of boughs was made some two or three hundred yards from the main encampment, with a large fire in front, of it. The boy's Guritch or his Kangun, that is, his mother's brother, took him there, having first covered him with a rug, the corner of which hung over his face. Having joined the others who were to be "made men," a number of men's kilts (Branjep), which had been collected from the men at the camp, were tied round his waist. His hair was cut quite short, excepting a ridge, like a cock's comb, along his head from front to back. Mud was thickly plastered over his head and shoulders, and a wide band of pipe-clay was painted from ear to ear, across his face. Another band was from the Branjep in front over his head to that hanging behind.

He carried a bag slung round his neck, in which was a live opossum which he had caught, and from which he had plucked the fur as if for cooking. He never moved away from the Jibauk place without a fire-stick and this bag containing the opossum. When one died he had to go away and catch another to replace it. The Jibauks were not allowed any clothing other than the kilts, and they slept round the fire by the bough enclosure. All the young men of the encampment, together with the guardians of the Jibauk, kept them company. The lads obtained their food by going the rounds of the camp with their Guritches; and opening their bags, they said to the people they called upon, "Have you anything to put in here?" The food thus obtained was all they got, and it was not much. It was considered a joke to ask a Jibauk what he had caught when out hunting.

When the boy's hair had grown about two inches in length, his probation was over. The Jibauk camp was shifted on successive days nearer and nearer to the encampment, until it was quite close. During this time the Guritch had been preparing an opossum rug, which he now gave to the boy under his charge, who, being dressed in the full male costume, was led by his guardian from camp to camp of the married men, where he was received with expressions of rejoicing. The Jibauk was thus introduced to the community in the character of a man. Several evenings of singing and dancing concluded the ceremonies.

The Jibauk was not specially instructed during this time in the tribal laws and beliefs, because this was done previously by his father, father's brother, or his father's father, but he was told what animals he might or might not eat. The forbidden food included emu, black duck, musk duck, flying tuan, iguana, spiny ant-eater. He might eat the common opossum, ringtail opossum, bandicoot, wallaby, kangaroo, wombat, native bear, swan, teal, and all fish. From time to time the young man was made free of the forbidden food by having a piece of the cooked meat given him to eat by one of the old men. Sometimes it was handed to the Jibauk on the point of a stick. As he grew older, he, so to say, acquired the freedom of eating other animals. When about thirty to thirty-five, he became entitled to eat emu, by some of the fat being rubbed unexpectedly by some old man on his naked back.

The Wirrarap (medicine-man) also in this tribe exercised supervision over the youth who had been made Jibauk. He could dream of his actions. But the novice was also under supernatural penalties if he broke the food laws or rules of conduct laid upon him. Thus the Kulin of the Goulburn River, who were the neighbours of the Wurunjerri, and nearly allied to them, believed that if the novice ate the spiny anteater or the black duck, he would be killed by the thunder. If he ate of the female of the opossum or native bear, he was liable to fall when climbing trees.

Protector Thomas speaks of this ceremony in a report to Governor La Trobe[53] on the "Ceremony of Tobbut," and his remarks probably apply not only to the Wurunjerri, but also to other tribes within his immediate knowledge. He says "that there are strips of old rags, string, strips of opossum skin and old rope, and all the variety of stripes with which a fringed apron girdles him round" (sic). He is not allowed to have a blanket to cover him, or anything else, night or day, and it is generally the winter season which is selected for this purpose. He goes through the encampment calling out "Tib-bo-bo-but." He has a basket under his arm, which contains all the filth he can pick up, not even omitting soil. He frightens and bedaubs all he meets with some of the beastly commodities contained in his basket, but must not touch any who are in their mia-mias, or lubras on their way getting water, but in any other case he is at liberty to annoy and frighten all he meets.

The Talangun Ceremonies

In the Bunurong tribe the equivalent of the Jibauk was called Talangun. All that was done was that the boy was taken by some of the men, who dressed him in full male attire, and he was made free of the forbidden food animals as soon as the men could catch them. According to Berak, who knew that tribe well, there were no other ceremonies of initiation of any kind. Similar statements were made to me by the survivors of the Thagunworung and Jajaurung tribes, who all knew the Bunurong people. The fact that in this tribe the bull-roarer, which is elsewhere regarded with reverential awe, was a child's plaything, seems to be strong corroboration that they had no secret rites of initiation. What they had was clearly only a survival of ceremonies such as the Jibauk, and it seems to be a case in which they were approaching the condition of the Krauatun Kurnai, who had not even the traces of former ceremonies.

The Jajaurung Ceremonies

In the Jajaurung tribe the ceremonies were somewhat fuller than those of the Wurunjerri, and also illustrate them.

Before a boy was grown up and had whiskers, he was taken by his Guritch to his camp, where he rubbed him over with red ochre. When the Guritch went out hunting, or was travelling, he took the boy with him, and carried him when he was tired. He sounded the bull-roarer continually, to make the boy strong, and he sang this song:—

Pata mamunya jira-runga.
Wait a while don't touch it growing up.

This song also makes the two front teeth easily removable when the boy is being initiated. When the boy has grown somewhat older, so that his beard has come, his Guritch and the old men take him away to be made a man. He is laid down on the ground and all the hair on his face and his pubes is plucked out. If it comes out easily and without blood showing, they say, "He is a good young man," and rub him over with red ochre. The song above mentioned is then sung, and the medicine-man (Barn-bungal) forces a pointed stick between the teeth to loosen them. If any blood comes from the gums either now or when the teeth are knocked out, it must not be spat out or let fall on his breast; but he must swallow it, otherwise his legs would become crooked, and he would be lame. He then goes away with his Guritch and the old men. For a time he remains quite naked, and is rubbed with red ochre, until his oldest Guritch brings him an opossum rug.

If, however, blood comes when the hair is plucked out, the youth is said to have "been too much with the women," and is painted white from the waist over the head, down the back to the belt on which he wears a Branjep, before and behind, and he is called Jibauk.

The Jupagalk Ceremonies

The Jupagalk adjoined the Jajaurung on the north-west side. In that tribe, when a boy was old enough to be made a man, two of his Ngierep (sister's husband) took him away for a time and kept him with them until he had been initiated. The boy was dressed in the full dress of a man, with a belt of opossum cord round his waist, a row of kangaroo teeth round his forehead, and a reed necklace. In front and behind a Branjep hung from his belt. Red ochre and grease was rubbed over him, and a ligature of kangaroo sinew tied round his upper fore-arm, from which the boys are called Ganitch, that is, "tied." The Ngierep kept the boy in their camp for two or three months, and did everything for him. When they went out hunting, one of them carried him on his shoulders. The boy was not allowed to do anything for himself. In one case of which I had some knowledge, the boy was Garchuka (white cockatoo), and his Ngierep was Wurant (black cockatoo). The boy was not allowed to eat the male of any animal.

The subjoined diagram shows the manner in which the

Camp diagram.png

inmates of the camp of such a Ngierep slept round the fire at night.

1 is the Ngierep, 2 is the boy, 3 wife of the Ngierep, and 5 and 6 their children.

The Wotjobaluk Ceremonies

The ceremonies are called Ganitch by the Wotjobaluk, also by the Mukjarawaint, and in both tribes the procedure was the same as that of the Jupagalk, with the exception that with the Wotjobaluk the boy, when he was taken away by his Guritch, was placed before a great fire, and, as they put it, was "roasted."

Ceremonies of the Tribes of South-Western Victoria

In the tribes of South-Western Victoria[54] a youth is not considered to be a man until he has undergone a probation, during which he is called Kutneet, which is really best translated as "hobbledehoy." Should he have "brothers-in-law" they conie and take him into a hut (Wuurn), and dress him and ornament him, and remove him into their own country, where he is received with welcome by his new friends. During his term of probation his wants are liberally supplied. He is not allowed to do anything for himself, and when he wants to go anywhere he must be carried by the men who brought him from his own country. The women of the tribe must also wait upon him with every mark of respect, and should any disobey the order, he has the right to spear them. At the end of twelve moons, his relations call and take him to the first great meeting of the tribes. Before leaving, they pull out all the hairs of his beard, and make him drink water mixed with mud, which completes his initiation into manhood. The knocking out of a front tooth is unknown in these tribes.

It is to be regretted that Mr. Dawson made use of the term "brother-in-law," which includes several relations, which are individualised by the native tribes. But I conjecture that he may be the "sister's husband" (Kuurwee), which would be in accord with the universal practice.

In the Jajaurung practice a distinction appears between the novice who has kept to himself and him who, to use the usual phrase, has been "too much with the women." This distinction occurs in all cases where the tooth is extracted, but the Jibauk practice of the Jajaurung is the only one I know in which a special treatment follows this social offence. Usually in such cases the tooth ostensibly cannot be removed, and this causes great pain and suffering to the offender. Thus at the Yuin Kuringal the Gommera took good care that the tooth of the novice, who was known for his practices with the women, should only be extracted after a dozen blows. But the Jajaurung went still further: not only did the tooth stick fast, but the novice became a Jibauk, and underwent a series of more than personal inconveniences as a warning to others.

One of the results of the ceremonies of initiation is, in most cases, to place the novice inter alia under intersexual restraints. This is shown by his removal from the "fire circle" of his parents to the camp of the young men, and also the breaking off of the intimate association with his sisters which existed while he was a boy. This is shown very clearly by the Kurnai Jeraeil. The Jibauk practice, as seen among the Jajaurung, appears to have been in the nature of a punishment; with the Wurunjerri it is not so clear, as it applied apparently to all, while with the Bunurong the practice seems not to have existed.

The ceremonies of all these tribes of Victoria seem to me to have been in a state of decadence, and it is difficult to decide from the survivals what their original form may have been.

The Kurnai Jeraeil

The initiation ceremonies of the Kurnai were in principle the same as those which I have described as the Bunan, Burbung, and Bora. But in details they differed much from them, either retaining practices which had become obsolete elsewhere, or having developed new details independently. Both, however, may have co-operated in producing the Jeraeil, for the Kurnai, in consequence of their country being shut in by dense scrubs and forests in the west, and by the Australian Alps and their spurs in the north and east, were very much isolated from the tribes beyond those boundaries.

The word Jeraeil means leafy, or having leaves or twigs, being connected with Jerung, a "branch" or "twig." It is therefore analogous to the Murring word Kuringal, which may be translated as "of the forest."

At the Jeraeil which I attended, and which I am about to describe, the old men had decided that, being short-handed, the Krauatun Headman and one other should be permitted to help. This distinction between the words "help" and "participate" marks the fact that neither of these men had been formally initiated, that is to say, they had not passed through the stages of Tutnurring and Brewit to Jeraeil. Moreover, although the Kurnai were short-handed on this occasion, and had only six boys to be initiated, they absolutely refused to allow any half-castes even to be present, giving as their reason, "these half-castes have nothing to do with us." This is a well-marked illustration of the view by this tribe as to the derivation of the child.

All the Kurnai being assembled, the Headmen decide when the ceremonies shall commence. In the Jeraeil which I attended the ceremonies were, according to the statements of the old men who conducted them, the exact reproduction of the Jeraeil of their fathers, at which they themselves had been initiated, and made the depositaries of the ancestral knowledge. After the occupation of Gippsland by the white people in 1842, these ceremonies were held at intervals for some twenty years. They then fell into disuse, and were only now revived in response to the message which I had sent round.[55] The old men said they were glad to receive my message, and to hold the Jeraeil, for the reason that the Kurnai youth "were now growing wild. They had been too much with the whites, so that now they paid no attention either to the words of the old men or to those of the missionaries."

The Preliminary Ceremony.—In the afternoon of the day on which the first ceremony of the Jeraeil, called Telbing, or "wattle-bark," was held, the oldest woman,[56] the wife of the second Headman, called the other women together near the camp; and, having then summoned to her the Tutnurring (novices),[57] proceeded to drill them, as also their Krauun,[58] in the performances. It was, in fact, a rehearsal. The boys were seated cross-legged in a row with their arms folded, and were told by the old women to keep their eyes cast down, and not to stare about; also to mind and keep good time to the drumming by the women. The Krauun were placed in a row just behind the Tutnurring, and were instructed to copy their movements exactly. The women now commenced to drum slowly on their folded rugs, and in accord with the time the two rows of seated figures moved their bodies sharply first to one side and then to the other, at the same time reclining the head almost on the alternate shoulders. One boy, who was not quite quick enough in his movements, was told by the old woman to "move more sharply, as if some one were tickling him." After some practice the old woman thought the performance satisfactory, and told the boys to go away and rest themselves.

During the day the Jeraeil ground had been selected by the Headman in an open space about a quarter of a mile from the camp. All the little bushes were chopped up, and the ground cleared of sticks and rubbish.

About sundown, the Headman gave the word to commence, and walked off into the forest, followed by the men. The old woman walked to the Jeraeil ground, followed by the women and by the novices, who were attended by one of the Bullawangs.[59] This man being a cripple was unable to take an active part in the ceremonies, and had therefore been assigned specially to watch and instruct the Tutnurring.

On reaching the ground, the Tutnurring and the Krauun were seated in two rows, as at the rehearsal, the pairs being allotted to each other in accordance with their group-relationship. The mothers of the boys stood in a row behind them, each bearing a staff surmounted by a tuft of
FIG. 36.—HEAD OF BULLAWANG SHOWING THE CHARACTERISTIC MARKINGS.
eucalyptus twigs.[60] The Gweraeil-Rukut acted as mistress of the ceremonies. When the arrangements had been completed, and the boys were sitting silently with their eyes cast down on the ground, a distant noise was heard of rhythmical shouts, accompanied by dull, muffled-sounding blows. These coming nearer, a procession of men came in sight led by the Headman. The performers were smeared over with charcoal powder,[61] and bound round with strip sof white bark across their bodies like shoulder-belts, round their waists, legs, and arms, and in coronets round their heads, from which rose tall waving tufts of grass. Similar bunches of grass were thrust from each side through the nose-perforations. Each man held a strip of bark, about three feet in length and four inches wide, in each hand. In the olden times—forty odd years back—the men were entirely naked during these ceremonies, but now civilisation has so far modified their customs, even in the Jeraeil, that they wore their trousers, and some of them their shirts also. The line of men came rapidly forward from the bush in a series of short runs, following and imitating the actions of their leader, who came on in a serpentine course, shouting "Huh! Huh!" beating the ground in time with his strips of bark, first on the one side and then on the other. After every fifteen or twenty paces the men stopped, and raising their strips of bark, set up a loud shout of "Yeh!" (Hurrah!).

As soon as the men appeared, the women began to beat their rugs, the mothers kept time by stamping their yam-sticks on the ground, and the seated rows of Tutnurring and Krauun swayed in perfect unison alternately to right and left. The men, having run in a winding course once or twice past the boys, formed a semicircle in front and near them; and, kneeling down, struck the ground violently with their bark strips, shouting "Huh! Huh! Yeh!" This continued some little time, and then the men walked off to the camp, after having stripped off their disguising costumes.

This preliminary ceremony ended the proceedings for the day. The Jeraeil has now commenced, and by it the initiated men have claimed the boys from their mothers, and have shown their intention of making men of them.

"Laying the Boys down to sleep."—This second stage in the ceremonies commenced at a little before sundown on the following day. In the afternoon the men had prepared the place in which, as they said, the Tutnurring were to be "laid down to sleep," A curved screen of boughs had been made, about three feet in height, twenty-five feet wide across the opening, and ten feet deep. The space thus partly enclosed was filled about six inches deep with freshly plucked eucalyptus twigs, so as to form a couch.

The same ceremonies were now repeated that had been gone through on the previous evening. At their termination the men retired into the bush to prepare for the next ceremony. The boys were placed standing in a row with their faces toward the camp, the Krauun being in another row behind them, and behind them again were the mothers. It was now strongly impressed upon the boys by the Bullawang in charge of them that, when the men returned, and offered rods to them, or threw rods on them, they were on no account to touch them, but must let them fall unheeded to the ground, otherwise the Jeraeil would have to be recommenced from the beginning. The reason of this caution is that the rods which are offered to the boys are afterwards gathered up by the women, and this would be unlawful for them to do if any of the Tutnurring had touched them with their hands. From the commencement of the Jeraeil, there is an increasing separation of the Tutnurring from the women, until they are mutually tabooed after the "sleeping" ceremony. For either then to touch the other would be something very like pollution, and would, as the Kurnai believe, be followed by serious bodily illness to one or both.

After a short time of waiting, we heard in the distance a curious rattling sound accompanying the words "Ya! Wa! Ya! Wa!"[62] At intervals there was a pause, followed by .shouts of "Yeh!" The men came in view, led by the old Headman, slowly marching in line. Each man held a bundle of thin rods, called Teddeleng, in each hand, which he struck together to the words "Ya! Wa!" Several men carried other bundles slung round their necks to supply the women and the Krauun who join in this ceremony. Having marched round the two rows of Tutnurring and Krauun, they then passed between the two rows and encircled the boys, thus severing them finally from the Krauun, and from their mothers. As they halted, each presented his bundle to one of the boys, and then proceeded to launch the rods one by one into the air over them, so that a continual shower fell on the Tutnurring, and thence to the ground, where they were carefully collected by the Krauun.

This part of the ceremony marks, as I have said, the separation of the boys from the women from this time forward, until the novice has been readmitted by the old men into the community; but, even then, the young man does not stand on his former footing. He no longer lives in the same camp with his parents and sisters, but in the camp of the Brewit, or young unmarried men. So strict is the rule as to the rods that, had a Tutnurring touched one of them, the Kranun would have dropped all those they had collected, and would have returned to the camp with all the women present. The Jeraeil would have had to be recommenced from the beginning, and the boy who had caused this serious break in the ceremonies would have been severely punished. Probably in the olden-times he would have been speared.

The Krauun, having collected the rods, reformed their line behind the motionless Tutnurring, and the Bullawangs formed a third line facing them. There were three of these to each boy. The Bullawang is the Tutnurring's "own," or "tribal," mother's brother's son, and belongs to that local group of the tribe with which the Tutnurring's father's group intermarried. These Bullawangs had been selected after careful consideration, the old women taking a prominent part in the genealogical discussion which occurred; for, owing to the diminution of the tribe, it was necessary to trace out "tribal relations," as there were not enough "own relations" to supply the required number of Bullawangs to each boy. I heard the old Gweraeil-Rukut ask two of the boys which part their "mother's father" belonged to; and it was by this knowledge of the locality and of the individual that the particular Bullawang was allotted.

With loud shouts of "Huh!" and the rustling of bunches of leaves, each group of three Bullawangs raised their boy several times high in the air, he extending his arms towards the sky as far as possible.[63] The women now raised and shook their leaf- topped sticks, and the men their handfuls of leaves, over the boys. Immediately following this, the Bullawangs were raised into the air, each one by his fellows, and with his face turned towards his own country. As each one was raised aloft, the men crowded round rustling boughs and with loud shouts of "Huh!"

The last scene of this part now took place. It is considered most important that it be carefully carried out according to the ancestral rules. The Tutnurring are to be laid to sleep as boys, in order to be awakened as men.

Each one was led by three old men to the enclosure wherein the couch of leaves had been prepared, and was there carefully laid down with exclamations of "He! Nga!"[64] The novices were laid on their backs side by side, with their arms crossed on their breasts. Each had a bundle of twigs under his head for a pillow. The old men now carefully and completely covered them with rugs, a few leaves having been first sprinkled over their naked bodies. They were so completely covered up from head to foot that not a glimpse of any one of them was visible, nor could they see anything.

A large fire was then lighted at their feet, and the women made another at the back of the highest part of the bough screen. While this was being done the old men were admonishing the boys as to their conduct while lying down. They were neither to move nor to speak. If one of them wanted anything, he was to signify this to his Bullawang by chirping like an Emu-wren (Yiirung).[65] They were finally reminded that from this time forth they were no longer to consort with children, but to behave themselves as men. Moreover, they were carefully to listen to and remember the instructions of their Bullawangs.

These boys were now said to be put to sleep. In the olden days, and, indeed, at all times when time was of no object, this part of the Jeraeil would have continued without intermission till morning. But on this occasion, as time was short, the proceedings only continued till about midnight, in view of the ceremonies which had to take place next day. This was because I could not remain beyond a certain date, and also because the beginning of the Jeraeil had been delayed by the late arrival of some of the Kurnai. As it was, the Jeraeil extended over five days. In olden times it would have taken two or three weeks.

The two fires having been lighted, and the Tutnurring formally instructed, the important proceedings commenced. Two Bullawangs crouched down at the boys' heads, in order to be ready if their aid were required. I was amused at this time, and during the night, in watching the men and listening to what they said to any of the boys who, wanting something, uttered the chirp of the Emu-wren. The Bullawang had first to stoop down and ask the boys in the neighbourhood whence the chirp came, "Is it you? Is it you ?" until he questioned the right one, when an affirmative chirp replied. Then he had to find out what the boy wanted, which he could only do by a series of questions, the boys not being allowed to speak. Several times he was completely posed; and, after a number of ineffectual queries, such as "Are you too hot?" "Is there a stick sticking into you?" "Do you want to be moved?" "Do you want to drink?" he had to wait, and scratch his head, in the hope of thinking of the right question.

The ceremony commenced by the Gweraeil-Rukut standing up at her fire with a bundle of rods in each hand, and slowly beating them together to the words "Ya! Wa!" and "Yeh!" at intervals. All the women joined in, and the Headman, with all the men, followed suit at their fire. After this had gone on for perhaps a quarter of an hour, the old woman moved off, and marched round the enclosure to the tune of "Ya! Wa!" followed by the women, and these were followed by the men. This went on for hours, the only sounds being the soft tramp of the people walking round the enclosure, the regular rattling of the rods, and the monotonous utterance—I cannot call it chant—of the words "Ya! Wa! Yeh!" This was sometimes varied by the words "Yiirung!" and "Kaiung!"[66] instead of "Ya!" and "Wa!" but the expression of exultation "Yeh!" was in all cases used at intervals. Anything more monotonous than this part of the ceremony I cannot conceive; but the Kurnai seemed to derive great satisfaction from it, and to think it very powerful in infusing manly virtues into the boys. It is supposed to have the effect of putting them to some kind of magic sleep, not like the ordinary sleep of mankind, from which they may waken into manhood.

About midnight the old woman gave the signal for rest by ceasing her march, and subsiding into her opossum rug by her fire. The women all followed her example, the men lay down round their fire, and all were soon asleep. Just before dawn the old Headman woke, and called out to the Gweraeil-Rukut to rouse the women. Very soon the proceedings recommenced just where they left off the night before. The slow marching round to the monotonous beating of the rods, and the cries of "Yiirung! Yiirung! Yeh!" went on for about half-an-hour, when the women ceased, leaving the men standing in a crowd at the feet of the prostrate, motionless Tutnurring, still beating their rods to the same old song, and invoking Yiirung, the "men's brother," for the last time.

The Tutnurring had been put to sleep the night before as boys; they were now to be awakened from their sleep as men. In order that this should be done in a proper manner, the old Headman and the "doctor"[67] took it in hand.

The women left the Jeraeil ground, and went to the camp; for the ceremonies which are now held are those at which it is unlawful for the women or the uninitiated to be present. At these, the women are told, Tundun himself comes down to make the boys into men; and they are assured, and so far as I know they believe, that were they to be present, or even to see or hear what goes on, he would kill them. So strong is this feeling against the women knowing anything of the secret rites that, even now, after nearly half a century of occupation of Gippsland by the white men, one of the Headmen said to me, "If a woman were to see these things or hear what we tell the boys, I would kill her." Whether this would now be really done I cannot say—perhaps not—but it might be, and I am certain that, at the time, the old man meant what he said.

The two Headmen, and the Mulla-mullung, who by virtue of his office had, in addition to the charcoal powder, a band of white drawn across his face from ear to ear, now began to uncover the Tutnurring at one end of the row. He seemed to be in a deep sleep; and the old men, raising him up into a sitting posture, made curious grunting noises, for the purpose, as one of them told me afterwards, of wakening him. He, being placed sitting on the couch of leaves in front of the fire, had his blanket drawn over his shoulders and head like a hood. In this manner all the boys were roused up, and seated in a row, having then additional rugs drawn over them all, so as to screen them from the cold. These boys, having lived so much among the whites, were thought by the old men to have departed too much from the good old ancestral virtues, and it was therefore necessary that the white man's influence should, if possible, be counteracted. It was thought that the lads had become selfish, and no longer willing to share that which they obtained by their own exertions, or had given to them, with their friends. The boys being all seated in a row, at each end of which was one of the Headmen, the doctor proceeded to exercise his magical functions. He stooped over the first boy, and muttering some words which I could not catch, he kneaded the lad's stomach with his hands. This he did to each one successively, and by it the Kurnai supposed the "greediness" of the youth would be expelled.

It is at this time that the Tutnurring are invested with the belt of manhood,[68] the kilt,[69] the armlets,[70] forehead-band,[71] nose-peg,[72] necklace,[73] in fact with the full male dress.

From this time the youths are constantly supervised and instructed by two of the Bullawangs, all of whom take this duty in turn. A camp is formed in which the Tutnurring sit, or sleep, and which they are not allowed to leave unless accompanied by a Bullawang. So strictly are the novices looked after and drilled, even as to the manner in which they are to sit in their camp, "covered with their blankets like men, and not behaving like boys," that an old man of the now almost extinct Wurunjerri tribe, who attended this Jeraeil with me, after seeing this going on all day, said confidentially to me, "This one all the same like it Lockup." This part of the ceremonies being satisfactorily concluded, the men went away to their camps to get their breakfasts, to rest and to sleep, or to go out hunting till the afternoon.

During the morning an incident occurred which was very significant of the profound feeling of secrecy in regard to the central mysteries which is felt by the Kurnai. One of the Headmen came to me, and intimated that the old men, before proceeding further, desired to be satisfied that I had in very deed been fully initiated by the Brajerak blackfellows in their Kuringal. I caused them all to come to me in the recesses of a thick scrub, far from the possibility of a woman's presence, and I there exhibited to them the bull-roarer, which had been used at the "Brajerak" initiations previously attended by me, and which I had brought back with me. After I had shown them the Murring bull-roarer, I also produced the smaller one of two which are used by the Chepara tribe. They at once pointed out to me, after inspecting it, that there ought to be another, and a larger one; and they seemed much pleased when I informed them that they were correct in their surmise, and that I had both. I also fully satisfied them that I had witnessed all the ceremonies of the Kuringal. It was remarkable that, long as the Kurnai had known me, and intimately as I had known some of them, especially the Headman Tulaba, these special secrets of the tribe had been kept carefully concealed from me by all but two, one of whom was now dead, and the other absent from the Jeraeil, ostensibly through sickness, but really from consciousness of tribal treachery, and fear of the consequences if it were brought home to him. The old men were very urgent to know what "wicked man"[74] had betrayed to me the secrets of the Jeraeil, and especially of the Tundun; but they were silenced, if not satisfied, when I said that the man who first told me was dead.


FIG. 37.—THE TWO BULL-ROARERS OF THE KURNAI TRIBE—(3) IS THE CROSS-SECTION OF (1). ×½
"Showing the Grandfather"[75]—This is the cryptic phrase used to describe the central mystery, which in reality means the exhibition to the novices of the Tundun, and the revelation to them of the ancestral beliefs. It is used, for instance, by the Bullawangs to their charges, as in telling them "This afternoon we will take you, and show your grandfather to you."

The Kurnai have two bull-roarers, a larger one called "Tundun" or "the man," and a smaller one called "Rukut-Tundun" the woman, or wife of Tundun. The larger one is also called "Grandfather," Wehntwin, or Muk-brogan.[76] In this the Kurnai differ from the Murring, who have only one bull-roarer, but they agree with several other Australian tribes. I think, but I cannot be sure, that where two bull-roarers are used, it indicates ceremonies in which the women take a certain part, whereas in tribes where there is only one, as the Murring, the women are totally excluded.

While the novices were thus under tutelage during the day following the sleeping ceremony, and while most of the men were out hunting, the Headmen and several others went away to prepare for the great ceremony of the grandfather. The spot chosen was, as I afterwards ascertained, over 2000 paces distant from the camp of the Tutnurring. While sitting there, talking to the Bullawangs, I several times heard the peculiar screech of the "woman Tundun" when the men who were making them tried one to see if it was satisfactory. When they were ready, about an hour before sunset, word was brought to the Bullawangs, who took their charges to the appointed place under the pretext "Let us go for a walk. You must be tired with sitting there all day."

On reaching the place, which was at the edge of an extensive and dense scrub of Ti-tree (Melaleuca), with a little open plain of some fifty acres in front, the novices were halted, and made to kneel down in a row, with their blankets drawn closely over their heads, so as to prevent their seeing anything. One of the Bullawangs knelt before each, and another stood behind. The principal Headman stood near, holding his throwing-stick in his hand. This being arranged satisfactorily, the ceremony commenced. The second Headman emerged from the scrub at about a hundred and fifty yards' distance, holding his bull-roarer, a "man Tundun" in his hand, which he commenced to whirl round, making a dull-sounding roar. The man immediately following him had a "woman Tundun"; and in this way sixteen men came slowly forward, each one, as he came into the open, whirling his instrument and adding to the roaring and screeching din. By the time the last man had marched out into the clear ground, the leader had gained a point on the opposite side of the kneeling Tutnurrings, and the performers then halted in a semicircle, and produced a finale of discordant sounds. When this ceased, the Headman ordered the novices to stand up, and raise their faces towards the sky. Then, pointing upwards with his spear-thrower, the blanket was pulled off the head of each boy by his Bullawang, and the eyes of all the novices being directed to the uplifted throwing-stick, the Headman said, "Look there! Look there! Look there!" successively pointing first to the sky, then lower, and finally to the Tundun men. Two old men now immediately ran from one novice to the other, saying in an earnest manner, "You must never tell this. You must not tell your mother, nor your sister, nor any one who is not Jeraeil." In the olden times spears were held pointed at the novices at this juncture, to emphasise the threats that were made, should they reveal the mysteries unlawfully. The old Headman then, in an impressive manner, revealed to the novices the ancestral beliefs, which I condense as follows:—

Long ago there was a great Being, called Mungan-ngaua, who lived on the earth, and who taught the Kurnai of that time to make implements, nets, canoes, weapons—in fact, all the arts they know. He also gave them the personal names they bear, such as Tulaba. Mungan-ngaua had a son named Tundun, who was married, and who is the direct ancestor—(the Wehntwin, or father's father)—of the Kurnai. Mungan-ngaua instituted the Jeraeil, which was conducted by Tundun, who made the instruments which bear the names of himself and of his wife.

Some tribal traitor once impiously revealed the secrets of the Jeraeil to women, and thereby brought down the anger of Mungan upon the Kurnai. He sent fire (the Aurora Australis), which filled the whole space between earth and sky. Men went mad with fear, and speared one another, fathers killing their children, husbands their wives, and brethren each other. Then the sea rushed over the land, and nearly all mankind were drowned. Those who survived became the ancestors of the Kurnai. Some of them turned into animals, birds, reptiles, fishes; and Tundun and his wife became porpoises. Mungan left the earth, and ascended to the sky, where he still remains.

From that time, say the Kurnai, the knowledge of the Jeraeil and its mysteries has been handed down from father to son, together with the penalty for unlawfully revealing them, and for breaking the ordinance of Mungan—namely, destruction by his fire, or death at the hands of the men to whom his laws have been transmitted.

The novices, having been thus properly instructed, were told to take the Tundun in hand, and to sound it, which they did with evident reluctance and apprehension.

Before the return to the camp, what is called the "opossum game" was played. A young tree was cut down and trimmed of its branches so as to form a pole about twenty feet long, and perhaps six inches thick at the lower end. This was placed in a hole dug in the ground, a large bunch of leaves being tied to the upper end. It represented a tree, and was held in position by as many men as could get at it, grasping it with one hand, and holding in the other a bundle of leafy twigs. Up this pole one after the other the Bullawangs climbed, touching it only with their hands and feet, imitating the actions of opossums, while the men below rustled their bunches of leaves and shouted "Huh!" This was supposed to represent an opossum hunt. It is interesting as being the only "animal game" in the Jeraeil, and it seems to be introduced without any reason or connection with the other ceremonies. It is, however, noteworthy that the Kurnai say it is done "to amuse the boys," and this is the reason given by the Murring for the performance of their numerous animal games and dances, which, like this one, take place immediately following the "central mystery." I regard this "opossum game" as most probably a survival from a time when the Kurnai had a class-system with numerous totems.

The men all now returned to their camps, and the Tutnurring to theirs under the charge of the Bullawangs. It was evident, however, that the novices were no longer under such strict supervision as before, they being now in the ranks of men though only so recently admitted.

At about eight o'clock in the evening the Bullawangs took their charges, each carrying a Tundun, for the purpose, as they put it, of "frightening the women." The women and children are always told that at the secret parts of the Jeraeil, Tundun himself comes down to "make the boys into men." The hideous sounds which the uninitiated may chance to hear from a distance they are told is Tundun's voice, and they are warned not to leave their camp while he is about, lest he should kill them with his spears.

This "frightening the women" by the Bullawangs and the newly-initiated youths is done by walking slowly round the encampment at such a distance that there is no chance of their being seen, or their movements through bushes and over logs being heard by the women and children. They swing their bull-roarers as they go. Tundun is thus supposed by the women and children to be walking round the camp before returning to the place whence he came. At the Jeraeil I am describing the novices thoroughly entered into the fun of frightening the women; and, having got over their awe of the bull-roarers, they made an outrageous noise with them. The moment the roaring and screeching sounds were heard there was a terrible clamour of cries and screams from the women and children, to the delight of the novices, who now in their turn aided in mystifying the uninitiated. It sometimes happens that during this nocturnal perambulation one of the bull-roarers becomes detached from its string and is thus lost. If, perchance, it is afterwards picked up by a woman or child, their curiosity is satisfied by the statement that it is a "paddle belonging to Tundun" which he is supposed to have dropped in returning home. The shape of the bull-roarer is much that of the little bark paddle which the Kurnai use when sitting down in their canoes.

"Giving the Boys some Frogs."—After the revelation of the central mysteries of the Jeraeil, the novices being now enrolled among the men, are not kept with such strictness as before. They are allowed to go out in company with their Bullawangs to seek for such animals as are permitted them for food; and this occasion is improved by their mentors, who deliver a peripatetic lecture on their lawful and their forbidden foods. When in camp the instruction continues generally as to the duties now devolving upon them by reason of their having reached manhood. I may now, as at a convenient time, notice what these rules of conduct are—the principal ones at least, for to enumerate them all would require an essay on the tribal and social life of the Kurnai. The youths are instructed:

1. To listen to and obey the old men.

2. To share everything they have with their friends.

3. To live peaceably with their friends.

4. Not to interfere with girls or married women.

5. To obey the food restrictions, until they are released from them by the old men.

Some of the rules which I heard impressed upon the Tutnurring are curious. They were not to use the right hand for anything, unless told to do so by the Bullawang. A breach of this rule, they were informed, would certainly cause Gumil, that is to say, some magical substance, such as Bulk, to get into the offending member, which would require the "doctor" to extract it. They were cautioned not to go near an enceinte woman, nor to let a woman's shadow fall across them, nor to permit a woman to make bread[77] for them, under the certainty that such acts would cause them to become "thin, lazy, and stupid." But a woman might cook an opossum for the novice, provided it were a male and the entrails had been extracted before she touched it.

The rules as to food animals are as follows: The novice may not eat the female of any animal, nor the emu, the porcupine, the conger-eel,[78] nor the spiny ant-eater;[79] but he may eat the males of the common opossum, the ringtail opossum, the rock wallaby, the small scrub wallaby, the bush-rat, the bandicoot, the rabbit-rat,[80] the brushtail,[81] and the flying-mouse. He becomes free of the flesh of the forbidden animals by degrees. This freedom is given him by one of the old men suddenly and unexpectedly smearing some of the cooked fat over his face.[82] The novice must not eat wattle-gum until some of the old men cook and give it to him. This is done soon after the ceremonies, and indeed when in poor country the food rules are soon relaxed, as, for instance, at Lake Tyers, where flesh food is somewhat scarce. In what manner the Tutnurring become free to eat the flesh of the "old man kangaroo" I shall presently show.

The next stage after "Showing the Grandfather" is called "Giving the Tutnurring some Frogs." This is a cryptic way of referring, under the name of "Frogs," which are swamp-dwellers, to the Dura,[83] a food plant which grows abundantly in the lagoons and swamps of Gippsland. In this ceremony the women again take a prominent part. But the novices are now with the men, and not, as at first, together with the Krauun, under the direction of their mothers.

In preparation of this ceremony the women have gathered some of the rhizomes of the Dura, and baked them in the ashes as usual when preparing them for food. The Tutnurring having been painted by their guardians, each one with a band of red ochre down each side of the nose, were told to "come and eat some frogs." They were taken to the open space in the Jeraeil ground, and there placed in a row, the Bullawangs and other men being grouped behind them, holding branches in their hands. The women then came from the main camp, bringing with them the Krauun, whom they placed in a row facing the novices, but about a hundred and fifty yards distant from them. The mothers and the other women stood behind. Each Krauun held in her hands a pole about ten feet long, at the end of which was tied a bunch of the cooked rhizomes of the Dura. They shouted, "Come here, and we will give you your food." Each novice had been placed fronting his Krauun, and being instructed what to do, ran forward, seized the Dura, and throwing it down on the ground, ran back to the Jeraeil camp at the top of his speed. The men, who had raised shouts of "Huh!" and rustled their boughs, opened their ranks to let the Tutnurring through, and then followed them, shouting, to the camp. One of the Bullawangs, who had been told off for the purpose, gathered up the Dura, and brought it to the Jeraeil ground, where it was divided, and eaten by all present. The women returned to their camp.

"Seeing the Ghosts."—At this stage the Tutnurring are told to come and see the Mrart (ghosts). For this ceremony it is necessary to procure a large "old-man kangaroo." At the Jeraeil which I am describing, two days were fruitlessly spent by almost all the men ranging over miles of country in search of the wanted Brangula jira.[84] I found out afterwards that all the "old men" had been shot for their skins by a party of kangaroo hunters (white men) who had been encamped for some time at a place near by. The Jeraeil therefore came to a standstill, until one genius suggested that a male wallaby should be substituted. The old men having approved, the difficulty was got over. This Brangula, having been shot and roasted, was cut up, and the pieces were laid on the top of a large fallen tree at a little distance from, but within hearing of, the camp, where the novices were still under the careful tuition of their guardians. When all was prepared, the men began to shout, as if driving game, to beat the logs and tree-stems with clubs and tomahawk-heads, and in fact to represent a "kangaroo drive." The Tutnurring being carefully shrouded in their blankets, were told to come and see where "the ghosts had caught a kangaroo." On reaching the spot where the men were still imitating the driving of game, the novices were placed in a row close to the log on which the game was displayed. The noise now ceased, and the Headman, holding his throwing-stick pointing to the sky, told them to look up; and their blankets being thrown off, he pointed successively three times to the sky, to the horizon, and to the meat on the log, saying, "Look there! Look there! Look there!"

The novices were now seated on the log, each one having a pile of meat beside him. The Headman gave some of this to them, and the rest was eaten up by the other men.[85]

In this way the youths were made for ever free of the flesh of the kangaroo. It was explained to me that this ceremony is a most important one; for, were it not carried out, the youth would never be able lawfully to eat the flesh of the male kangaroo, as the necessary qualification can be acquired in no other way than by eating the flesh in common with all the men who are present at the Jeraeil.

After this the boys were dressed as men, with a red forehead-band, a nose-peg, reed necklace, armlets, and with their faces marked with naial—that is, red ochre.

The Water Ceremony.—After the "ghosts" had killed and eaten their kangaroo, the novices retired in company with their Bullawangs and some other men. All the rest
FIG. 38.—TUTNURRING, SHOWING CHARACTERISTIC MARKING.
of the people also left the camp, and went by another route to the place where the final ceremony was to take place. This ceremony is public; and not only are the women present, but the novices also, who, after it, become Jeraeil, and no longer Tutnurring, stop in the young men's camp[86] for the day, or until their guardians are ready to take them away.

This final rite, which is the termination of the Jeraeil, was on the banks of a rather deep dry creek, running through the level country near the Thompson River. The mothers of the novices stood in the bed of the dry creek, each having a vessel full of water before her on the ground. The novices had encamped the night before some miles away down the river, and now, being led by their Bullawangs, followed up the winding bed of the creek in single file, and out of sight, until within a hundred yards of where the mothers stood. As they came up, each woman stooped to drink, and her son splashed the water over her with a stick which he held in his hand. She, appearing enraged, filled her mouth with water several times, and squirted it over his face and head. The novices then walked off to the young men's camp, and the women went to their own. One of them was crying at the loss of her son.

Though the "Water Ceremony" ends the Jeraeil, it does not terminate the probation which the youths have to undergo. They must spend a time, which may be of months' duration, away from their friends under the charge of their Bullawangs in the bush. In short, they must remain away gaining their own living, learning lessons of self-control, and being instructed in the manly duties of the Kurnai, until the old men are satisfied that they are sufficiently broken in to obedience, and may be trusted to return to the community. In the present instance, the old men had determined at the Jeraeil that the novices should remain at least a month away, for the reason that, as they expressed it, having been so much with the whites the lads had "gone wild." However, I have heard since that they relented, and permitted the youths to return at an earlier date. Under the strict rules of the olden time this would not have been the case. An old man said to me, "It is not much use forbidding them to eat things. They can get plenty of food—the Jeraeil has nothing to do with beef and damper."

The particulars given in this chapter as to the initiation ceremonies of the tribes of the south-eastern quarter of Australia, although scanty and incomplete in many cases, will suffice to show with sufficient clearness the principles on which they rest, and the procedure by which they are carried out.

Four principal forms of the ceremonies may be distinguished: the Kuringal of the tribes of the south coast of New South Wales; the Burbung of the Wiradjuri of western New South Wales; the Bora of the Kamilaroi tribes; and the Dora ceremonies of the tribes of the south-eastern part of Queensland. In addition to them, there are to be appended the initiation ceremonies of the tribes who occupied the western parts of Victoria, and the Jeraeil ceremonies of the Kurnai of Gippsland. These ceremonies all exhibit principles common to all, but vary in the manner in which those principles are carried out. Those which are referable to the Jibauk of the Wurunjerri are probably survivals of ceremonies derived from tribes such as the Wiradjuri. The Jeraeil was probably brought by the primitive ancestors of the Kurnai, when they occupied Gippsland, from the west, that is, by the early Kulin ancestors.

It will be seen that the Kuringal, in its form as the Bunan, is almost identical with the Burbung, and apparently more or less so with the ceremonies of tribes situated between the coast and the Great Dividing Range as far north as Port Macquarie. This gives an extent of some four hundred and fifty miles along the coast-line of New South Wales. The Burbung, in its slightly varied forms, extends from near the junction of the Murray and the Darling Rivers northwards to the farthest waters of the Macquarie River, some three hundred and fifty miles, and eastward to the western bounds of the Kamilaroi tribes, some three hundred miles. These latter, with kindred tribes such as the Wollaroi, Unghi, and Bigambul, extend from the sources of the Hunter River northwards, between the Wiradjuri and the coast tribes, into Queensland, at least as far as the Condamine River, a distance approaching three hundred miles. These collectively form what may be termed the south-eastern type of the Australian ceremonies of initiation.

The intention of the ceremonies is evidently to make the youths of the tribe worthy members of the community, according to their lights. Certain principles are impressed upon them for their guidance during life—for instance, to listen to and obey the old men; to generously share the fruits of the chase with others, especially with their kindred; not to interfere with the women of the tribe, particularly those who are related to them, nor to injure their kindred, in its widest sense, by means of evil magic. Before the novice is permitted to take his place in the community, marry, and join in its councils, he must possess those qualifications which will enable him to act for the common welfare.

As a hunter he is sent into the bush to find his own living, often for several months, and, under the prohibitions as to certain food animals which arc imposed upon him, he is practically placed in a state of privation, while being possibly surrounded by plentiful but forbidden food.

The qualifications of the young men are tested in some tribes, especially those of Southern Queensland, by a ceremonial combat in which they take part.

The extraordinary restrictive powers of the food rules, and the powerful effect of the teaching at the ceremonies, has been shown in cases known to me by the serious and even fatal effects, produced by what one must call conscience, in novices who had broken the rules and eaten of forbidden food.

All those who have had to do with the native race in its primitive state will agree with me that there are men in the tribes who have tried to live up to the standard of tribal morality, and who were faithful friends and true to their word; in fact men for whom, although savages, one must feel a kindly respect. Such men are not to be found in the later generation, which has grown up under our civilisation, and is rapidly being exterminated by it.

In the ceremonies mentioned, with few exceptions, there is a similar mode of assembling the meeting for initiation, the making of a circular earthen mound, the removal of the boys from their mothers' control, the knocking out of the tooth, the investment in some tribes of the novice with a man's attire, the formation of a new camp by the women, and the showing of the boy to his mother, with the severance of her control over him by a formal act, and finally the period of probation under severe conditions. I have elsewhere referred to the belief inculcated as to the existence of a great supernatural anthropomorphic Being, by whom the ceremonies were first instituted, and who still communicates with mankind through the medicine-men, his servants.

All this is more or less clearly shown in the ceremonies in Victoria and New South Wales, but less so in those of Queensland, where the food rules, for instance, seem to be made with the object of providing a plentiful and superior supply of food for the old men, and not, as in the before-mentioned tribes, to inculcate discipline, under which the novices are placed. Yet they also act in the same direction in making the participation in the better class of food dependent on age. Whether the rule of the Queensland tribes, or of those of New South Wales and Victoria, is the older one, is a difficult question to answer. In my opinion the former is probably the older, for it seems to be most likely that where the old men have the power to do so, they will impose rules which favour themselves, leaving the disciplinary rule to be the secondary object.

The universality of the practice that the guardians of the novice are of the relation to him of sister's husband, or wife's brother, is clearly connected with the almost universal practice of betrothal, and exchange of sister for sister, in marriage. As, moreover, the boy is initiated by the men of the intermarrying moiety of the tribe other than his own, those men of the group from which his future wife must come are naturally suggested as his guardians and preceptors in the ceremonies. Their selection would be acceptable to both moieties, that to which the novice belongs, and that from which his wife must come. As, moreover, the relation of Kabo, to use the Yuin term of relationship, is not merely an individual, but a group of men, the arrangement would have the strength of numbers, and a strong kindred behind it. Thus the novice, who is taken from the protection of his own kindred during the ceremonies, is placed in that of the kindred of his future wife, whose interest it is that no harm shall come to him.

One of the causes which act strongly in producing uniformity of belief and of practice, is the fact that men come from a wide radius of country to the ceremonies, under what may be called a ceremonial armistice. The component parts of the several tribes which thus meet together are each, in their furthest limits, in contact with still more distant tribes, with whom they intermarry. I have referred to instances of a contingent from a distant locality being accompanied by people of another tribe, friendly to them, but strangers to the tribe which has convened the ceremonies. It is certain that in each contingent there will be leading men, probably medicine-men, who will take part with their fellows in the ceremonies they have come to see. When they return, they carry with them the sacred mysteries of this tribe, and will be able to introduce such new beliefs or procedure as may have recommended itself to them, and they may on their part have contributed something to those they visited. The effect of this intercourse, even if slight, must be to produce uniformity in the procedure of the ceremonies; and the period during which this may have been going on is not to be measured in years, that is, in view of the long-continuing isolation of the Australian aborigines, from any material outside influence. The fact that the ceremonies are the same in principle, even where they vary in practice, seems to me to strongly confirm the theory which I have suggested.

Such are the views which I have formed as to the initiation ceremonies of the eastern type. In the next chapter I shall consider those which form the western type. For the present I may point out the apparent range of the several classes of ceremonies, which constitute the two types, namely, those which have the rites of circumcision, with or without subincision, and those which are without them.

(1) Ceremonies like the Kuringal, Burbung, and Bora, which are characterised by the removal of a tooth, obtain in the extreme south-eastern part of the continent.

(2) The Dora ceremonies of the Maryborough (Queensland) tribes apparently indicate the character of those of the north-east part of Australia.

(3) To the westward of these are ceremonies which, like those of the Dieri, are marked by circumcision and subincision.

These latter may possibly extend over the greater part, if not the whole, of the western half of the continent.

  1. Journal Anthrop. Institute, May 1884 and May 1885.
  2. Op. cit.
  3. "Raw ceremony," alluding to the novices not being "roasted" before a fire.
  4. The burrain or kilt is made of the skin of a rabbit rat (nga-bun), or kangaroo rat (guragar), wallaby or native cat, cut into strands about half an inch in width, the full length of the skin being still left attached by about an inch at the upper end. One burrain is fastened in front and one behind the wearer, being pendent from the belt of opossum-fur string by the outermost strand, tucked under the belt on each side.
  5. Unda or ngulia.
  6. Kikul-buga.
  7. The word wirri-wirri means "hasten"; than means "speech," as in the name of the language of the Krauatungalung, which is Than-quai, or "rough speech."
  8. Kujerung.
  9. Wunkim.
  10. Bameruk.
  11. Gari means a snake of any kind.
  12. Hoplocephalus sp.
  13. Mudbi.
  14. The wearing of this set is not confined to manhood, for small sets are sometimes made to please little boys.
  15. Gunjerung is the "Morning Star."
  16. This word is properly "Waugh," but is pronounced Wah or Woh.
  17. This man had married the daughter of Yibai-malian.
  18. The proper time is when the whiskers are beginning to show themselves, and when the old men observe that the boys are paying more attention to women of the tribe than is considered decent or proper.
  19. Eucalyptus obliqua.
  20. Exocarpus cupressiformis.
  21. The principal men in these ceremonies, such for instance as this Gunjerung, always stand apart from the others. See the plate in Collins' work, where the Koradjis (Gommeras) are standing apart just as Gunjerung did.
  22. Bul-bul.
  23. Kuk-kum-bur.
  24. Ngalal is "sinew," e.g. those at the back of the knee. Bal is a dual postfix, the name being rendered as "the two Ngalalbal." The name probably also refers to the sinewy legs of the emu, for Ngalalbal is the emu.
  25. Persoonia linearis.
  26. That is, either the song of the sub-class Yibai, or of the individual Yibai who was thus fictitiously dead and buried.
  27. Dr. Lorimer Fison tells me that this cleansing exactly corresponds with the Nanga ceremony in Fiji.
  28. J. Buntine.
  29. Op. cit. p. 387. 1895.
  30. Pp. 353-372.
  31. G. W. Rusden.
  32. K. W. Boydell, per Dr. J. Fraser.
  33. A. Hook.
  34. Dr. M'Kinlay.
  35. W. Scott.
  36. Gimbai is used here as "friend," but it evidently means more than that, because the tree-creeper is at Port Stephens one of the sex totems, and is called their gimbai, that is, "friend."
  37. Dr. E. M. M'Kinlay.
  38. Excursions in New South Wales during the years 1830-31-32-33, by Lieut. Breton, R.N.
  39. J. Gibson.
  40. Journ. Anthrop. Inst. vol. xiv. p. 344.
  41. Sister's husband or wife's brother.
  42. I omitted to inquire why this was done. Possibly the boy's father had not been initiated.
  43. Op. cit. 358.
  44. C. Naseby.
  45. Cyrus E. Doyle
  46. Acacia glaucescens.
  47. Cyrus E. Doyle
  48. Harry E. Aldridge.
  49. Bunda, one of the sub-class names of these tribes.
  50. Jocelyn Brooke.
  51. J. C. Muirhead.
  52. This word is pronounced usually as I have written it, but it really is Jiba-gop.
  53. Letters from Victorian Pioneers, p. 99.
  54. J. Dawson, op. cit. p. 30.
  55. Those to whom the message goes accompanied by the Tundun must obey the call. Two of the Brayaka clan failed to attend after being summoned, having remained at one of the missions for a wedding. The old men were very indignant, and said, "When that kalk (wood) goes to a man he must come, he cannot stop away." In olden times this non-attendance would have had serious results for the two Brayakas.
  56. Gweraeil-Rukut; Rukut = woman.
  57. The novices are called Tutnurring during the ceremonies; afterwards they are Brewit (young men) or Jeraeil.
  58. The Krauun is one of those women who stand in the relation of "sister" to the Tutnurring. For instance, she is his "tribal," if not "own," mother's brother's daughter. In other words, she is the "tribal," if not "own," sister to the Bullawang. See following note on "Bullawang."
  59. The Kurnai name for the Australian robin (Petroica multicolor). Pointing to one of these birds, an old man said to me, "That is the policeman who looks after the boys." The birds Bullawaug, Yiirung, and Djiitgun are said to be three of the "leen muk-Kurnai" ("real Kurnai ancestors").
  60. These staves should properly have been "yam-sticks," but these implements are no longer used by the Kurnai, flour having replaced the former food of roots or tubers. The bunches of leaves which play a part in these ceremonies are called "Jerung"—branches, boughs, or twigs.
  61. Both in the Kurnai and in the Murring tribes the use of charcoal powder belongs to these ceremonies and to magic.
  62. No meaning can be given for these words. I was told in reference to them, "Our fathers always said and did thus to make the boys into men."
  63. I was much struck by the similarity of this raising the hands towards the sky, to the pointing upwards of the Murring at their Kuringal; but I could not learn that it had any reference to Mungan-ngaua, who is the equivalent of the Murring Daramulun.
  64. "He!" may be translated here "Well," or "Good." The aspirate has a nasal sound which cannot be represented in writing. "He!" is also used affirmatively as we use the sound "Hm!" Nga = yes.
  65. Yiirung, the totem of the Kurnai males, as Djiitgun is that of the females.
  66. Kaiung is the women's apron, which in the old times was worn by the Krauun after this ceremony until she married, when it was discarded. I believe that Djiitgun, the female totem, the "women's sister," ought also to have been invoked during the marching round. I noticed its omission, but neglected at the time to inquire the reason, and I have not since had a chance of so doing.
  67. Mulla-mullung is the blackfellow doctor, the medicine-man.
  68. Barun.
  69. Bridda-bridda.
  70. Piboro.
  71. Jimbrin.
  72. Gumbart.
  73. Takwai.
  74. Dindin = bad, wicked.
  75. Wehntwin = father's father, or father's father's brother.
  76. All those who are initiated at the same Jeraeil are Brogan, or Comrade, to each other. Muk-Brogan is the Arch-Brogan, if I may so put it.
  77. This prohibition as to bread had been transferred from the prohibition as to the Dura, which was formerly much used, and which was cooked by baking in the ashes.
  78. Noyang.
  79. Kauern.
  80. Perameles lagotis.
  81. Phascologale penicillata.
  82. One of the men attending this Jeraril had never yet been made free of some food animal, I forget which, but it was the eating of which, for some reason or other, he believed would be injurious to him. Being very strong and active and always on his guard, he had managed to escape whenever the old men had tried to smear his face with its fat.
  83. Typha angustifolia.
  84. Brangula, "male"; jira, "kangaroo."
  85. This may perhaps be a survival of former ceremonies of totemism.
  86. The young men (Brewit) and the married men who have not their wives with them always encamp together at some distance from the camps of the married men.