Native tribes of the Northern Territory of Australia

Baldwin Spencer

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Important Information

Users of this material are warned that it may contain terms, descriptions and images which may be culturally sensitive and/or would not now be culturally acceptable. Terms and annotations which reflect the author's attitude or that of the period in which the item was written may be considered inappropriate today.

Users of this material should be aware that, in some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, use of the names of deceased persons may cause distress, particularly to the relatives of these people.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Social Organisation and Marriage Regulations
  3. Initiation Ceremonies
  4. Totemic Systems and Totem Groups
  5. Sacred Sticks, Bull-Roarers, and Ceremonial Objects
  6. Burial and Mourning Ceremonies
  7. Magic and Medicine
  8. Beliefs in Regard to the Origin of Children
  9. Traditions Concerning Imberombera, the Great Ancestor, and Also Other Ancestors of the Kakadu Nation
  10. Various Traditions, Customs, and Beliefs
  11. Food Restrictions
  12. Weapons and Implements
  13. Boats.
  14. Clothing and Ornament
  15. Decorative Art

List of Illustrations


1.--Open Forest Land near Daly Waters. Typical Central Australian Country 3

2.--Ant Hill Country, near Pine Creek 3

3.--Downs Country Between pp. 4-5

4.--Daly River 4-5

5.--Rocky Bar and Reach on the Flora River 4-5

6.--A Lily Water Pool 4-5

7.--Swamp jungle, Melville Island 4-5

8.--Two Kakadu Men 6-7

9.--Geimbio Family, Man with Six Wives 6-7

10.--Two Kakadu Women 6-7

11.--Group of Women of Mulluk Mulluk Tribe 6-7

12.--Group of Port Essington Natives on Board Cooper's Lugger, in Apsley Straits 6-7

13.--Group of Older Men in Characteristic Attitudes. Melville Island 6-7

14.--Two Melville Island Men. Back View, showing Cicatrices 8

15.--Two Melville Island Men. Front View, showing Cicatrices 8

16.--Bathurst Island Man with Head Decorated. Side View 9

17.--Bathurst Island Man with Head Decorated. Front View 9

18.--Melville Island Man whose Leg was Bitten off by a Crocodile 10

18A.--Larakia Woman with joint of Index Finger Cut Off 10

19.--Lubras Cooking. Waduman Tribe 27

20.--Man Killing Snake. Kakadu Tribe 28

21.--Native Cooking Oven, showing the Stones that are Heated. They are in the Shade at the right hand side 28

22.--Stringy-Bark Mia Mia, with Man, Woman and Child. Melville Island 29

23.--Young Child Deserted and left in Camp. Melville Island 29

24.--Skeleton of Mosquito Mia Mia. Roper River 31

25.--Mosquito Mia Mia. Roper River 31

26.--Buffalo Corrobboree. Melville Island 33

27.--Buffalo Corrobboree. Melville Island 34

28.--End of Corrobboree. Melville Island 34

Map showing Distribution of Local Groups on Melville and Bathurst Islands Page 44

29.--Procession of Decorated Men through the Forest, during the Yam Ceremony. Melville Island 94

30.--The Ceremonial Ground during the Yam Ceremony 96

31.--The Three Men bending down are holding the Marukumana Boys' Heads in Baskets under the Water 99

32.--Special Fire built on the Ceremonial Ground to roast the Yams. Melville Island 99

33-Taking the Yams out of the Fire. Melville Island 102

34.--Father painting the Mikinyertinga Girl. Melville Island. 108

35.--Men Pulling their Beards out. The old man on the left-hand side is in the act of pulling. Melville Island 108

36.--Boys carrying the Wands called Uro-Ammi, when summoning Members of Distant Camps to the Initiation Ceremony. Kakadu Tribe 133

37.--Scene in the Ober Ceremony. Kakadu Tribe . Between pp. 136-7

38.--Scene in the Ober Ceremony. Kakadu Tribe 136-7

39.--Scene in the Ober Ceremony. Kakadu Tribe 136-7

40.--Scene in the Ober Ceremony. Kakadu Tribe 136-7

41.--Scene in the Ober Ceremony (Snake). Kakadu Tribe 136-7

42.--Scene in the Ober Ceremony (Snake). Kakadu Tribe 141

43.--Jungoan Ceremony. Kakadu Tribe 145

44.--Swinging the Bull-roarer in the Larakia Tribe 145

45.--Showing the Bull-roarer to the Initiates. Larakia Tribe 155

46.--Placing the Bull-roarer on the Hands of the Initiates. Larakia Tribe 155

47.--Scene from the Muraian Ceremony. Kakadu Tribe 186

48.--Scene from the Muraian Ceremony. Kakadu Tribe 187

49.--Scene from the Muraian Ceremony. Kakadu Tribe 186

50.--Newly-made Grave, before erection of Posts. The Mound is covered with a Sheet of Paper Bark 230

51.--Two Old Graves. Melville Island 230

52.--Women wearing Armlets during Mourning Ceremonies on Melville Island 34

53.--Close of the Mourning Dance. Men leaning on the Grave Posts. Bathurst Island 234

54.--Clearing the Ground around the Grave, and Erection of Posts. Melville Island 235

55.--Men Dancing round the Grave Posts. Bathurst Island 236

56.--Mourning Ceremony, Man jumping in the Air. Bathurst Island 238

57.--Carrying the Body, wrapped in Paper Bark, to the Grave. Kakadu Tribe 240

58.--Placing Stones on the newly-made Grave. Kakadu Tribe 240

59.--Circle of Grass Stalks with Paper Bark in Centre, in which the Body of the Dead Woman had been Wrapped 242

60.--Water-pouring Ceremony. Kakadu Tribe 242

61.--Men Painting themselves and Children with Nack. Kakadu Tribe 244

62.--Women wearing Armlets called Kundama, during Mourning Ceremony. Kakadu Tribe. 244

63.--Child's Bones carried about in Dilly Bag by her Mother. Kakadu Tribe. 248

64.--Ceremony of Korno 258

65.--Placing Sticks over the Buried Spirit at the close of the Korno Ceremony. Kakadu Tribe 260

66,--The Old and the Young Numereji Snake. A Bark Drawing. Kakadu Tribe 313

67.--Bubba Peibi from a Drawing on Bark 313

68.--Medicine Man rubbing his Hand under his Arm-pit to secure Moisture to rub on the Patient. Kakadu Tribe 319

69.--Medicine Man sucking and massaging Patient to withdraw Girl Magic. Kakadu Tribe 319

70.--Holes in the Rock supposed to have been made by a Thunder Man at Lurudminni 335

71.--Bark Belts. Kakadu Tribe 335

72.--Natives throwing Spears on Melville Island 365

73.--Corrobboree Wands or Yai-illa. Kakadu Tribe 396

74.--Natives gathering the Lotus Lily. Roper River 396

75.--Natives and Dug-out Canoes. Melville Island 399

76.--Designs drawn on the Bodies of Men during the Performance of a Muraian Ceremony in the Kakadu Tribe 429

77.--Designs drawn on the Bodies of Kakadu, Umoriu, and Geimbio Natives during the Performance of ordinary Corrobborees 431

78.--Body Decorations of Melville and Bathurst Islanders during the Performance of Ceremonies 432

79.--A Bark Drawing of a Mormo called Ingwalin. Kakadu Tribe 433

80.--Bark Drawings of two Mormo or Debil-debils. Kakadu Tribe 434

81.--Bark Drawing of a Mormo. Geimbo Tribe 433

82.--Bark Drawing of a Mormo called Yerobeiri. Kakadu Tribe Between pp. 436-7

83.--Bark Drawing of a Mormo called Warraguk. Kakadu Tribe 436-7

84.--Bark Drawing of Three Snakes. Kakadu Tribe 436-7

85--Bark Drawing of a Crocodile. Kakadu Tribe 436-7

86.--Bark Drawing of a Native Spearing a large Rock Kangaroo. Kakadu Tribe 436-7

87.--Bark Drawing of a Kangaroo Hunt, Kakadu Tribe 436-7

88.--Bark Drawing. Kakadu Tribe 438-9

89.--Bark Drawing of a Barramunda fish (Osteoglossum leichardti). Kakadu Tribe 438-9

90.--Bark Drawing of a Native Spearing a "Native Companion" (Grus australasianus). Kakadu Tribe 438-9

91.--Bark Drawing of a Palmated Goose. Kakadu Tribe 438-9

92.--Bark Drawing of an Echidna. Kakadu Tribe 438-9


I.--Ornaments Worn by various Individuals in connection with the Initiation Ceremonies on Melville Island. (Coloured) 112

II.--Sacred Bull-roarers 212

III.--Sacred Objects used during the Muraian Ceremony. Kakadu Tribe. (Coloured) 218

IV.--Sacred Objects of the Muraian Ceremony. Kakadu Tribe 218

V.--Sacred Objects of the Muraian Ceremony. Kakadu Tribe. 220

VII.--Sacred Objects of the Muraian Ceremony. Kakadu Tribe 222

VII.--Sacred Objects of the Muraian Ceremony. Kakadu Tribe 224

VIII.--Armlets worn by Women during Mourning Ceremonies on Melville and Bathurst Islands. (Coloured) Between pp. 232-3

IX.--Decorated Rings Carried by the Women during Mourning Ceremonies on Melville Island. (Coloured) 232

X.--Grave Posts, Melville Island. (Coloured) 232

XI.--Tjilaiyu Ceremony. Explanatory Diagram 259

XII.--Stone Axes 355

XIII.--Various Forms of Spears 356

XIV.--Spears, Barbed on one Side. Melville and Bathurst Islands 360

XV.--Spears, Barbed on both Sides. Melville and Bathurst Islands 362

XVI.--Various Forms of Clubs. Kakadu Tribe 366

XVII.--Various Forms of Clubs from Melville and Bathurst Islands 368

XVIII.--Various Forms of Clubs. Melville and Bathurst Islands 372

XIX.--Various Forms of Clubs. Melville and Bathurst Islands 374

XX.--Spear Throwers 377

XXI.--Various Forms of Baskets 377

XXII.--Netted Baskets, woven out of Grass, etc. Kakadu and other Tribes 381

XXIII.--Netted Baskets, woven out of Grass, etc. Kakadu and other Tribes 382

XXIV.--Netted Baskets, woven out of Grass, etc. Kakadu and other Tribes 384

XXV.--Baskets made from Stringy-bark. Melville Island 388

XXVI.--Trumpets. Kakadu and other Tribes . 390

XXVII.--Various Articles used by the Kakadu Tribe 397

XXVIII.--Various Forms of Ornament. Kakadu and allied Tribes 403

XXIX.--Bark Armlets worn by Women during Mourning Ceremonies on Melville and Bathurst Islands 408

XXX.--Bark Armlets worn by Women during Mourning Ceremonies on Melville and Bathurst Islands 409

XXXI.--Ring carried by Women during Mourning Ceremonies on Melville Island 415

XXXII.--Rings carried by Women during Mourning Ceremonies on Melville Island 417

XXXIII.--Various Forms of Armlets. Melville Island 411

XXXIV.--Bark Baskets. Melville Island. (Coloured) 422

XXXV.--Bark Baskets. Melville Island. (Coloured) 422

XXXVI.--Decorated Spears. Melville and Bathurst Islands. 426

Map of the Northern Territory 6








C.M.G., M.A., F.R.S., Hon. D.Sc. (Man.);

Late Fellow of Lincoln College; Hon. Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford; Professor of Biology in the University of Melbourne; Special Commissioner for Aboriginals in the Northern Territory








IN 1911 the Commonwealth Government sent a small scientific commission to the Northern Territory to make a preliminary survey of the country. The party consisted of Dr. J. A. Gilruth, Dr. Anton Breiul, Dr. W. G. Woolnough, and myself. The time at our disposal was short and the work that we did was naturally, more or less, of an introductory nature, indicating lines of research that might be followed up, with advantage, in the future.

Towards the end of the same year I was asked by the late Mr. Batchelor, then Minister for External Affairs, to return to the Territory for a period of twelve months as Special Commissioner for Aboriginals and Chief Protector in charge of the Department that the Government had instituted to safeguard the interests of the aboriginal population.

The Council of the University granted me the necessary leave of absence, and accordingly I left Melbourne on December 25th, 1911, and Darwin, again, on December 25th, 1912.

A very considerable part of my time was occupied in routine work, and, unfortunately, owing to an accident which, temporarily, rendered me unable to walk, I lost two months of valuable time during the dry season. I was, however, able to do some work amongst tribes, with regard to the customs, organisation, and beliefs of which little has been known hitherto. The present volume contains the scientific results of my work, expanding and, in some points, correcting my preliminary report, which it supersedes.1

In 1911, in company with Dr. Gilruth, now Administrator of the Territory, I had visited Melville Island, where, thanks to the assistance of Mr. R. J. Cooper, who has lived amongst the natives for long, knows them, and is entirely trusted by them, we were able to see and learn something of their customs. These were so interesting that I was very anxious to be able to spend more time amongst them and gladly availed myself of the offer of Mr. Cooper to assist me in gaining some further knowledge of these interesting people. I went across to Melville and Bathurst Islands in March, 1912, and spent six weeks there, during which time I was fortunate enough to see one of their most important ceremonies, connected with the initiation of the young men. It was the monsoonal period and we had a decidedly wet time, but it was intensely interesting, and I am deeply indebted to Mr. Cooper for his help, without which I could have done but little amongst these natives. It is not too much to say that it is due to him that white men can now land, with impunity, on Melville and Bathurst Islands.

At a later period, in December, 1912, I revisited Bathurst Island, in company with Mr. P. Cahill, and had the opportunity of again witnessing the weird, wild burial and mourning ceremonies of the natives and of obtaining both cinematograph and phonograph records of them.

1. A short preliminary account was published in the "Bulletin of the Northern Territory," No. 2, April, 1912. In May, 1913, I presented to the Commonwealth Government a further "Preliminary Report on the Aboriginals of the Northern Territory," containing recommendations concerning the general policy to be pursued in regard to them. This was also published in the "Report of the Administrator for the year 1912," issued in October, 1913.]

A motor trip during the months of August and September, in company with Dr. Gilruth, who had meanwhile been appointed Administrator of the Territory, enabled me to see something of the conditions under which the natives were living in a wide area of the country, extending as far southwards from Darwin as Newcastle Waters, and as far east as the Gulf of Carpentaria. Our trip was, of necessity, too hurried to enable me to do any serious work amongst the natives, but, as we were in contact with tribes, either identical with, or very closely similar in regard to their customs, organisation, and beliefs, to others, such as the Mara, Mungarai, Binbinga, and Anula, which had previously been investigated by Mr. Gillen and myself, this was not a matter of great importance and I was glad of the opportunity that the trip afforded me of taking a general survey of the country and aboriginals.

It is only possible to study the latter seriously when camped amongst them quietly for some time. I was, fortunately, able to do this in the case of the Kakadu Tribe, in connection with which my most interesting results were obtained. I secured these only in consequence of the whole-hearted co-operation of Mr. P. Cahill in my work, during the time that I spent as the guest of himself and Mrs. Cahill in their delightful home at Oenpelli, far out in the wilds on the East Alligator River. Mr. Cahill has had long experience of the Kakadu and other tribes, talks their language, and has won their complete confidence. He most generously placed his time and knowledge at my disposal and, thanks to him, I was able to gain considerable insight into the sacred beliefs of the Kakadu people. I am also much indebted to him for most valuable assistance at a subsequent time, when we travelled together to the Flora River and came into contact with natives of the Mudburra and Waduman tribes, for the opportunity of meeting whom I am largely indebted to my friends Mr. and Mrs. Pearce, of Willeroo Station.

Amongst all the tribes, I have found it of very great advantage to be able to show them that I am well acquainted with the customs and secret matters of other tribes. As soon as they understand this, it is wonderful how they open up, and it is, also, equally remarkable how completely they close in the presence of anyone who is uncongenial to them.

It is perhaps advisable to say once more that both the late Mr. Gillen and myself were regarded as fully initiated members of the Arunta tribe, which is now, unfortunately, decimated in numbers and hopelessly degenerate in customs.

In conclusion, I have to express my thanks to the many other friends who have helped me in various ways. To the Administrator of the Northern Territory and Mrs. Gilruth I am deeply indebted for their most generous assistance and personal help in ways too numerous to mention. To the Hon. J. Thomas, Minister for External Affairs, during the period that I spent in the Territory, I am indebted for cordial interest and assistance in my work, as also to Atlee Hunt, Esq., Secretary for External Affairs. In travelling over the Territory I met, as everyone always does, with the greatest kindness and courtesy at the hands of the few scattered station holders and the officials on the Telegraph line.

Lastly, I wish to thank my publishers for the very,, courteous and generous way in which they have acceded to what, I fear, must have appeared my rather extravagant desires in regard to the publication, and more especially the illustration of this and previous works. These illustrations, however, better than many pages of description, will serve to give an idea of the stage of culture and manner of life of a primitive and fast-disappearing race.

It is with deep regret that I am unable to associate with my own, as co-author of this work, the name of F. J. Gillen, to whom, because of his untiring, enthusiastic, and sympathetic study of the natives, whom he knew and understood, every student of Australian anthropology, and myself most of all, owes a great debt of gratitude and admiration.

   February, 1914.


I AM indebted to the courtesy of the Hon. the Minister for External Affairs for permission to use Figs. 4, 7, 11, and 12, and to Dr. Anton Breiul for Fig. 18A. The remaining Figures of scenery and ceremonies are all reproduced from my own negatives. I am very much indebted to Mr. R. H. Walcott, curator of the Ethnological Museum, Melbourne, for the great amount of trouble that he has taken in the preparation of the photographs illustrating the chapters dealing with Weapons, Implements, and Decorative Art. All the specimens figured in this work are in the National Museum, Melbourne.



Nature of the country inhabited by the tribes.--List of tribes, with their localities.--Physical appearance of the natives.--No Malay admixture.--Cicatrices.--Larakia woman with joint of index finger cut off.--Small number of children in each family.--Organisation of the tribes, a general résumé.--Totemic systems, a general résumé.--Intichiuma ceremonies.--Initiation ceremonies.--Burial and mourning ceremonies.--Spirit children and origin of children.--Reincarnation Sacred objects.--Camp life.--Habitations.--Flies and mosquitos.--Corrobborees.--Definition of tribe.--Sending out of messengers.--Characteristics of native character.--Magic.--Mental ability.--Fondness for fun and sense of humour.

OVER the vast area of more than five hundred and twenty thousand square miles occupied by the Northern Territory there are, as might be expected, great variations in regard to climate and natural features. Whilst this is so, it is, on the other hand, possible to divide it into three main parts, a Southern Central plateau, gradually rising from the lowlands of Lake Eyre to the Macdonnell Ranges. A Northern Central depression, in the form of a great basin, margined to the north, east and west by the Coastal Ranges, and lastly a fringe of coastland between the latter and the sea.

The first two of these, again, agree in all essential features. They have the same hot, dry climate, sparse vegetation of gum trees, Mulga scrub, Hakeas and porcupine-grass. Every now and then, but very rarely, the vegetation may be a little more luxuriant, in spots such as Palm Creek in the Macdonnell Ranges where a solitary colony of Fan palms (Livistonia mariæ) has managed to survive, and where groups of graceful Cycads grow in crevices amongst the rocks. Away, however, from the Ranges the country is more or less arid. The soil is dry and sandy with tufts of pale, withered grass that grow so far apart from one another that you can easily count them. It is wonderful how long the grass keeps its moisture. It must have learned the habit of throwing its roots down to a great depth. Towards the end of a long dry season, however, you can powder the grass up in your hand, and, for lack of nourishment, your horses become little more than bags of bones. For mile after mile there is nothing but thin gum tree forest, and in the dry season there is not a drop of surface water; you may get some by digging a soakage in the sandy bed of a river where the gum trees show that there is water below the surface, but, for the most part, you must rely on the wells that the Government has sunk at intervals along the course of the overland telegraph line. These vary in depth from a hundred to two hundred and seventy feet. Each one is enclosed in a strong palisade to keep out wandering horses and cattle and has, also, two trap doors which close down over the opening and serve to keep out wild dogs and small vermin. There is a windlass and a chain with a bucket at each end.

The one shown in the illustration (Fig. 1) lies between the Katherine Creek and Daly Waters. It is one of the deeper ones and by means of an endless wire a horse can be hitched on to wind up the heavy bucket. When this view was taken I was travelling on an experimental motor car trip with the Administrator, and we utilised the motor car to do the winding up.

Away to the east of the telegraph line there lies the Downs country--huge stretches of slightly undulating open country, covered with a most luxuriant growth of grass with, every now and then, river beds, meandering across the open plains, starting nowhere in particular and gradually petering out (Fig. 3). Their banks are bordered, here and there, with clumps of coolibars but, often for scores of miles, you see nothing bigger than a small scraggy bush and, as you travel along, you collect such little twigs as you can to boil your next billy with. For miles upon miles also, in many parts, the whole country face is studded with white ant-hills of which there are several quite different kinds. In the first place they vary much in colour according to the nature of the ground. They may be red, or almost white, yellow of various shades, grey, or various shades of brown. A fair idea of the surface formation of the country can be had from the material of which they are made. In form they vary immensely. Some never seem to exceed an average of perhaps four or five feet in height and are in the form of single, flattened columns, or slabs, sometimes tapering to a point, at others with a bluntly rounded apex; others, again, are like masses of great bubbles of sand, from a few inches to a foot or more in diameter. These are piled irregularly on one another to form a mound which may finally reach a height of six feet or even more. Then, in addition to the smaller ones, which may be so numerous and so close together as to give the country the appearance of a gigantic graveyard, there are the huge ones made, perhaps, of a single shaft, or of a main central one, with others clustering round it like smaller pinnacles around a main spire (Fig. 2). These are most extraordinary structures; they may reach a height of twenty-five feet and must have taken many years to build.

In the whole of the central area, that is inland from the coastal ranges, there is no permanent flowing water. For a short time after the rainfall the creeks run, but this may be only for a few hours. After that the scattered water holes alone remain--some may last for a few weeks, others for months, whilst others, such as the chain forming the Newcastle Waters, are permanent, though, of course, they gradually decrease in area as the dry season advances. Towards the close of the dry season the natives must gather about the few remaining waters, though it is wonderful how they will secure water by means of little soakages in the sandy beds of creeks, or out of the roots of trees, or even, if it comes to the worst, by licking the dew off herbage. Amongst the ranges they have their little stores of water which no white man would ever find; little crevices in the rocks or holes in trees out of which they can sometimes only get the water by means of a whisp of grass which they dip into the water and suck when it comes out.

The whole of the central area, right up to the Coastal Ranges, is very much the same everywhere except that when, coming up from the south, you reach Powell's creek, there is a distinct change in the vegetation. The gums remain, but Bauhenias, with rich foliage, red flowers and large brown pods appear; the Kapok with its bright yellow flowers is very noticeable and the Mulga is largely replaced by Lancewood, while Indiarubber, Ironwood, and so-called Quinine trees are abundant. But, even as far north as this, the vegetation is not really tropical.

After rising from the central part on to the Coastal Ranges, the height of which is not more than one thousand feet, there are sometimes, as, for example, going down to the Coast on the Gulf of Carpentaria, a series of "jump-ups," as they are called, where there is a sudden sharp rise, or fall, according to which way you happen to be travelling. This brings you down to the coast country where, in many ways, things are very different from what you meet with on the uplands of the interior. East, west, and northwards from the Ranges, rivers, such as the Roper, Daly and the Alligators, rise and run to the sea. These are fine streams with permanent running water, the tide affecting them for about eighty miles from their mouth (Fig. 4). They are marked by the presence of a series of rocky bars, each perhaps six, or at most eight, feet in fright, that stretch across from side to side and over which the water pours all the year round (Fig. 5). These bars separate long reaches of deep, clear water, fifty to seventy yards in width, which may run for miles. These rivers and the billabongs and backwaters of the coastal district swarm with fish and water fowl of all kinds. Every now and then there are swamp lands and shallower Pools, where the great, red-flowering lotus grows, and the ordinary water pools are flecked with white and heliotrope lilies (Fig. 6). The river courses are bordered with magnificent paper-barks (Melaleuca leucodendron) that flower profusely and attract great flocks of honey-eating birds. Now and again you come across a patch of jungle (Fig. 7) with clumps of graceful bamboos, fan palms, lawyer vines, mosquitos and land leeches, but, except just for these isolated patches, there is little that is really tropical. In many parts the so-called cycad "palm" grows profusely in the scrub with a stem from one to eight or even ten feet high, crowned with a circle of stiff, fern-like leaves, with perhaps a large central cone. The climate of this coastal district, especially along the north, is very different from that of the interior. In the latter it is hot and dry with cold winter nights. Along the Roper river even, about one hundred miles from its mouth, the temperature in August fell to 29° F. during the night, and very often we had a fog that did not lift till nine o'clock it the morning. The climate in Darwin and along just the coastal fringe is less pleasant, but even here the average wet bulb for December is little more than 80, and these warm, moist conditions may be said to last through November to March, the rest of the year being relatively cool.

Such are the conditions under which the natives live, and, whether it be the difference in the 'food and water supply, or not, the fact remains that in many ways the coastal and island tribes are sharply marked off from the inland ones, in regard both to their customs and their organisations.

The distribution of some of the more important tribe is roughly shown on the accompanying map, the numbers on which correspond to those in the following list:

It is simply impossible to make any, except a most vague, estimate in regard to the number of the natives in the northern part of the territory. Down in the Macdonnell Ranges the old Arunta tribe is practically decimated, and the same is true of others in the north, such as the Larakia, Warrai, Wul-wullam; more especially is this true of those who have had the misfortune to come into close contact with the Chinese working on the gold fields.

There are, however, great areas, more especially in the north-east, where the waters are permanent and the food supply abundant, and here, sheltered from interference, as yet, by the nature of the country, they probably exist in large numbers. The inland tribes, in fact one can say all the mainland tribes, so far as their physical appearance is concerned, are essentially similar to those members of the Warramunga, Ngangi, Binbinga, Allaua, and other tribes whom we have previously described.1 In Figs. 8, 9, and 10, some typical representatives of the Kakadu and Geimbio tribes, inhabiting the Alligator River district, are represented. In Fig. 11 a group of women belonging to the Mulluk Mulluk tribe on the Daly River is seen, and in Fig. 12 a group of Port Essington natives. It will be seen that there is considerable difference in regard to the curliness of the hair, sometimes it may, as in the left-hand of the two in Fig. 8, be wavy, but not straight and lank; at others, as in the right-hand man, it may be decidedly curly, but never really woolly. Amongst these tribes there are the usual keloid ridges of various forms, raised as ornaments on the upper part of the arms, across the chest, and, sometimes, abdomen. The women always have their hair cut short. There is only very rarely indeed seem anything like a trace of Malay blood. It has been, perhaps not unnaturally, suggested that, during years past, the intercourse between the Malays who come south annually, in search of trepang and tortoiseshell, and, the natives, has resulted in the introduction of a Malay strain in this part of the continent. It is possible that, on very rare occasions, a Malay or Macassar man may have succeeded in having intercourse with an aboriginal woman, but he would only do so at the risk of his life. The Malays have to be extremely careful in their dealings with these coastal natives, who are strong and fierce, and are always on the look-out to kill intruders. It would, under ordinary conditions, only be by mere chance that a Malay would have the opportunity of seeing a native woman, not one of whom would be allowed near a Malay camp, and, for a stranger to venture into the bush, would mean certain death.

1. Cf. Northern Tribes, Introduction. For their physical measurements reference can be made to Dr. R. Burston, "Anthropometric Measurements of One Hundred and Two Australian Aboriginals," Bulletin of Northern Territory, 1913, External Affairs Dept., Melbourne.]

I have once, but only once, seen a native--a woman--who had clearly some Malay blood in her, but she stood out markedly. It may be said that the coastal races have been in no way physically influenced by contact with Malays.2

1. Mr. Sydney H. Ray, after his examination of the languages, has decided that there is no evidence of Malay influence in these.]

Physically the finest natives whom I met with were those on Melville and Bathurst Islands, that is, the men, because there was often a marked contrast in size between the men and women. The latter were seldom more than four feet six or eight, the former were often five feet ten or even six feet. The bodies of the men and women alike (Figs. 14, 15, 16 and 17) were marked with very characteristic cicatrices called miunga which are supposed to represent the barbs of their spears. They are arranged, as can be seen, with remarkable regularity and form the only instance that I know of in the whole of the Northern Territory, in which you can recognise the tribe of an individual by his body marks.3 These keloid growths are the results of cuts made by the individual himself, or by someone else, with a stone knife or a sharp shell. They are added to, from time to time. One of the Port Essington girls, probably about fifteen or sixteen years of age, had a double row of small elevations of keloid tissue each not much more than an eighth of an inch in diameter running on each side in a curved line from below the shoulder on to the breast. I saw her one day adding to the number of them, so as to carry the row further down her breast. She had a little stick, about six inches long, and all that she did was to burn one end in the fire until it was red hot and then she pressed it straight down on to her breast, burning right through the skin until she came to the white flesh beneath. She made six of these marks at one time and, apparently, did not in the least mind what would be to an ordinary white woman an extremely painful ordeal.

1. Statements are made every now and then according to which these cicatrices are said to be distinctive of tribes or other groups. They do, of course, vary but I have never, except in this one instance, seen any that are thus distinctive.]

On Melville and Bathurst Islands one is struck, often, by the very curly nature of the men's hair. This is shown in Figs. 16 and 17, which represent a man decorated for a ceremony. It is only on these Islands that I have seen any decoration of the hair itself, apart, sometimes, from a certain amount of grease and red ochre which is rubbed on frequently amongst the central tribes. Here, however, there is a regular design. The beard in these people is also very well developed, in strong contrast to many of the mainland tribes such as the Kakadu and Geimbio (Figs. 8 and 9), amongst whom it is usually only very sparsely developed. These Islanders have, also, a curious custom of pulling out their beards during certain ceremonies--their upper lips are always bare. The women in all cases have short hair, because they must cut it off periodically and use it for the manufacture of hair string.

In one tribe, the Larakia., the women (Fig. 18A) have an extraordinary custom of mutilating the index finger of the left hand by removing the terminal joint. It is either bitten off by the mother at a very early age or, at a later time, cobweb is tied so tightly round that the circulation is prevented and then the joint rots off. The custom has nothing to do with initiation, and the natives have no idea of what it means.

The biting operation is called gwirung giwe, which means finger, bite; the finger is afterwards called gwirung gimik, or cut finger.

A remarkable feature of many of these tribes is the small number of children, even though a man may have as many as five or six wives. The greatest number of children that I met with belonging to one woman was eight, in the case of a Kakadu woman. The same feature stands out clearly in the genealogical table given in the chapter dealing with organisation and in the photograph which represents (Fig. 9) a man of the Geimbio Tribe with his six wives. The natives, in many parts, are certainly not prolific, and, under normal conditions, they do not, apparently, kill their children. In the more central parts there are times when food and water are very scarce and life is hard, but on the coastal district and anywhere in the more northern area, drained by the Roper, Daly, Katherine, Flora, King, Liverpool, and many other rivers, there is never any scarcity of either food or water. Whatever may be the cause, the native, even under normal conditions, does not appear to increase in numbers, and, when he comes into abnormal conditions, such as those associated with intercourse with strangers, he very rapidly diminishes. Their numbers are, undoubtedly, to a certain extent, kept down by their constant feuds. One thing is noticeable, and that is that you seldom see a really old man or woman. As usual, the younger women are in the possession of the older men, and Mr. Cooper told me that he suspected that on Melville Island the older men were every now and then speared by younger men to whom their wives would descend. The disparity in age between a man and his wife is well seen in the family figured. In connection with the question of obtaining wives, attention may be drawn to the remarkable custom that I found in vogue amongst the Kakadu, according to which, on the death of any man, one of his wives may be handed over to a man who stands to her in the relationship of no-ornberi, which includes her own sons. She must not be his own mother, but may be any one of his actual father's or father's brothers' wives. Not only is this so, but, even before his father's death, the son calls this particular woman by the same name that he applies to his wife. It may very likely be, in fact, in the cases actually seen by me it is so, that the woman may be of just about the same age as the son.

Starting, on the one hand, in the very south of the Continent and proceeding northwards to within less than a hundred miles of the coast at Darwin, or starting, on the other hand, from the east coast, say from Brisbane, and travelling right across the whole continent to the shores of the Indian Ocean in Western Australia, we meet with a series of tribes which have one fundamental feature in common, and that is a very definite "class" organisation. In every case the tribe is divided into two moieties, or main divisions, and each of these, again, into two or four classes or sub-classes, for which there may, or may not, be distinct names. These class groups regulate marriage, descent being counted, sometimes in the paternal, sometimes in the maternal line, but, in every case, there is a definite "class" organisation.

On the northern coast line, however, we meet with a group of tribes such as the Kakadu, Umoriu, Geimbio, and others allied to them, in which this is not present--whether it ever has been is a matter of conjecture; if it has, there is, so far as I could discover, not a trace of it left now. There is, on the other hand, a strong, local organisation which governs marriage. In the Iwaidji and other tribes it is just possible that the intermarrying groups are remnants of original classes.

We may, indeed, so far as their organisation is concerned, divide Australian tribes into two main groups, and these again into various sub-groups as follows:--4

1. This statement refers, of course, to the early days before the natives had become contaminated by contact with the whites.]

Group A.--Tribes with distinct class organisation. This we can divide into at least five sub-groups.

Sub-group 1.--Tribes, such as those of the Dieri nation, occupying the Lake Eyre region, in which descent is counted in the maternal line. There are no names for the classes, but groups, forming intermarrying groups, equivalent to classes and sub-classes in other tribes, are undoubtedly present.

Sub-group 2.--Tribes, such as the Kamilroi with four class names and descent counted in the female line.

Sub-group 3.--Tribes such as the Southern Arunta and the Warrai, in the Northern Territory, and others occupying a very large area in Western Australia, amongst whom four class names are present. In these, also, though there are no distinct names for them, there are eight intermarrying groups.

Sub-group 4.--Tribes, such as the Warramunga, with eight sub-classes and indirect male descent; that is, a child passes into a sub-class which is different from that of its father, but is one of four belonging to the same moiety of the tribe as its father's. This form of organisation is very widely spread over the central part of the Continent.

Sub-group 5.--Tribes, such as the Mara and Anula, with four sub-classes and direct male descent of the class name. In these, again, there are the equivalents of the eight sub-classes of the Warramunga. Their existence becomes very evident when the marriage regulations are Investigated, and their equivalence with the sub-classes of the Warramunga group is clearly recognised when the two sets of tribes come into contact with one another.

Group B.--Tribes without class organisation or with, at most, obscure traces of such.

Sub-group 6.--This includes certain anomalous tribes In the south-eastern part of the Continent, now all extinct. But little is known of them, except that, if they had a class organisation, it was very highly modified.

Sub-group 7.--This includes tribes such as Kakadu, Umoriu, Geimbio and other tribes, forming what I have called the Kakadu nation, and inhabiting the Coburg Peninsula, and the district drained by the East, South, and West Alligator Rivers, together with the Larakia oil the mainland and the tribes on Melville and Bathurst Islands. In all of these no class organisation is present; it has been replaced entirely by a local organisation.

Amongst all the tribes there is a very strongly developed totemic system which, naturally, varies to a great degree amongst groups of tribes scattered over such a wild expanse of country. It is only when you have the opportunity of coming into close contact with these natives and of watching their secret ceremonies that you realise how strongly the totemic system is developed. In every one of the tribes that I came across every individual was associated with a totemic group.

There are, amongst these northern tribes, some very interesting features in regard to their totemic systems, In some tribes, such as the Larakia, Worgait, and Wul-wullam, the totemic groups are divided between the two moieties of the tribe, so that, as a man may only marry a woman who belongs to the other moiety of the tribe, the totemic groups are exogamic. In these tribes the totem descends in the paternal line.

In other tribes, such as the Djauan, Warrai, Mungarai, Yungman, Mara, and Nullakan, the totemic groups are divided between pairs of classes, or groups, into which the fathers and their children, alternately, pass. Thus in one moiety of the tribe we may have four sub-classes which we may call a, b, c, d, and on the other side four which we may call e, f, g, h. The rule is that a man of sub-class a marries a woman of sub-class e, and vice versâ, and their children belong to sub-class d. Now, on the side of the tribe that includes the sub-classes a, b, c, d, some of the totemic groups are divided between a and d, others between b and c, in such a way that no two sub-classes contain the same totemic groups. In the same way another set of totemic groups is divided between the sub-classes belonging to the other moiety. It follows that, as descent of the sub-class is counted in the paternal line, the child must pass into a sub-class belonging to the father's moiety, but into both a sub-class and a totemic group to which he does not belong.

In other tribes, such as the Waduman, Mudburra, Ngainman and Bulinara, the same totemic group is found on each side of the tribe, and the totemic group descends in the maternal line. In others, again, such as the Melville Island tribe, amongst whom no classes are found, the totem descends in the maternal line.

The most modified amongst these northern tribes in regard to their totemic system are undoubtedly the Kakadu, Geimbio, Kulunglutji and allied tribe. They are strongly totemistic, but yet there is no descent of the totem in either the paternal or maternal line. The spirit of the dead person chooses its own totem, and, when it undergoes reincarnation, tells the father of the child what is the jereipunga, or totem, of the latter.

So far as the social aspect of totemism is concerned we may roughly classify as follows the various Northern Territory tribes that have as yet been studied from this point of view. In the first place they may be divided into two main divisions according to whether the totemic groups are or are not exogamic:--

Group I.--The totemic groups are exogamic. This again we may divide into two, in one of which the descent is counted in the maternal, in the other in the paternal line.

(A) Descent of the totem is counted in the maternal line. This includes groups of tribes that are really not allied to one another, and in each of which the totemic organisation is distinct.

(a) Tribes in which there are two moieties and no class names, and in which the totems are strictly divided between the two moieties, the child taking both its mother's moiety and totem name. This includes the important Dieri nation in the far southern part of the Territory.

(b) Tribes in which the totem groups are divided between the two moieties and in which the descent of the class name is counted in the paternal and that of the totem in the maternal line. This includes a group of tribes out in the north-western part of the territory drained by the Victoria River, such as the Waduman, Mudburra, Ngainman and Bulinara.

(c) A group of much modified tribes in which there is no class organisation and a tendency for the totemic group names to disappear or merge into one another. This includes the Iwaidji tribe on the Coburg Peninsula and the Melville and Bathurst Island tribes.

(B) Descent of the totem is counted in the paternal line. The totemic are groups divided between the moieties in various ways.

(a) The totem groups are divided between the moieties so that the same one is present in each. This occurs in the Larakia, Worgait, and Wul-wullam tribes in which the descent of the totem is in the direct paternal line, the child taking its father's totem.

(b) The totem groups are divided between the two moieties, the child taking, with very rare exceptions, the father's totemic name. Very occasionally it may belong to a totemic group different from that of its father,


but it is always one belonging to the same moiety of the tribe as its father's. This occurs in the Warramunga, Worgaia, Umbaia, Tjingilli, and allied tribes.

(c) The totem groups are divided between pairs of lasses or groups which belong to the same moiety so that, though the father's and the children's classes, or groups may be distinct they may both belong to the same totemic group. This is found in the Djauan, Mara, and Nullakun tribes, in which the descent of the totem is in the direct paternal line.

(d) The totem groups are divided between the subclasses in such a way that the sub-class of the father contains one set of totemic groups and that of the children another. It follows that there is a constant alternation of totems from generation to generation, those of the father and children being different and those of the grandfather and grandchildren being similar. This may be spoken of as indirect paternal descent of the totemic group. The child belongs to a totemic group on the same side of the tribe as its father's but to a different one, just as it belongs to a sub-class on its father's side but not to his. This system, which shows the extreme case of division of the totemic groups amongst the sub-classes, is met with in the Warrai, Mungarai, and Nullakun tribes.

Group 2.--The totemic groups are not exogamic and there is no descent of the totem either in the maternal or paternal line. There are two main types.

(a) The tribe is divided into moieties and these into classes and sub-classes amongst all of which the totemic groups are irregularly distributed, so that the same group is present in each moiety. Descent is neither in the paternal nor paternal line, and the totem of the child depends entirely upon the locality at which it is supposed to have entered the mother in spirit form. This system is characteristic of the Arunta nation, in the centre of the Continent, which includes the Arunta, Unmatjera and Kaitish tribes. In the latter there is a decided tendency for the totemic groups to be divided between the two moieties and for the descent to follow in the paternal line.

(b) The tribe is not divided into moieties nor classes, but there are a number of intermarrying local groups. The totem has nothing to do with marriage and it descend, neither in the paternal nor in the maternal line. The spirit of the ancestor, who is about to be reincarnated, tells the father of the child exactly who the latter is, and what is the name of its totem, which need not even be that the old ancestor. This system is characteristic of the Kakadu nation.

It will be seen that there are, as might be expected when account is taken of the wide area over which the various tribes are scattered in the Northern Territory--an area equal in extent to four and a half times that of Great Britain--very wide differences in regard to the totemic systems. It is somewhat remarkable to find that counting descent in the maternal line, which is usually regard as a primitive feature, is met with in such varied group of tribes as the Dieri in the very south, in which there are no class names and only moieties, the names of which pass from mother to children, in the Waduman and others in the north-west amongst whom there are class names that that pass from father to child, and, lastly, in the Melville Islanders and Iwaidji, which are most certainly modified tribes that have undergone profound changes in regard to their organisation.

On the occasion of my first visit in 1911, I did not come across any ceremonies which were the, equivalent of the Intichiuma in the Arunta tribe, that is ceremonies designed to increase the supply of the totemic animal or plant. During my second visit, with more opportunity of study, I found that such were really present in certain tribes. There are two types of Intichiuma ceremonies amongst the Central tribes, one represented by the Urabunna, Arunta, Kaitish and Unmatjera tribes, the other by the Warramunga nation.

In the Arunta the head man of each totemic group is called Alatunja and he takes the lead in the performance of one special ceremony, as does also the corresponding individual, called Ulqua, in the Kaitish tribe.

In this tribe also a very important part of the ceremony is the bringing in of the totemic animal or plant to the head man of the group, who then eats a little of it and tells the men who do not belong to the group that he has made it for them and they are free to eat it. In the Kaitish there is a slight but interesting addition in the form of a ceremony connected with the Alcheringa history of the totem.

In the second type, represented by the Warramunga, here is only very seldom any one special ceremony designed to secure the increase of the totemic animal or plant. On the contrary, we have a great development of the side which is just hinted at in the Kaitish. In the Warramunga the Intichiuma consists in the performance of a series of ceremonies dealing completely with the Alcheringa history of the ancestor of the totemic group. Just, however, as in the Kaitish tribe we find a hint of hat is the leading feature in the Warramunga, so again the latter we find hints of the leading features in the Arunta and Kaitish. The head man of the white cockatoo totemic group performs a special ceremony to increase the numbers of white cockatoos and, again, in one or two instances, as in that of the Carpet-snake totem, the men who do not belong to the group bring the animal in to the head man and, before touching it themselves, ask him if he wishes to eat it. He tells them no; that he made it for them and that they are free to eat it.

I was much interested in finding both of these types of Intichiuma ceremony existing in the far north. In the Mudburra and Waduman tribes on the Victoria River side the Arunta type exists. The head man of group in the Waduman tribe is called Tjungunni. He performs a special ceremony known as Tjutju, and, after this, when the animal or plant has increased in numbers, the men who do not belong to the group go out and collect some of it. If, for example, it be a "sugar-bag" then they take a little of this up to the head man who eats a small portion and hands the rest back to the other men, telling them they may eat it. The second type, in somewhat modified form, is seen amongst the Kakadu. It is, perhaps, more correctly speaking a mixture of the two types with, in addition, features peculiar to itself. There is one special series of sacred totemic ceremonies, called Muraian, in connection with which there are performances associated with certain sacred sticks and stones called also, collectively, Muraian. Muraian was an old, ancestral turtle-man, or man-turtle, it is hard to say which. The other objects (Plates III., IV., V., VI., and VII.) are very carefully decorated sticks and stones, the former representing fish, birds, snakes, yams, etc., the latter, eggs of the various animals, or yams. In all cases, with the possible exception of turtle, they represent, not the human ancestor, but the actual animal or plant. On the other hand, the ceremonies of which this performance forms a part are closely similar to those of the Warramunga and represent the history of the old totemic ancestors of the various groups.

The discovery of these Intchiuma ceremonies among these northern tribes is of considerable interest as showing that they are widely scattered and form an important feature in the totemic systems of tribes extending from Lake Eyre in the south to the Coburg Peninsula in the north.

In the matter of eating the totemic animal or plant, there is considerable variation. In the majority of tribes such as the Arunta and Warramunga, the members of the totemic group either do not eat their totem at all or, at most, very sparingly. In the Warramunga they do not eat their mother's totem unless it be given to them by a man belonging to that totemic group. In the northern tribes here is considerable variation in regard to the eating of the totemic animal or plant. In some, such as the Kakadu, there appear to be no restrictions, though, on the other hand, there are most elaborate restrictions in regard food generally. In others, such as the Waduman, which is typical of very many, a man will not capture or secure his own totemic animal or plant, but will eat it if it be given to him by a man who belongs to another totemic group.

The initiation ceremonies vary to a very considerable extent, and, so far as the Northern Territory tribes are concerned, they may be divided into three groups: (1) those such as the Larakia, Kakadu, Geimbio, Iwaidji and allied tribes on the northern coast, together with those inhabiting Melville and Bathurst Islands, in which neither circumcision nor sub-incision is practised, (2) those, such as the Worgait, Mandot, and Djauan, in which circumcision alone is practised, and (3) a very extensive group occupying the whole of the Central area and extending westwards into West Australia and eastwards into Queensland, in which both circumcision and subincision are practised. This group of tribes includes the Arunta, Kaitish, Warramunga, Worgai, Yungman, Mudburra, etc., and amongst them the women are subjected to the rite of cutting the hymen with a stone knife, the cut often extending through the perineum. So far as I have been able to discover, the natives have no idea whatever as to the meaning of these customs. One thing is certain, and that is that they have no relation to the prevention of procreation. In the first place, the natives do not associate procreation with sexual intercourse, and, in the second, no man in any of the tribes in which these rites are practised is allowed to take a wife until such time as he has been both circumcised and subincised.

The burial and mourning ceremonies vary to some extent amongst the different tribes. On the mainland there are three main types of burial ceremonies, which are associated, respectively, with (1) ground burial, (2) tree burial, and (3) the eating of the dead person and subsequent burial of the bones in a bark coffin. The first of these is practised by the Arunta, Kaitish, and other tribes further north, such as the Kakadu; the second is practised by the Warramunga5 nation and at times by others such as the Kakadu, who also bury in the ground; the third is met with in the Mara and allied tribes. A very interesting purification ceremony is described in connection with the burial of a woman which I witnessed in the Kakadu tribe.

1. A full account of this is given in given Northern Tribes, Chapter xvii., p. 505.]

The most extraordinary burial and mourning ceremonies are, however, those of the Melville and Bathurst Islanders. Amongst these, years ago, curious grave posts, unlike any met with on the mainland, were described by Sir. Gordon Bremmer, who naturally, did not have opportunity of witnessing the ceremonies concerned with their erection. I had the good fortune to do this in July, 1911, and again in March, 1912, on Melville Island, and during November, 1912, on Bathurst Island. This method of burial is peculiar to the islands, and the ceremonies associated with the erection of the posts are amongst the wildest that I have seen in the whole of the Northern Territory.

Varied though these tribes are in regard to their organisations and customs, there is fundamental agreement on certain points. It was in the Central tribes that we first described the belief in the existence of spirit children who inhabit certain definite localities and enter women. It is interesting to see that this belief is universal amongst the Northern Territory tribes. A similar belief has been shown by Dr. Roth to exist amongst Queensland natives and by Mrs. Bates amongst certain tribes in West Australia. In regard to this matter there has been considerable difference of opinion, but I think it may now be regarded as established that some such belief was once widely prevalent over a large part of Australia. I am, myself, inclined to think that it was once universal, for the reason that it now exists amongst tribes so widely different from one another in many other respects as the Dieri, Arunta, Waduman, Mara, Kakadu, and Melville Islanders. The Kakadu beliefs are amongst the most definite that we have. Without going into details which are explained later, it may be said there was one great ancestor, named Imberombera, who was responsible, originally, for all the spirit children with whom, either directly or by means of individuals whom she sent out, the country was peopled. There were local spirit centres, just as in the Arunta, and it is these spirit children who have ever since been born again. With this belief is also closely bound up that of reincarnation. It is curious again to find that there is fundamental agreement in this matter right through the tribes and, further, that the Arunta in the South and the Kakadu in the North have remarkably parallel beliefs. In the former some of the ancestors are known by name, others are not, Every individual has his, or her, secret name, known only to the old men of his local totemic group, For some reason this is one of the most secret and most difficult things to find out in the Arunta. If the old ancestor is born again, then the human incarnation takes that ancestor's as his own secret name. In the Kakadu, on the other hand, the name of every ancestor is known and every member of the tribe bears that ancestor's as his or her name in common, everyday use. In some tribes, such as the Warramunga, each totem group had one great ancestor from whom, when he shook himself during the performance of ceremonies, numerous, but nameless, spirit children emanated. We have, in fact, an interesting series of stages beginning with the Arunta and its numerous original ancestors for each group, passing through the Warramunga with its one ancestor for each group, and then on to the Kakadu with its single great, original ancestor for all the groups.

In some tribes, such as the Dieri and Warramunga, the belief holds that the sex changes at each successive reincarnation.

The Kakadu also have a belief in a double spirit somewhat akin to that of the Arunta. The original spirit, called Yalmuru, gives off a double, called Iwaiyu. It is the latter that enters a woman and, after it has done so, the Yalmuru comes, some night, to the father and tells him that the child inside his wife is so and so, naming the old ancestor of whom he is the reincarnation, and saying also what his totem is.

There are one or two points in connection with this belief to which attention may be drawn. In the first place it is essential to remember that there is no such thing as a virgin amongst the women of the native tribes from one end of Australia to the other. As soon as a native girl reaches puberty, she is handed over to her allotted husband and has continuous intercourse for the rest of her life. In that respect there is no difference between any two native women, and yet the native sees that some women have children, some do not. The intercourse is continuous, the bearing of children is sporadic. It is long after a woman has had intercourse before she becomes aware that there is a child within her. Seeing then that every woman without exception has continuous intercourse; that some have children, some do not; that those that have them bear them at varying intervals which have no relationship to the time of intercourse, and that the woman only knows she has a child when the quickening takes place, which, again, has no reference to intercourse, it is not a matter of surprise that the savage man, who is, according to his lights, a very logical being, should seek some other explanation of the origin of children than that of sexual connection.

There is one very interesting and suggestive point in his connection, and that is the common explanation of he existence of half-castes given universally by their mothers, speaking in pidgin English, viz., "Too much me been eat em white man's flour." The chief difference hat they recognised between their life before and after hey came into contact with white men was, not the fact hat they had intercourse with white men, instead of or side by side with, blacks, but that they ate white flour and that this naturally affected the colour of their offspring. I have seen old natives in Central Australia accept, without question, their wives' half-caste children, making no difference whatever between them and the pure bred ones. On the other hand, it is, of course, naturally, a belief that is one of the first to become modified when the natives, have been for some time in contact with white men.

In regard to sacred objects there is considerable difference amongst the tribes. The churinga may be said to be distinctive of the Arunta and Kaitish, and to dwindle in importance as we pass northward until, amongst the coastal tribes, they are used only during initiation. On Melville and Bathurst I could find no trace of them. The most interesting new sacred objects that I came across were those called Muraian amongst the Kakadu, to which reference has already been made. There are no Nurtunjas nor Waningas nor ground drawings, that figure so largely in the southern part of the Territory, but, through all tribes on the mainland, the belief is universal amongst the women and children that the sound made by the bull-roarer is the voice of a great spirit which comes to take the youth away during the initiation ceremony. In no case amongst these northern tribes did I find any indication of sacred rock drawings such as we meet with in the Arunta and Kaitish. This absence may be associated with that of any such spots as the Ertnatulunga, where churinga are stored and close by which the sacred drawings of the Arunta are typically found.

So far as the method of life of the northern tribes is concerned it is, with certain changes, due to difference of environment, closely similar to that of the southern tribes. There are favourite camping grounds belonging to certain local groups which form the nearest approach to anything like a permanent camp, but there is no continuous occupation and never the slightest attempt to cultivate any crop or to lay by a store of food other than such as may be required during the performance of some particular ceremony or series of ceremonies. For example, in the Alligator Rivers district there are very favourite camping grounds by the side of great billabongs. As long as they can get lily-seeds and roots in abundance, fish and wild fowl, there they stay, each family with its own mia mia or, in the dry months, with nothing more than a bough or two, slanted against a tree or shrub to obtain a little shelter from the sun. All day long the women and children wade up to their necks in the water gathering lily "tuck-out," while the men spear fish and catch wild fowl or climb the trees after flying-fox and honey-bag. But when they have thinned the lilies out, and the fish and fowl get hard to catch, and the honey-bags are scarce, then they move on to another camp where the same round is gone through day after day and month after month all the year round. The cooking of their food is carried on in two ways. Under common when they are in camp and making a hasty conditions, meal, they simply use an ordinary fire, placing the food, such as a lizard or a flying-fox, on the red-hot embers (Fig. 19). When the food is sufficiently cooked, or while it is in process of cooking, it may be torn up by the teeth of the cook and replaced on the fire for further cooking or handed round for consumption. When, however, the natives are camped in one place for any considerable length of time they cook much more carefully, using what the Kakadu call peindi, or earth ovens (Fig. 21), in which the food is placed on paper-bark, grass, or green leaves above heated stones in a hole in the ground. It is then covered with more paper-bark, grass, or leaves, and the earth piled over. So far as their food is concerned, it may be said that the natives eat anything that is edible, In the more northern parts of the Territory food is very abundant. The waterholes swarm with fish and wild fowl, and on the land they secure plenty of kangaroos, birds, such as native companion and jabiru, lizards and snakes. On the coast, dugongs and large turtles (Midas sp.) and turtle eggs, at the right time of the year, are easily obtained. I was much interested in watching the way in which, amongst the Kakadu, the natives kill snakes. There are two or three species of non-venomous ones, four feet and upwards in length, that they obtain in considerable numbers. They collect a few, put them into bags and either kill them on the spot or bring them alive into camp. When a man wishes to kill one, he catches hold of it just behind the head and puts the latter into his mouth, upside down. Holding the neck tightly in his teeth, immediately behind the head, he gives the body a sudden, strong, sharp jerk, dislocating the vertebral column and killing the animal (Fig. 20). I had heard of this method but scarcely thought it credible until, time after time, I had seen it done. In their camps they make various forms of shelters and mia mias. The simplest consists only of a few boughs, placed so as to protect them from the sun's rays or the prevailing wind. They are very fragile, but it is astonishing how cleverly, though simply, the native will lean a few boughs up against one another in such a way as to make them a shade against the sun or a fairly efficient protection against wind and rain. They seem to know, instinctively, the right angle at which to slant the boughs so as to make them able to withstand the pressure of a strong wind. In many parts, during the summer months, violent monsoonal deluges have to be endured. On Melville and Bathurst Islands great use is made of sheets of stringy bark, which the natives strip from the gum-trees with their tomahawks in lengths of from six to ten feet by two or three feet in width. With these they build, sometimes dome-shaped, at others tent-shaped, mia mias, usually not more than at most four feet high (Fig. 22). I was much struck on Melville Island with their very simple but effective contrivance of picking up and folding a sheet of bark in two and using it as an umbrella, slanting it in such a direction as to keep off the torrent of rain that fell at rapid intervals. I found this a most useful contrivance as a protection for my cameras. If they are overtaken with specially heavy rain out in the bush, away from the main camp, they often huddle close together, side by side, in a line under the shelter of a few slanting sheets of bark, with a trench, roughly-scooped out by their hands, in the best position to lead the stream of water away from them. As soon as the rain ceases they pick up their belongings and march on, quite cheerfully. I once saw some twenty natives, quite dry, during pelting rain, under a shelter of this kind that was not more than four feet high, and did not subtend more than two feet of ground. In parts where it is available, paper-bark, the bark of Melaleuca leucodendron, is used, and is in some respects even more efficient than stringy-bark, because it is very strong and tough and at the same time pliable. In addition to this it is very warm and can easily be wrapped round their bodies as they lie on the ground during the cold winter nights.

Over the greater part of the Territory there are, in addition to the rains that do not seriously inconvenience the aboriginal, two main sources of discomfort. The first of these is the cold at nights, during, at all events, three winter months. It is a remarkable thing that, except for a small apron or tassel, both men and women are stark naked. The only efficient covering of any kind is an apron made of a fold of paper-bark. This, however, is worn only on Melville and Bathurst Islands and is held in place by their arms, which the women always carry characteristically bent at the elbows, in such a way that the latter always hold the apron close against the side of the body, just above the hip. During the winter months in the upland interior districts, and along the Roper and other rivers flowing into the Gulf of Carpentaria, the temperature at night falls to 29° F., and it is a remarkable fact that the native, though he feels the cold keenly, has never realised the fact that the kangaroos, wallabies, and opossums that he catches and eats in plenty would provide him with a warm covering. This is due, probably, to the fact that he prefers to cook his animals in the skin so as to keep all the juices inside, and, therefore, the first thing that he does is to put the entire animal on the fire and singe the hair off. At night time the whole family huddles together along with the dogs, under its bough or bark shelter, with sheets of paper-bark under, above, and around them, if they can get any, and with two or three small fires close to them.

The second source of discomfort is the flies and mosquitos. The flies do not trouble the native so much as they do the white men; in fact you often see the former, especially the children, with their eyes encircled with a mass of crawling flies, of which, apparently, they take little notice. On the other hand, the mosquitos trouble the natives just as much as they do the white men, with, often, very serious results. They are no more immune from tropical diseases such as malarial fever than are the white men. I have a stick marked with more than ninety notches indicating so many deaths from what was supposed to be malarial fever on Melville Island in the course of two months. To protect themselves against mosquitos they construct special tent-like structures which vary in size to a very considerable degree. I came across the one represented (Figures 24 and 25) in a camp on the Roper River. It was fifteen feet long, between four and five feet broad, and four feet high. The framework was rather like that of a boat turned upside down. At either end there was a forked stick, and between these two ran a ridgepole, occupying the position of an upturned keel. A series of ribs arched over on either side. In some cases these ribs ran from the ground to the ridge-pole but, in others, a pliant stem formed a complete arch, fixed into the ground on each side and attached to the ridge-pole in the middle. When the framework was complete, sheets of paper-bark were very ingeniously laid on so as to form a wall impenetrable both to rain and mosquitos. When in use, a small opening is left at one end and, through this, the natives crawl until the hut can hold no more. The opening is closed, smoke fires are lighted, and here, almost hermetically sealed, they swelter and choke until the rain clears off, or the morning light drives the mosquitos away. If they cannot get bark their only hope is to make great smoke fires with green bushes and grass, but, in the real mosquito season, they have, at best, very uncomfortable and disturbed nights and have to make up for it by sleeping during the day. In hilly districts they are a little more fortunate, because if they can get up two or three hundred feet they are relatively free from mosquitos. Near to Oenpelli, for example, on the East Alligator River, there is an isolated hill about three hundred feet high. Straight up this, through the scrub, there runs a path that has been used for long years as a track to some rock shelters on the top. Every night, as soon as the sun sets, a long procession of natives winds up the hillside from the plains around the billabongs and river, the women carrying their piccaninnies and pitchis containing water and stores of lily-roots, yams, and other food, the men carrying their spears and clubs.

The overhanging rocks form caves with low-lying, shelving roofs, blackened with the smoke of years of fires, and walls decorated with quaint but often very realistic drawings of the animals on which they feed, all crudely drawn in red and yellow ochre, white pipe-clay and charcoal mixed with grease. Here they camp free from mosquitos, in comparative coolness, shifting from the northern to the southern face and vice versa according to the direction from which the monsoon storms are blowing.

When the time comes for the turtle to lay its eggs, they go to the laying ground on some sandy beach. When the lagoons and billagongs are alive with young geese the natives are there, camping close by and catching them by the score. When birds are scarce they go to the lily-pools and feed on roots, stems, and seeds. In the inland, drier parts they gather together on the larger and more permanent water holes where fish and shell fish, birds and vegetable food can be secured longer than elsewhere. The moment the rains fall, off they scatter to take advantage of supplies that do not exist during the dry season.

In camp, when they are not performing sacred ceremonies, the evenings are always occupied with corrobborees, which may be witnessed by everyone--men, women, and children alike. These ordinary corrobborees vary to a considerable extent in different parts. In the south they take the form of set dances each with its own "figures," and one of these corrobborees may occupy the evenings of two or three weeks. n the other hand, in the more northern tribes these long corrobborees seem to be absent, and, in their place, we have a series of short ones which may only occupy a very little time--it may be only a few minutes. These corrobborees deal with some particular incidents, such as a buffalo hunt, a crocodile securing its prey, or the putting out of a lugger to sea.

In some instances, as on Melville Island, the acting may be very realistic. The men gather together and come into camp in single file, in a long line; the main mass stands to one side, while, perhaps, two or three at a time perform. imitating the actions of pulling up the anchor and hoisting the sails. At others the men will stand round in a circle (Figs. 26 and 27), while, one after the other, the dancers come out into the open space and rush round and round, imitating the action of some animal such as a buffalo or crocodile. All the time the audience stands round, each man stamping the ground wildly with his right foot, while, in unison, they strike their buttocks with their open palms. When the performers show signs of flagging other men take their place, and so the dance goes on, until, finally, the audience closes in upon them, and, altogether, they form a dense mass of naked, howling savages, yelling wildly, e! e! ai! ai! with their arms waving in the air. These corrobborees are quite unlike any on the mainland, and are similar to those performed at the grave during the mourning ceremonies of these remarkable people.

One of the most striking features of the aboriginals is way in which they are divided into a large series of tribes, each of which speaks a distinct dialect and occupies, or is regarded as doing so, a tract of country the boundaries of which are well known to the natives, The existence of these dialects is one of the most puzzling and difficult things to understand amongst the aboriginals. In the first place, it is not at all easy in many cases to ascertain the native name of the tribe. As likely as not you will get a locality name, not the true tribal name, and when once a mistake has been made in pronunciation, or even in the actual word, and it has been repeated by white men, the aboriginals are so anxious to please, and also in some respects so indifferent, that the wrong pronunciation or even word may actually be adopted by them and pass into circulation. For example, the name Woolner, as it is commonly spelt, is a white man's name for a tribe that calls itself Punuurlu. It may be a native word but it has been mistakenly applied by the whites as a tribal name and has been tacitly accepted by the natives or by a large number of them.

What exactly constitutes an Australian tribe is somewhat difficult to say. It may conveniently be defined somewhat as follows:--A tribe is a group of individuals speaking a common dialect, differing in the nature of its words from that of other groups and regarded as owning a definite tract of country, the boundaries of which are known to them, and recognised by the members of other tribes. Each tribe may usually be divided into section and the real test of whether a native is or is not a member of any particular tribe is whether, under normal conditions, he may wander freely over the country owned by that tribe. He must not trespass on the land of any other tribe, entering upon this only after he has received permission of the owners to do so. In the case ever of natives belonging to different sections of a tribe there is a recognition of local ownership within the wider range of tribal ownership. No members of any one local group enter a camp of natives belonging to another local group until they have been formally invited to do so.

When important ceremonies are about to take place messengers are always sent out, often to distant tribes, and the etiquette observed illustrates well one aspect of aboriginal character. Each messenger is provided by some important member or recognised leader of the group that sends him out with an object, the possession of which at once indicates to all whom he meets that he is a messenger. In the southern parts of the Territory this will take the form of a sacred stick called a churinga, or, popularly, a bull-roarer. The bearer of this is absolutely safe anywhere. On approaching a camp he sits down waiting until the local men choose to take notice of him, which may not be until after an hour or two. They all go on meanwhile, quite unconcernedly, as if he did not exist, and then one or two of the older men will go over to him; he will show them his credentials and deliver his message, after which he is brought into camp, made free of the special men's camp and provided with food. This same thing goes on at every camp that he visits and exactly the same etiquette is observed when the visitors arrive at the camp from which the messenger was sent. In the northern parts, as, for example, in the Alligator River district, when boys are to be initiated, they are sent out on a journey to distant camps amongst strange tribes that often lasts for months. Each of them carries a small wand and under the protection of this they travel in perfect safety. When they come to a strange camp they stand close together, leaning on their wands and singing a special corrobboree song, which must be replied to by the women in camp.

It is interesting to find that the natives have also, as were, extended this feeling of sacredness of the persons of their own messengers to those of aboriginals who are carrying messages for white men. A letter is always spoken of as a "paper yabber" and is carried in a cleft stick so that it can be, seen easily. Last year a native carried a "paper yabber" for me 90 miles in this way, and they not infrequently traverse longer distances than this, the cleft stick acting as a safe passport. They look upon the "paper yabber" as a mysterious thing that is endowed with the capacity of seeing, as is well instanced by an aboriginal who abstracted a stick of tobacco from a parcel that he was carrying and was highly indignant with the "paper yabber" for telling the white man what he had done, because he had hidden it in a hollow log while committing the theft, so that it should not be able to see what he was doing.

They have very little idea of private property. If you give a man, say, a stick of tobacco there are certain individuals, such as men who might lawfully be his fathers-in-law, to whom he is obliged by custom to give some; and even if they are not on the spot, he will immediately share it with others. Give a man a shirt in return for work that he has done for you and the chances are that you will find a friend of his, who has done nothing except ask for it, wearing it next day. On many of the cattle stations the work is done by a few natives; but every one at hand shares in the proceeds, whether these be clothes, food, or tobacco; and it never occurs to them that the lazy loafer is living at the expense of his more industrious brother.

Still another point of very great importance which must always be borne in mind in dealing with the aboriginals, is their intense belief in evil magic In tribes inhabiting the country around the Alligator Rivers, a very favourite form of magic is to get hold of some excrement, it does not matter how small a piece, of a man or woman against whom you may have a grudge, and whom you wish to injure. All you have to do is to get two or three friends to help you perform a rather elaborate ceremony out in some quiet spot, where he cannot see you, and you can easily encompass his death. The belief has one beneficial result in that the camps of these natives are much better from a sanitary point of view than in most Australian tribes, because everything is carefully buried, lest some enemy should be lurking about.

The natives have no idea of disease or pain of any kind as being due to anything but evil magic, except that which is caused by an actual accident that they can see. If a man has a headache, it is evil magic that has got inside him and he will wear. in some tribes, his wife's head rings, so that the magic may pass into them, and be thrown away with them into the bush. If he has a pain in the back he will wear a curious short wand, made of paper bark, which he fixes in his waist girdle in the small of his back. The evil magic goes into this and can be thrown away.

Anything that they do not understand they associate with evil magic. One of the most striking and characteristic examples of this that I know of is the fact that when first they came across the track of a cart they thought it was a path along which evil magic was passing, and if they were obliged to cross it they jumped over it as high in the air as they could lest the magic should enter them.

Natives, also, are always most frightened of the magic of another tribe or distant part and will often fix upon some man who lives 50 or 100 miles away as guilty of causing the death by evil magic of a member of their own group.

The result of all this is that there is always a feeling of mutual suspicion and distrust between members of different tribes, each of which has its own peculiar forms of magic by means of which it may encompass the death of strangers. Often in our little camp, associated with the departmental office in Darwin, we had natives of various tribes together for a few days at a time, and it was very noticeable, not only how they kept apart from one another, but the mutual distrust with which they viewed each other. You have only to tell a native that he is the victim of evil magic and he succumbs at once and can only be cured by the exercise of counter magic, The feeling is so strong that on more than one occasion when a woman, strong in magic power, had given it out that she was using magic against some individual, it very seriously interfered with the treatment of that native under medical supervision in a hospital and, if this be so amongst natives who have been for long in contact with white men, it can easily be realised what an enormous part magic plays in the life of the primitive savage.

Even an aboriginal who has lived long with the whites and has lost most of his old beliefs, will still firmly retain his faith in evil magic, though he might be ashamed to own it in public.

The aboriginal is, indeed, a very curious mixture; mentally, about the level of a child who has little control over his feelings and is liable to give way to violent fits of temper, during which he may very likely behave with great cruelty. As a general rule he is very fond of and very good to his children. If the parents of a child die it is immediately taken charge of by a blood or tribal father and mother. The only exception that I have ever known to this was one case in Melville Island where we met with a little boy whose parents were dead and who had been left behind in camp when the natives moved on. (Fig. 23). We came across the poor little fellow sitting disconsolately on the top of a bark mia mia. He has no sense of responsibility and, except in rare cases, no initiative. His memory in many cases is wonderful so far as subjects are concerned that affect his life and mode of conduct. When once he has seen any place, or any particular natural object, he knows it for all time. If once he has heard a corrobboree he knows the words and music, and his memory in respect to native traditions is marvellous. It must be understood, however, that in proportion to the narrow sphere of their actions, there is as great a mental difference amongst aboriginals as amongst whites in their wider sphere. This is well recognised amongst the natives themselves. For instance, there is one man on the Alligator River whose management of the wooden trumpet used during their ceremonies is wonderfully superior to that of any one else and whose fame as a musician has spread even beyond the limits of his own tribe. Whenever he is in camp he is always requested to play. So, again, in the making of all their various weapons and utensils, there are always certain individuals who are noted for their ability--some in making shields, others in making knives. There was one man belonging to the Kakadu tribe, on the Alligator River, who was extraordinarily able in regard to remembering traditions, and was recognised as a great authority On the subject of the past history of the tribe. He was relating to us a tradition of the tribe, according to which in old ancestor sent out different individuals to populate various parts of the country. There were five groups of these individuals and he was able to tell us the names, so far as we could judge, of all of them. They included those of one hundred and twenty men and women, and not only did he know their names, but also the totemic group to which each belonged and their intermarriages. It was really a wonderful feat of memory and the information was evidently correct, because it fitted in with traditions that we were told by other natives and we tested him later and found him consistent. The possessor of any particular capacity does not, except in very rare cases, secure any very direct personal gain from its exercise beyond the fact that he has a reputation for ability. Everything is communistic and even if a man is provided with an extra supply of food, or, in recent years, tobacco, in return for something he has made or done, it is usually not long before it is divided amongst his friends. There is, amongst the aborigines, an equal distribution of profits quite irrespective of deserts.

Lastly, there is one feature that must not be omitted, and that is the aboriginal's fondness for fun and his sense of humour. Under normal conditions they are always cheerful and are constantly either corrobboreeing, or playing and laughing with one another. Nothing amuses them more than an accident that puts one of their number in an undignified or uncomfortable position. If a friend tumbles over a log and gives himself a good knock, they roar with laughter at him and the chances are that he joins in. If any one comes up who did not see it happen, he will be requested to do it again for the benefit of the new arrival and, as likely as not, will repeat the performance. Years after the event happened, the recital of how two of the old men of the Kakadu tribe had to run for their lives and just managed to keep ahead of two charging buffaloes and an imitation of how they ran, what they said, and what they looked like, were greeted with roars of laughter and kept a camp cheerful for an hour or two. They are wonderful at mimicking, anything that they think is funny and the acting of two natives, one of whom tried to show me how a former Government Resident of the Territory had behaved when he suddenly trod on a snake, and the other who, after posing a few natives for the purpose, imitated by means of three sticks for a tripod and a sheet of paper bark for a focussing cloth, the actions of a very excitable photographer whom he had watched, was wonderfully realistic.

There are said to be 20,000 aboriginals in the Territory, but on what authority this statement is made I do not know, as it is quite impossible to form any definite and reliable estimate, and the above number is a mere guess. There are great areas, as in Arafura Land, where practically no white man has been--at all events there is no settlement--and here there is an abundance of native food and the tribes wander unhampered in their native state. Judging by what I have seen and heard, I think it probable that a census would show more nearly 20,000 than 20,000. One thing is certain and that is that in all parts where they are in contact with outsiders, especially with Asiatics, they are dying out with great rapidity.

The more primitive a race is, the more rapidly does it lose, or modify, its old customs and beliefs, when it comes in contact with a higher civilisation, and there are very few parts of Australia now left in which it is possible to study the aboriginal in his natural state.


Social Organisation and Marriage Regulations

Tribes without class organisation.--Bathurst and Melville Island natives.--Local groups.--Port Essington tribe.--Kakadu tribe.--Allotment of wives; a woman of the status of a man's mother allotted to him as wife, with consequent change of terms of relationship.--Widows passing to younger brothers of deceased husband.--Tribes with class organisation.--Tribes with indirect male descent: Warrai, Waduman, Mudburra, Maluuru, Djauan, Yungman, Mungarai.--Tribes with direct male descent: Mara, Nullakun.--Tables of relationship terms.--Larakia, Worgait, Port Essington, Melville Island, Djauan, Mungarai, Nullakun, Kakadu, Waduman.--Status terms: Kakadu, Melville Island, Waduman, Mudburra, Port Essington, Larakia, Worgait, Djauan, Nullakun, Mungarai.

THERE are very wide differences between various tribes in regard to Organisation, and it is interesting to notice that, what are presumably the most modified tribes, are met with on the far northern coastal districts and on Melville and Bathurst Islands. At the other extremity of Australia, in its extreme south-eastern corner, we meet with equally modified tribes, or did so until some years ago. In both parts--the north and the south--the most striking feature is that there is no trace left of classes, or at most a very doubtful one, and that the organisation is essentially a local one, with, in the north, an attendant, well-marked totemic system.

The tribes we are now dealing with may be divided into two main groups: (A) those without class organisation, and (B) those with class organisation.

(1) Bathurst and Melville Islands.

These two islands are inhabited by a tribe of wild and, physically, remarkably well-developed natives, who are easily distinguishable from all others by the way in which they ornament their bodies with a series of V-shaped cicatrices, which they call Miunga, and are supposed to represent the barbs on their heavy spears. So far as my experience goes, the marks on these Islanders are the only ones which serve to identify the particular tribe to which any special individual belongs. From the region of Lake Eyre in the south, across the continent to Darwin and away east to the Gulf of Carpentaria, though all natives are more or less marked with cicatrices, there is nothing in them which is in any way distinctive of totem, class or particular tribe. The nearest approach to anything of this kind are the cuts made on the backs of adult men in the Urabunna, Dieri, Wonkgongaru and other tribes, who have passed through the Wilyaru, or its equivalent, final initiation ceremony. These marks, however, are characteristic of the whole of the Dieri nation and not of any class or special tribe. The Melville and Bathurst Islanders can, however, always be distinguished, and the fact that they can serves to emphasise still more strongly the absence of any such possibility in the case of all the mainland tribes in Central and Northern Australia.

Despite repeated inquiries, I have not been able to find out any true tribal name for the islanders. There are definite and well-known names applied to local groups, but, though doubtless it exists, I tried in vain to find out a name equivalent to that of Larakia or Kakadu. My informants, also, knew of the existence of these and other tribal names on the mainland. It is astonishing how difficult it often is to get reliable information in regard to a subject such as this, where there is, apparently, no question of the matter being of a sacred or secret nature. As a matter of fact, in all tribes the tribal name is not

Map Showing Distribution of Local Groups on Melville Island and Bathurst Island
Map Showing Distribution of Local Groups on Melville Island and Bathurst Island
The numbers correspond to those in the list of localities and local groups given in the text.

often used and, very often, there is one name applied by the members to themselves and quite a different one by outsiders. The Larakia natives at Darwin speak of Bathurst and Melville as Wongok; the natives on the latter call both the mainland and the natives there Jeruula. The natives at Cape Donn, near Essington, call Melville Island, which they can see across the water, Wamuk, The natives, on both Bathurst and Melville Islands, are divided into a series of local groups, each of which is supposed to occupy and own a special well-defined district. These districts are indicated on the accompanying map. Though their language, customs and beliefs are identical, there is only a certain amount of intercourse between the natives of the two islands, who are, at least, mutually distrustful of one another. Every now and then the men from a camp on one side of Apsley Strait will raid a camp on the other.

The list of local groups on Melville Island is, I think, complete; that on Bathurst probably is not. The numbers in the following list correspond to those on the map. In each case the name in brackets is the name of the local group inhabiting that locality. It will be noticed that the name of the group is made by adding the suffix ulla to that of the locality-

(a) Melville Island Groups.

(1) Mundiimbu (Mundiinibulla).
(2) Ulobu (Ulobulla).
(3) Arangijera (Arangijerulla).
(4) Yeimbi (Yeimbulla).
(5) Cherupu (Cherupulla).
(6) Kambuambu (Kambuambulla).
(7) Barranpunalli (Barranpunalliulla).
(8) Munupu (Munupulla).
(9) Purumunapu (Purumunapulla).
(10) Mindalu (Mindaluulla).
(11) Balauiungamba (Balauiungambulla).
(12) Marungallambu (Marungallambulla).

(b) Bathurst Island Groups.

(13) Malauu (Malauulla).
(14) Urongu (Urongulla).
(15) Tchikalaua (Tchikalauulla).

The separation of the local groups from one another is very clearly marked indeed if they come together for the performance of special ceremonies, such as those connected with mourning. When I was last on Bathurst Island, watching these ceremonies, there were representatives of two local groups present called respectively Malauulla and Tjikalauulla. They camped some distance away from one another, and though they foregathered during the actual dancing, yet, immediately this was over, they separated.

I was unable to ascertain anything definite in regard to the marriage system beyond the fact, as described in connection with the account of totemic systems, that it is closely associated with and regulated by the totemic groups, In some cases it is certainly concerned with the local group, a man of one group taking as a wife a woman of another, who then comes into his own group to which his children also belong, but, whether this is always the case, I cannot say positively, though I believe it to be so.

(2) Iwaidji or Port Essington Tribe.

This tribe is evidently much modified. There are apparently three divisions, called respectively Munbulkitj, Manjerojelli and Manjerawuli, amongst whom the totemic groups are divided, very unequally, the first having four, the second two and the third seven. Munbulkitj and Manjerojelli marry Manjerawuli people and vice versâ, but members of the two former may not intermarry. Whether the three divisions are the vestiges of formerly existing classes it is impossible to say, and my informants were quite clear that there are no more than these three. The Port Essington tribe is allied to the Kakadu amongst whom there are very strongly developed local groups, and it is quite possible that these three groups are based on locality. The totem groups are strictly exogamous, and descent of both local group (or division) and of totemic group is in the female line.

(3) Kakadu Tribe.

This is the representative of a number of tribes inhabiting the northern coastal area, all of whom differ in important respects from the more typical tribes with whom they are in contact on their inland borders. Their distribution is shown on the map (page 44).

The tribe is not divided into moieties nor are there any classes. If such were ever present, they have disappeared completely, leaving not a trace behind them to indicate their former existence. The organisation is now entirely local. In the far past time their mythic ancestor, Imberombera, sent out different pairs of individuals to various parts of the country, now occupied by the Kakadu and other tribes of the same nation. In these places they formed local centres, peopled, at first, with spirit individuals who have since been undergoing reincarnation. Tradition explains how, in the early days, the members of different local groups intermarried, and, at the present time, just as then, each individual man secures his wife, or wives. from some special local group. The totem group has nothing to do with marriage.

An elder man frequently has several wives, of varying age, and there is one method of allotment of wives which is, so far as I am aware, peculiar to this nation of tribes. I have not met with it in any of the Central tribes nor does it seem to have been noted elsewhere in Australia.

This method consists in the allotment to a man of a woman who belongs to the generation immediately senior to himself, and who stands to him in the relationship of Koiyu, that is, father's wife, or Ngaila, mother's brother's wife. The Koiyu women, of course, include his own actual mother, but that particular woman may not be allotted to him.

The table on page 49 represents two actual cases of this, which, though strange, appears to be a well-recognised practice in these tribes.

Nabanja and Tjilongogo were brothers and Ungaraerria was a tribal brother, one of whose wives was a young woman named Kumbainba, who had a son named Mukalakki.

Tjilongogo had a son named Monmuna. The latter had seven wives, but, as shown in the table which includes all his family, he had remarkably few children.1

1. The relatively small number of children is not infrequently to be noticed amongst these tribes. While I was at Oenpelli a man of Geimbio tribe, closely allied to the Kakadu, came into camp with family including six wives, but only four children. The age of the wives must have varied from fifteen to fifty.]

Amongst his wives he had two, called respectively Allarima (1) and Kumbainba (3), who had once belonged to two men who were his papa-fathers or fathers' brothers. Kumbainba had been married to a man named Ungara-erria and, by him, had a son named Mukalakki. She was still young when she was handed on to Monmuna.

Monmuna, by his wife, Mumungara, had a son named Nulwoiyu, who is still a mere boy.

Nabanja had a son named Kulingepu-kunamullajumbo, who, amongst others, married a woman named Wareiya, by whom he had a son named Ungara-mulyarami and a daughter named Koetto.

Ungara has two wives called, respectively, Mumulandi and Mitjingari. Koetto is married to Kulanyo-jarraman, by whom she has three sons, Kadjimuk, Burnimakori and Wudeirti.

When Kumbainba (3) was allotted as wife to Monmuna, Mukalakki became Ngoornberri, or son, to the latter; Nullaberri, or younger brother. to Ungara-mulyarami, because the latter was a son of a Baranga or elder brother of Monmuna; and Baranga or elder brother to Nulwoiyu.

Genealogical Chart

When Monmuna died, the jaidja (mother's brothers) of the women concerned, told Numerialmak (5) to go to Mukalakki as his wife, which she did, and Kumbainba (3) to go to Ungara as his wife, which she did. Both of these men have other wives, given to them by the fathers of the women, but the jaidja of any woman can allot her to one of the sons of her husband, provided she be not that son's actual mother.

These arrangements are made before the death of any man, such as, in this case, Monmuna, and they affect the terms of relationship used. Thus Mukalakki calls Allarima, Gudjukatju, Kumbainba, Mimonau, Niniokolura and Mumungara, koiyu, or mother, but Numerialmak he calls ngunkomukali, or wife, and he actually applied this term to her while the old Monmuna was alive, though she was not then in his possession and he had no marital relations with her. Mukalakki calls Numerialmak's brother muraguji, or wife's brother. If she had had any children by Monmuna he would have called them nullaberi, younger brother, or illaberri, younger sister while Monmuna was alive, and ngoornberri, sons, or ngungornberri, daughters, after his death. So again, he calls the father of each of the first above-named six women, peipi, or mother's father, but the father of Numerialmak he calls keerli, or wife's father. Further still, Ungara was baranga, or elder brother, of Mukalakki, but, when Numerialmak, the actual mother of Mukalakki, was allotted to Ungara as wife, Mukalakki called him papa, or father. These two men, Ungara and Mukalakki, were constantly with Mr. Cahill and myself, at Oenpelli, so that we had every opportunity of hearing them speak to one another.

Numerialmak calls Mukalakki ngunkomukali, or husband, just as she did Monmuna, and applies the same term to Nulwoiyu because, if Mukalakki had died before Monmuna did, she would have been allotted to Nulwoiyu. She calls Allarima and Kumbainba, who had been allotted to Monmuna and belong to a generation senior to her own, ngailor, or father's sisters. She calls Gudjakatji and Mimonau makorngo, that is elder sisters; Niniokolura and Mumungara she calls illaberri, or younger sisters.

Ungara calls all the women, except Kumbainba, koiyu, or mother, but he calls her ngunkomukali, or wife, because she was allotted to him, and she also calls him ngunkomukali, or husband. Ungara also calls the fathers of all the women, save Kumbainba, peipi, or mother's father, the father of Kumbainba he calls keerli, or wife's father.

Kunamullajumbo also had, as one of his wives, a woman who had been the wife of his father Nabaiya, and Ungara called that woman koiyu.

There was also living in camp a man named Mitjeriunga who has a wife named Workerlaki who has been allotted to the son of the former named Mitjeralak. The latter calls the woman ngunkomukali, and she applies this term to both of them.

Ungara has a son to whom, in the future, a wife belonging to Nulwoiyu will be allotted, and that son calls Ungara papa.

This handing on of a woman to a man who is at the level of her son, is always done by the woman's mother's .brothers. For example, as Numerialmak herself told us, It was her father who gave her to Monmuna, but her jaidja who told her to go to Mukalakki. She was very much younger than Monmuna, and does not appear to be any older than Mukalakki.

When a man dies, beyond the special allotment to men on the level of sons, the widows normally pass to younger brothers of the dead man, not to older ones. Thus, recently, the man named in the table Kulanyo-yarraman died. He had an elder brother, called Mappleburra, and a younger one, Kopereik. When Kulanyo-yarraman died Kopereik was away and Mappleburra took the lubra Koetto, but when Kopereik returned, the first thing that he did was to go and take the woman away from Mapplebura. Again, Mukalakki has a wife called Mitchunga, who, it is already arranged, will go to Nulwoiyu on Mukalakki's death.

As an example of the allotment of a mother's brother's wife we may take the case of Ungara-mulyurami. His brothers are dead and he has no sons, so it has been arranged that, on his death, Mitchingari, one of his wives, is to pass to Kadjimuk, or, should he die, to Wudeirti, both of whom are sons of Ungara's sister named Koetto, Each of these men calls Mumulandi ngailor, that is, father's sister, but Mitchingari they call ngunkomukali.

It will easily be understood that this curious system of allotment and, consequently, of change of terms of relationship, produces extraordinary complications, but the natives appear to find no difficulty in working the system, and when in camp they will tell you readily the relationship of all the different members present to one another.

To the same group of tribes belong, apparently, the Koarnbut, Quiradara, Norweilemil, Punuurlu, Kumertuo, Geimbio, Malanji, and, possibly, the Larakia. These, together with the Iwaidji, Kakadu, and the Melville an Bathurst Islanders, form a group of tribes sharply marked off, not only by the absence of class organisation, but by the fact that their initiation ceremonies at' distinguished by the absence of both circumcision and subincision.

(a) Tribes with indirect male descent.

(1). Warrai tribe. This is a tribe usually called Wolwonga by whites. It is now entirely decadent, its remnant occupying the country between a place called Rum Jungle and Brock's Creek on the short railway line that runs south from Darwin.

The tribe is divided into four classes, and there are no names for the moieties. The organisation is as follows, the names of women's groups, corresponding to those of the men, being placed in brackets:--

An Adjumbitj man marries an Allpungerti woman, and the children are Appularan (males) and Allpularan (females).

An Appularan man marries an Allinmitj woman, and the children are Adjumbitj (males) and Alljambitj (females).

An Appungerti man marries an Alljamjbitj [sic] woman, and the children are Auinmitj (males) and Allimitj (females).

An Auinmitj man marries an Allpularan woman, and the children are Appungerti (males) and Allpungerti (females).

Except that there are distinct names for women, which are slight variants on those for the men, the organisation is closely similar to that of the southern Arunta, where there are only four class names. It must, however, be remembered that, though there are only four such names, yet, in all tribes in which this is so, each of them is divided into two groups so that, for example, one group of Adjumbitj men intermarry with only one group of Allpungerti women, the other group of the latter women are forbidden to these men. In most tribes distinct names are given to the two groups, so that there are eight in all.

It is somewhat remarkable to find two tribes, each with the four, named, intermarrying groups, one at each end of the long stretch of country, a thousand miles in all, that lies between the southernmost Arunta and the Warrai in the north. In all these tribes the organisation is fundamentally identical, but it is only at the extreme northern and southern limits that we find only four class names, elsewhere there are always eight.

The northern boundary of the Warrai tribe is coterminous with the southern of the coastal tribes--in this particular part the Larakia, though the latter has long been practically decimated, its degraded remnants hanging about the settlements. It is also a curious circumstance that the Arunta people have a very definite tradition of a great leader who, in the far past time, led a body of uncircumcised men away out of the Arunta country and travelled on with them until they came to the salt water in the far north. On the shores of the latter they camped and are supposed to have remained there ever since.

(2). Waduman tribe.

The names of the moieties have been lost. There are distinct sub-class names for males and females and intermarrying sub-classes such as Uanai and Urella are spoken of as being Tjimuri or mates.

The names of the female sub-classes are in brackets.

(3). Mudburra tribe.

The names of the moieties have been lost. There are distinct sub-class names for males and females, those of the latter being printed in brackets.

(4) Maluuru tribe.

The names of the moieties have been lost. There are distinct sub-class names for males and females, those of the latter being printed in brackets.

(5). Djauan tribe.

The names of the sub-classes are as follows and, in brackets, I have given those of the corresponding ones in the Warramunga tribe. The names of the moieties are lost.

The intermarrying sub-classes and those of the children represented in the following table. In this tribe the and women have not, apparently, got distinct sub-class names.

In the Djauan tribe pairs of sub-classes such as Gnaritjban and Pungaringba or Waidba and Kumara certain of the individual members of which stand to one another in the relationship of fathers and children, are called Kumuranban.

(6). Yungman tribe.

The names of the sub-classes are as follows and, in brackets, I have given those of the corresponding ones in the Djauan tribe. The names of the moieties are lost.

The intermarrying sub-classes and those of the children are as represented in the following table. In this tribe the men and women have distinct sub-class names, those of the latter being placed in brackets.

A Uanai man marries an Imburella woman and their children are Uunguri if, boys and Inbunguri if girls. A Urella man marries an Imbanai woman and their children are Inmirra if boys, and Ingangmirra if girls.

(7) Mungarai Tribe.

The names of the moieties are retained. Those of the sub-classes are as follows and, in brackets, I have given the corresponding ones of the Djauan tribe.

The inter-marrying sub-classes and those of the children are as represented in the following table:

A Ngaritjbellan man marries a Ngaburella woman and their children are Ngapungari, A Ngaburella man marries a Ngaritjbellan woman and their children are Nakomara.

There is nothing special about these tribes to distinguish them, so far as their classificatory systems are concerned, from the great group, extending from Oodnadatta in the south to Brocks Creek, within 100 miles of the northern coast line. Eastwards they extend across to the borderland of Queensland and the coastal ranges fringing the Gulf of Carpentaria. Westwards they stretch down the Daly, Katherine, Flora, and Victoria Rivers to the coast and, probably, extend into the northern parts of West Australia. Mrs. Bates and Mr. A. R. Brown have shown that tribes with the four-class system., similar in essential respects to the southern Arunta and the Warrai, extend over wide areas in Western Australia. In all these tribes, descent of the class is counted in the paternal line.

We have previously dealt in detail with the Arunta and Warramunga Tribes,2 and what we have described in connection with them holds good, precisely, for the others.

1. Cf. Native Tribes of Central Australia, Chap. III., and Northern Tribes of Central Australia, Chap. III., p. 104-132.]

(b) Tribes with direct male descent.

(1) Mara Tribe.

This is an example of a group of tribes the organisation of which was first dealt with by Mr. Gillen and myself.3 We came in contact with some members of it at Borroloola on the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1901. During 1911, whilst travelling down the Roper River, I again encountered the tribe, and with the aid of a very intelligent native, a Mumbali man named Waluunja, was able, after considerable inquiry, to determine the correspondence of the sub-classes of this tribe, in which descent, so far as the actual class name is concerned, is counted in the direct male line, with those in the adjoining Mungarai tribe, in which descent is counted in the indirect male line. I was also able to ascertain the names of the moieties.

1. Spencer and Gillen, The Northern Tribes of Central Australia.]

These are, as shown in the following table, four class and no sub-class names.


Further inquiry, however, shows that, though there are no distinct names for them, each class is really divided into two groups-the equivalents of the sub-classes in the Arunta and Warramunga. They are, in fact, precisely similar to the unnamed groups into which each class is divided in the southern half of the Arunta and in the Warrai tribe.

These can be represented, using the letters a and b to indicate the two divisions of each class. as follows


When, however, we come to deal with the marriage relationships and the counting of descent it will be seen that these are very different from those met with in adjoining tribes, amongst whom the arrangements are similar to those amongst the Warramunga. The intermarrying groups, which are really the equivalents of subclasses, together with those into which the children pass, can be represented as follows:


A Murungun a man must marry a Purdal a woman and their children are Murungun b. So again a Murungun b man must marry a Kuial b woman and their children are Murungun a.

The children of a Murungun man are thus always Murungun. Some Murungun men marry Purdal and others Kuial women, the marriage alternating in successive generations. Thus a Murungun a man marries a Purdal a woman, but his son, who is Murungun b, marries a Kuial b woman. The sons in the next generation are Murungun a and marry, once more, Purdal a women.

The fact of some Murungun and Mumbali men marrying Purdal and others Kuial women, and vice versâ, was so different from anything in the marriage arrangements in any other Australian tribes known to us that we, spent much time in investigating the matter and making ourselves as sure as we could on the point. I am glad to be able now to corroborate our previous conclusions by means of evidence collected in quite another part of the tribe from that in which Mr. Gillen and myself previously worked.

The native, Waluunja, who explained the matter to me on the Roper River, was one of the most intelligent aboriginals whom I have met; he had also a very fair I knowledge of English. The contrast between him and other old men from whom I was, at the same time, attempting to get information on the organisation of the tribes was most striking and made me feel more than ever convinced that matters such as the division of the tribe into intermarrying groups could very well be the result of the deliberate thinking out of a scheme on the part of certain members of the tribe more highly gifted than the common run. The scheme by means of which the divisions, Murungun a, b, etc., are made to fit in with the sub-classes of the Mungarai and other tribes with which the Mara come into contact, is at all events both a deliberate and ingenious device, and reveals very considerable powers of reasoning and organising. It can be represented in the following table in which the names of the equivalent sub-classes in the Mungarai Tribe are placed in brackets:--


This means that the class Murungun, for example, is divided into two groups, which are regarded, respectively, as the equivalents of the sub-classes Ngaritjbellan and Ngapungari in the Mungarai Tribe. We have already seen that the children of Murungun a men pass into the division Murungun b, which is just the same thing as in the Mungarai, where the children of Ngaritjbellan men are Ngapungari, and vice versâ. So, again, Murungun a men marry Purdal a and Murungun b men marry Kuial b women. Now, under the scheme devised, Purdal a women are the equivalents of Ngaburella and Kuial b of Tjabijin women in the Mungarai Tribe. Murungun a men are the same as Ngaritjbellan and they must marry Ngaburella women, while Murungun b, who are the equivalents of Ngapungari, must marry Tjabijin.

(2) Nullakun Tribe.

In essential features this tribe agrees with the Mara, It has retained the moiety names and has also four class but no sub-class names. In the following table the equivalent names in the Mara tribe are given in brackets:--


As in the Mara tribe, each class is really divided into two, though there are no names for these, which are the strict equivalents of sub-classes. Using the letters a and b to indicate these, the intermarrying groups and those into which the children pass can be represented as follows:--


Where the Nullakun tribe comes into contact with the Mungarai and others having the eight sub-class system, the same plan is adopted to allow the two organisations to work side by side, which has already been described dealing with the Mara tribe.

In the following tables the relationship terms are given amongst a typical series of tribes.



1. It is the Unya man who says to his nugunyi "you may have my daughter as alladik when she is born." Betrothal often, indeed usually, takes place before birth and the youth, from the betrothal onwards, gives womeras, food, etc., to his prospective father-in-law.]











1. Angban is the general term for mother's brother's daughters, all of whom are eligible as wives to a man except the daughters of his mother's actual blood brothers. Ilkuma is the name applied to the actual woman or women a man marries. Before marriage he calls them angban.

2. Gadja is the general term for mother's brother or wife's father; unburran is a special term applied to the father of a woman whom a man actually marries.]



1. The general term for fathers of women whom a man may marry is illimani.

2. The general term for the women whom it is lawful for a man to marry is yamoaniya. After the woman has actually been handed over to a man the term he applies to her is yabmuneinga.]



1. This term is applied to sisters in general, but there are also the special terms for elder and younger sisters, etc.]







1. If a man dies his wife passes to a noa, but not to a tjamung.

2. This term is applied indiscriminately to the mother and all her sisters, blood and tribal.]



1. The usual term applied by a man to his wife is Ngulakatukukugandu. If he has more than one wife he calls the older one Ngulakatukugandu ngaballa and the younger one Ngulakatukugandu naditja.]










In every tribe there are certain status terms which are applied to different individuals at different times of their lives. They are as follows

(1) Kakadu tribe.

There is also a special term, Lekerungen4, applied to old men who have seen the Muraian Ceremony. This is evidently the equivalent of the term Uliara, which is applied, in the Arunta tribe, to those who have passed through the Engwura, the final initiation ceremony which admits the relatively younger men to the ranks of the old Men.

1. This same term is applied to the menstrual flow, but the natives said that it is applied also to girls.]

(2) Melville Island tribe.

Some of these terms are very much in evidence during the initiation ceremonies, in fact it was only by witnessing these that I discovered the status terms for girls, equivalent to those for boys. The terms Marrukumana and Mikinyerti for boys and those of Mikijeruma and Mikingyertinga for girls, seem to be used only during the actual performance of the ceremony in connection with which they are applied.

(3) Waduman tribe.

(4) Mudburra tribe.

(5) Port Essington tribe.


(6) Larakia tribe.

(7) Worgait tribe.

(8) Djauan tribe.

(9) Nullakun tribe.

(10) Mungarai tribe.


Initiation Ceremonies

Division of tribes into three groups according to the nature of the initiation ceremony. Group 1, tribes with neither circumcision nor subincision. Group 2, tribes with circumcision only. Group 3, tribes with circumcision and subincision.--List of the tribes.--Initiation on Melville Island.--Yam ceremony.--Status terms of youths and girls taking part.--Preparing the ceremonial ground.--Making a special fire to roast the yams.--Performance of ceremonies and painting of the performers.--Ducking the initiate in a water pool.--Pulling out of hair.--Special decorations worn by boys and girls passing through the ceremony and by the mother of the boy.--Port Essington tribe.--First ceremony or Nailpur; second ceremony or Wokunjari.--Kakadu tribe.--First ceremony or Jamba.--Showing the initiate the Jamba. Food restrictions.--Kangaroo ceremony.--Putting belts and armlets on the initiate.--Removing food restrictions.--Second ceremony or Ober.--Youths sent out to distant camps to invite strangers.--Special Tjaina ground.--Kangaroo and Snake ceremonies.--Third ceremony or Jungoan.--Fourth ceremony or Kulori, associated with a yam.--"Singing" different articles of food and so removing the restrictions.--Fifth ceremony or Muraian.--Performance of ceremonies.--Sacred objects associated with the Muraian.--Larakia tribe.--Belier ceremony.--Showing the Bidu-bidu or bull-roarer.--Mullinyu ceremony.--Worgait tribe.--Kundein ceremony.--Circumcision.--Baquett ceremony.--Showing the bull-roarer.--Djauan tribe.--Mindirinni ceremony.--Circumcision.--Showing the Kunapippi or bull-roarer.--Mungai ceremony.--Mungarai tribe.--Kalal camp and showing sacred

ceremonies and the Kunapippi or bull-roarer.--Circumcision.--Wandella status.--Subincision.--Nadiriga status.--Smoking the nadiriga.--Nullakun tribe.--Kokullal camp at which ceremonies are performed.--Special stick called Jappa round which the lubras dance.--Circumcision.--Showing the Kunapippi or bull-roarer.

So far as initiation is concerned these northern tribes be divided into three main groups that are clearly marked off from one another by the presence or absence of certain characteristic ceremonies. In all tribes hitherto described by us, in Central and Northern Central Australia, the two ceremonies of circumcision and subincision are carried out, but as the northern coast is approached we meet with tribes which first of all drop, if they have ever practised, the rite of subincision, and, lastly, in the very north and on the Islands, we meet tribes that perform neither of these ceremonies. In no case is the knocking out of a tooth in any way connected with initiation. The three groups are as follows:--(1) Those in which neither circumcision nor subincision is practised. This includes a number of tribes inhabiting Bathurst and Melville Islands, the Coburg Peninsula and the country drained by the East, South and West Alligator Rivers and, probably, also a large extent of country to the east of this along the coast line. Amongst these tribes are included the following:--Melville and Bathurst Island Tribes, Iwaidji, Kakadu, Koarnbut, Norweilemil, Punuurlu, Kumertuo, Geimbio, Noalanji and Larakia.

(2) Those in which circumcision only is practised. This includes a smaller number inhabiting, mainly, country to the south of that of the first group of tribes, though, in the case of the Worgait, they extend to the north-west coast. They are the Worgait, Warrai, Djauan and Nullakun.

(3) Those in which both circumcision and subincision are practised. They inhabit the upland country, inland from the coastal ranges and extend, on the one hand, right to the centre of the continent, and, on the other hand, eastwards to the Gulf of Carpentaria.1 There is no doubt, also, but that they pass right across into Western Australia. Amongst them are included the following:--Mungarai, Yungman, Mudburra, Waduman, Ngainman, Bulinara, Tjingilli, Mara, Binbinga, etc.

1. We have dealt with several of these tribes in Native Tribes of Central Australia, p. 212, and Northern Tribes of Central Australia, p. 328.

In the following list the names of the more important tribes of the Northern Territory are given, so far as they are known at present. They are divided into three groups, according to the nature of their initiation ceremonies.2

2. The approximate distribution of these tribes is shown in map A. The number opposite each tribe corresponds to the number on the map. Tribes numbered 1-41 are referred to in this volume.]

GROUP 1.--Neither Circumcision nor Subincision.

GROUP 2.--Circumcision only.


GROUP 3.--Circumcision and Subincision.

The natives on Melville and Bathurst Islands differ very much in regard to their ceremonies and customs, from the typical tribes of the mainland, and in nothing is this more clearly seen than in the ceremonies attendant upon the admission of their young men to the status of manhood. It is quite possible that there are certain ceremonies of a very special nature in addition to those now described, but a very striking feature of, at all events, some of the more important of them is that all the members of the tribe--men, women and children--take part in them. This is quite opposed, and stands in strong contrast, to the customs of most mainland tribes, amongst whom women and children, except to a very limited extent, are rigidly excluded from all active participation in them, and, as a rule, are not even allowed to come anywhere near the ceremonial ground. So far as I have been able to discover there is no such thing as a churinga or bull-roarer used. The natives assured me that they had no such thing, and when I showed the old men one and showed them also illustrations of Arunta and other natives using it, though apparently they were keenly interested in it and anxious to know all that I could tell them about these tribes, they still professed complete ignorance of any such thing amongst themselves, although certain of them knew that it was used in the Larakia tribe on the mainland. I therefore think it very probable that the Melville and Bathurst Island natives have no such thing as a churinga, and in saying this I am influenced by the knowledge that, so far as I could discover, no churinga or bull-roarer is known amongst the group of tribes inhabiting the Coburg Peninsula and I the large area drained by the Alligator Rivers, these tribes being the nearest neighbours of the Melville Islanders. It is, however, very difficult to make any definite statement in regard to matters such as this. It was only last year, though the Larakia tribe had been known to white men for forty years at least, that I was able to find out that, during their initiation ceremonies, they used a churinga. Future investigations may perhaps discover either a churinga, or something equivalent to it, amongst the natives of Melville and Bathurst Islands.

An equally striking feature of the ceremonies is the entire absence of any mutilation of the body. Neither circumcision nor subincision is practised, and as the men, under normal conditions, are stark naked, the fact is very evident. They have a most curious habit when standing still of pressing the penis back between the legs so that the tip of the prepuce can be seen from behind.

The initiation of young men on Melville Island is intimately associated with what is known as a Yam ceremony. This special form of yam, which is eaten, but does not form such an important article of food as certain other yams, is called Kolamma, though it is sometimes pronounced as if it were spelt Kulemma, the "k" also being often hardly sounded. It is covered with a number of little roots which look like very strong hairs. These are called itjimma, the same name being applied to the hair on the arms and legs. Whiskers are called dunimma.

The central figure in the ceremony was a boy, who appeared to be not more than fourteen or fifteen years old. He was the initiate and was called Watjinyerti--a special status term applied to boys at this particular stage. There was also an older youth who had figured as Watjinyerti at the last initiation ceremony a year ago and was now called Mikinyerti. In addition, there were two younger boys who will attain the status of Watjinyerti at the next ceremony. They were called Marukumana. A very striking feature was the fact that certain young girls took a very definite part in the performance. One of them, who was not more than ten or eleven years old, was called Mikinyertinga. She seemed to correspond, amongst the girls, to the Watjinyerti amongst the boys, and, twice at least during the performance, was specially decorated and much in evidence. In addition to her there were three other girls, the equivalents of the Marukumana amongst the boys, who were called Mikijeruma, and, like the Marukumana boys, were passing through the ceremony for the first time. On this occasion the Mikinyerti was the mother's brother of the Mikinyertinga girl, and, consequently, much older than she was, in fact, he was really one of the younger amongst the initiated men, but in these tribes the progress of full initiation is a lengthy one. Her father decided that she should go through because of the fact that her mother's brother was doing so.

On the day on which the ceremony began, the men collected together early in the morning, about eight o'clock, and, after much singing and yelling at the top of their voices, they went out into the bush to collect yams. They were accompanied by the Mikinyerti, but not by the Watjinyerti, who had to go to the mangrove swamp to put mud over himself. If he did not do this sores might break out all over him. Four young girls and two older ones also went out with the men, while the Marukumana remained in camp.

The morning was spent gathering the yams, which were then placed in two pitchis and immersed in a waterhole about a mile away from the main camp. When this was over the men came into the latter and decorated themselves with pipe clay and whitened bird's down. The majority of them had the down plastered over their chests, shoulders, and upper parts of their arms and backs and a line of white running down the middle of the abdomen (Fig. 29). Everyone had half of the forearm and the hand whitened and a broad band across the face. In most cases this included the whole forehead and as far down as the level of the moustache, but one or two of the older men, and amongst them the leaders of the ceremony, had only a circle round each eye and a band across the nose. All of them had their hair whitened, and perhaps the most extraordinary feature was the treatment of the beard. These men have very much better beards than many, in fact most, of the northern mainland tribes. During the first part of this yam ceremony they draw the sap of a tree known as milk wood (Alstonia sp.). When a cut is made in the bark of this tree a whitish liquid exudes which becomes sticky. The natives smear this over their beards so that the hairs stand out stiffly in a kind of fringe or ruff round the face. The leader, who had no moustache or hairs on his cheeks or lower lip--he had pulled them all out--was especially noticeable. He looked very much like a white-haired, glorified orang-utan. A few of the men, including the leader, contented themselves with drawing only lines of pipe clay on their bodies, arms, and legs. It was dull, gloomy, and raining hard at intervals and the painting and singing went on till nearly three o'clock the afternoon. When all was ready, the men, amongst whom was the Mikinyerti, left the main camp, where they had been singing and decorating themselves. They came on to the site chosen for the ceremonial ground, brandishing their yam sticks, called alluguni, and yelling Ya bai e e! Ya bai e e!

When the women, who were some little distance away in the scrub, and with whom were the three Marukumana boys and the Watjinyerti, heard this yelling, some of them came up to watch what was being done, but the boys remained in the scrub. Two of the women, one of whom was the mother of a Marukumana boy and the other the father's sister of a Mikijeruma girl, had their hair curiously decorated. By means of bees' wax it was all made up into little balls, the size of a large pea, and each of them was coated with yellow ochre, producing a most curious effect.

The men stood for a short time, bunched together and yelling loudly, with their yam sticks waving above their heads. Then they suddenly stooped down, plucked up tufts of grass by the roots and threw them about in all directions, shouting out as they did so, Brr! Brr! which is a cry indicating both defiance and the fact that, in any contest, the men making it are winning. Then they all set to work, vigorously, with their yam sticks, and, in a very short time, they had the ground cleared of grass and shrubs and had also piled up earth in a ring enclosing it, the cleared space measuring about twenty feet in diameter. The four young Mikijeruma girls, already referred to, ran on to the ground and joined the men when first they, came up, watched them for a short time, and then ran back to the women. In a very short time there was quite an encampment of roughly made bark mia-mias around the ground and no attempt of any kind was made to secure privacy. The only thing was that no women or children, except in the instance above-mentioned, and on one other occasion, were allowed to cross the ring. Otherwise, everything was done in public and the whole scene, with the decorated men and women, wandering about the little bark huts, each with its own fire, from which the blue smoke curled up among the forest trees and cycads, was most picturesque. Unfortunately, it rained hard, but this made not the slightest difference to anyone. When a particularly heavy shower came on, they either went under their mia-mias or protected themselves with a sheet of stringy-bark, bent double. At this time of the year the bark can be easily stripped from the tree and is used for many purposes, either for a house, a boat, a basket, or an umbrella. The Mikinyerti was with the men, the Watjinyerti was in the scrub, under the charge of his future wife's brother, and the three Marukumana boys had been sent away into the bush by the old men, with instructions as to what they were to do.

When the ground was cleared there was a short pause and then an old man--it did not apparently matter who--rose to his feet and began to walk round and round, knocking two sticks together (Fig. 30). While doing this, everyone adopts the same characteristic attitude. The man holds his left arm above his head so that his hand, in which he has a stick, is behind the level of his head. He strikes the stick with another in his right hand, singing as he does so. This special stick is called anadaunga. Men often walk round without a stick and then they always hold the left arm in front of the head, touching the forehead with the forearm so as to shield the eyes.

The first performer opened the ceremony by singing of the salt water, then another began and sang about Cooper and his house, saying that Jokuppa was tall but he was not nearly as tall as his house.3 Finally all the men were singing of rain, sea, boats, trees, grass, and, in fact, of everything that they could think of. Often a man would come to the end of one "song" and while thinking, of something else to sing, he always kept up a cry of Ha-ha-ha-er-er-er-, the former on a higher and the latter on a lower note.

This "singing" everything is a very characteristic feature of the Melville and Bathurst Islanders, as is also their custom, while ceremonies are being performed, of bending the body forwards and at the same time striking the buttocks with open hands and stamping furiously on the ground. Apart, also, from these ceremonies this curious repetition of names is frequently met with. Cooper and myself were once travelling in a dug-out canoe with four natives, and, as we were going along the coast, they spent most of the time naming things. One boy would say "mangrove," another "the leaves of the mangrove," another would say "dugong," and another "the head of the dugong," and so on, in endless succession. It sounded just as if they were vying with one another to see who could mention the most names, and all the time they were laughing gaily and evidently enjoying themselves.

1. This refers to Mr. R. J. Cooper, a noted Buffalo hunter, who is practically King of Melville Island, where he has great influence amongst the wild natives. He is popularly known as Joe Cooper, a name which the natives have transformed into Jokuppa.]

After the singing had gone on for about half an hour the Watjinyerti, whose face was all painted black, was brought in from the scrub by his guardian and taken to his father. The latter led him to an old yauaminni, (mother's elder brother's son) who decorated him with, armlets called bannajinni. The yauaminni then led him round and round the men who were standing in the middle of the ceremonial ground, and then his father linked the boy's right arm in his own left and, preceded, by a younger brother of the father, the two marched round and round, the father telling the son that they had put the armlets on him, that he was now a Watjinyerti, and saying repeatedly: "They can see you like this!" By this time all the women and children were gathered, round the ceremonial ground and the mia-mias had been built. The lubras sang, repeating what the men sang first and every now and then one or other of the older women called out to the boy, telling him to follow his father and his yauaminni. This went on till late in the afternoon when all the men left the ceremonial ground, the women and children following a short distance behind. It was pouring in torrents and the ground, in many parts, was running with water, through which we squelched along, pressing our way, drenched to the skin, through the dripping scrub and tall grass. Close to the water pool a halt was made at the base of a gum tree, where some green boughs had been piled up against the trunk. They were pulled aside and, under them we found the three Marukumana boys crouching. What this part of the ceremony meant we could not discover. However, after much gesticulating and pretended surprise, the party moved on, taking the boys with them,until they came to the stream which was now running. The yams were in a little side pool with logs placed on the pitchis to prevent them from floating away. They were inspected and then, suddenly, several old men seized the Watjinyerti, plunged into the water with him, and rushed backwards and forwards, some having hold of his legs and others of his arms. In this helpless state he was dragged backwards and forwards several times, for the most part completely immersed in the water. When they released him they turned their attentions to the Marukumana boys, who were made to lie down in the side pool (Fig. 31). First of all each of them had his head put into a bark pitchi, along with a few yams, and then, in this uncomfortable position, he was held under the water, which was very muddy, for quite half a minute. As the yams had "whiskers," their close associations with the heads of the boys was supposed to be efficacious in stimulating the growth of hair on the faces of the latter. The boys were then made to stand up and, to assist further in the growth, each one had his chin rubbed hard with a hairy yam and then freely bitten by any older man who chose to do so. This ceremony is called Tunima irruwinni. They were very sore and uncomfortable when it was all over and, to add to their discomfort, they were sent away to a mangrove swamp, close by, to have their chins rubbed with the evil-smelling mud. The women and children had been watching the performance and, after the immersion of the Watjinyerti, four of them, two mothers and two sisters, jumped into the water and gave themselves a good ducking.

All returned to camp, the Mikinyerti, Watjinyerti, and the men gathering together on the ceremonial ground, the men, at first, dancing about and clanging their sticks and repeating, time after time, "we have been to the water and washed."

By and by, the Marukumana boys came up from the swamp and went into a little mia-mia just outside the ring of earth, the Watjinyerti sitting down in another by himself, watching the men who began to perform dances and listening to the singing that went on at intervals all night.

Early next morning they were busy and, at six o'clock, started to build a special fire in the middle of the ceremonial ground. They took a number of stakes, from five to seven feet in height, and fixed them upright in the ground so that they formed a circle, about three or four feet in diameter (Fig. 32). Within this they piled up wood to a height of four feet and, on the top of this, they placed a thick layer of broken up white-ant hill. What, was the meaning of this we could not find out. Then for an hour they danced round and round it but did not attempt to light the fire. The women and children were watching them all the time. Soon after seven o'clock the men left the ground and, in single file, started off for the water pool. We were soon, once more, drenched to the skin. Nothing special took place; the yams were taken out of the water and carried back to the ceremonial ground by the Watjinyerti and the Mikinyerti and placed in two heaps, one on each side of the fire. This is always done, but the natives do not know why. Then the fire was lighted by the Mikinyerti and Watjinyerti boys, the Mikinyerti's father and the Mikinyertinga girl. It took them a long time to do this, because everything was soaking wet and pools of water were lying about on the ceremonial ground, while the natives were dancing in sloppy mud. On the way back from the water pool, the men cut a quantity of long grass stalks, which were placed on the top of each heap of yams. The three Marukumana boys, as before, were in one mia-mia and the Watjinyerti in another. The dancing and singing went on and, one occasion, the father took his daughter, the Mikinyertinga girl, by the hand and led her round several times. The fire was burning but, for more than an hour, nothing was done to it or to the yams. The Watjinyerti was surrounded by a few men who pulled out all his pubic hairs and also those on his upper and lower lip. While this was going on, the operators were singing the simple refrain, "too bad, pull out hairs," which was repeated by one woman, who was the daughter of the brother of the Watjinyerti's mother. The main body of men were walking round and round the fire, striking their buttocks and singing fiercely at intervals. At the end of about an hour, the men went to the fire and drew out lighted sticks which they threw away, first facing towards the north and then the south. Then once more they sang, the women outside the circle joining in. Taking small boughs, the men now approached the fire and beat it down from above, the idea of this being to cleanse it of all evil influence--if this were not done they believe the evil would go inside them and they would break out all over sores. While doing this they yelled, Brr! Brr! Brr! ee! ee! Some of the grass stalks were then tied into a rope, long enough to encircle the fire, around the red hot embers of which they were placed, after the latter had been raked over, together with the hot lumps of ant hill, and made more or less smooth. The idea of this was to prevent the yams from falling out of the fire. The remainder of the grass was placed over the embers and the yams put on top. Sheets of paper bark were spread over them and these, in turn, were covered with damp earth which was dug up with yam sticks, in a circle round the fire. No women placed any yams on the fire. While this was in progress, the greater number of the men stood round shouting, Brr! Brr! Brr! Oh! Oh! The men who placed the earth on the fire, smoothing it down to make a more or less regular low dome-shaped structure, eve,, now and again knelt up and threw their bodies and arm, back, while the onlookers yelled a specially loud Brr! Brr! and struck their buttocks fiercely. When the mound was completed, everyone retired to the margin of the ground; some sat down, others stood up and all of them continued singing and striking their buttocks. After a pause, one man came out and performed a special shark dance, the audience beating time. Then one old man, who took the lead and was always in front in the processions, walked slowly round and round the fire, singing of the yams and the grass. Every now and then he went outside the ceremonial ground and, with both arms held up, told the women what to sing. It was just as if a wild hymn were being sung and the verses given out, one by one. The men were chanting continuously and, every now and then, the shrill tones of the women came in. The three Marukumana and the Watjinyerti remained in their mia-mias and the singing went on for about two hours till the yams were cooked. The men then sat down round the fire and the yams were taken out (Fig. 33). The four young girls and two old women, the mother and father's sister of the Watjinyerti, were called up and were given yams to skin. Any man, apparently,, was allowed to do this and also the Watjinyerti, but not the Marukumana boys, who were not even painted. The little Mikinyertinga girl, after skinning hers, handed then, to her father. After the skinning, the yams were cut up into slices, an operation which occupied a long time. It was, of course, done on the ceremonial ground and, while it was in progress, one man was walking round and round, striking sticks together, while the others chanted. The men sang, time after time, "yams, you are fathers." The natives said that, as a result of the performance of the ceremony, all kinds of yams would grow plentifully--not only the kolamma, but, more especially, other kinds which, as articles of diet, are more useful to them than the kolamma, which is very hot and needs special preparation. This one kind of yam is not much used by the Melville and Bathurst Islanders but is a favourite food amongst other tribes on the mainland. The Island natives evidently regard the kolamma, probably because it has to be specially treated before being safe to eat, as a superior kind of yam, endowed with properties such as the ordinary yams do not possess. If a boy sees this ceremony and afterwards does not do what he is told to do by the old men when he is being initiated, he becomes very ill and dies.

The father of the Mikinyertinga girl took some slices of yam in his hand and the daughter poured water on them from a palm leaf basket, after which the man rubbed the daughter's hair with them in order to make it grow. This over, the four girls retired from the ceremonial ground. Then the men crunched some of the slices in their hands and rubbed their own beards with them. This is called tunima ubabrulua. The sister of the father of the Mikinyertinga and the mother of the Watjinyerti rubbed each other's heads and faces with yam slices., and, when all the rubbing was over, a general decoration of men, women, and children began. The Watjinyerti was painted by a yauaminni man, and had his hair, a band across his nose, and a band down each cheek, white. His armlets, bamajinni, were red-ochred afresh. The Mikinyerti youth had his hair, a band across the nose, and such beard and whiskers as he possessed, painted yellow. The three Marukumana boys had their faces Painted black. As soon as the slicing of the yams was over, a small mia-mia, made of sheets of bark and gum tree boughs, was built close beside the remains of the fire, and into this the men put the Watjinyerti and the Marukumana, in order that, so the natives said, they could not be seen by the women. This mia-mia is called malanni, the usual term for one being irruwunni. This may perhaps be a remnant of an aspect of the ceremony which, at one time, was more strongly developed than it is now on Melville Island, and that is the seclusion of the initiate, so that he is not seen by the women and children, who believe in many tribes that during the initiation ceremony he is taken away by a spirit and made into a man.

While the boys were thus hidden, the painting went on, one or two of the old yam men keeping up a continuous chant referring to the yams and the grass. The father painted the Mikinyertinga girl yellow all over (Fig. 34); another girl had one side of her head painted white by her mother and the other side yellow, above one eye she had a white line, and below, a yellow one, and vice versâ on the other side. If both yellow and white were used, as was often the case, the right side was always white and the left yellow. The old leading man had one side of his hair white, the other yellow, the whole of his face was red, save for a yellow band across the forehead just above the eyes, and a white band from ear to ear across the bridge of the nose. His upper and lower lips were clean "shaved," but a strong fringe of beard was made to project all round by means of the sticky sap of the milk-wood tree, and was edged with white down. This design, together with a red ochred body and long sinuous lines of white and yellow from his shoulders to his knees, gave him a ferocious and remarkably weird aspect. Another of the older men had one side of his hair white, the other yellow, and a broad median band of red right across his hair, down the middle of his forehead, nose, lips and chin, and then on to his projecting beard, which on one side was painted white and on the other red. The rest of his face was a somewhat lighter red than the median band. Some of the men had their bodies all covered with yellow, others with red, and one or two with black. In most cases they had sinuous lines of white and yellow or yellow and red, and sometimes all three, which usually began at the elbow, ran up to the shoulder, and then either close together down the back on either side to the knee, or else looping over one another. If the white was outermost on one side, it was innermost on the other, this alternation of colours being most striking and characteristic. All the designs were decidedly ornate and quite unlike any that I have seen amongst other Australian aboriginals. They are, however, though decidedly elaborate, very roughly drawn in comparison with those used during the sacred ceremonies of such tribes as the Arunta and the Waramunga.

While this was going on the singing was continuous, but what was sung was very simple. One old man suddenly shouted to the women, "I have painted my daughter's hair yellow." Another old man came out from the ceremonial ground, went near to where a number of women were grouped together, and sang out to them, "I have painted one side of my daughter white and the other side yellow." In one case, the two wives and daughter of an old man were a little way off in the scrub, painting themselves in their mia-mia. The old man kept coming out from the ring and walking round so that they could both see and hear him, and time after time they sang out, repeating what he said, which was merely a reference to the painting. The women, in most cases, simply daubed red or yellow ochre over themselves, with little attempt at design. When the decorations were complete, there was a short pause, and then the men began to walk round and round the ground, singing and clanging sticks with their arms uplifted as usual. Then one man "sang." the Mabanuri, or shooting star, which is supposed to be an evil spirit. The object of this singing was to protect the boys in the mia-mia against its evil influence.

Also they sang the bamajinni, that is the armlets of the Watjinyerti, which is also supposed to aid in protecting him against any shooting star. This over, several men walked round and round the mia-mia containing the Watjinyerti, singing of an attack upon it by spears. At this stage, the old leading man was standing up and giving orders. He, and another man, danced wildly round and round the mia-mia while the men, with special vigour, struck their buttocks, yelling and stamping loudly as they did so. It was a crocodile dance, and the old man carried a ball of red ochred down in his hands, throwing it up every now and again to represent fish jumping out of the water in front of the crocodile. This was followed by a shark dance, performed by a man with a blackened body and long sinuous lines of white and yellow spots. These were the best dancers and they entered into the performance with zest, dancing and stamping, round and round, until they were exhausted. Then came a curious part of the ceremony, quite unlike anything that is known in connection with initiation on the mainland. The father of the Mikinyertinga girl had previously decorated her with red and yellow ochre. He now called her up and spent some time in building up kind of mop of hair on her head, by means of twisting into her own hair a large number of little curled strands of human hair. The result was a great mop, calling to mind, on a small scale, that of many Papuans. Then he placed on her forehead a curious chaplet. It is made of a piece of bamboo bent round so as to fit the head closely from ear to ear, across the forehead, somewhat like a tiara. On to it were fixed a series of flattened tufts of dog tail hairs--the hairs radiating from a central disc of beeswax. Decorated with this mop of hair and the chaplet, the girl was led by her father to the mia-mia and put inside this with the four boys. It was a tight fit, and they were all closely huddled together. Then there came another shark dance, accompanied by a song, consisting of the repetition of the simple refrain, "the shark has a big mouth. The salt water makes the shark's mouth big." This was sung by a man of the Pandanus (screw-pine) totem. Then came a devil-devil dance called Mabanuri (shooting star). This was followed by a march round and round the mia-mia, the men gradually getting more and more excited. They were supposed to be a hostile tribe, coming to kill the people in the mia-mia. The men began to prance about and, after a minute or two, the bark sheets were opened up, so that the girl and boys could be seen. Then they were closed up again and a mock attack, with spears, was made, the occupants being supposed to be killed. After this there was a regular pandemonium, everyone dancing and yelling at the same time. This went on for some minutes and then, when they were thoroughly wound up and excited, they divided into two parties, the older men in one and the younger men in the other. just before this the mia-mia had been pulled down and the occupants came out, the girl and the Marukumana going to one side--in fact leaving the ceremonial ground. The father took charge of the chaplet. The Watjinyerti joined the younger party, as did also the Mikinyerti youth. At first, they had a long pole at which each party pulled, much as if it were a tug-of-war, but this was soon thrown away and then they mingled together, forming a wild, excited mass of yelling savages, heads, arms, legs, and bodies all mixed up, until, at length, one party succeeded in pushing the other, slowly, along while they yelled Brr! Brr! They undid themselves and the performance, called Arri madjunderri, came to an end. The men gathered again round the remains of the fire and the old leader took hold of the Watjinyerti's arms, behind his back, and led him round the fire. There was some more dancing, the men standing round the margin of the ceremonial ground, and then the leader came out into the middle, picked up some remnants of the fire, and threw them away in various directions. This was supposed to be emblematic of the throwing away of sickness. Then they set off for the water hole, in single file, the Watjinyerti and the Mikinyerti carrying the yams. The Mikinyertinga and the Mikijeruma girls and the two old women accompanied them, the other women and children came on behind and stood a little distance away. When they reached the water hole, the yams were put in the water, together with the roots or "whiskers" which had been carefully preserved and were "sung." Then an extraordinary ceremony took place. Most of the men began to pluck their beards and whiskers out (Fig. 35). They began at the ear on each side and went down to the middle of the chin, plucking the hair out in bunches. Some did it for themselves, some allowed others to do it for them, and not a single man seemed to flinch in the slightest degree during the performance of what must have been, at all events, a decidedly uncomfortable operation. A strange thing was that no bleeding seemed to take place. When it was over the hair was placed in the pitchis, together with the sliced yams and their "whiskers" and left in the water for the night. Early next morning, everyone was astir and the decorations were renewed. Then they all set off for the water hole, in single file as usual. A halt was made, before they reached the water hole, at the base of the tree at which the Watjinyerti had previously been secreted. Acting under instructions from the old leader, a Marukumana boy and the Mikinyertinga girl had left the camp and were lying concealed by boughs, at the foot of the same tree. The father of the girl placed the chaplet on her forehead and gave her a ball of red-ochred down, called Taquoinga--the same one that he had previously used in the crocodile dance--hanging it round her neck with a string. This done, the whole party came on, the bushes were thrown aside, and everyone simulated the greatest astonishment. The boys came out first of all and danced about, within a circle formed by the men, who sang and struck their buttocks. Then the girl came out and danced round, accompanied by four men, her father and three of his brothers. The girl carried the Taquoinga in her mouth, because she was supposed to be shy and it gave her courage. A ball of this kind, called Ballduk by the Kakadu, is very often seen, suspended from the necks of the men, both on Melville and Bathurst Islands, and on the mainland, and is always carried in the mouth and bitten hard, at times of great excitement, such as during a fight. After this little ceremony was over, the whole party moved on to the water hole, the yams were taken out and carried away to the camp, the hairs and whiskers being left behind. The natives, apparently, have no fear of anyone securing the hair and working evil magic with it. In camp, everyone partook of the yams and they were all supposed to begin eating at the same time.

The Watjinyerti was painted red and, for some time, he had to keep away from the main camp. We used to see him sitting about in the scrub, a rather forlorn looking creature, bright red, because he was completely smeared over with ochre, and wearing the armlets. In addition to these, he now wore a strange necklet called Marungwum. It was made of a round stick about half an inch in diameter, bent into the shape of a horseshoe, the two ends being capped with knots of wax and tied together with hair string, from the middle point of which a long string, ending in a tassel, called paraminni, hung down the middle of his back. He wore this continuously after the ceremony was over, for six weeks, when a new one, called Illajinni, was made, which, in its turn, he wore for four months. The natives have no idea as to what is the significance of the necklet, except that the Watjinyerti always has worn it and that, if he took it off, he would become seriously ill. Certainly, together with his red-ochred face, it makes him a very prominent and distinctive object. When the ceremony was over, the mother of the Watjinyerti had to wear a necklet similar to his and was obliged to keep it on as long as he did. The natives say that, if the mother's fell off, the boy would become ill, and that if the boy's should fall off the mother would be ill. After these ceremonies were over, the ceremonial ground was deserted. The mia-mias that had encircled it closely were removed some distance away into the scrub. Three days later, while the natives were busy painting posts) to place on the grave of a man who had died a year ago, they gathered together, close by the posts, and the young Marukumana were brought in and thrown up in the air. The idea was to make them grow tall. On the morning of the next day the men again assembled at the grave posts and lighted a fire at the base of a blood-wood tree, close by. Four boys, two of them Marukumana and two younger ones, were made to climb up the trunk. Green boughs were placed on the fire, from which a column of smoke arose, called kujui. The same word is applied to a water spout, which it is supposed to represent. Each of the boys, in turn, had to climb down. The two younger ones were allowed to jump over the fire but the Marukumana had to pass through it.

The above ceremonies took place during the second week in March. I was unable to see the subsequent proceedings, but during a later visit to Melville Island was informed that what took place was as follows:--My informant, one of the natives, was present and secured for me the various ornaments. The Watjinyerti remained away from the main camp until the end of April, when he came into his mother's camp, took off his old ornaments and washed himself in salt water, brought up by his mother. New ornaments were put on him, including a special belt called Olturuma, which was made by his mother's brother. He kept all these on until the performance of a final ceremony in September. On this occasion he sat down in camp with his mother, with all his ornaments on. His mother sang out to the older women, especially his "sisters," to come up. They did so and took half of the ornaments off and then the older men came up and took the remainder off. When this was done the Watjinyerti danced a little. A Yauaminni man took the ornaments--armlets, necklets, and waist girdles--and placed them all on a special platform of branches, built like a big nest, in an iron-wood tree. While this was being done, everyone stood round the mother and the Watjinyerti, who were in the middle. Everyone, men, women, boys, and girls, cut their heads and cried. With this the ceremony came to a close.

The various articles worn by the Watjinyerti boy, the Mikinyertinga girl and the mother of the boy are shown in Plate 1. [Ornaments Worn During Initiation Ceremony On Melville Islane] Figs. 1 and 2 represent the special belt called Olturuma. Both of them are twenty-six inches in length and very strongly made out of alternate blocks or panels, as it were, of human hair and banyan bark string, their edges being sewn all round with split cane. This bark string forms a strong loop at each end, where it is covered with beeswax that has been whitened with pipe clay. in the upper one the blocks of human hair string are left uncoloured, those of banyan bark string are red-ochred and outlined and crossed by lines of white and yellow alternating in the way characteristic of Melville and Bathurst Island decorations. The lower one shows a somewhat more complicated scheme of decoration, some of the human hair blocks or panels being red-ochred. The centre of the belt is marked by a white circle; on each side of this is a red panel, then an uncoloured banyan-bark string panel, then a pinkish-cream coloured panel, the pigment being made by mixing pipe clay with red-ochre; this is followed by a red panel, then a long one of banyan string, partly coloured, partly uncoloured; on the right side is a long human hair string panel, running; to the end, but, on the left, the terminal panel is made of banyan bark. The design is symmetrical in the central part of the belt, but slightly asymmetrical towards each end.

Fig. 3 represents the ornament worn by the mother. It measures twelve by thirteen inches. It consists of a stick about three-quarters of an inch in diameter bent so as to form a semicircle. It has been completely smoothed and red-ochred and its two ends are held together by strong strands of banyan bark string, bound round and round so as to form a strong bar which is completely coated over with beeswax and decorated with alternating bands of red and yellow ochre, outlined with white. By way of ornamentation there is, on each side, a knob of wax studded with abrus seeds. From the middle of this transverse bar an elaborate pendant hangs down. Its total length is eighteen inches and it consists of a large number of strands of banyan bark string gathered together into two cords to form a loop half-way down the pendant, the strands being enclosed in beeswax, one side coloured red, the other yellow. The attachment of the pendant to the bar is marked by a ring of wax covered with abrus seeds. Then follows a curious disc, two and three-quarter inches in diameter, with short, stiff strands of human hair string radiating all round. For an inch and a half beyond this the string is enclosed in wax coloured yellow and red, then for two inches and three-quarters the string, which is red-ochred, is free. This is succeeded by the central loop, which is ornamented at each end with a circle of abrus seeds, stuck in beeswax. The length of this part is four inches and a half. Then for three and a half inches the strands are free, after this follow a circle of abrus seeds, then a length of string, two and three-quarter inches, covered with wax, painted red, white, and yellow. This is succeeded by a second disc made of a series of cane rings fitting one inside the other, with stiff strands of human hair string radiating all round. The disc, as can be seen,, is decorated with alternating, radiating lines of yellow, red, and white. Finally the Pendant terminates in a sphere of delicate, light brown coloured down feathers.

The structure is worn in such a way that the pendant hangs down the middle of the back. Figs. 4 and 5 represent, respectively, the necklets called Marungwurm and Illajinni, worn by the Watjinyerti boy. The smaller one measures six and a half inches by six, the larger one eight inches by six and a half. They are quite simple in form and made, essentially, in the same way as the larger one worn by the mother. One of them, the one that I saw the boy wearing, has a pendant of thirty-four strands of red-ochred human hair string. The other is ornamented with two knots of beeswax, each two inches long and thickly studded with abrus seeds.

Figs. 6 and 7 represent the ornaments worn by the Mikinyertinga girl. The first of these is in the form of a curious chaplet, made of strands of human hair string that are all flattened out and covered with beeswax so as to form, roughly, a semicircle about eight inches in external diameter. Radiating out from this semicircle there are eleven wild dog tall tips which are also flattened out. The girl wore the chaplet on her head as if it were a tiara, the semicircle of wax passing across the front of her hair from car to ear, the strands of hair string being tied together behind her head. The second has the form of a ball measuring three and a quarter inches in diameter. It is very cleverly made out of the lower parts of feathers that have been cut in half so as to retain part of the stiff barbs and all the down portion at their bases. The cut ends in some way, are closely and firmly attached in the centre of the sphere, but it is so compact that, without destroying it, it is impossible to ascertain how they are actually attached. The projecting end of each is the quill end, so that the sphere which is composed of hundreds of feathers looks like a ball of down. The feathers have been orange-coloured with a mixture of red and yellow ochre. The girl wore the ornament round her neck, attached by four strands of human hair string during the performance of her dance, held it tightly between her teeth. It is called Taquoinga, the same name being applied to the little spherical bag that the men carry round their necks and place between their teeth during times of especial excitement.

In the Port Essington tribe there are two important ceremonies connected with initiation, the first of which is called Naialpur and the second Wokungjari; these terms indicating also the status of the individual who has passed through one or other of them. The following account was given to me by a Port Essington native who was living in Cooper's Camp on Melville Island and was well acquainted with the customs of the latter people as well as with those of his own tribe.

The central figure of the Naialpur is a youth who has reached the status of Ngauunduitch and is perhaps fifteen or sixteen years old. He is the equivalent of the Watjinyerti on Melville Island, and there are also younger boys who take a secondary position in the ceremony. They are called Namungulara and are the equivalents of the Marukumana boys. These boys may evidently take part in the ceremony several times before they become the central figure. There was one Port Essington boy in the camp on Melville Island who was not more than thirteen years of age and he had twice been Namulugara.

The elder men, that is the Wokunjarri and Balquar akkan, consult and decide upon the initiation of the youth. A man who is the latter's pappam comes to him and says "gun mi araman," I want you. This is done in the camp, and the kamu (mothers), wulko and munburtji (elder and younger sisters) cut themselves and cry. When it has thus been decided to advance any youth from the status of Ngauunduitch to that of Naialpur he is sent out to visit camps under the guardianship of a man who has already attained the latter status. They each carry a very simple wand, merely a stick about four feet long, called uro-ammi (Fig. 36),and when they come within sight of a strange camp, they halt and, bending towards one another over the wands, chant a refrain the significance of which is well understood.4 The women in camp reply with the call "wait ba; wait ba," and so long as the youths remain in any camp, they periodically repeat their refrain, the women always answering with theirs. When the Ngauunduitch and his guardian Naialpur return they are taken to a special camp called koar, where a ceremonial ground has been prepared. The latter is about thirty or forty yards long with the sand banked up all round, and on one side a track leading into it with its sides also slightly banked up. In the middle of the ground is a bush wurley called wangaratja with a forked stick standing upright on each side and a hollow log within it. The men's spears are bunched together and rest against the side of the wurley. The first night the Ngauunduitch spends, under the charge of a pappam, close to the entrance of the koar. Early in the morning he is taken on to the ground and sits down beside the log which has been removed from the wurley. This special log is called piruakukka, a name that no lubra may bear. The usual name for a hollow log is aranweir. At first the younger boys are present and the pappam men dance round and round them and at times pinch their cheeks to make their hair grow. This is in the very early morning, after which they are taken back to the camp and the men set to work to decorate themselves for the performance of ceremonies on the koar.

1. A fuller account of this is given later in connection with the initiation ceremonies of the Kakadu tribe.]

The Ngauunduitch, both now and during the time that he travels over the country from camp to camp, wears special waist girdle called agir-agir. It is made of a cord of human hair string from which short lengths of string, arranged in pairs, each about eight inches long and ending in little knots of beeswax, hang down. During the ceremony, also, both the Ngauunduitch and the Namungulara wear necklets called leda. Each of these consist of a circlet, large enough to go comfortably round the neck, made of vegetable fibre string, such as that derived from the banyan tree bark, or it may be made from the hair of a young man. The strands of strings are gathered together to form a pendent that hangs down the middle of the boy's back. Where the strands come together on the circlet, there is a coating of beeswax and the pendent cord is also ornamented with two or three circles of the same material. In the case of the younger boys, the Namungulara, a small length of bamboo, is attached to the free end of the cord. In some mysterious way this is supposed to represent the boy's knee, and the wearing of it during the ceremony has the effect of strengthening the knee. At a certain point in the ceremony, also, the Namungulara boys come into camp and place their ledas on the heads of their mothers, which is a sign to the latter that the ceremony is nearly over and that they must go out into the bush and collect yams. When the men are ready the pappam takes the Ngauunduitch5 back to the koar in the middle of which all the decorated men stand round the wurley. When he reaches the entrance to the wurley the men yell Prr! Prr! The men are painted so that their faces cannot be recognised and, at first, the youth is frightened because he has seen nothing like it before. The men arrange themselves round the margin of the koar and then they dance, one by one. This over they pull the wurley to pieces and dance on the remnants. Th, boy is then taken back to his camp by the pappam. At night he returns to the koar and ceremonies are performed connected with the totems, kangaroo, cockatoo, crocodile, lizard, etc. At the close of each one they dance on the remains of the wurley and finally lie down on them, some of the bushes being piled on the top of the old men. The natives have no idea of the meaning of the wurley or of breaking it down. While this is going on the pappam sing:--

1. There are often two or more youths passing through the ceremony at the same time, in which case they sit down in a row with a pappam in charge of each.]

Nan o tjeri nilkil
Binyung mi
Bin yalli nalli
Tjai Tjo---o------!

Then the old men get up from the bushes. Bunches of cockatoo feathers are placed on the boys' heads and then the ceremonies go on, the pappam singing--

Natjat pula pula
Bin yung mi
Bin yalli nalli
Tjai Tjo---o------!

repeating it time after time until they are tired out. The men now arrange themselves in a long row and then crouch down with hands on knees, all swaying about from side to side and whistling in imitation of the wind. Then they stand up, everyone waving about like a tree in the wind; in fact they are supposed to represent big gum trees. Time after time they repeat the refrain "Natjat pula pula," etc., and then they all fall down on hands and knees and move along in a line around and behind the youth surging and swaying from side to side and yelling Arr! Arr! until at last, with a final loud Ai kai ai: ai kai ai: ai-------, ending in a long descending note, they fall down round the hollow log. The boy is then made to sit by the side of the latter with the men all round him. The old pappam men sing out

Birringin, birringin, birringin,
Urqui pit, urqui pit,
Alor! alor! alor!

The whole is repeated several times and the day's performance comes to an end, the boy being taken back to his camp to sleep. Early next morning they are back on the koar and are shown first a crocodile ceremony. One old man sits on the log and the others on the ground close by, singing,

Wungaka wunga birri
Birridji ja djaquia.

The boy stands by and watches. Two men, imitating the movements of a crocodile, sprawl on the ground and crawl along to the remains of the wurley. The man on the log sings out Wau, Wau, which is the signal for an old man to knock down the forked sticks. This knocking down is called numulana. Later on a cockatoo ceremony is shown.

It is during the performance of these ceremonies that the boy is shown the bull-roarer, called by this tribe Kurrabudji. He sits down on the koar ground with his head bent low so that he cannot see what is taking place. Some of the old men paint themselves and come up behind him whirling the bull-roarers. The pappam tells the boy to look up, and then he sees the men and is told that the noise is made by the Kurrabudji. As usual the lubras think it is the voice of a great spirit that takes the boys away, but the old men tell him that it is not so. At first he is very frightened, but the old men show him the sticks and, after having rubbed their own bodies with them, place them in his hands. The boy looks at them, and then hands them back again to the old men. He is repeatedly shown the Kurrabudji and warned that the lubras and children must not see them on any account. At times also the boy is rubbed over with the sticks. In addition to this the old men often rub the heads and cheeks of the Ngauunduitch and Namungulara with their hands to make the hair and whiskers grow. Fat is also rubbed frequently on their private parts to make then, strong, and they are told that they must not growl at the old men, and must not take a lubra until they are older and have passed two or three times through the Naialpur.

The showing of ceremonies continues for five or six weeks, after which a visit is paid to the lubra's camp. The Naialpur is in the centre of the procession with the pappam and other men round him. They shout loudly Kor yai, kor yai, so as to tell the lubras that they are coming. Then, when quite close to the camp, they yell wha, wha, wha! At the camp the lubras are arranged in two rows with a strong forked post, called quiaramba, fixed upright in the ground. On this two young women sit, crying out leda, leda, which means "string, string," some of which they hold out. The same name "leda" is given to the head rings of the Namungulara boys. The two girls are either sisters or sister's daughters of the Naialpur. When the men are about twenty yards away they come down from the post and all the women sing Kait ba, Kait ba, moving their hands and knees as if to invite the men to come on. The Naialpur and Namungulara wear opossum fur-string armlets, human hair-string girdles, the special chest girdles, called man-ma-ouri, which encircle the shoulders, chest, and neck. They also wear the head rings called leda, and a pubic tassel. The Naialpur stands quietly beside the forked post while the men dance between and round the two lines of women. The pappam then leads the Naialpur to his father and mother, who are at the far end of the camp, and seats him between them. Then the boy's sisters come up and a general walling ensues, after which the Naialpur is once more taken into the bush.

The second ceremony, called Wokungjari, is passed through after a man is married, sometimes before, and sometimes after he has a child. In the case of my informant it took place before. A pappam tells the young man to come with him into the bush, which he does, leaving his wife in charge of his father and mother. The pappam supplies him with food and he is supposed to be dependent on the old man for this, so that sometimes he may have plenty, but at others very little, depending entirely upon how much the old man has either the ability or the desire to secure. He is very often shown the Kurrabidji and every now and then his father comes and looks at him, but no one else, and he must not go anywhere near his lubra. Every day the pappam rubs him over with fat, and he spends practically all his time on the ceremonial ground, where he is shown and allowed also to take part in the performance of totemic ceremonies. This goes on for two months, at the end of which time the pappam tells him to go and bathe, and show himself to his father and mother in the Main camp. He is now a Wokungjari or fully initiated man.

The Kakadu is one of a group, or nation, of tribes inhabiting an unknown extent of country, including that drained by the Alligator Rivers, the Coburg Peninsula, and the coastal district, at all events as far west as Finke Bay. Its eastern extension is not known. For this nation I propose the name Kakadu, after that. of the tribe of which we know most.

The initiation ceremonies are evidently closely similar all through this group of tribes. In different parts of Australia these ceremonies vary to a considerable extent. In the south-eastern and eastern coastal tribes the ceremony consists in knocking out a front tooth. In the central and north central and also in some of the western tribes, there are two ceremonies which often follow close upon each other. At the first the rite of circumcision is carried out and at the second that of subincision. In some of these tribes only the first of these is practised. In the Arunta and other central tribes, the youth is regarded as initiated and is allowed to see all the sacred ceremonies as soon as he has passed through the two ceremonies named, but, at a later time, he takes part in what is called the Engwura, which consists, partly, in the performance of a long series of sacred ceremonies referring to the totemic ancestors, and partly in a curious ordeal by fire, after which he becomes a full man, or, as they say, ertwa murra oknira, which words mean man, good, very. He only takes part in this when he is adult. In the Kakadu nation there is a succession of no fewer than five series of ceremonies, the last of which only adult and comparatively old men may witness. They are performed in the following order and are known respectively as

1. Jamba.
2. Ober.
3. Jungoan.
4. Kulori.
5. Muraian.

Of these the first may be regarded, strictly speaking, as the important initiation ceremony. It marks the turning point in the life of each youth, when he passes out of the ranks of the women and children, enters into those of the men, and is, thereafter, allowed to see and gradually take part in the performance of the sacred ceremonies that are characteristic of the remaining four, although he is an elderly man before he is permitted to witness the Muraian.

1. Jamba Ceremony.

I was not fortunate enough to see the Jamba initiation ceremony of the Kakadu tribe but a middle-aged man, named Urangara, who was fully acquainted with all the sacred ceremonies of the tribe, described to us what happened in his own case and the procedure as he has witnessed and taken part in it many times since then. just before the rain season, in his own case, his father consulted a few old men, some of whom stood in the relation of father's elder brothers to him and others in that of father's father (Kaka). These men) during the ceremony, are called Kuringarerli. The father said to the old men: "My boy is growing big, his whiskers are coming. It is time he was allowed to eat some of the forbidden foods." The latter is expressed by the words "morpia" (food), meja (eat), kumali (forbidden or tabu). After this, there was a general conversation amongst the older men and it was decided that the time had come for the boy to be initiated. They said to two elder men, Bialilla mirawara muramunna koro, which means the boy is growing big, you two go to the bush. On this occasion there was another youth who was being initiated at the same time and the two elder men took the two youths away with them into the bush, visiting various camps and inviting the strangers to come and witness the ceremony. They stayed away a long time until, as Urangara said, tjara numbereba, that is, their whiskers were long. During all this time the two elder men must not look at a lubra; if they did the boys would become ill and also the other men would drive spears into them. The women have to be very careful not to go anywhere where they are likely to come across the youths. The old men instruct them what parts to avoid. After a long wandering, the boys and their guardians return, bringing with them the visitors, whom they gather together as they come to the various camps on their homeward journey. All the men in camp, except a few of the elders, who remain to watch the women and children, go out to meet the party, whose approach is notified by the clanging of sticks. The whole party comes in, except the boys and their guardians. The strangers are conducted to their camping grounds and, early next morning, the men go out and prepare a special ceremonial ground called Tjaina. At one side of this a bush shade, called waryanwer, is made and the men stand, some under the shade, which is six feet high, and open at both ends, and some round the ground. In the centre of the latter is a hollow log called jamba, four or five feet long and about two feet in diameter. The boys are not yet brought to the ground, but one old man sits down and repeatedly strikes the jamba. He is called dabinji wanbui. It is now dark, or mardid, that is, night time. An old man takes two sticks and goes out close to where the boys are camped, striking his sticks together. The men in charge of the boys say, ameina--what is it? and the old man answers, Brau ningari--give us the boys. They reply, Ouwoiya kormilda--yes, to-morrow. Then the old man returns to the camp and all sleep. In the morning they say to the boys, moru kuperkap--go and bathe. The lubras meanwhile have been sent out to gather food-- lily roots, seeds, etc.--and are told to return at mid-day (mieta). The boys bathe, while the lubras are out of the way in the scrub, because they may not yet be seen by the latter. After this they are painted by their guardians. Each has a circle of white running across, just above the eyes, then down each cheek and under the chin, so that the whole face is framed, as it were, in white. Two lines of red run across the upper part of the forehead. On their return, the women paint themselves; the younger ones must be decorated with red ochre, the old women may paint themselves as they like and very often use yellow ochre. When all is ready, the boys are brought up accompanied by the women, who sing "wait ba, wait ba." The old men cover the eyes of the boys, who walk with their heads bent down. There may sometimes be as many as ten or twelve youths passing through the ceremony, in which case they are brought up in pairs. When they have all come in, the lubras run back to their camp, singing "wait ba, wait ba," swaying their bodies from side to side, like a native companion. The old men, the guardians of the boys, have bushes in their hands which they shake, saying to the boys kulali koregora--look at the sky; jibari koregora--look at the trees; balji jereini koregora--look at the big crowd of men. After saying this they take their hands away from the boys, who look up and see the ceremonial ground, the jamba, the bush shade, and the men standing round. Meanwhile sticks are struck together and the bamboo trumpets sound, making a noise which sounds like a constant repetition of biddle-an-bum, biddle-an-bum. This is a very characteristic booming sound with the two first syllables said more or less rapidly and long emphasis laid on the third. There is considerable excitement and the singing and clanging go on for some time, until at last the boys are taken into the bush shade. After a time the old men lead them on to the ground and seat them one at each end of the jamba. The old guardian kneels immediately behind his boy, telling him what to do. He first of all takes a stone and hands it to the boy saying, jilalka podauerbi--here is a stone. Then he says, Ngoornberri jilalka mukara--son, throw the stone. The boys then throw each stone through the hollow jamba, after which they hand them back to their guardians. No one knows why this is done. The guardians say to the boys, Ngoornberri tjaina kumali: jamba kumali koregora: uriauer kumali koregora: which means, son, you see the forbidden tjaina, jamba, or bush shade, as the case may be. Then all the foods that are forbidden, or kumali to them, are named and repeated, Kintjilbara (a snake) kumali, kulori (a yam) kumali, kulungeni (flying fox) kumali, and so on, through the whole list, which includes most of the good things. The boys say nothing and the sun goes down.

When this ceremony is over they are once more sent into the bush, still under the guardianship of the old men. The other old men remain in camp, performing ceremonies, and the women go out gathering food supplies. If the boys chance to hear the lubras talking, they must immediately bite up some paper bark and stuff up their ears with it. On no account are the initiates allowed to eat any food that has been secured or handled by women; everything that they eat must be given to them by their guardians.

The ceremonies are carried on in camp for about five moons, and during all this time the boys are in the bush. When it is decided to bring them back, certain of the Numulakiri, that is, young men who have previously passed through this particular ceremony and, though initiated, are not old enough to be allowed to see the final series of ceremonies, called Muraian, are sent out by the old men to bring the Ningari in. The older men who have been looking after them have, meanwhile, joined the others in the main camp. The Ningari boys (A and B) come in, bending forwards, each with a Numulakiri man's hand over his eyes. He is led to one end of the tjaina ground, on which special individuals are placed, during different stages of the performance, as shown in the accompanying diagrams. To one side stands an old murabulba man (1) who is supposed to represent a great old kangaroo ancestor, called Munamera; squatting down by the side of the jamba is a man (4) called dabinji-wanbui; to one side, at the end of the ground, opposite to that at which the Ningari stands, is a man (5) called jiboulu-bulba with a trumpet. In a corresponding position, at the opposite end of the ground, are two men (2 and 3), called, respectively, Marali and Mara-apul. All the rest of the men are crouching down in two lines, one on each side of the ground, and are covered over with heaps of grass stalks (Diagram 1). The arrangements of the performers at different stages can be seen in the diagrams. The native, Urangara, who gave us the account, illustrated it by diagrams on the sand with sticks and stories for men and a minute imitation of the bush shade.

As the Ningari are brought in, the old man, sitting by the jamba, strikes it hard; the trumpets sound and then the men beneath the grass take deep breaths, saying Oh! Oh! imitating the sound supposed to be made by the kangaroo. Then they whistle. The boys wonder what the noise is, because they can see nothing. Suddenly the Numulakiri take their hands away and the boys are told to look up and are warned that all they see is kumali. The Numulakiri say to them, Tjikaru koiyu koyada--don't talk to Koiyu (mothers); Illaberi legilli koyada unkoregora--don't let the Illaberi (younger brothers and sisters) see (your) spittle; Illaberi korno koyada unkoregora--don't let the Illaberi see (your) excrement; Kumbari koyada kumali koiyu--don't laugh (to your) koiyu (about) the kumali; Unkoregora Tjaina kumali--look or see the Tjaina, (it is) kumali; Tjikaru koyada mareiyu willalu--don't talk (when) you go to the camp; Jam koyada koiyu kumali--don't (eat) mother food, that is, food gathered by a koiyu, it is kumali; Kuderu wirijonga jau--to-day eat wirijonga (various parts of water lilies, roots, stems, seeds); Yakadaitji arongo bararil jau (after) five sleeps eat fish.

The Jamba Ceremony

The Jamba Ceremony

During all this time the trumpets are sounding and the dabinjiwanbui man is vigorously beating the jamba, but, after the above instructions have been imparted and many times repeated, the old Munamera man (1) gives instructions to the musicians to stop and the two men join him at one end and stand close by, where the man with the bamboo trumpet has been stationed. The Numulakiri men then lift the grass off the men who have been whistling, saying, Oh! Eh! Eh! The old men answer with groans and then rise on one knee, stamping the ground and shouting Oh! Eh! Eh! Then, rising completely, they yell Yrr! Yrr! A-Ah! The two lines of men unite together and, led on by the Marali (2) and Mara-apul (3), who join them, they pass, with a curious surging movement, round and round the ningari (Diagram 2) and then round and round the Tjaina ground (Diagram 3). While this goes on the Numulakiri are saying to the Ningari, unkoregora morpiu mirrawarra kumali. Look, the very big morpiu (a general term applied to animals) is kumali; Unkoregora murabulba Munamera kumali, look, the old man Munamera (he is) kumali.

The lines of men are joined by the musicians, while the Marali and the Mara-apul leave them and again stand to one side with the Munamera (Diagram 4). These three men are supposed to represent three great old kangaroo ancestors and are spoken of as Tjeraiober, the latter being the name of the particular series of ceremonies enacted by the old men in connection with the initiation. They have been performing these ceremonies while the boys were in the bush. On the next occasion the boys will be allowed to see them. The men get more and more excited until at last they pass through the bush shade, after surging round and round it, lifting it up, as they do so, and scattering the boughs in all directions) yelling Kai! Kai! Wrr! Wrr! This over, they gather the boughs and grass together and set them on fire, While the fire is burning, the Numulakiri men take the Ningari on their backs and dance round and round the fire, in company with all the men, save the three Tjeraiober, who stand to one side, watching. The old men say, Umbordera kala koiyu wari nirwi, illaberi kuballi nungorduwa wari nirwi wilialu mununga, which means, freely translated, to-day you hear your koiyu calling and the illaberi and many women at the camp. Then they say, kormilda mareyida willalu, to-morrow we all go together to the camp; kormilda ngeinyimma kupakapa, to-morrow you bathe, balera kuderi, afterwards red ochre.

That night they camp near the Tjaina. The old men 1 have made armlets and hair belts and, on the next day they say, Bordera ngeinyaminna6 kujorju, winbegi, to-day you armlets, that is, to-day you wear armlets; Bordera ngeinyaminna gulauer, to-day you wear hair belts. Having said this, they put the belts and armlets on the boys,7 who wash and are painted with red ochre. Then. one or two of the older men take a piece of grass string and scrape the Ningari's tongue with it, the idea being to cleanse it, saying, nanjil kurrareya, tongue cleansed: tjikaru koiyu pari, mother's talk leave behind. This is done at the Tjaina, where a special fire is made to burn the string and anything that is scraped off the tongue. This brings the ceremony to a close and all the men then leave the Tjaina ground and return to the main camp, where the Ningari camp at one place by themselves. There is no special reception of them by the women. They have to be very careful, however, in regard to the latter. They must not talk to the women nor allow them to see their mouths open. Most especially they must not expectorate in such a way that a woman can see them doing it. If they want to do so, they must hold their heads down and cover the spittle with soil at once. They have no idea why, but the old men have always told them to do so. On no account must lubras see their teeth. if they did, their (the men's) fingers would break out in sores. When eating food they turn their faces away from the women and also from their younger brothers, to whom they may not speak. The mothers also tell the latter not to speak to their elder brothers.

1. Ngeinyimma if addressing one, ngeinyaminna if addressing two, and inyadima if addressing more than two boys.

2. There are two kinds of armlets--those worn on the arm proper are called ualtur or winbegi, those on the forearm are called kujorju.]

When five days have passed, a series of little ceremonies is enacted. One old man goes out and catches a fish that the natives call Bararil. Returning to camp, the old man goes close to the Ningari and throws the fish at him, so as to hit his thigh. This little ceremony removes the kumali from the Bararil which, henceforth, the youth may catch and eat. These ceremonies are not all performed on the same day but at irregular intervals, dependent on the caprice of the old men, the object of them being to remove the kumali from certain foods. The old men who perform them may be fathers, elder brothers, or mother's brothers. Another old man will go and spear a cat-fish and with its jaw makes a slight cut on the Ningari's arm, saying, kulekuli jau, you eat cat-fish. To take the kumali off goose, or kurnembo, an old man brings some in to camp and puts a wing of the bird on the Ningari's arm and then with a Mumbarnba, or short throwing stick, he breaks the main bone as it lies on the youth's arm, saying to the latter, as he does so, Ningari kurnembo jau. These little ceremonies go on until all the kumalis are removed, and, on each occasion, the old man cuts off one of the Ningari's winbegi, placing it in a special little bag, called Nunguluwarra. When all the winbegi are cut off they are burnt in the bag and the youth is free to go out into the scrub and take part in the ordinary life, securing his own food, which, during the continuance of the ceremony, has been given to him by the old men.

2. The Ober Ceremony.

When it is decided to hold this ceremony in the Kakadu tribe, two Young Numulakiri men--that is youths of perhaps fifteen to eighteen years of age, who have passed through the Jamba ceremony-are sent out to visit distant groups of the Kakadu and other tribes. Each of them carries a wand, about four or five feet long, called uro-ammi (Fig 36). They make the wands under the supervision of the old men, who tell them what they must do. Carrying these, they are perfectly safe and can pass through strange country and amongst strange natives without any fear of molestation. When they come to a strange camp they approach within hearing distance and, standing close together, leaning upon their wands, they sing a special song which is always associated with this ceremony. The women have to reply with the call, Wait Ba! Wait Ba! repeated loudly, as often as they can, without drawing breath. They sometimes do this fourteen or fifteen times. It is one of the most picturesque of their songs, especially when heard at night time far out in the bush. The boys at the men's camp every now and then stand up and chant their song and, time after time, from camps, some so far away that you can only just hear the sound, comes back the answering cry of the women, Wait Ba! Wait Ba! Urangara, our Kakadu informant, told us that the song he sang when he was sent out was as follows

Le daming ge,
Rai la la
Le daming ge
Rai la la.

On the Alligator River, amongst the Kakadu tribe, two youths, belonging to the Geimbio tribe, fortunately happened to visit the camp while I was working there with Mr. P. Cahill. The song they sang was,

Di laian a
Di laian a
Di laian a
Di laian a.

The women's refrain, which we heard repeated time after time, was, as usual, Wait Ba! Wait Ba! It would appear that the young men's song varies in different tribes, but the women's is the same throughout. I heard the same Wait Ba! Wait Ba! amongst the Port Essington natives.

As soon as the song is heard in the distance everyone knows what it means, and, after a time, an elder Numulakiri man goes out and says to the youths, mere willalu--come to the camp. The boys come in and are given food. In each camp that they visit they stay two or three days and, at intervals, they sing their song, the women always replying with Wait Ba! Wait Ba! After they have come to the last camp, the natives from this return with the boys and, as they journey homewards, they visit the different camps that they passed through and, from each of these, a number of men, women, and children, join the party until, at last, they come within a mile or two of the home camp. The two youths then go ahead and are met by two or three of the men from the home camp. They return to the strangers saying, nguorki kramilla, mardua, mureyimba willalu, which means literally, "white paint, afternoon, we altogether go camp." In other words, we will all paint ourselves white this afternoon to the camp. The men who met them go back and to the main camp and report that the boys and the other natives are close at hand and will come in in the afternoon. After they have painted themselves, they advance, yelling Krr! Krr! Oh! Oh! Arr! Arr! E-EE! The old men In the home camp say, Jereini (men), nigeri (new), breikul (long way), willalu (camp). This means that new men have come up from a camp a long way off. The strangers, meanwhile, have left their women and children where they first halted, and an old man now goes out from the home camp and conducts them to the women's quarters in the latter.

Before starting the sacred ceremonies connected with the Ober, the local men dance and sing at the ordinary camp, while the visitors sit down and watch them. All the men visitors sleep at the main camp, but the Ober jereini, that is, older men performing in the Ober, stay at the special Ober camp and may not go near the women. Having cleared the ground, they make once more a Tjaina, just as in the first initiation series, and on this they begin to perform sacred ceremonies. These may go on one after the other for days, each one being associated with a totemic group. A very good example of them was one especially associated with a kangaroo group. The main Tjaina ground was about forty feet long and ten feet broad, and in the middle of it was a bush shade called Wungaritja, shaped like a beehive, about four feet high and five feet in diameter at the base. At right angles to the Tjaina, at the opposite end to the shade, another ground, called Mungarni, ran out for about twenty-five feet, forming a kind of side stage.

At one end of the Tjaina a piece of paper-bark was placed on the ground and upon it a log of wood, which was supposed to represent the old ancestral kangaroo-man or man-kangaroo watching the ceremony, and was called Budjeir. A few yards beyond this out in the scrub stood the performers and audience gathered together. The members of the latter were supposed to represent different kinds of kangaroos. Sixteen men were decorated. two of them represented Moain or fish men, the rest were Marabornji, brush-tailed wallabies, The first part of the performance consisted in the decorated men being brought in, two by two, to the Wungaritja. They came in at a run, each pair led by two old men who stationed them round the shade with their backs to it and their bodies bent forwards (Figs. 37, 38, 39, 40). Each man, or most of them, wore a tuft of white cockatoo feathers on his head, and with their hands on their knees they swayed about from side to side. When all had been brought in, two old men placed themselves on the side of the shade furthest from the Budjeir. The men gathered behind them with the audience on each side, and with sticks held out in both hands in front of them, the two leaders performed a quaint dance down the middle of the Tjaina, during which they were supposed to be imitating the movements of native companions (Jimeribuna). This dance is called Man-ur-ur, the r being very distinctly sounded. After reaching the end of the Tjaina they stopped and everyone walked back to where the audience had originally stood. After a short pause, the same two old men brought the performers in one by one and placed them in a line along the Mungarni, the two Moain men in front, the kangaroos behind (Diagram 5). While this was going on, one Mal (B) was blowing hard at a bamboo trumpet, another (C) was constantly bringing a long stick, which he held in both hands, crashing down on the ground, and a third (D) was clanging two sticks together. The "trumpet," which they call Jiboulu, is simply a bamboo or hollow branch of a tree, through which a man blows and produces a droning noise, which sounds something like "biddle-an-bum," with a strong emphasis on the last syllable. Each of the performers bent forward and placed his hands on the hips of the man immediately in front of him. In this position they swayed the upper parts of their bodies over from side to side. The swaying was done in such a manner that there was a sinuous line of movement which was accentuated by the white cockatoo plumes. This went on for some time, and then, to the accompaniment of much clanging and trumpeting, they formed a procession, circled round the shade, passed up and down the Tjaina, and finally the decorated men dropped down on their knees, forming two rows one on each side of the Tjaina (L). The audience gathered round, and the three men (B. C. D.) came and sang over each man in turn, while the latter quivered and swayed about from side to side, the audience meanwhile singing and clanging sticks together. This occupied a considerable time, and then the performers, on hands and feet, hopped away along the Tjaina, and out into the scrub at the far end. They were supposed to be imitating kangaroos. After another pause, the performers were brought in two by two, and placed, stooping down, all round the Wungaritja, with their backs towards it--in fact, they were actually pressing into it. The audience gathered round, singing loudly, blowing the trumpets and clanging sticks, while the decorated men swayed about. Suddenly, with a loud yell, they all backed into the shade, smashed it to bits and threw the boughs up into the air. Then they trampled them to atoms and ended with a loud yell.

Illustrating the Ober Ceremony

No one knows what it all means but, in some way, it is associated with a group of ancestors who were led by a very big old kangaroo named Jeru Ober. The Wungaritja belonged to him and he used to rest in it during the day, just as an old-man kangaroo now rests in the shade of a tree, or bush, during the heat of the day. He told the others to kill white cockatoos and make white head-dresses. Then he made the Tjaina and also the jiboulu--the hollow trumpet--and showed them how to perform the ceremony. The others looked on and said, Moara (well done), kala (a word meaning, amongst other things, certainly, or, without doubt); mabilabilla (dance). The kangaroo then said, "We are like black-fellows now (jereini), we will go underground or the natives will see us. So they all went down, excepting the Jeru Ober, who remained up for some time but, finally, he too went into the earth, a short distance away by the side of a big paper-bark tree. The original ceremonial ground was at a place called Kupperi, between the East and South Alligator Rivers. Only men who have been through the Ober ceremony may go there women and children must not go anywhere near.

Another very characteristic Ober ceremony is one associated with three snakes. It is common to Kakadu, Iwaidja, Umoriu, Geimbio and Kulunglutji tribes, all of which belong to the Kakadu nation.

We had been out one day amongst the Kulunglutji, who were visiting the Kakadu but were camped at the foot of a range, some distance away from the main Kakadu camp. They had been performing some of their ceremonies and, after coming back to the Kakadu camp, we learned that the latter were going to prepare a special ground for the performance of the snake ceremony. A place was chosen in the scrub, half a mile away from the Main camp. All the tussocks of grass were pulled up and thrown to one side to make a special ceremonial ground, called Goar. The latter was about forty feet long and ten or twelve feet broad. In the middle there were two forked sticks, fixed upright in the ground, each about three feet high. A third stick lay in the forks, like the ridge pole of a tent. It was, in fact, supposed to represent a wurley, or mia-mia, called Jumungail, inhabited by the snakes. As soon as the ground was cleared of grass and twigs and the surface smoothed down, all the men retired to one side and, to the accompaniment of trumpets clanging of sticks, and clapping of hands, it was "sung." This "singing" was supposed to make the ground slippery and in good order so that the performers could dance well. At the same time they "sang" the snake and other performances. When this was over the men returned to their camp and the Goar ground was deserted for the night. Early next morning they were at work, seated to one side of the Goar, decorating three men with bands of red ochre, dotted with white, on their chests and backs. The men also wore on their heads tufts of white cockatoo feathers. Of these three men, one represented a male snake, called Ngabadaua, a quick-moving, vicious animal of which the natives are very much afraid. The other two represented, respectively, two non-venomous snakes, one called Kuljoanjo and the other Jeluabi.

In the Iwaidji tribe, on the Coburg Peninsula, they have the same tradition about Ngabadaua, but call it Irrawurbut; the other two snakes they call Intjuan and Maijoanjoan. The Kakadua have a special name, Ngumulaua, which they use for Ngabadaua when they perform the sacred ceremony. No woman knows this name.8

1. In some tribes the very old women are evidently allowed to know more than the younger and middle-aged ones. How much. they really know of these sacred or secret rites it is not possible to say. In some cases, where the women take a certain share in the performance, they are always led by one or two of the older ones who evidently know more than the others.]

When all was ready the performers came on to the ground accompanied by all the men except two, who remained seated a little to one side, one of them blowing a trumpet, the other clanging sticks. The first thing that they did was to perform a dance, called Mauuru, during which they ran round and round the Jumungail. When this was over, the three men representing the snakes took their positions. Ngabadaua went to one end of the ground and seated himself, facing the Jumungail, on a hollow log called Purakakka. This is supposed to represent a trumpet, and is the sacred name for the ordinary one called Jiboulu. By his side also there was a stick supposed to represent Ngabadaua's fire stick. The two others went to the other end of the cleared space and squatted down, back to back, on their haunches in such a way that one faced the Jumungail and one looked away from it, out into the scrub.

The remaining performers, who were not decorated, arranged themselves in two lines, one on either side of the Goar, between the Jumungail and the two men seated back to back. The dancing then began. As a general rule there was only one man dancing at a time. While he danced all the others moved their bodies up and down, striking their buttocks with the open palms of their hands. The performer stamps as hard as he can with one foot and, at the same time, he slides his other foot backwards and forwards (Figs. 41 and 42). This is by no means an easy movement, and requires considerable skill and practice to do it properly. As we watched the ceremony it was very evident that there was a wonderful amount of difference in the degree of skill shown by the various performers, Each performer had the right of pointing out his successor. This he did by touching the man's foot with his own, either after, during, or immediately before he began to dance. Sometimes he would touch more than one, and sometimes, towards the end of his dance, he drew a line on the ground in front of three or four men, who all came out and danced together. The dancing of each individual was most closely and critically watched, and any especially good performance was much appreciated. While the ceremony was in progress there was a continual refrain kept up, all the men joining In. It sounded like "ia, ia, eio, eio, eia, e, e, e, hok yai, hok yai!!!" ending up with a loud "E! E! E!!!"

While the men were dancing, the Ngabadaua began first of all, to quiver his body and to sway round and round, quite irrespective of anything that the dancing men were doing. When he stopped, the other two snake men began to sway their bodies, and so they went on, alternating in this way, during all the time that the performance lasted. After the dancing was over there was a pause, during which, however, the three snakes continued their movements. Led by one old man, the men who were standing by the side of the Jumungail and had been joined by the two men, one of whom was blowing the trumpet and the other clanging sticks, now approached in a body towards the man representing Ngabadaua, who continued to quiver and sway about more vigorously than ever Every one was shouting "Bor-a, Bor-a, War, War!" One old man then came close up to Ngabadaua, threw a stone over each of his shoulders, and, after this, the whole party suddenly wheeled round and ran to the other end of the ground, where they formed a circle round the two other decorated men. The latter quivered and swayed about while the men bent over them, yelling, blowing the trumpet, and clanging the sticks. Then, without changing their positions, the two snake men began, amidst great excitement, to move along the ground towards the Jumungail with a most peculiar surging movement. Every now and then they paused to quiver and sway their bodies while the men sang--

Wa wa wa
A a ree ree
Hok ya hok ya
Arr arr
E e
Ha ha ha
Ree ree ree.

They moved along slowly and, all the time, Ngabadaua was quivering and swaying from side to side. Just before reaching the Jumungail the two men rose and came close to it, surrounded by the others. They leaned over it for a few minutes and then went to one side. This was the signal for Ngabadaua to rise, which he did suddenly and, walking up to the Jumungail, brought his fire stick down upon it and smashed it.

The natives said that the Jumungail was the home of the three snakes. The dancing men represent other kinds of snake men who have come up to look at Ngabadaua, who is regarded as the most important head of the various snake groups. The other snakes were frightened of him and were really trying to search for and kill him. The throwing of stones over his shoulders is supposed to represent an attempt to do this, but without success. They are supposed, also, to find the two non-venomous snakes out in the bush and persuade them to lead them to Ngabadaua's Jumungail. This is represented in the performance, and the entrance of all of them into the Jumungail is typified by the men bending over the sticks while the others stand quietly round. Ngabadaua then comes up, sees that they are in the Jumungail, smashes the latter and kills the natives. Ceremonies of this kind are continued for a long time, and the visitors, before they return to their own country, are presented with spears and other things--gifts which later on will be returned, in kind, when the local people visit the stranger's camp.

After the Ober there is not the elaborate removal of restrictions of kumali from food articles, such as occurs at the Jamba, but there are, however, one or two rather curious little ceremonies. Before a man, for the first time after he has seen the Ober, eats any food, such as fish or kangaroo, one of the old men must take a little bit of the flesh and rub it under his armpit. Then he hands it to the other man, who smells it, puts it in his mouth and then spits it out again. In the case of the Mormo (sugar bag), an old man smears some of it over his whiskers, and it is sucked off by the Ningari youths, who are then free to eat it.

(3). Jungoan Ceremonies.

No special messengers are sent out in connection with these ceremonies, but if strangers, provided of course they are initiated men, happen to be in camp they are allowed to see them. The ceremonies are all associated with totemic groups and, judging by what we saw, are not so elaborate as those of the Jamba or Ober. They were of course conducted in the scrub out of sight of the women and the main camp, in a cleared space measuring about twenty-five feet in length and six feet in width. In connection with them I noticed one curious little feature in regard to the drawing of the blood required as gum to fix the down on the bodies of the performers. In most northern tribes this is obtained by cutting a vein in the arm, but here, for the first time, I saw them cutting prominent veins on the back of the hand. The operation is known as Kungkulabah and the little brush, made of paper bark, that is used for smearing the blood on, called Kongott. So far as the decorations were concerned they were very simple, consisting only of bands of red or white down across the face and upper part of the body. When all was ready, the decorated men went out into the bush, about sixty or seventy yards away from the ground. It, the first ceremony four men came in, two at a time, each of them approaching in a sinuous line, the two lines crossing each other several times. Finally they came in to where the remains of a fire lay, towards one end of the ground, danced round this and then crouched down over it. The second ceremony consisted in another batch of four men doing the same thing, except that, after they had come on to the ground, they all took hands and danced round and round, alternately lifting and lowering their arms, singing as they did so--

Ai-o, Ai-yu,
Ai-o, Ai-yu,

the "o" being sounded when the arms were high in the air and the "yu" when they were low down, the intonation following the up and down movement of the arms. The audience, seated at one side, kept time by clapping their hands (Fig. 43). After this a third batch of five men came in, acting in just the same way as the other two and, when they had finished, the whole thirteen took part in a dance round the fire and then tumbled down on it. They were lifted up by one of two old men, who had been standing to one side beating time with sticks. The performers were supposed to be young emus wandering about, and the man who lifted them up represented their mother.

After the emu ceremony was over two men came in from the scrub. As they approached the ground they peered around in all directions, imitating the actions of "debil-debils," that is, mischievous spirits, in the form of human beings, searching for honey bags. The last ceremony of the day opened with one of the old men, who was standing by the side of the ceremonial ground, throwing stones in the direction of two decorated men who were hidden from view in the scrub. He threw one stone to each side of them and one, which nearly hit them, straight at them. The throwing of the last one was the signal for the men to come out from their hiding place. They rose from the ground, where they had been crouching down and came forward, imitating kangaroos gazing about and every now and then stopping to feed. The man who threw the stones was supposed to be a member of a mob of natives hunting kangaroos, and throwing stones in amongst the long grass to see if any animals were hidden there. After, alternately, gazing round and pretending to feed, the performers came on to the ceremonial ground, where the audience, to the accompaniment of the tik, tik, tik of clanging sticks, was singing loudly--

Murama puta puta
La! lal lal a la.

As soon as they reached the remains of the fire, one of the old men knocked their helmets off, an indication that they had been killed by the men in pursuit of them, and the performance came to an end.

The Jungoan simply consists of the performance of a series of ceremonies which are strongly reminiscent of those performed by southern tribes such as the Tjingilli, Warramunga, and Arunta.

(4). Kulori Ceremony.

In connection with this ceremony, again, no messengers are sent out. The lubras are instructed to go out into the bush and collect quantities of kulori. The latter is a special kind of yam, potato shaped, that they secure by digging down from two to six feet in the ground. It is what the natives call "hot," and before being eaten it must be treated in a special way. First of all, an earth oven is made by digging a hole in the ground, lighting a fire in it and heating stones on the fire. The yams are placed on the stones, grass stalks above the yams and then the earth is shovelled in and heaped up to form a small mound. This earth oven is called peindi and is very often used for cooking. The yams have to remain in it for twelve hours and then they are taken out and allowed to cool, if they are not already cold. They are then cut in slices, by means of a fish bone, placed in a "dilly bag" with an open mesh work, and allowed to soak in water for another twelve hours, after which they are considered fit to eat.

When they decide to hold a kulori ceremony, the old men take hold of the Ningari youths, while the latter are in camp. Their mothers, sisters, and younger brothers are supposed to cry when they see this done. There may be several of them and each one is laid on the ground flat on his back. The old men say to everyone in camp, Breimba, ge, jirongadda, come, all, close up. Then, slices of kulori are taken and spread out all over the body of each Ningari. Everyone, men, women, and children, come round and watch what is being done. After a short time they remove the slices and lift each boy up by the arm. Each youth is then given a little bit, a part of which he chews and the rest he hands on to his mother's elder sisters and to his younger brothers and sisters. They must all chew it and then, putting their heads close together, they must spit it into a small hole in the ground, which is then covered up. This performance is called Kulpri muralla (spit). After this the Ningari are called Jereini kulori, or kulori men. The old man in charge of the ceremony says to the lubras and children, Ngorumba jauo, go away (get) food. To the men he says, L 2 wait till the lubras have gone and we will cut sticks. This has reference to a special bough hut called Moaib, which is now made, and one end of which is left open. The lubras and children must not see it, either after, or during, its construction and, accordingly, they are told to keep to certain tracks, to get their food and water there and also to camp some distance away. When it has been built, all the Kulori jereini are made to go inside and may not come out during the day time until such time as the boughs are quite faded and the leaves all shrivelled up. If they want to micturate, the old men tell them to make little holes in the ground. The lubras bring supplies of food to the main camp, where it is taken over by the old men who hand it to the Kulori men.

Meanwhile Winbegi, or wristlets, have been taken into the Moaib and put on all the Ningaris' arms, much as at the close of the Jamba ceremony.

Every day, six men station themselves close around the Moaib, two at each end and one at each side and sing refrains, each one associated with an article of food which, until now, has been kumali to the Kulori men. These men are called Murana munga dunaitji, or, good throats. While the singing goes on, the old men, some of whom are in the Moaib, explain the refrains to the Kulori men. Some of the foods are "sung" on one day, others on other days, and, as each one is "sung," the kumali, on that particular food to which it refers, is removed.

The following are some of the refrains:

For the Kulori yam,

Gamelgua janda, gamelgua langa.

For the jabiru bird,

Ni gamberi illeri illeri
Ni gamberi nun in munga.

For the flying fox,

Wingbel-Wingbel murarai-ing-a.

For the quail,

Ni wa wa, ni wa wa, ninna rei inna
Kurn iwa wei, ni we we nitjinei inna.

For the Barrammada,

Yan brer we ling brerer.

For the Mullet,

Yan brer we ling mangei.

For the lily, called Wuridjonga,

Yin bimalerei id mungarei
Yin bi langa gaird munga
Yin bi bererert munga.

The men, apparently, have no idea of the meaning of these refrains, and none of them contain the name of the food article to which they refer. They have been handed down from generation to generation.

Any old man, a father or elder brother, may either place the Winbegi on the Kulori men, or take them off, but the lubras must not see them, so that the men, when all is over and they come out of the Moaib, must keep out of the way of the women. They go out searching for food and, if they capture any of those referred to, they must bring it into camp. If, for example, a man catches a Barramunda he brings it up to an old man who rubs him all over with red ochre, takes a Winbegi off and then he is free to eat the fish, and so on with all the others. The following refrain is sung in the Moaib while the Winbegi are being made and put on:

Minang minang ererei innei
Yan minang minang kumali innei
Yan minang minang ererei innei.

Muraian Ceremony.

The Muraian Ceremony consists partly of performances much like those of the Jungoan and partly of, at all events, one very special performance. We saw some of the dances performed by members of the Kulunglutji tribe which inhabits the country at the head waters of the East Alligator River. These men had come in to visit the Kakadu and had formed a camp some distance away from the latter. Out in the scrub, they had built a bough wurley with an opening on the side facing away from the ceremonial ground, close by which it was placed. Their decorating was always done some fifty yards away from the wurley, out in the scrub. It was of a very crude description, consisting only of smearing, sometimes the whole upper part of the body, with red or yellow ochre or white pipe clay, or, sometimes, they drew lines and bands of various colours.

There is no set order for these performances, everything depending on two or three old men who act as leaders. Decorating for different performances is carried on at the same time and place, to the accompaniment of the usual singing. We witnessed the ceremonies of two days and, apparently, except the special one referred to later, they are all of the usual type. The first day we had a fire, a wallaby, and a turtle ceremony. When the decorating was over, each party, led by an old man clanging sticks, came in to the wurley, each man crouching down as he did so. The opening of the wurley was so arranged that the performers inside it were hidden from the audience on the ceremonial ground. The performance opened with a fire ceremony. The performers were led out of and round the wurley, in single file, by an old man, who stationed himself beside the ground, clanging his sticks, and shouting, Kau ai u

wai ya, while the men danced for a short time. The dancing was decidedly vigorous, the men often running round and round with exaggerated knee action and arms extended. Then they knelt down, swaying their bodies from side to side and moving their hands as if they were working fire sticks.

Then followed a wallaby (Kurnabulla) ceremony, the performers being led by another old man. There was nothing special about this, just the usual dancing, though this differed from that of the first in being more of the nature of an Irish Jig. Lastly there came the turtle. The leading old man and six performers came out on to the ceremonial ground, the others stayed inside. There was the usual clanging of sticks, singing, and dancing, the old man always dancing first in front of the others. After a time, those who had remained in the wurley, crept out on all fours, one by one, through a hole that they had made on the side nearest the ceremonial ground, and came on to the latter rolling about. They were supposed to represent turtles feeding, and, while they were doing this, the others came and danced round them. The performance came to an end with all the performers prancing about with their arms thrust out while they yelled, Yer, Yer, ai ai!

Oil the second day we had Wallaroo (a species of kangaroo) and Turkey ceremonies. The men were decorated together and each party was led to the wurley by its own old leader just as before. The Kangaroo men had curious bands running slantwise down their chest and backs and along their legs, which designs were supposed to represent the backbone of the kangaroo. They came hopping out through the hole in the wurley and danced round as usual. The turkey men did just the same, except that, before they left the wurley, men who had taken part in the Kangaroo dance set to work to claw at the bushes on the outside. They were supposed to be imitating flying foxes hanging in the trees under which the turkeys were resting.

We discovered, however, that there were certain very sacred objects associated with the Muraian ceremony, Each one is intimately connected with a totemic group, and there may be more than one for each group. We came across the first one through a casual reference made to it by an old Kakadu man. It was a small stone which was called Iwaija Kopereipi, that is, Emu egg. These objects, however, are so intimately associated with the totemic groups that I have dealt with them in that connection.9

In certain respects, though it is not connected with the performance of fire ceremonies or ordeals of any kind, the Muraian, inasmuch as it forms the last stage in the series of initiation ceremonies, is comparable to the Engwura of the Arunta Tribe. In the Kakadu Tribe the fully initiated man has the special status term of Lekerungun, just as in the Arunta he has that of Urliara, applied to him. When once he has passed through the Muraian, he may witness, and take part in, all the sacred ceremonies, and nothing is hidden from him.

The Larakia tribe, which once inhabited the country round about Darwin, is now much too decadent to retain anything more than mere vestiges of its old customs. The members of the tribe are also mixed with those of numerous others who have been drawn in to the settlement from early days. Unfortunately, no adequate account of their ceremonies has ever been written10 and it is now too late to have the opportunity of actually watching the natives carrying them out under normal conditions.

1. See Chapter iv.

2. The best accounts that we have of this tribe are those of Foelsche, Trans. R.S. South Aust., Vol. 5, 1882, and Basedow, op. cit., Vol. 31, 1907.]

The following account was given to me by an old man who was well acquainted with what formerly took place and, thanks to the assistance of my friend, Mr. G. W. Stretton, now Chief Protector of Aboriginals for the Northern Territory, I was able to watch a representation of the performance of a part of the ceremony during which the sacred bull-roarers, called Bidu-bidu by the Larakia, are shown to the initiates. As in the case of the Melville and Bathurst Islanders and the Kakadu and allied tribes on the mainland, the Larakia ceremonies do not include any mutilation of the body.

There are two grades of initiation admitting a man respectively to the status of Belier and Mullinyu.

The Belier ceremony was, apparently, held once every year at a time decided upon by the old men, who also determined what youths should be initiated at any given ceremony, though all men of the rank of Belier, Mullinyu, and Lariba knew what was taking place.

As usual in such circumstances, the opening of the ceremony, which is called Makulauri, is marked by the holding of an ordinary corrobboree at which all members of the local camp, as well as visitors from other tribes, are present. At this corrobboree the selected youths are picked out by the old men and given into the charge of special guardians, who are called Birra-pirra-pirra. As soon as the corrobboree is over the youths are taken out into the bush by their guardians, the women, from under whose control they are now passing, weeping and wailing.

A camp Is made out in the bush and here the boys are kept, except that every now and then they are taken to the main camp and shown to the women, but no intercourse of any kind is allowed with the latter, who are carefully watched over by certain old men, told off for the purpose. The youths, meanwhile, are allowed to eat but little and are even supposed to give to their guardians a part of the small supply of food with which they are provided. The old men tell them that, if they eat much, some one will come up and kill them during the night, and that they, their guardians, will not prevent this from being done nor be angry with the doer. They are continually instructed in tribal customs and are told, time after time, that they must not steal, must not interfere with other men's lubras, but must imitate the old men. They are made to sit down quietly, are continually hit with spear throwers, and kicked and cuffed so as to hurt them a great deal, but, whatever may be done to them, they must on no account show any resentment or they will be still more seriously dealt with. This is supposed to have the effect of making the youth a "good" black-fellow. During this period, also, the guardian cuts the Belier on the chest so as to make the two raised cicatrices that are the mark of a Belier.

When they have been a considerable time in the bush the youths are brought back and led to a special camp in the scrub, hidden from the sight of women and strangers. First of all they are made to sit down in a row on the ground with their faces turned away from a space that has been cleared in the scrub, in which the important ceremony of showing them the sacred bull-roarer is to be enacted.

A young man who has attained the status of Belier is now in charge of each youth, lest he should feel frightened and run away. The old men, four or five in number, who must have reached, at least, the status of Mullinyu and who are to swing the bull-roarers, go away into the bush where the youths cannot see them and paint themselves. The bull-roarers are thin flat slabs of wood from a foot to eighteen inches in length. They are two or three inches in greatest width, are rounded at one end and truncate at the other, through which a hole is bored for the attachment of three or four yards of string. They are ornamented with alternate lines of red and white.

The old men emerge from the scrub so that they cannot be seen by the youths, who have their backs turned to them. Their eyes also are covered by the hands of the Beliers in charge of them. Out in the open ground the men begin to swing the bull-roarers round and round, gradually approaching the youths as they do so (Fig. 44). The latter are supposed to be very frightened, because they, like the women and children, have been taught to believe that the sound is the voice of a great old man who has come to take them away into the mangrove scrub.

Suddenly their guardians turn the boys round, take their bands away from their eyes and tell them to look at the old men whirling the Bidu Bidu. They stand up and for some time the whirling goes on, the youths watching in silence. Presently the old men come close up to the boys, who stand in a row. Each old man, holding one of the Bidu Bidu, comes up to a boy and stands in front of him. First of all he rubs the stick through his own armpit and then across his stomach (Figs. 45, 46). If he did not do this, it is supposed that the strong magic of the Bidu Bidu might enter the boy's body and cause him to swell up. He then rubs the stick through the boy's armpit and pokes his stomach with (tie end of it, after which the boys are told to hold out their hands and the sticks are placed on them. Each one is told that it is Bidu Bidu, that the noise is not a voice but is made by the stick, and that on no account whatever are the lubras to see the sticks or know anything about them. Meanwhile the boys are told that they may take the sticks, which will help them to catch fish and secure food. They carry them about in the scrub, avoiding the women and children, for two or three months, after which they are completely destroyed by fire, no trace of them, string or wood, being left.

When this is over the youths are brought into camp where all the natives, men. women, and children, are gathered together, the women having brought in a large supply of food that is placed in the middle of the ground. The latter is margined by a raised bank of sand with an opening at one side. The men and women sit around so as to leave the centre and entrance free. Everyone is on the watch and after a time a procession is seen in the distance consisting of the newly-initiated youths and their guardians. They have all been decorated with lines of pipe clay and red ochre and approach in single file, one old man in the lead, then the youths, and then the remaining guardians. The leading old man first of all runs round and then sits down near the entrance. One after the other the youths go round, showing themselves to all the members of the camp. Should any one of them have a lubra betrothed to him, that lubra sits down close beside the boy's mother, who watches over her. The youth, when he has walked round, comes and sits with his back to the girl, a small fire being placed between them. The other youths sit down in the centre of the camp, still watched over by their guardians, one of whom distributes the store of food, which is shared by everyone. That night is spent in the special camp. In the morning it is deserted and everyone goes back to his ordinary life and camp. The youths are now ranked amongst the Belier men and may take part, at first only to a slight extent, but gradually more and more, in the various ceremonies.

After a man's first child has been born some of the really old men, or Lariba, take him away with a number of others who are of the status of Mullinyu, that is, fully grown men with children. Out in the bush ceremonies are performed. The man must not go near his lubra, in fact he is kept out in the bush for two or three months. He is told that he must treat his lubra well and not beat her, that he must not quarrel with the other men and that he is now a grown man--a Mullinyu.

In the Worgait Tribe, which inhabits country to the south-west of Darwin, there are also two important ceremonies connected with initiation. In this, as in the majority of the Central and Northern tribes, initiation is associated with the operation of circumcision, and it belongs to a group of tribes, including the Warrai, Djauan, and Nullakun, in which the operation of subincision is not practised.

At the first ceremony, which is called Kundein, the mothers' brothers (kukka), fathers (boppa), fathers' fathers (guga), and mothers' brothers' sons (ngunga), consult and decide that it is time for a certain youth to be initiated. Accordingly, one day, when all are in camp together, two or three of his ngunga men seize the boy. All know what this means and the lubras immediately begin to howl and cry, the actual and tribal mothers cut their heads with knives and pointed sticks, the sisters cut themselves and the old men pretend to cry.

The ngungas take the boy away and travel through the bush until they come into the country of another tribe, such as the Larakia, amongst whom they will spend two or three months. During all this time the boy is watched by the ngungas, and may not go near the lubras. He is taken to various Larakia camps, each with its own local name--Gwiamabirra, Top Camp; Minbirra, Lamaru Beach Camp; Duledgibirra, Two Fellow Creek Camp; Ingwinbirra, Lighthouse Camp. At every camp that he visits, spears, wommeras, head bands, belts, etc., are given to him. At length he gathers all his presents together and, accompanied by his ngungas, travels back to his own Worgait camp, collecting as he goes along the natives from the different camps that he has visited.

When the party comes within one day's march of the home camp a halt is made and, leaving the boy in charge of the Larakia visitors, the ngungas go ahead to their own camp. After a halt, so as to allow the ngungas to get well ahead, the party starts off again, the times being so arranged that the ngungas get into camp about sunrise the next morning. The men and women are aroused, and a general wailing takes place. It is etiquette for the ngungas to say that they had lost the boy, or that he had run away from them and been killed by strange natives. The lubras are supposed to believe this, and accordingly they howl aloud. After this little bit of pretence has been enacted, the ngungas return to where the boy is camped with the Larakias. In the afternoon the party comes on with the Larakia men, the visitors in the lead. The boy is guarded by his ngungas. All the Worgait natives, men and women, are seated in a semicircle in their camp and, while the Larakia men halt in front, the ngungas bring the boy on and seat him between his father (boppa) and his mother's brother (kukka). Behind the boppa is the boy's mother, and behind the kukka is his future wife. This is a signal for all the Worgaits to cry. After a short time the Larakia men begin to dance and sing while the Worgaits quietly watch them. This over, the Larakia men take the boy away for a short time into the bush.

The Larakia women stay behind, as do also the ngunga men. Later on the Larakia men return with the boy; the Larakia women stand in two groups, one on either side. The ngungas advance, and the boy is handed over to them. The Worgait natives, men and women, are seated together on the ceremonial ground.

This handing back of the youth to the ngungas is the signal that the ceremony of circumcision is about to be performed In the middle, of the ground three ngungas lie down side by side with their heads lying face down wards on their folded arms. The boy is placed on them, another ngunga sits on his chest, one holds his legs open, and a third, who is called ngulla ngura, pulls the foreskin forwards and cuts it off with a sharp stone flake. As soon as the ngungas lie down, sheets of paper bark are placed round so that the lubras do not actually see the operation. The Larakia women retire and stand some little distance away. While the operation is in progress the mother's brother (kukka) of the youth cuts the latter's Ngungaran woman on the back, the father cuts the mother's back, and others cut themselves. The Ngungaran woman is the daughter of the kukka man and the future wife of the boy who is being initiated.

As soon as the operation is over the newly initiated youth, who is now admitted to the status of Kundein or Muragull, is surrounded by the grown men and led away for about two hundred yards, the women remaining in lamp, cutting themselves and wailing. The men tell him that he is now a man, and that he must not allow the lubras to see his private parts. He is decorated with arm bands (delera), a hair girdle (bulkung) made out of the hair of one of his ngunga men, and white cockatoo feathers. Black cockatoo feathers he may not wear; these are reserved for the old men.

A special support, called ngurabik, in the form of a small loop, is made for the penis, which is tied up to his waist belt. He carries also a small object called mammurung, which is only a stick wrapped in fur string. It has, however, been "sung" by the old men, and is full of magic. If he falls asleep and might hurt his penis by pressing on it, the mammurung strikes him and wakes him up. All these things, when he has recovered, he returns to the ngunga from whom he received them, and to him also he gives everything that has been presented to bin, by the Larakia visitors.

The ceremony is called yarra balumna (cut) mura (penis), and when it is over the Larakia return to their own country.

The foreskin, called yarrang mura, is red ochred, wrapped up in paper bark and put into a little dilly bag, which is given to the boy, who is warned not to lose it on any account. The boy, who is now Kundein, is kept out in the bush for two months longer, during which time he is under the strict guardianship of his ngunga and may not speak to anyone except the latter, and then only if he be spoken to first. When the wound is healed a number of men go out into the bush, leaving others in camp with the lubras. Out in the bush a procession is formed, and just at sundown the men return walking in single file, the kundein in front, the ngunga man next, and the others behind. The lubras are seated in camp, and the procession walks round so that the boy can be seen by all the women. That night the boy sleeps in camp, watched over by his ngunga, with a small fire between him and his ngungaran woman, that is, his future wife, who is watched over by his mother. In the morning the ngungaran returns to father's camp, and all go out into the scrub except the boy, who is not supposed to walk about much and still guarded by a ngunga and provided with food. Finally, when he has quite recovered, he hands the yarrung mura, or foreskin, to the ngunga man, who cuts it into small pieces and burns it out in the bush. The kukka and ngunga then tell the initiated youth that he may take his lubra, and, without any further ceremony, they go out together into the bush hunting and, after a short time, return and settle down in camp.

After a man has secured a lubra and the latter has had a child, he becomes admitted to the further status of Baquett. The older men, his kukka, boppa, ngunga, talk the matter over, and one, day, while they, together with the younger man, are in camp, they say, "Let us go and fish," which is a signal for them all to go into the bush and make a special camp, where the ceremony of miba jerra jeva, that is, showing the bull-roarer, or Bidu Bidu, is performed. This is very much the same as amongst the Larakia tribe. Three or four men are painted and carry the sacred sticks. The Kundein youth is held by two or three of the elder ngungas, who tell him to keep quiet and not be frightened. Then the older men, whirling the Bidu Bidus, come out of the bush. The Kundein's eyes are covered up and he either is, or pretends to be, very frightened, believing that the noise is the voice of a great old man who has come to take him away. The ngungas, however, reassure him, and tell him that it is only a piece of wood, and that the sound is made by its whirling. They then show it to him, pass it under his armpits, and place it on his hands, after which it is given to him to carry about. For two or three months he remains out in the bush. Finally, he breaks the Bidu Bidu in pieces and burns them until not a trace of it is left. After this he is regarded as having acquired the status of Baquett. Later on, when his hair begins to turn grey, he will be recognised as one of the Namyuk or old men.

The Djauan tribe inhabits the country on the Katherine River, and is closely allied in its customs and organisation to the Worgait. When a youth attains puberty the old men consult and decide that the time has come to initiate him. Only one boy is usually initiated at a time, and the ceremony is held during the cool season. When all the natives, men, women, and children, are gathered together in camp, the boy is seized by two or three men who stand to him in the relationship of walnagung, that is, wife's father. They take him, accompanied by all the men in camp, to a special ceremonial ground out in the bush, where he is shown a series of totemic ceremonies called, collectively, Mindirinni. After having been through some of these ceremonies, during which the men are decorated with birds' down and wear bunches of leafy twigs on their legs, the operation of circumcision is performed. Two of the walnagung men lie on the ground, the youth is placed on them, a third walnagung sits on his chest, and a fourth performs the ceremony. The boy is now shown the bull-roarer, or Kunapippi, and told that he must say nothing about it to the women, who would be struck dead if they should chance to see it, When the ceremony is over, the Kunapippi is taken away and placed in a secret place by the old men. At first the foreskin is placed in a small dilly bag called monuik. After a short time it is handed over by the walnagung to the father who cuts it in two. One half he keeps himself, the other he hands to the youth, who must remain out in the bush until the next cool season comes. The boy finally hands over his half of the foreskin to his father, who buries both pieces in a hole in the ground, to which the name of Tuan is given. No one interferes with the Tuan; if anyone should attempt to secure the foreskin, the father of the boy would kill him. When this has been done, word is sent to the women, who go out and bring in a supply of food, yams, etc., while the men prepare a special camping ground on to which the food is brought. The men and women sit round and the walnagung bring the youth in and walk round so that he can be seen by all. They all sleep in the camp that night, and after this the ceremony comes to an end, the boy is regarded as having attained the status of Lagaian, and he may, if a lubra has been allotted to him, take her as his wife.

Later on, when he has a child, the old men take him to a camp, far away in the bush, where they perform a number of totemic ceremonies in which he himself is allowed to take part. This admits him to the status of Mungai, the equivalent of Mullinyu amongst the Larakia, or that of Baquett amongst the Worgait.

The Mungarai tribe, which inhabits country along the middle portion of the Roper River, is one of a large group of allied tribes extending over wide areas in Central and Northern Australia, from Oodnadatta in the south to Daly Waters in the north and from the interior of Queensland on the cast right across the continent to the western seaboard. These tribes all agree in having the eight sub-class organisation with descent in the paternal line, and in performing the initiation rites of circumcision and subincision.

Only one youth is initiated at a time. When the mother's brothers (ngagung) think the boy old enough they speak to his father and instruct one of their sons who is namminjeri (or wife's sister) to the latter to take charge of him. He is taken into the men's camp, which is called mallam, and here while they are all quietly sitting down together the namminjeri comes up and puts one hand behind his head and the other in front of his eyes. The women are in their own camp, called Kallia, some little distance off, where they can see what is being done but cannot hear what is said. The boy's ngulangnunyi, own and tribal mothers and his ngulababba, sisters, begin to cry and the namminjeri, who will henceforth be his special mate, and is always older than the boy, says to him, "Don't be frightened; I want you to walk about a man." A camp has been previously made out in the bush by clearing a space twenty or thirty yards long, heaping the earth up along either side and closing in one end with a brake of boughs.

Into this camp which is called Kalal the boy is brought just before sundown, accompanied by most of the men in camp.

Some time previously, messengers carrying kunapippi or bull-roarers have been sent to various camps inviting them to come and take part in the ceremony. These messengers go to distant groups in the Mungarai tribe and to the camps of friendly tribes such as the Nullakun. Carrying the kunapippi they are perfectly safe and, on the return journey, they collect the visitors and leisurely return to the home camp, the numbers of the party increasing as they come nearer home. Near to the main camp they halt while the messengers go on to report their arrival, though this has been announced beforehand by smoke signals, and to announce what visitors have come. Some of the older men return with the messengers to the strangers who are formally welcomed; the women are taken to the women's camp and the men to the Kalal. It is customary at all such gatherings for the different camps to indicate approximately the locality of their occupants. Thus, for example, men from the west will be found on the west side of the camp, men from the east on the cast side, and so on.

When darkness comes on the bull-roarer is sounded in the Kalal; the women, in their camp, hear it and think it is the voice of a spirit called Nagurnguruk that has come to take the boy away and, time after time, they cry out kel-a-bill-a-la. The Mungarai men first of all go inside the camp and range themselves along the two sides; the boy who, at this particular stage, is known by the status term Ikmurli, sits at one end close to the bough shelter, watched over by his namminjeri. He is naturally very frightened, not knowing what is going to happen to him, because up till now he has firmly believed that the sound of the bull-roarer is really that of a spirit who has taken other boys away.

Fires are lighted and, first of all, the strangers dance wildly round and round, outside the raised lines and the bough brake. As they do so they continually shout out the names of different totems, Sugar-bag, Lily, Kangaroo, Snake, Lizard, etc. While this is going on two of the local men stand up, shouting loudly, A-A-A, each of them at the same time moving a hand rapidly backward and forward in front of his mouth. Every tribe has its own name for the very peculiar and far-reaching sound produced in this way. The Mungarai call it Tjangulumma and, in this tribe, it is said that only men of the Tjabijin sub-class have the right to make it.

Before the beginning of the ceremony the women have collected large stores of lily roots that have been ground on stones and made into cakes which have been brought into the camp and are now presented to the strangers. Outside the camp, in the dark, two men incessantly whirl the bull-roarer. For some days the men remain in the camp performing ceremonies concerned with the totemic groups. These are called warwiran, which is the equivalent of the word quabara amongst the Arunta. The Mungarai also have a term kurnallan, which is, apparently, the equivalent of alcheringa in the Arunta and refers to the far past times during which their old ancestors lived. The sacred ceremonies are shown to the boy and explained to him. They vary according to the men who are in camp but are all associated with the totems--bandicoot, native companion, sugar-bag, crocodile, etc. He is instructed in regard to the traditions of the ancestors and told what he must and what he must not do now that he is no longer a boy. He is particularly warned against eating snake, goanna, or fish; he may eat plenty of lily roots and seeds, but should he eat these animals until he is an older man, he will become lame and deformed. Not only is he shown these ceremonies but, for the first time, he sees and actually handles a kunapippi. Further still, his namminjeri decorates him with the special design of his totem, called mungaiini, the name and existence of which, told him by his father, he now learns for the first time. The Mungarai word for totem is namaragua. During the performance of the ceremonies songs are sung in which the Kurallan names for the various animals and plants are used. Thus one of the refrains, repeated time after time, is Marunga, marunga ma, waididji, waididji ma. Marunga is the Kurallan name for the cat-fish which, in ordinary circumstances, is called warba; waididji is the frilled lizard. The women and children never hear the terms warba or waididji.

These ceremonies are spread over several days. When they are over the operation of circumcision is performed. Three of the boy's namminjeri lie down on the ground and the boy is placed on them. One man sits on his chest and two others hold his legs open while a mother's brother (ngagung) performs the actual operation. After it is over the boy, who has now reached the status of Wandella, is made to sit on a log so that the blood from the wound falls on to a piece of paper bark. The special namminjeri, who has been watching over him, at once takes it and shows it to his mother. The latter tells him to take it to the boy's father who, in his turn, tells the namminjeri to give it to his own father, that is the mother's brother of the boy. This man keeps it for a short time and then places it by the side of a water hole, where it is left. The foreskin also is handed to the namminjeri, who keeps it for a year, wrapped in paper bark, and then hands it over to the boy, who gives him spears and other implements. The boy is told to show it to his mother, who, again, tells him to give it to his father, and the latter, after retaining it for some time, buries it by the side of a lagoon near to which only old men may go.

At a later period the Wandella youth must pass through the ceremony of subincision, after which he is a man, a Nadiriga, the same name also being applied to the ceremony. When this is performed the men sit down at a special camp, the women being some distance away. The Wandella man is in the middle with the older men all round. His ngagung tell the namminjeri to take hold of him, which they do, at the same time tying string round his arm and decorating him with bird's down (lanur), which no women is allowed to see. Singing goes on all night and no one sleeps. At daybreak, the Wandella youth is placed on two namminjeri, who lie down on the ground, another namminjeri sits on .his chest and a fourth performs the operation of subincision with a stone knife. The blood from the wound is collected on a piece of paper bark, and, this time, is taken by the namminjeri first to the father. He gives it to the boy's mother and she takes it away and either places it in a hollow trunk or buries It in the bank of a lagoon where lilies grow and where also there is what the natives call a Mungaiini, that is, a place at which in the olden times the totemic ancestors left spirit children behind them. This water hole then becomes tabu to all other lubras, but the presence of the blood is supposed to make the lilies grow. After, perhaps, two years the grass all round it is burned and then all lubras may go there and gather lilies.

After the operation the Nadiriga man is taken away into the bush under the charge of his namminjeri who, together with other older men of the same relationship, provide him with food. When he has quite recovered he is painted all over with fat and red ochre and ornamented with armlets and birds' down. The men gather together and perform a sacred totemic ceremony in which he takes part. After it is over a forked stick is placed against a gum tree and under the former, on which he sits, a fire is lighted with plenty of green twigs, so that he is well smoked. This and the painting with red ochre are supposed, amongst other things, to protect him against snake bite. One of the men in camp, who told me what had happened to himself, had, unfortunately, not been completely red-ochred. There was just one spot on his foot which had been left untouched and here, a few years ago, a snake had bitten him at Borroloola on the Gulf of Carpentaria, in proof whereof he showed me the scar.

During the whole time that the youth is out in the bush he may not speak to anyone--not even to his namminjeri--except by means of gesture language. He is not released from the ban of silence until he has passed through the Nadiriga ceremony and has returned to camp. Here the men sit in one group and the women in another, about thirty yards apart from one another. First of all the namminjeri leads the Nadiriga man up to the group of women and tells him to sit on the ground so that he has his back to his mother, who is in the middle of the front rank of the women. Then two lubras arise, warm their hands at a fire which has been lighted and then rub them from behind, so that he does not see them, under the man's arm pits and on top of his head, saying, "you talk now." This over they place hair and string girdles round his chest and on his head. At a later time he is released from the ban of silence so far as the men are concerned, but before this is done he must go out into the bush and secure food, such as a kangaroo or wallaby, which he presents to his father. his namminjeri and the older men in camp. After he has done this to the satisfaction of these older men, the mother's brother (ngunga) says to the namminjeri, "you make him talk now." Accordingly, one day, when all the men are in camp, the namminjeri says to him, "come here, I want to rub you." He warms his hands at the camp fire, puts them under the Nadiriga's arm pits, rubs his mouth and head, and ornaments him with fur string. No woman is allowed to see this final ceremony, after the performance of which the Nadiriga is admitted fully to the ranks of the men.

In the Nullakun Tribe, which inhabits country adjoining that of the Djauan on the west and the Mungarai on the east, initiation is associated with the ceremony of circumcision; subincision is not performed, in which respect it differs from the Mungarai.

When a boy is thought to be old enough for initiation his father speaks to his mother's brothers (nukaitka), by whom all arrangements must be made. One day at early dawn while everyone is in camp a mother's brother's son (kinda), who has been told what to do by his father, goes behind the boy, who knows nothing of what is planned, and puts both hands over his eyes. He says to him, "you must not walk about a boy any more; you must walk about a man." He then takes him away from the women's camp, where he has hitherto lived, to the mopul or men's camp. Here he is first greased all over with kangaroo fat and then decorated with red ochre, forehead bands of opossum fur and kangaroo teeth, hair belt round his waist, and fur band round his chest and down the middle of his back.

A consultation is then held between the boy's father and his mother's brother, during which it is decided how long the boy shall be kept out in the bush and what camp he shall visit under the guardianship of the kinda, that is, the mother's brother's son. The kinda selected is always older than the boy who is being initiated, and, together, they travel round the country visiting different camps, both in their own tribe and in adjoining ones, and inviting the strangers to accompany them on their return journey. This travelling about occupies two or three months and they always arrange to start back with a new moon. They gather the visitors together from the various camps and, days before they reach the home camp, their coming is signalled by means of great "smokes."

The local men, meanwhile, have prepared a special ceremonial camp called kokullal, clearing the ground and raising a roughly circular bank of sand all round it with an opening on one side. The lubras go out daily and collect large quantities of lily roots and seeds, the latter of which they pound up with stones and make into cakes. The nukaitka men, that is the mother's brothers, superintend the getting of a plentiful supply of "sugar-bag" or honey comb of the wild bees. These two, lilies and honey, are staple articles of diet amongst the natives and fortunately are usually procurable in large quantities.

When the party returns, a halt is made some little distance from the ceremonial ground and, leaving the boy with the strangers, the kinda goes on ahead to meet the local men who, together with the lubras, are gathered on the ceremonial ground at the end facing the opening in the bank. One of the nukaitka men who has reached the status of noboila, that is, a really old man, has been appointed to take charge of the proceedings and to him the kinda goes, saying, "I have brought him."

A messenger is sent to tell the strangers to come on, the kinda who went with the boy remaining close by the noboila man. The group advances towards the entrance to the ground, the men with the boy in front, the women behind. Another kinda goes out to the strangers, takes the boy from them, and runs round the circle with him so that all the local people can see him. This over, he goes back with him to the strangers, who are standing some little distance away, and remains amongst them for a short time, during which they hand over to him their spears, boomerangs, ornaments, etc. He gives these to the boy and then another kinda is sent from the local group by the noboila man. He kneels down amongst the strangers and the boy is placed on his shoulders holding the spears above his head. This giving of spears is emblematic of the fact that the time has come when the youth may use the weapons of a man. The strangers, with the kinda carrying the youth in the lead, approach, yelling Srr! Srr! The local men stand up and shout, Burra, erlumaia, erlumaia, which means "bring him, put him down, put him down." The boy is brought to the spot at which stand the noboila man, the kinda who had watched over him in the bush, and his father and mother. He comes down from the shoulders of the kinda and places the spears on the ground at the feet of the noboila man. Then he and his kinda guardian take some pipe clay that has been prepared for the purpose and paint a mark on the back of each of the strangers who have meanwhile remained outside the raised circle, close to the entrance. The visitors then retire a little distance away and camp.

The kinda takes the boy to his mother, who is seated in a group comprising her sisters, her mother, and the latter's sisters, together with the boy's sisters. All these women cry over him for some time, after which his own mother gives him a specially large cake of lily seeds that she has made herself. The boy hands this to his kinda, who takes it to the strangers, and then everyone eats the food supply that has been provided. The boy and his kinda meanwhile sit apart in front of the men and women within the circle so that they can be seen by everyone.

After everyone has eaten, dancing and corrobborees begin. The morquoll (father and father's brothers) and nukaitka (mother's brothers) dance first, striking their legs and singing:--

Yalina balla gula lagun bili
Ya, ya, ya, ya, ya!

These words have no meaning known to them and belong to what they call the mumus, that is, the far away times during which their mythic ancestors lived. This singing goes on for about an hour, during which time the boy sits quietly watching.

The strangers with their lubras then come up and the latter dance outside the circle inside which the men sit. This dancing goes on all night, no one going to sleep. As soon as the morning star is seen the lubras cry out. The kinda has prepared a long stick with a bunch of cockatoo feathers at one end, called jappa. He gives it to the lubras, who first of all dance round and round, carrying it, and then place it upright near the middle of the ground and retire from the circle. The kinda tells the boy to go and stand beside it with his hands behind his head and, while he stands thus, the visiting lubras come into the circle and dance round and round him singing, Ya, Ya, ya, ya, ya! This over they stand to one side and, when the sun has risen, the morquoll and nukaitka tell the women to take the boy away. They do so, shouting, Oh, oh; wo, wo, the decorated pole remaining upright in the ground. The visiting lubras accompany the local ones to a camp a long way off in the bush. Here a special bough shade or mia-mia has been prepared and under its shelter the boy is allowed to rest until sundown on a bed of grass stalks and paper bark, with which he is completely covered and hidden from view. At sundown the lubras, who meanwhile have remained silent, wake him up and take him back to the ceremonial ground where the men are singing and painting themselves. Only local men are on the ground when the lubras return, the visitors have already completed their decorations and retired out of sight of the local people into the bush.

When the women bring the youth back, a lubra of the right class for him to marry holds a piece of paper bark, in front of his eyes and he is led thus on to the ceremonial ground, where he is told to lie down by the side of his guardian kinda, and is completely hidden from view by sheets of paper bark. The jappa stick with feathers has been removed. The natives have no idea what this signifies. It may possibly be a surviving relic of an object allied to the sacred poles, called Nurtunjas, that figure largely in the initiation ceremonies of the Arunta, though, amongst the latter, the women are never allowed to see them.

A local man takes two nulla-nullas, or fighting clubs, and strikes them together, singing as he does so--

Ballima, Birrma, Wirrima,
Ralla, goy, goy, goy------!

repeating the refrain several times so as to attract the visitors, who then approach and stand within the opening. The old men of the local group say to them, "All right, you go away," and accordingly, for a time, they go to their camp and rest. At this stage the women, both local and visitors, are sent right away to a camp in the bush, and take no further part in the proceedings.

After an hour or so the visiting men come back and begin to dance corrobborees, all having reference to totemic animals and plants. The local men sing, and the boy is told to watch and not speak. This goes on till daybreak, when for a short time they rest. As soon as the sun rises, five kindas lie down, one below and four others above him, at right angles to the length of the body. The boy is placed across them, two nukaitka men hold his arms and two his legs. Two kindas pull the foreskin up and another cuts it off. As soon as ever the operation is over the boy is lifted from the men and placed, lying at full length, on the ground. The nukaitka and kinda say, "You are all right now. Do not go anywhere. Stay at the mopull (men's camp). Do not eat goanna, snake, or porcupine. When you are a big man you can eat them. Only eat lilies now."

The visitors return to their own country, and the boy, under the guardianship of another kinda, goes out into the bush. The foreskin is handed over to the kinda who first had charge of the boy and, in his turn, he hands it on to a nukaitka, who keeps it for some time, showing it to the boy's father, mother, and mother's brothers, the latter being his own brothers. Finally, he gives it to the boy's mother, who buries it by the side of a water hole and tells the other lubras where this is, because, for two years--that is two wet seasons--no one save men and women who stand to the boy in the relationship of maina (mother, mother's sisters), morquoll (father, father's brothers), and nukaitka (mother's brothers) may gather lilies at that spot. After the two wet seasons are passed the mother burns the grass round the water, and then anyone may go there.

Out in the bush the boy must not talk to anyone, not even to his kinda guardian, except by means of gesture language; in fact, before he can talk he has to make the kinda a present of spears, boomerangs, girdles, kangaroo teeth, red ochre, etc. When the wound is completely healed the kinda greases the boy, paints him with red ochre, puts a kangaroo-tooth head ring on him, and, decorated in this way, takes him first to the mopull, or men's camp, and then to his mother, who wails loudly, all the women in the camp joining in.

The young man has now attained the status of Bandari, but he must still remain in the bush, and may not go anywhere near the lubras. Under the direction of his guardian he secures a supply of food, consisting of goanna, opossum, kangaroo, sugar-bag, etc., which he sends to his nukaitka men. The kinda in charge of him tells him when to do this, which is a sign that the final part of the ceremony is about to be performed. The men all go from the main camp, leaving the women and children there, to a special one out in the bush, to which the kinda brings the new bandari man. The latter at first sits down while the kinda holds both hands over his eyes and ears.

The men decorate themselves with birds' down (bulluk) and perform a series of totemic ceremonies, which vary according to the sub-class to which the initiated youth belongs. In this tribe the totemic groups are divided amongst the four sub-classes called respectively Jobal, Mangaralli, Alakaraninni, and Gindar. If a man, for example, belong to the sub-class Jobal he is shown, during this the final stage of his initiation, ceremonies that are concerned with the totemic groups of that particular sub-class.

It is during the performance of these that, for the first time, he is allowed to see the bull-roarer or kunapippi, the noise made by which is supposed by the lubras to be the voice of a spirit called Mumanna, who takes the boy away during the initiation ceremony.


Totemic Systems and Totem Groups

Division of northern tribes into five groups so far as totemic matters are concerned.--Kakadu tribe.--The Yalmuru and Iwaiyu.--Manner of acquiring totemic names.--Examples of totemic names in different families.--Totemic names not hereditary.--List of totemic groups-Sacred objects associated with the Muraian ceremony.--Emu egg stone-Showing the Muraian sticks and stones.--Intichiuma ceremony.--The ancestor Kulbaran finding the Muraian.--List of Muraian sticks and stones.--Painting them.--Status name of Lekerungen given after having seen the Muraian.--History of the Emu egg stone and the crocodile stick.--Warrai tribe.--Totemic groups exogamic.--Waduman tribe.--List of totemic groups.--Genealogical tables to show descent of totem in maternal line.--Accessory totems.--Eating of totemic animal or plant.--Ceremonies to increase totemic animal or plant.--Headman of totemic group.--Orkbau ceremony.--Mudburra tribe.--Descent of totem in maternal line.--Tjutju ceremony to increase the totemic animal or plant.--Wulwullam tribe.--Melville Island tribe.--Names of totemic objects and groups.--Intermarrying groups.--Descent of totem is in maternal line.--Iwaidja tribe.--Local intermarrying groups.--Descent of totem in maternal line.--Table showing descent and marriage.--Larakia tribe.--Descent of totem in paternal line.--Worgait tribe.--Main and accessory totems.--Descent in paternal line.--Djauan tribe.--Pairs of sub-classes have totem groups in common Totemic groups exogamic.--Descent in the paternal line.--Mungarai tribe.--Totemic groups associated with sub-classes.--List of groups and the sub-classes to which they belong.--Descent of totem neither in maternal nor paternal

line.--List showing totemic groups of certain parents and children.--Yungman tribe.--Similar to Mungarai.--Nullakun tribe.--Descent in paternal line.

THERE considerable variation amongst the different tribes inhabiting the Northern Territory in regard to their totemic systems. In some tribes, such as the Waduman and Mudburra, the totemic name is transmitted in the maternal line; in others, such as the Worgait and Djauan, in the paternal line.

In some, the totemic groups are divided between the moieties, in others, such as the Djauan and Mungarai, they are divided between the classes or sub-classes, so that the child cannot possibly inherit either its father's or its mother's totem.

In some, such as the Waduman and Mudburra, there is no division of the totem groups between the moieties or classes, the same group occurring on both sides of the tribe, but the totemic groups are exogamous, and the totem descends in the female line. In others, moieties and classes do not exist, and in these there is no descent of the totem from parent to child, the latter receiving his totemic name in consequence of an intimation conveyed by a spirit individual to the parent.

In all tribes, however, there is a very definite totemic system, which may or may not regulate marriage.

In most tribes the totemic groups are exogamous, but in some, such as the Kakadu, they are not, though it is very rare to find a man married to a woman of the same totemic group as himself. Such a marriage, however, in the Kakadu and allied tribes would be quite allowable.

Amongst these more northern tribes we may distinguish five main groups so far as totemic matters are concerned

(1) A group represented by the Larakia, Worgait, and Wulwullam, in which the totem groups are divided between the two moieties; they are strictly exogamic and descent is counted in the male line.

(2) A well-marked group of tribes including the Djauan, Mungarai, Warrai, Yungman, Mara, and Nullakun, in which the totem groups are divided between the classes or sub-classes so that a child passes into a totemic group belonging to the same side of the tribe to which his father belongs, but of necessity different in name from his father's, because different totemic groups are attached to different classes or sub-classes.

(3) A well-marked group of tribes, including the Waduman, Mudburra, Ngainman, and Billianera, in which the same totemic groups are found on both sides of the tribe, and in which the descent of the totem is in the female line. The totemic groups are strictly exogamous.

(4) Abnormal and modified coastal and island tribes, such as those on Melville Island and the Iwaidji, in which there are no moieties or classes, but in which there are local groups and in which certain restrictions with regard to marriage exist in connection with the totemic groups. The descent of the totem is in the female line.

(5) Abnormal and evidently modified coastal tribes, such as the Kakadu and allied tribes, in which no moieties or classes are present, and in which the totem descends in neither the female nor the male line.

In at all events many of the tribes, such as the Kakadu, Waduman and Mudburra, the men perform ceremonies that are the equivalent of the Intichiuma in the Arunta, and have for their object the increase of the totemic animal or plant.

The Kakadu group of tribes is evidently much modified in many ways, and in none more so than in regard to their totemic system. The question of totems is closely bound up with their beliefs in regard to the origin of children, As described in connection with this subject,1 when an individual dies his spirit part remains with his bones in the form of what is called a Yalmuru. This, again, gives rise to a double of itself, called all Iwaiyu, which the Yalmuru places in some food, such as a sugar-bag or fish, that the father of the future child then secures, aided by the Yalmuru in doing so. This food will be the totem of the future child. The Iwaiyu jumps out of the food before the man secures the latter, and rejoins the Yalmuru. Finally, in the form of a small frog, called Purnumanemo,2 it goes into its mother. The Yalmuru, at night time, comes to the father while he is asleep in his camp and tells him the name of the child and its totem. Originally, in the far past times, each individual had his totem, or jereipunga, given to him by the great ancestor of the tribe named Imberombera, or by men and women sent out by and acting under her instructions. At each reincarnation the Yalmuru decides upon the Jereipunga, which may or may not be the same as that to which it belonged during a previous reincarnation. It has no reference of necessity to that of either the father or mother, nor is it concerned in any way with the marriage system. In the Kakadu tribe, indeed, there is no idea of heredity of the totemic name in either the male or female line. A few examples of actual families living in the Kakadu camp, while I was staying at Oenpelli, their central camping ground, will serve to illustrate this matter.

1. See Chapter vii.

2. A very small species of Hyla that lives under bark and sheaths of leaves.]

(1) A man named Ungara whose totem is Kimberikara (Barramundi, a fish); his wife, Obaiya, is Mormo, sugar-bag. They have two children, Monmuna a boy, who is Kunbaritja, a small fish, and Murawillawill, whose totem is Eribinjori, crocodile. The totem of Ungara's father was Kunbaritja, and that of his mother Mormo.

(2) A man named Mukalakki whose totem is Mormo. That of one wife, named Mitjunga, is Kunaitja, mullet; that of another, named Numerialmak, is Kulekuli. His father, named Monmuna, was Kimberikara, his mother, named Kumbainba, was Eribinjori, a crocodile; his brother was Murno, opossum; the mother of Monmuna was Kintjilbara, a snake, his wife's mother was Kulekuli, catfish.

(3) A man named Miniamaka, whose totem is Jameru, a small fish; his wife, named Murrapurnminni, is Kulekuli, cat-fish; a son, called Naminjeya, is Kimberikara. His father and mother were both Kimberikara.

(4.) A man named Mitjeralak whose totem is Kalerungeni, flying fox; his father, named Mitiunga is Jameru, a small fish; his father's father was Eribinjori, crocodile.

(S) A man named Kopereik whose totem is Kunaitja, mullet; his father is Kimberikara.

(6) A man named Oogutjali whose totem is Kunbaritja, a fish; his wife, named Belgramma, is Narenma, a snake; a son, called Tjurabego, is Eribinjori, crocodile; a daughter, called Mikgeirne, is Kulekuli, cat-fish; a daughter, named Mirowargo, is Kalerungeni, flying fox; a daughter, named Minagi, is also Kalerungeni, and another, called Mukarula, is Mormo, sugar-bag.

It will be seen from these examples that there is a complete and most perplexing mixing up of the totems, so far as anything like descent of the totemic name is concerned. They have nothing whatever to do with regulating marriage, nor are they hereditary in either the paternal or maternal line. Further still, there is no attempt made for each individual to retain the totem (f the old ancestor of whom he is supposed to be the reincarnation. In the case of the above-named individuals there is actually only one--the woman Mitiunga--in which the living person has the same totem as the old ancestor of whom he, or she, is supposed to be the reincarnation. In regard to their totemic system, the group of tribes that have the Imberombera legend, or its equivalent, appear to stand by themselves. In some respects, as, for example, in regard to the idea of definite local centres, peopled by spirit individuals, they call to mind the Arunta, but, on the other hand, they differ from them and from all others in the remarkable way in which each centre is the home of a definite group of individuals, the actual names of all of whom are known and handed down from generation to generation.

The following is a list of the totemic groups in the Kakadu tribe. It is quite possible that there may be more than these, but they will, at all events, serve to indicate their nature in this tribe which may be taken as representative of the northern coastal tribes generally. The latter inhabit the well-watered country, where food is abundant, that lies between the Ranges and the sea. It will be noticed that, in every case, the totemic animal or plant is edible:--

Whilst investigating the initiation ceremonies in this tribe with Mr. Cahill, I came across a very interesting part of the final initiation ceremony that is called Muraian.3 This, consisted in showing the older men certain very sacred sticks and stones intimately associated with the totems.4 They are as intensely kumali as are the churinga of the Arunta, and the natives when showing them to us and performing the ceremony took most elaborate precautions to prevent any women from having the slightest chance to see what was being done. Each stone or stick was wrapped tip in sheet after sheet of paper bark.

1. See Chapter iii.]

1. For a description of these, see Chapter v.]

The first that we saw, and we came upon it by mere accident, was a small stone called Iwaija Kopereipi, or Emu egg. It measured about four inches in length by two and a half in diameter. It was sufficiently like an egg in shape as to suggest the name. (Plate VII, Fig. 7). The general surface had been red-ochred, but a yellow band, not seen in the figure, ran round it and two red bands, each with a central row of white dots, ran half-way up each side. The remainder of the surface was covered with close set lines of white, crossing one another approximately at right angles. Its history was as follows: Long ago, for the egg has now passed through the hands of nine old men, one after the other, an old ancestor named Nauundel, was out in the bush, searching for sugar-bag, when he heard a curious hissing noise. He looked round and, in the distance, saw an egg and a snake coiled round it. It was the hissing of the snake that Nauundel heard. The snake was one now called Kintjilbara. Nauundel came close up, got a stick and began to poke the snake which, by and by, went away. He did not attempt to injure it. The egg stood up on end and Nauundel lifted it from the ground and tied it up in paper bark. Then he cut some grass, laid it in his bag and put the egg, wrapped in paper bark, upon it, saying, Geimbi kala muraian; ngainma kala, kulapunna maleiappa, which means, "This is a Muraian stone all right; it is mine all right, I put it in my bag." All night he heard the egg saying Prr, Prr, as it moved about restlessly inside the paper bark. It moved about so much that it tossed all the grass out of the bag and, as it would not keep still, and Nauundel was afraid of losing it, he placed the mouth of the bag near the fire and stupefied the egg with the heat and smoke.

Only Murabulba, that is, very old men, are allowed to see the egg. When its present possessor, a man named Narlinda, wishes to show it during the progress of the Muraian ceremonies, he says to the younger men, morpiu, yapu, ge, which means, literally translated, "food, go, all of you"--in other words, all of you go out into the bush and collect food. The young men know what he means, or, rather, that there is something that they must not see, and away they go. He says nothing to the other men but, as Narlinda told us, they know what he means and nudge one another. When the young men are far away, Narlinda sits down by himself, a little distance away from the old men, unwraps the paper bark, and calls the others up. They come with their heads bent down. Narlinda tells them to come near and not be frightened because it will not "growl," that is, it will not be angry with them or do them any harm.

When they are going to hold these special ceremonies there may be only one or two, or several, of these sacred objects brought on to the ceremonial ground, which is most carefully placed and, if necessary, as in the one we saw, closed in with bushes. At one of these ceremonies, after the men have brought in their sacred sticks and stories, each one being in the charge of some special individual, they are placed on the ground to one side of the enclosed space. If there are any men present who have not seen them before, but are judged to be old enough to do so, an old man, such as Narlinda, says, Koregora

Muraian, kaiano jeri, balera, yadimma najei kubari kudanuji korto, that is, "Look, these are Muraian, do not quarrel or, by and by, all your fingers will swell up." The performance itself is a very curious one and the men become very excited. The illustrations (Plates III, IV, V, VI and VII) will give some idea of what the objects themselves are like. When we saw it enacted, two of the men stood to one side, one clanging sticks, the other clapping his hands. First of all a stick representing a fish, called Jimidauappa, was brought in by a man to whom it belonged. Followed by the other men, he came from behind some bushes, creeping along with the sticks in his hands. On the ground he stood in the middle, all the other men circling round and round him, while he pointed the stick at each of them. At first they sang the words

Ka kai ka ka le
Ka lulla le,

and, after dancing for some time, they all extended their arms towards the stick, time after time, drawing them back rapidly and yelling, Brau, brau, which means, Give, give. They were supposed to be demanding a plentiful supply of the fish Jimidauappa.

Finally, the man fixed the stick upright in the ground and they all danced round and round, pretending to rub their hands up and down it, after which they rubbed themselves. Then they retired behind the bushes. After a short time they came on again, this time bringing several sticks (Figures 47, 48) and, in addition, rushing round the other men who stood to one side. One after another the sticks were fixed upright in the ground until there were some twenty or more sticks and stones there. At one stage, when only a few had been brought in, a special one--the Muraian itself--was produced. The man carrying it tumbled down on the ground and was followed by the others and they all wriggled and rolled about in the most grotesque fashion (Fig. 49). The Muraian was in the form of a slightly curved slab of wood, with the representation of a head at one end (Plate IV., Fig. 1), a very short tall at the other, and two little projections at each side, representing limbs. It was supposed to be a turtle, to which it certainly showed considerable resemblance, quite enough to be recognisable, and the rolling about of the men was supposed to be an imitation of the movements of the animal itself.

When all the sticks and stones, many of them elaborately decorated, some representing yams with strings of gaily coloured cockatoo feathers wound round them, had been brought on to the ground, they were arranged in a circle and the men danced round and round them with their arms alternately extended and drawn back, while they yelled, Brau brau, that is, "Give, give." It was, as the natives told us, a request, in fact, a demand, to the sacred representatives of the various animals and plants to provide them with these same animals and plants that form their food supply.

Amongst the native tribes of Central Australia I have seen what Mr. Gillen and myself have called the Intichiuma ceremonies. These are performed by the men of different totemic groups, with the idea of increasing the number of the animals and plants with which the ceremonies are concerned, but, in the Central tribes, it is only the men of any one totemic group who Perform the ceremony associated with it, and there is no such thing as any definite request or demand. The mere performance of the ceremony is supposed to bring about the desired result. In the Kakadu tribe, and the same is true of other tribes associated with it, the members of different totemic groups join together and, though it is difficult to express, accurately, the difference between the two forms of ceremonies, both of which have the same object in view, that is, the increase of the food supply, it may be said that the Central tribes do not make anything in the way of a personal appeal to any object which is supposed to represent an animal or plant, whereas, amongst the Kakadu, this is most evident. The men of the latter tribe very clearly showed, by their insistent and fierce cry of Brau, brau, "Give, give," that they were directly asking, even demanding, the representatives of the various animals and plants to provide them with food. Amongst the many ceremonies of this kind that I have seen performed by Australian aboriginals, none have impressed me more than these, as indicating that savage man believes that he is able to control his food supply by means of magic. The way in which the men danced round the ceremonial objects, or rolled over on the ground holding them in their hands, was most suggestive of the idea that, by doing so, they brought about some close connection between themselves and the totemic animals or plants represented by the sacred sticks and stones. All that the men could tell us was that their old ancestors had always performed these ceremonies and that, after they had done so, the animals and plants had always multiplied.

Altogether we saw about seventy of these sacred stones and sticks which, above all things possessed by the Kakadu and surrounding tribes, are pre-eminently Kumali or sacred. They brought just a few at a time to show us, taking the most elaborate precautions lest any woman or child, or even any young man, was in sight. Before they brought them in, they halted under the shelter of bushes and reconnoitred the place to make quite sure that they were safe and that no women were within sight. When a man saw us he would put a finger up to his nose, the sign that they had something Kumali. Then, when they were satisfied that everything was secure, they brought them in, wrapped up in fold after fold of paper bark. Whilst showing them to us they only spoke in whispers and, so real was it to them, that we, without thinking about it, felt compelled to do the same.

They told us that the first of these Muraian objects was found, very long ago, by an old ancestor called Kulbaran. He saw something strange in the form of a turtle moving about in the water, caught it and discovered that it was Muraian, or rather the turtle told him so. The turtle then described the ceremonies and taught Kulbaran how to perform them and how to make the sacred sticks and stones. He told Kulbaran that they were all kumali widjeru, that is very sacred or kumali. He also told him that the old men might eat the Muraian animals but that the young men must not do so.

Kulbaran, when first he saw the Muraian, said, Ngeinyimma ameina? which means, "What is your name?" or "Who are you?" The Muraian replied, Ngainma Muraian, "I am Muraian"; Ngainma jerapo mubilabilia balera, "I dance corrobboree later on," and then he danced, lifting up his legs and arms and singing, Yai, Yai, as he did so. The old man Kulbaran said, onje mubilabilla yama, "which way another dance," or, "Is there any other dance?" and Muraian showed him some more. Then he said that all the dances that he showed Kulbaran were kumali; Jimmidauappa (a fish) kumali; Banjil (a fish) kumali; Kurnembo iwaiji (Goose egg) kumali, and so on, through the whole series.

The stones that we saw were representatives of the following:--Gunumaramilla (a yam); Kopereipi iwaiji (Emu egg); Kulijidbo (a yam); Kulori (a yarn); Kudjalinga (turtle); Kudjalinga iwaiji (turkey egg); Idabarabara; Jimeribunna (native companion); Purijiliji and Worki (lily root); Kopereipi (Emu); Eribinjori (large crocodile); Eribinjori iwaiji (crocodile eggs); Alberjiji (whistling duck); Mundebendo (Brush turkey); Kunjeama (plum); Kulekuli (Cat fish).

The sticks were representatives of the following

Kimberikara (Barramunda) Munburungun; Kulekuli (Cat fish); Tjunara (a yam) Jimidauappa (small fish); Eribinjori (large crocodile) Numereji (a snake); Murlappa (a yam); Brutpenniweir (Jabiru); Jungoan (snake); Kudjalinga (turtle); Mundebenbo (Brush turkey); Murlappa (a yam); Minjiweya (a yam); Banjil (a fish); Bararil (a small fish); Kimberikara (Barramundi).

In the case of both the stones and sticks there were, in many of them, several representatives of the same totemic animals and plants and also distinct stones and sticks representing males, females, and eggs of the same animals.

The stones of course can be passed on from one generation to another, but the sticks are naturally liable to decay and are renewed from time to time. In a climate such as that of the Alligator River district, it is difficult to preserve, intact, sticks that are continually being greased and painted and are hidden away, wrapped up in paper bark, in damp places, such as those in which the natives secrete them. They are very liable to be attacked by insects, such as boring beetles, and they must be periodically replaced by new ones. When they are used during any ceremony, such as the one we witnessed, the design is more or less rubbed off and, on each occasion, it is repainted. The same design is always used and must not apparently be varied. We several times saw serious consultations taking place amongst the old men as to the drawing of the design on a stick or stone. The white lines are put on with a very crude but effective paint brush, consisting simply of a little twig, about six inches long, one end of which is frayed with the teeth and then flattened out to form a small, thin disc about the size of a sixpenny bit. This is dipped into the white pipe clay which has been moistened with water so as to form a thin paste. It is held between the thumb and fingers, the handle of the brush lying in the palm of the hand in just the same way in which a white artist often holds a brush.

In addition to its function as an Intichiuma ceremony, the Muraian serves, just as the Engwura does amongst the Arunta tribe, as a finale to the initiation ceremonies, daring which older men are shown objects that, in many cases, they have never and, in some, but rarely seen. The same is true of the Engwura, when a series of ceremonies, with men wearing decorations and using ceremonial objects, such as Nurtungas and Waningas, are shown to the relatively younger men. The ceremony is supposed, in both cases, to make the men 'good,' using the word in its native sense; they must not growl or quarrel. After a man has passed through, or. rather, witnessed, the Muraian, he receives the special status name of Lekerungen, just as, in the Arunta, the men who have seen the Engwura are called Urliara. It also serves to enhance the importance of the old men and is of service to them in regard to their food supply because, whilst they can eat any of the animals or plants associated with the ceremony, no matter by whom they are captured, the younger men, even when they have seen the Muraian, must not touch anything secured by the old men and must also give the latter a share of any of the Muraian foods that they secure. Also, for some reason that the natives do not know, save that their arms and hands would become very sore if the rule were not carefully followed, the men who have seen the Muraian must, on no account, allow a dog to eat any remnant of their food,

I have previously referred to the handing down of the sacred stones and sticks. Two examples will serve to show how carefully their history is preserved. I n the case of the Emu-egg stone, tradition reports that it has been, in succession, in the possession of the following men: (1) Nauundel, who originally found it, (2) Nortmanitj, (3) Pwenguno, (5) Butja, (5) Nanilmango, (6) Nuburungillimaka, (7) Kingunaiya, (8) Yerimain, and (9) Narlinda, who now owns it.

In the case of an Eribinjori, or crocodile, stick, which the natives regarded as one of the most important, the history is still longer. It was owned in the first place by Kulbaran, who, when he became very old and unable to perform the ceremonies, gave it to (2) Midjail, his younger brother, after whom the following successively received it: (3) Numinbal, (4) Ungoreddi, (5) Alumbawerner, (6) Amunjureri, (7) Bulluoko, (8) Abringillimaka, (9) Ungowilla, (10) Nauukmawitch, (11) Pwenguno, (12) Pordjo, (13) Nauulmango, (14) Kingmanaia, (15) Kerauappa, (16) Naumarak, (17) Mantjiritj, (18) Yiraman, who died recently, and from whom it descended to (19) Miniamaka, its present holder.

In the Warrai tribe the name for totem is mumulbuk. They are divided amongst the classes. One group is associated with the two classes Ajumbitj-Appularan, the other with Appungerti-Auinmitj. Thus Ajumbitj-Appularan have the following, Bulta (eagle-hawk), Kinnimill (a yam), Gunbelli (small crocodile), Norquipito (red ochre), Bulp (pipe clay), Doito (stone axe), Deiurnu (kangaroo), Wairdmo (fire stick), Jin (leech), Gunnigunni (flying fox). Appungerti-Auinmitj have Murdukul (a fish), Yilli (swamp lily), Tji (a snake), Wit (water), Bera (large crocodile), Kuala (turtle), Niri (dog), Gani (night time), Wordjal (black plover), Ngurin (emu).

It will be noticed that there are, relatively, a large number of totemic groups associated with objects other than animals and plants, a feature in which this and other of the central tribes differ from the coastal tribes amongst whom, with very rare exceptions, the totemic names are those of edible objects.

Inasmuch as the totemic groups are divided between the two moieties of the tribe and a man must marry a woman who does not belong to his own moiety, it follows that the totemic groups are exogamic. The child belongs to a totemic group associated with its father's side of the tribe but not to his father's own totemic group. My informant told me that a leech man marries a fish woman and that their children are yam. A fish man marries a flying-fox woman and their children are leech. A flying-fox man marries a fish woman and their children are crocodile. A crocodile man marries a snake woman and their children are flying-fox. Unfortunately, I was unable to gain as complete and minute information as I should have liked. The Warrai tribe is now decadent, having been ruined by coming into contact With the mining fields, and it is always unsafe to rely implicitly upon information in regard to matters concerned with the organisation of a tribe derived from natives who are thus, more or less, demoralised. Dr. Howitt drew attention to the manner in which tribes had been obliged to modify their old customs in regard especially to marriage, in consequence of the decimation of their numbers. My informant, called Plainmur by the natives and "Doctor" by the white men, in reference to his former profession, was, however, an old man who was well acquainted with the ancient customs of his tribe, I also had the assistance of a peculiarly intelligent "boy" who spoke English well, so that, I think, the information, so far as it goes, is correct. When their old customs were in force the old man said that the Warrai people never killed their own totemic animal and that if he were to see anyone else killing it he would he angry and would ask him, Why have you killed my mumulbuk?

In the Waduman tribe the word for totem is Gwaiyan, though some natives pronounce it as if it were spelt Quoiyin or Quoiyan. The following is a list of totemic groups in this tribe. Mudbi (Barramunda fish); Ganbin (flying-fox); Kumerinji (emu); Inumbergo (male kangaroo); Undallo, (female kangaroo); Wallanja (goanna); Tjuril (turtle); Korondulmi (rainbow); Kunadjerri (white snake); Kului (red-bellied water snake); Tjala or Kunajeraru (cat-fish); Pingan (a bony fish); Tuaiin (a long-nosed fish); Kandaua (moon); Butbutbau or Kirriwuk (a bird, the coucal); Wallano (a yam) Miakka (a yam); Kulbijinman (a large venomous snake) Miyun (wild dog); Biauiak (a small bird); Wiyan (water); Bulliyan (eagle hawk); Mabilli (small wallaby); Kadmanning (a small hawk) Koallimilla (small turtle); Illaluban (carpet snake) Errimembo (a venomous snake); Ledi (grasshopper); five kinds of sugar bag called respectively Quoiyin, from the top of a tree (the equivalent of Mormo in the Kakadu); Gnedbo (a small bag also from high up); Luerga (from the base of ant hills); Eramalgo or Eramergo (from dead limbs); Dielba or Kulmldjin (from the tops of trees).

In this tribe, as also In the Ngainman, Mudburra, and Billianera tribes,5 the descent of the class name is in the father's line, that of the totem in the mother's, with the result that the totemic groups are distributed amongst the classes, the same totem group occurring on both sides of the tribe. A man must not marry a woman of his own totem. The following examples of individuals in our camp will serve to illustrate the matter. M. stands for male and f for female.

1. This is often pronounced as if it were spelt Bulinara.]

Genealogical Chart

Genealogical Chart

In addition to the main totem each individual has one or more, usually two, accessory totems. The main one Is that associated with the totemic group into which he is born. The others are given to him when he is initiated. He is first of all, during the initiation ceremonies) told his main totem, which is that of his mother, and, at a later period, the accessory totems. If you ask a Waduman native what is his Gwaiyan he will tell you his main one. He does not usually without further questioning mention the accessory ones, the significance of which I could not find out. As an example of these we may take the oldest Uanai man in Table 4. His name was Iblongwa and his main totem was Eramalgo, a sugar bag; his accessory ones are Kandauak (moon) and Tjuril (turtle). His father's main totem was Tjala (cat-fish), with accessory ones Gnedbo and Luerga, two kinds of sugar bag. His mother's main totem was Eramalgo, with accessory ones Kandauak and Tjuril, which happen to be identical with his, though this is not a matter of necessity. As he told us, when he entered his mother, he was Eramalgo; the other two were given to him later when he was initiated. The different way in which a native regards his main and his accessory totems may be seen from the fact that

Iblongwa will not cut Eramalgo out of a tree himself, but will cat it if it be given to him by another man. On the other hand, he will kill and eat Tjuril freely. In the same way, a Quoiyin man will not cut Quoiyin out of a tree himself, but will eat it if it be given to him. The Urella man of the Kulbijinman totem in the first table, whose name was Waljakula, told us that he would not himself kill the snake Kulbijinman, but would eat it if it had been killed by another man and given to him. On the other hand, he has Biauiak (a small bird) as an accessory totem, and this he kills and eats freely.

The different totemic groups perform ceremonies for the increase of the totemic animal or plant. The name of these ceremonies is Tjutju, which is quite distinct from the name Pudaueru, applied to the sacred totemic ceremonies, or from Warangin, the name of the ordinary corrobboree. The Tjutju ceremonies are the equivalents of the Intichiuma in the Arunta tribe.

The head man of each totemic group is called Tjungunni. If he dies the next eldest brother succeeds to the post, and so on through the brothers, including amongst these the father's brothers' sons. If there are none of these alive then the eldest son succeeds. That is, for example, if there be three brothers and the eldest dies, the office of Tjungunni does not descend to his son, but to the elder of the two survivors. If both of them die then it reverts to the eldest son of the first named, even if, in years, he be younger than a son of the second brother. Being the son of an elder brother, he is the "elder brother" of all the three brothers' sons, no matter what his actual age may be.

When performing the ceremony of Tjutju the men of the group paint and dance, the others watching them. After the ceremony of any particular totemic group has been performed the men of all other groups go out and gather some of the animal or plant. If, for example, it be Eramalgo, the latter, after being brought into camp, is taken to the Eramalgo Tjungunni, the men saying, Me Eramalgo, "here is Eramalgo." He replies, Ma angui, "give it, I eat." It is handed over to him and he puts it in a pitchi, mixes it with water, eats a little himself, and hands it over to the other men, saying, Nun burri, "I have finished." After this they may all eat it. So, in the same way, a flying-fox man will eat a little of the animal, and hands the rest over to the other men who do not belong to the totemic group.

If a man of any totemic group dies, the animal or plant is tabu to all members of that totemic group until after the performance of a small ceremony called Orkbau. The brother of the dead person brings the totemic animal or into camp. During the ceremony the members of the totemic group are painted with red ochre. A fire is made and the Tjungunni man passes the body of the animal or the plant, if, for example, it be a yam, through the smoke arising from the fire, after which it may be eaten. All members of the totemic group must put their heads into the smoke of the fire in which the animal is cooked.

In the Mudburra tribe, whose country adjoins that of the Waduman, the word for totem is Ngalu, and the head man of each group is called Malugurni. The descent of the totem, as in the Waduman tribe, is counted in the female line. The following table of one family in camp will illustrate this:--

Genealogical Chart

The Mudburra natives also perform the Tjutju ceremonies to increase the totemic animal or plant. After securing the latter the men who do not belong to the totemic group bring it up to the head man and hand it to him, the old man saying, Ma, punungalu, "give it, I eat." He takes a little and then hands it back, saying, Aidonok berri, "I have finished."

The Pine Creek or Wulwullam tribe is now decadent, having for many years, like the Warrai tribe, been in contact with the mining population. One of its oldest men, who could go back to the early days, told me that the totemic groups were divided between the moieties, and that the totem descended in the father's line. A Kangaroo man married a Barramunda woman, and their children were Kangaroo; a Sugar-bag man married a Rain woman, and their children were Sugar-bag.

Amongst the Melville Islanders the totemic system is somewhat different from that of any tribes on the mainland. The word for totem is Pukui. If you say to a man, Inta ananunga pukui, he will reply, Ingaga, which means white cockatoo, Irrungabi, crocodile, or whatever may be the name of his totem. On the other hand, there is a special name applied to the members of the various totemic groups which is quite distinct from that of the totemic animal or plant. These curious double names are as follows:--

Amongst these totemic groups there are three pairs, indicated by the numbers (1), (2), and (3). These are regarded respectively as being what is called amandinni, that is, mates. Crocodile and mullet are mates; turtle and rain; wild dog and wood. The members of groups that are amandinni are supposed to belong to the same "skin," or pukui, and may not intermarry. Any man can marry any woman, provided she does not belong to his pukui.

Alligator and mullet marry cockatoo, blood wood, sea bird, turtle, wild dog, wood, Pandanus, rain.

Wild dog and wood marry crocodile, cockatoo, blood wood, sea bird, turtle, mullet, Pandanus, rain.

Turtle and rain marry crocodile, cockatoo, blood wood, sea bird, wild dog, wood, mullet, Pandanus.

Cockatoo, blood wood, sea bird, and Pandanus have no amandinni and so may marry anyone save a member of their own totemic group.

The descent of the totem is strictly in the mother's line.

There is something very abnormal about the Iwaidja tribe at Port Essington, which is evidently closely allied, in some respects, to the Melville Islanders. As in the latter there are local groups. My information was gained, with the assistance of Mr. R. J. Cooper, from Port Essington natives who knew their own and the Melville Island systems. There are three divisions in the tribe, with totemic groups attached to each. These three divisions again refer to local groups, as do those on Melville Island and also those amongst the Kakadu tribe, to which, in other points, the Iwaidja natives are closely allied. Their names and the totemic groups associated with them are as follows:--

GROUP 1.--Munbulkitj.


GROUP 2.--Manjerojelli.

GROUP 3.--Manjerowuli.

It will be seen that, as in the Melville Island system, the totemic animal or plant has one name, the member of the group another. The Iwaidja word for totem is Wailar.

Members of the Munbulkitj and Manjerojelli groups marry those of Manjerowuli, and vice versâ. It will be noticed that in each case individuals belonging to certain totemic groups carry as their totemic name, if it can be called so, that of one of the local tribal divisions, Munbulkitj, Manjerojelli, or Manjerowuli. For example, Barramunda men are called Munbulkitj, wood men are called Manjerojelli, and turtle men are called Manjerowuli. The natives were quite clear on this point.

The descent of the totem is in the female line. One of our informants was a cockatoo man, his mother was cockatoo and his father crocodile. His mother's brother was also cockatoo, and is married to a crocodile woman. They have a daughter who is crocodile and has been promised as wife, by her father, to the first-named cockatoo man. In this case the mother of the man and her brother have the same father but not the same mother. Another of our informants was a cockatoo man, his mother was cockatoo and his father a wood man.

The descent and marriage may be indicated as in the following table:--

Genealogical Chart

The Munbulkitj woman of the crocodile totem is the proper wife of the Manjerowuli man of the cockatoo totem.

It would appear as if very considerable modifications were taking place amongst the northern coastal tribes in regard to their totemic systems, just as, also, in connection with their social organisation. Much the same thing happened on the opposite side of the continent where, in Victoria, a local organisation took the place of the normal class system, and where, also, amongst the most modified tribes, the old totemic system largely disappeared, its former existence being indicated by the persistence of a few, perhaps only one or two, totemic group names. In the Iwaidja tribe, at the present day, the old class system has been replaced by a local organisation, the totemic groups are very unequally distributed amongst the local groups, and the totemic group names are evidently disappearing. Munbulkitj has only one totemic name and that is common to two groups, goanna and mullet; Manjerojelli has one, Manjerowuli has three.

It is practically too late to study the totemic systems amongst tribes such as the Larakia, whose members have been for long in contact with settlements. Amongst the Larakia my informant told me that the word for totem was Unga; that originally every individual belonged to a totemic group; that a man of one token could not marry a woman of the same, and that the children took the totemic name of the father.

In the Worgait tribe each individual may apparently be associated with more than one totemic group. My informant told me that he belonged to the frog, shark, and sugar-bag totem groups, and that he had inherited them from his father. The first was his main totem, the other two, as he said, "came afterwards." His mother was water-snake. A man may not marry a woman of the same totemic name as himself. If a stranger comes into a camp he is asked, Ninik kuna koga, "What is your totem?" If, for example, he be a snake (or yam) man, he will reply, Naidja wunga (or wila) koga, that is, "the snake (or yam) totem." Further still, my informant told me that if the stranger was an old man and told him that his totem was frog, he, the younger man, would call him boppa, the same name that he applies to his father. If, on the other hand, he belonged to the water-snake totemic group, he would call him kukka, the same name that he applies to his mother's brother. There is, so far as I could find out, no restriction in regard to eating the totemic animal or plant.

in the Djauan tribe the totem groups are associated with the sub-classes, the various pairs of the latter that are known as "mates," or kumaranbun, having totem groups in common. Thus Ngaritjban and Pungaringba have pelican, kangaroo, and goanna Pulainba and Palieringba have sugar-bag and lily Waidba and Kamara have plum6 and snake (kurk) Kungilla and Wamut have crocodiles (kangi, the larger, and togal, the smaller) and snake (tjural). A man may marry a woman of any totem group provided she belongs to the proper sub-class, and as the totem groups are strictly divided amongst these it follows that a man cannot marry a woman of the same totemic name as himself. The word for totem is lunga and descent is counted in the male line. My informant was a Wamut man of a snake (tjural) totem; he was married to a Pungaringba woman of the goanna totem and his children were Kungilla and snake (tjural).

1. The fruit of a tree, Buchanania nangoides.]

In the Mungarai tribe the totem groups are associated with the sub-classes, the native term for totem being Namaragua. Each totemic group has a head man called Tjugeanandu. My chief informant, an old man named Wallungwarra, gave me the following list of totemic groups, but it is probable that there are still more; these, however, were all that he, and two other men with him, could recollect:--

Bat (wallalka), black snake (djungwitj), cat-fish (warba), small crocodile (walbian), crow (waiwagmin), euro (kangilauro), goanna (djerkain), hawk (kamannin), kangaroo (gaauwi), lily (godiak), frilled lizard (wadidji), native companion (dagmin), opossum (widjurt), pelican (abaiya), porcupine (mullulberri), waterplant (ngarait), rain (ngaugo), a non-venomous snake (ngabandi), a poison snake (mimain), water snake (nanjugo), sugar-bag (ngauwap), native turkey (tjambirrina), long-tailed wallaby (walligeru), wallaby or paddy melon (mabiling), dark wallaby (ngirimu), rock wallaby (wunarungun), wind (wailulu).

The groups are divided amongst the sub-classes as indicated in the following list:--

A remarkable feature of the totemic system of this tribe is that while, as usual, a man must marry a woman belonging to a totemic group different from his own, the children pass into one which is neither the same as that of their father or mother, but is associated with the subclass to which they belong on the father's side of the tribe. The following list indicates a certain number of the marriage arrangements so far as the totem groups are concerned and those Into which the children pass:--

A Ngapalieri man of the water-plant totem marries a Nakomara woman of the paddy-melon totem and their children are Ngabullan and poison snake.

A Ngapalieri man of the rain-totem marries a Nakomara woman of the rock-wallaby totem and their children are Ngabullan and Euro.

A Ngangiella man of the plain-wallaby totem marries a Ngabullan woman of the euro totem and their children are Tjabijin and opossum. '

A Nakomara man of the paddy-melon totem marries a Ngapalieri woman of the brush-tailed wallaby totem and their children are Ngaburella and porcupine.

A Ngaburella man of the porcupine totem marries a Ngaritjbellan woman of the frilled-lizard totem and their children are Nakomara and small hawk.

A Ngangiella man of the goanna totem marries a Ngabullan woman of the turkey totem and their children are Tjabijin and lily.

A Ngabullan man of the sugar-bag totem marries a Ngangiella woman of the crocodile totem and their children are Ngapalieri and rain.

A Tjabijin man of the pelican totem marries a Ngapungari woman of the cat-fish totem and their children are Ngangiella and black snake.

A Ngaburella man of the kangaroo totem marries a Ngaritjbellan woman of the wind totem and their children are Nakomara and paddy melon.

A Tjabijin man of the dingo totem marries a Ngapungari woman of the native companion totem and their children are Ngangiella and plain wallaby.

The same curious system is apparently present in the Yungman Tribe into which, however, I had very little opportunity of inquiring. The totem groups appear to be associated with the sub-classes and the children of necessity belong to a group associated with the father's Side of the tribe but with a sub-class to which he does not belong--the sub-class of his father and of his children. Thus, for example, a man of the dingo totem marries a sugar-bag woman and the children belong to the rain totem. The Nullakun term for totem is mungaiini.

These two tribes appear to differ from their neighbours in having their totem groups divided, not between the moieties, but the sub-classes, so that it is impossible for a child to have the same totem as either its father or its mother. The Mungarai and Yungman are in contact, on the one hand, with tribes such as the Djauan, which has been already described, and, on the other, with the Nullakun and Mara. The organisation of the Djauan, so far as the class system is concerned, is identical with that of the Mungarai and Yungman, and yet the totemic system is practically the same as that of the Mara and Nullakun tribes, from both of which it differs radically in regard to its class organisation. In the Djauan tribe the totem groups are divided between the sub-classes in such a way that those to which parents and children belong have them in common and the descent of the totem is strictly paternal. In the Mara and Nullakun the same is true, though sub-class names are not present. My informant in the former tribe was a Mumbali man and his totem, the native word for which is Urarakammo, was a snake called daual. His father's totem was daual and so, also, was that of his children. His wife was a Purdal woman and her totem was Tjarukual or Euro; his mother was a Kuial woman of the wordabil or goanna totem. His son must marry a Kuial woman of the wordabil totem. Each totem group has its head man who is called Yunguan.

So, again, in the Nullakun tribe descent is counted the direct male line and the totems are divided between the classes. Thus, the children of a kulakulungini, or rainbow man, are kulakulungini; those of a nanguru, or large crocodile man, are nanguru, and those of a janambu, or small crocodile man, are janambu. The native word for totem is mus, and each group has its head man, who is called Kujungowangeri.


Sacred Sticks, Bull-Roarers, and Ceremonial Objects

Comparative absence of the equivalents of Churinga in the Northern tribes.--No bull-roarers on Melville and Bathurst Islands.--Beliefs of women and children in regard to the bull-roarer.--Larakia tribe.--Destruction of the sticks.--Worgait tribe.--Iwaidja tribe.--Djauan tribe.--Mungarai tribe.--Preservation of the sticks.--Tradition of Kunapippi who first made the bull-roarer.--Tradition of women with bull-roarers.--Kakadu tribe.--Sticks and stones associated with the Muraian ceremony.--Description of them.--Partial resemblance of some to the animals which they represent, and possible origin of other ceremonial objects such as Churinga.--Difference between the significance of the Churinga of the Arunta and the Muraian objects of the Kakadu.

ONE Of the most striking features in regard to the sacred and totemic ceremonies of the Northern, as compared with the Central, tribes is the comparative absence of the equivalents of the Churinga and such ceremonial objects as Nurtunjas and Waningas that form so striking a feature of the Arunta tribe. It is, of course, possible that such, or their equivalents, exist, indeed, the Kakadu and allied tribes have an extensive series of sacred stick and stones, but these are not used during ordinary totemic ceremonies in the same way in which the Churinga are amongst the Arunta, nor have they the same significance as the Churinga.

So far as I could discover there are no bull-roarers used amongst the Melville and Bathurst Island natives, nor on the mainland amongst the following tribes:--Koarnbut, Quiradara, Norweilemil, Punuurlu, Kumertuo, Geimbio, Noalanji and Kakadu. These form a large group of allied tribes inhabiting the Coburg Peninsula and the north coast drained by the Alligator Rivers, the King, and the Liverpool, etc.

At all events, as we pass from the centre to the north, the beliefs with regard to the sacred sticks and stones have a decided tendency to become simpler, and in none of the northern tribes does there appear to be any tradition with regard to the association of any particular bull-roarer with a special ancestor. Nor do we meet with anything corresponding to the Ertnatulunga or sacred storing places in which the Arunta preserve their Churinga.

In every instance the women and children believe that the noise made by twirling the roarer is the voice of a great spirit that comes to carry off the boy during initiation and in no case is a woman allowed to see one. This belief, held by the women and children, is apparently widely spread over the whole of Central and Northern Australia and was probably, at one time, universal in its distribution amongst Australian tribes. It is equally true that the youths are, everywhere and always, at the time of initiation, told that the noise is not the voice of a spirit but is made by the bull-roarer. They are also warned that on no account must they speak of it to the women and children. These sticks are amongst those objects that the Arunta speak of as being Ekeirinja, the Mungarai, makugua, and the Kakadu, kumali; all of which words signify that they are of such a nature that Only initiated men may see or know anything about them.

In the Larakia tribe they are called Bidu-Bidu (Plate II, Figs. 3, 4). Each is a thin slab of wood, a foot or eighteen inches in length and three or four inches In greatest width, near to one end which is rounded. The other end is truncate with a square hole in it through which string is threaded. The string is usually made of human hair and is about three or four yards in length. As the roarer is whirled through the air it becomes twisted round and round until it is taut, and then it vibrates, producing the characteristic sound to which the popular name of the wooden slab is due. The Bidu-Bidu is shown1 to the youths during initiation. It is supposed to be full of magic power and must be rubbed over the bodies of the old men before they can be handled with safety by the youths. If they were not rubbed in this way and some of their magic thereby transferred to the men, they would cause the bodies of the youths to swell up. The latter are allowed to carry them about and they are supposed to enable them to catch fish and game and find out where "sugar-bags" can be secured. When the whole ceremony is over and the youths, who are now admitted to the status of Belier, return to their camp and ordinary life, the Bidu-Bidu are broken up and completely destroyed by fire. This is very different indeed from what takes place in the Central tribes, amongst whom the loss or destruction of a Churinga is a very serious matter.

1. Cf. Chapter iii.]

If a woman should, by any chance, see a Bidu-Bidu while it is being carried about by a Belier youth, the old man men immediately send a message to a medicine man living in a distant part of the country called Bebiba. The medicine man, who is known as Kuldungun, comes at once but can only be seen by the old men, who meet him and point out the offending Belier and woman. The medicine man takes the kidney fat out of each of them, sews them up, and lets them go. This is done without their being aware of it but, after a short time, each of them suddenly suffers severe pain and dies. Their death is generally attributed to snake bite, but the old men know what has really happened.

In the Worgait tribe the sticks are called Bidu-Bidu or Bidju-Bidju and the customs or beliefs associated with them are practically the same as those in the Larakia.

In the Iwaidja tribe at Port Essington the sticks are called Kurabudji and are shown to the young men during the initiation ceremony that admits them to the status of Naialpur. The old men, first of all, rub their own bodies with them, so as to modify the magic with which they are filled, and then place them on the hands of the youths, who, after examining them, hand them back again. At various times the bodies of the youths are rubbed with the Kurabudji, sometimes while they are standing up, sometimes while they are lying down.

In the Djauan tribe the sticks are called Kunapippi, or Kunabibbi, and the general beliefs in regard to them are closely similar to those of the Larakia and Worgait. There is) however, this great difference, they are not destroyed after the ceremony in which they are used is over, but are carefully stored away in places known only to the old men. This is interesting because the Djauan tribe inhabits country around and to the south of the Katherine River, and thus is in contact with the northernmost of the true Central tribes amongst whom the Churinga are handed down from generation to generation.

In the Mungarai tribe the sticks are also called Kunapippi. They are considerably larger than those of the Larakia, reaching a length of two and a half feet, and are carried by messengers, who go out to summon members of distant groups to take part in sacred Ceremonies (Plate II). They are made from the wood of the india-rubber tree, and the women and children think the sound they make is the voice of a spirit called ngagurnguruk. They are preserved in certain sacred spots which are very suggestive, in one important respect, of the ertnatulunga of the Arunta. Any animal at or quite close to one of the latter must not be killed; it is, for the time being, strictly ekeirinja. The custom is not quite so strict in the case of the sacred spots amongst the Mungarai, where the sticks are secreted, but if any animal, such as a kangaroo, be killed on the spot, or close by, only the old men may eat it; no young man, woman, or child must touch it.

The Mungarai have a detailed tradition dealing with the way in which they first became possessed of the sticks. In the far away times that they call Kurnallan there existed a very big man named Kunapippi. He existed before there were any of the present-day black-fellows, and is reported to have had plenty of dilly bags. Also he had plenty of spirit children, all boys and no girls, whom he carried in his bags. For some time he sang out, like the men do now when they perform sacred ceremonies, quivering his hand in front of his mouth so as to make the sound called Tjungulamma.

He had, at first, been underground, but he came out and made a camp with a raised bank all round it, and cut a large quantity of grass that he placed on the ground in the centre. This over, he brought the boys out of his dilly bags and put them on the grass. He possessed several of the sacred sticks, called, like himself, Kunapippi. He had made them, and was the first to have any. Then he made forehead bands for the boys, and decorated then' in just the same way in which the natives now decorate the youths during the initiation ceremony.

He divided the boys up, first into two groups, called Nakarangua and Ngaballana, half of them in each. First of all he took the Nakarangua and told each one of them the jakina (sub-class) to which he belonged. To one boy he said, jakina nunji ngaritjbellan, to another, jakina nunji ngabullan, and so on. Then he took the Ngaballana and said to one man, jakina nunji ngaburella, to another, jakina nunji ngangiella, and so on, until, at last, each boy had received his proper jakina, or sub-class, name.

Kunapippi himself belonged to no special class or totem group; he belonged to everything, and was a very big man, with a very big foot.

After he had given the boys their jakina he gave them their namaragua (totem) names. Before, however, he actually did this he showed them all the different corrobborees, or ceremonies, telling them to which totemic group each of them belonged. These special corrobborees are called Tjon. He began to perform them at sundown and kept them up all night long, making Tjungulamma continuously. Just before sunrise he painted two boys, told them what to do and how to dance, and then sat down and watched them. At sunrise they had a short rest. Then he started again and told the boys to paint themselves--some were crocodiles, some galah parrots, some emu, etc., right through all the namaragua, or totem groups--and, again, told each of them to which he belonged, or, rather, which belonged to him, saying to one man, namaragua nunji warmin, your totem (is) euro; to another, namaragua nunji nanung, your totem (is) sugar-bag, and so on right through the whole list.

After concluding the ceremonies and instructions to the boys, Kunapippi went away and caught a lot of fish, crocodiles, turtles, etc., filled his baskets, and brought them back into camp for the boys to eat. He took One of his Kunapippi sticks with him, and, when he came back near to the camp, twirled it to let the boys know that he was close by. The boys jumped up when they saw him coming, carrying the animals that he had captured. They had never seen any of them before, and) after Kunapippi had told them their names, they ate them all up. They did not bite the food, but simply gobbled it down. Everybody ate some of everything. This over, Kunapippi took two boomerangs, the boys painted themselves, and, while he kept time, they danced their own corrobborees, or Tjon, so that they would know them in future.

After this, Kunapippi performed the ceremonies of circumcision and subincision, and showed them how to conduct the operations.

Other natives from a distant part now came up. They had no jakina and no namaragua and had left their women behind them. When they came near to his camp Kunapippi said to them, Jakina nimmo nunji, what is your jakina? The natives did not know and could not answer. They simply stood up in silence. Kunapippi did not allow them to come close to the ceremonial camp. First of all he divided them into Nakarangua and Ngaballana. Then he gave each man his proper jakina (sub-class) and namaragua (totem) and, also, told them which was the right lubra for each man to marry, because, up to this time, they had taken any lubra. Tradition relates, without giving any reason for it, that Kunapippi then killed and ate all of them except two, who managed to escape. Later on he disgorged all their bones and when, after a time, the two men came back they found nothing but these, because Kunapippi had eaten all the flesh.

The two men hastened back to their own country and, meeting with a number of their own people, told them what had happened. The men all armed themselves with stone tomahawks, and crept quietly up towards the camp where Kunapippi was sitting down with his boys. They came up silently and, making a sudden rush, one man hit him in the back and another on the side with an axe. After he had been thus wounded, a man ran up, hit him on the back of the neck and killed him. Before this he had eaten two of his own boys, but they cut him open and rescued them alive.

Kunapippi's boys then mixed with the strangers and instructed them in all things concerning the jakina and namaragua. They also made the different corrobborees and showed them to the men and, in addition, they told them how to conduct the operations of circumcision and subincision. Finally they secured the sacred sticks that belonged to Kunapippi and have kept and used them ever since.

At the present day no lubra is allowed to see any of the sacred objects, but the Mungarai tribe has a tradition which purports to show that such was not always the case, but that, just as amongst the Arunta and other tribes, if any credence may be placed on traditions, there was a time when women were allowed to see and know a good deal more than they do now.

Not far from a water pool, called Crescent Lagoon, there is a range of hills rising somewhat abruptly from the Roper Plains over which, at one place, the water pours in torrents during the rain season. Here, in the far past times, there arose a woman of the Ngapalieri sub-class and kunapippi totem. She carried a netted string bag and, in this, her kunapippi wrapped up in paper bark. From Miram-mi-idji, where she left many spirit children, she walked underground and came out at a place called Winjerri, where there is a big hill and water hole, close by a cattle station now called Hodgson Downs. Here she left more spirit children and, coming out above ground, walked along, swinging her bull-roarer as she did so.

At Kunjerri she met a number of other kunapippi women who were making corrobborees and joined in with them. A man, named Kumkum, a Ngapalieri man of the fish-hawk totem, who, like all of these old ancestors, was supposed to have arisen "by himself," came up to them, wearing a forehead band. The women had finished their corrobboree before they discovered that he had been watching them. They at once hid their kunapippi in the ground, wrapped in paper bark. Kumkum, of course, had seen what they were doing, but he asked them what they had hidden. They replied that they had hidden some things belonging to them. Then he came right up into their camp and unearthed the kunapippi, saying, "What have you got here? They are good ones; I will take them." He did so and went away leaving the women at Kunjerri where, finally, they went into the ground. Since that day no lubra has ever possessed a kunapippi.

Perhaps the most interesting of the sacred ceremonial objects that I came across amongst these Northern Tribes, were a very considerable number of sticks and stones associated with different totemic animals and plants in the Kakadu tribe. They are associated with a special ceremony called Muraian. which appears to form the last of the initiation series in the Kakadu and allied tribes, and I have already referred to them in connection with this subject.2

1. Cf. Chapter iii.]

A representative series is illustrated in Plates III, IV, V, VI, and VII, those on Plate III serving to give a good idea of the nature of the colour decorations. As a general rule, amongst the Central Australian natives, sacred objects such as these, which are supposed to be closely associated with, and, in fact, to represent animals and plants, have not the slightest resemblance in form to the latter. This Is equally true of most of the Muraian objects, but, on the other hand, there are a few that form rather striking exceptions to this rule. The three turtles on Plate IV. are unmistakably suggestive of the animal, especially the one represented in Fig. 1, though, at the same time, the colour decoration is purely conventional. This particular one is supposed to be the Muraian itself. Its total length was sixteen and its greatest width seven and a half inches. The body had a concavity of not more than an inch and a half. The whole surface, and this seems to be true of all these Muraian objects, was covered, first of all, with a coating of red ochre. The band all round the margin and the two pairs of bands running at right angles to one another are yellow. All the light lines, dots and bands are pure white. Fig. 2 measures twenty inches in length, and six in width. Fig. 3 measures thirteen in length and six in width. Neither of these has any indication of a tail, but each of them has eyes, and the decorative scheme is almost identical. The only difference between the two lies in their shape and in the fact that the two longitudinal lines running along the length of the object in one case are yellow and in the other red. Neither of them has any concavity in the body.

On Plate III., Fig. 1 represents a fish, called Bararil. It is quite flat, two feet in greatest length, and about five inches in greatest width. One end is evidently indicative of a head, with an eye, and the other suggests a tail. Fig. 2, which measures twenty-seven inches in length, is decidedly conventionalised; but its long, thin form and extended beaks suggest, to a slight extent, a bird such as the native companion, which it is supposed to represent. Fig. 3 is interesting when compared with those on Plate 1. Like them, it is supposed to represent a turtle. It is twenty-two inches in length, with a distinctly concave body, tapering rapidly to a tail at one end, while at other there is a projecting part that, presumably, represents a neck and head. All the remaining objects on this plate are supposed to represent yams, to which, with possibly a slight exception in the case of Fig. 5, they have not the slightest resemblance.3

1. The specimens figured on this Plate are referred to more in detail in the chapter dealing with Decorative Art.]

On Plate V., Fig. 1, which measures forty-four inches in length, four and a half in greatest width, and about three-quarters in thickness, represents a snake, called Tjungoan, to which it has not the slightest resemblance. It has been, first of all, coated all over with yellow ochre, and on this designs, consisting of cross-hatched lines of white pipe clay have been laid down, leaving bands and spaces of yellow. Figs. 2 and 3 represent, respectively, a female and a male Numereji snake. Numereji snakes and snake men and snake women figure largely in the traditions of the Kakadu tribe. Both of these two may be said to be suggestive of snakes in general form. In the lower one of the two, which measures thirty-seven inches in length, the more pointed end is the head. The whole surface was originally covered with light red ochre. There are three series of transverse bands. The one nearest the head end consists of three, a dark red, crossed by white lines, between two yellow ones. The middle series has two dark red bands, and, between them, a broader light red crossed by white lines. At the hinder end there is a similar light red band between two yellow ones. Along what is supposed to indicate the middle of the under surface (shown uppermost in the figure) there are, in the middle part, a series of light red squares, crossed by lines of white and outlined by yellow, which are supposed to represent the specially large median row of scales on the under-surface of the snake. In the hinder part their place is taken by a series of dark red bands separated by white.

The decoration of the upper of the two Numereji snakes is simpler. It measures forty-seven inches in length, and has a very distinct head, with mouth and teeth. and eye with black pupil and red iris. There are cross bands of yellow on the back, bands of light red along the under-surface, and the tail end is dark red.

Fig. 4, represents a yam, called Murlappa. It is simply a stick, circular in outline, forty-nine inches long, and one and a-quarter in diameter. It is covered all over with red ochre, and, at. roughly, a foot from each end, there are circles knotched round, the grooves being blackened and the raised part between them whitened. Between the two series all the middle of the stick is twined round and round with string decorated like the gaily coloured feathers of the Blue Mountain parakeet. Fig. 5 also represents a yam, called Tjunara. It is forty-nine inches long, two in width. and is flattened from side to side. It is, as usual, red ochred, and has knotched circles picked out in black. Fig. 6 is forty-six inches long, and is a simple, round stick with a ground work of light red, and spaces filled in with cross-hatched white lines. It represents a fish called Bararil. Fig. 7 is equally simple. In the middle part of one surface there is a patch of white spots on the usual red ground; in front of and behind this the white is solid, and in the opposite surface there is the usual cross-hatching of white lines. The remainder of the surface is red, and the whole stick has a slight curve, which is evidently intentional. It represents, also, a yam.

Plate VI represents a series of the Muraian objects all of which agree in one feature, which is the presence of a very distinct fork at one end. Fig. 1 represents an Eribinjori, or large crocodile. It measures twenty-eight inches in length, and has a slightly swollen end indicating the head, with two black dots and white lines round them to represent eyes. The ground colour is red. Fig. 2 is thirty inches in length and represents a small fish, called Jimidauappa. It has two small squares representing eyes and is decorated with tassels of white cockatoo feathers. Fig. 3 represents an animal called Mudburungun. It is forty-five inches long; has two holes bored through, close to the fork, representing eyes through which are threaded tassels of owl feathers. The middle part is wound round with close-set strands of vegetable fibre string, and the general surface colour is red. Figs. 4 and 5 both represent a bird, called Karakera, the spur-winged plover. In the lower one, which has a length of forty-three inches, the cross bands are yellow, the remainder of the surface is red with the usual cross-hatching of white lines, and, in one part, circles of yellow, centred and bordered with white spots. The upper one measures forty inches, the cross bands are yellow with, also, a yellow band along each edge bearing a line of white dots. The remainder of the surface is red with white cross lines. Both of them are elliptical in section, and they are supposed to be, what the natives call, "mates." The one represented in Fig. 4 differs from all the others in having a different design on the two sides. The oblong space, in the middle, crossed with white dots and cross lines, is replaced on the other side by a design somewhat like that immediately to the right hand of it in the illustration; the latter was replaced by simple, cross-hatched white lines. This is the only one on which the two sides differed. Fig. 6 represents a small fish called Jimidauappa. It measures thirty-eight inches in length. Two eyes are indicated; the five oblongs with white cross lines have a red ground; the rest of the surface is yellow. Fig. 7 represents a large bird, the Australian stork, called jabiru, the native name of which is Brutpenniweir. It measures forty-two inches in length. The two dots are presumably meant for eyes. They are on a yellow ground, all the rest of the surface being red. Fig. 8 represents the same bird. The dark cross bands are yellow, a band of the same colour running along each side. The groundwork of the oblong spaces with lozenge-shaped centres and white cross lines and spots is red. Fig. 9 measures fifty-four inches in length; at the broader end it is elliptical in section, measuring two and a-half inches by one and a-quarter. The whole surface is red with white, cross-hatched lines and spots. Two elongate holes are evidently modifications of former eyes, and each of them has, threaded through it, a tassel of white and black feathers. Fig. 10 is one of the largest of the series, measuring Sixty inches in length. It represents an old crocodile or Eribinjori. The tips of the two prongs are light red, their lower parts are white. Then comes a band of dark red, an inch in width. Then comes a band, two and a-half inches across, with a light red ground and white lines and dots, as seen in the figure, the circle, surrounded by the white dots, being a dark red. Then comes a three-quarter inch band of dark red, the three-inch band of light red, with white bands and lines and an oblong hole through the centre. The rest of the surface is dark red, the greater portion being covered with close-set, white cross lines, a line of white spots running along each edge.

In addition to the sticks there are also stones that are associated with the Muraian ceremonies. I saw altogether twenty-nine of these, a few of which are represented on Plate VII. They are all of them naturally shaped stones, for the most part, apparently, sandstone. They all represent objects such as yams to which they approximate in shape, or the eggs of different animals. In most cases the stone seems to have been rubbed over first with red ochre, in a very few yellow ochre has been used, and then, just as in the case of the sticks, white cross lines and dots have been added. Fig. 1 represents the egg of Eribinjori, the large crocodile, and measures four inches in greatest diameter, and six inches in length, and one and three-quarters in width. Fig. 2 represents a Kudjalinga, or turtle's egg, the design in the centre suggests an attempt to portray the animal with its head and front feet. It measures seven inches in length, four and one-quarter in width, and is decidedly convex on the surface shown, and flat on the under one. Fig. 3 is a curiously flat stone, seven and a-half inches in length by three in width and one and a quarter in thickness, and represents a special yam called Gunumaramila. Fig. 4 represents a lily root, called Purijiliji, and Fig. 5, the smallest of them all, represents the egg of a Mundebendo, or wild turkey. Fig. 6 is a lily root or Worki, one of the most staple and favourite foods of the natives; Fig. 7 is the Iwaija Kopereipi, or emu egg, one of the earliest and most important of the Muraian stones, and Fig. 8 is the Kulori yam, which is associated with one of the most important initiation ceremonies.

These will serve to give some idea of the nature of these Muraian sticks and stones which are a peculiar feature of the Kakadu nation, so far as we know at present. They differ from the Churinga of the Arunta both in form and significance. The Churinga proper are wonderfully consistent in shape, whether they be made of wood or stone. They are typically flattened from side to side and decorated with incised patterns, whereas the Muraian objects vary very much in shape and may even, as we have seen, bear a crude resemblance to the animal with which they are associated. It Is interesting, in this respect, to compare a series of Muraian sticks such, for example, as the turtle (Plate IV., Fig. 1) and the turtle (Plate III., Fig. 3); the two Numereji snakes (Plate V., Figs. 2 and 3); the native companion (Plate III., Fig. 2) and the spur-winged plover (Plate VI., Fig. 4); the Bararil fish (Plate III., Fig. 1) and the Jimidauappa fish (Plate V., Fig. 6); and the yams (Plate III., Figs. 5-8). Of the turtles, the first is a fairly good representative of the animal and could not well be mistaken for anything else. The second is more like a trowel than a turtle, but the knowledge that it is really meant for a turtle enables a general fundamental resemblance to be detected. The upper of the two Numereji snakes is decidedly suggestive of the animal with its toothed jaws and banded body. The lower one is decidedly conventionalised both in form and decoration, three series of cross bands being emphasised. There is something In the shape of the Muraian object, representing the native companion, that suggests a bird, flying through the air, with its long beak, head, and neck extended straight in front; its body relatively small, and its legs stretched out behind. On the other hand, there is absolutely nothing to suggest that the forked stick, which represents the spur-winged plover, has anything whatever to do with a bird, beyond the fact that the two prongs may well be remnants of the indication of a long bill. So again the first of the two fishes has a decided suggestion of a fish-like form, but the second has none whatever and is purely conventional, the only indication of any relationship to an animal form being afforded by the two prongs which may represent the jaws, and two spots which certainly are vestiges of eyes. The first of the two yams, whilst conventionalised, does bear some resemblance to a swollen one, attached to a root, but the second is entirely unrecognisable as indicative of either an animal or a plant.

This series is of interest as showing the way in which, amongst these tribes, ceremonial objects have possibly been developed. In the first instance they may well have been designed to represent, with fair accuracy, the salient features of some animal or plant. In a climate such as that of the Northern Territory no wooden object lasts more than a certain time, so that these Muraian objects must have been remade time after time. It is quite possible that, when they were thus remade, the artificer endeavoured to reproduce, not the actual form of the animal or plant, but that of the original sacred object, as he remembered it. It is well known how copies, taken in succession, one after the other, of an original drawing, become so modified in the course of a relatively small series that the last bears no resemblance to the original--it has become completely conventionalised. It is possible that the Muraian objects show us a series that have not as yet become completely conventionalised but are on their way to this, and that, in course of time, had they been left alone, we might have had a series of sacred sticks and stones developed which would have shown no more resemblance to the animals and plants whose names they bear than do the Churinga, of the Arunta. There is, however, one important difference between the Muraian objects and the Churinga. The latter are associated with individual human beings, the former, save in the one case of the original Muraian, who was supposed to have been swimming about in the water in the form of a turtle, are always totemic animals or plants. They are very distinctly of this nature and thus differ markedly from the Churinga with each one of which a human being's spirit part is intimately associated. The Muraian of the Kakadu represent the essence, as it were, of the totemic animal or plant in just the same way in which the Churinga of the Arunta represent the essence of the human totemite, and these two sets of sacred objects indicate development of savage thought along two different lines. The Churinga of the Arunta and the beliefs associated with them are practically a thing of the past, for the tribe is now decimated in numbers and degenerate in habits. The Muraian of the Kakadu will not survive for long.


Burial and Mourning Ceremonies

Melville and Bathurst Islands.--Description of graves.--Decoration and erection of grave posts.--Mourning ceremonies.--Dancing round the fire.--Driving the spirit into the ground.--Description of ceremonies performed at the grave.--Special bark armlets and discs worn and carried by the women.--Colour decorations of men and women.--Kakadu tribe.--Death and burial of a woman.--Morlil ceremony, in part a purification ceremony.--Smoking the dilly bags.--Painting with charcoal.--Second part of the Morlil.--Women wearing armlets called Kundama.--Special names for certain relatives of the dead person.--Barter associated with mourning ceremonies.--Waduman and Mudburra tribes.--Tree burial.--Laglauer ceremony.--Dead person's totem must not be eaten until special ceremony performed.--Larakia tribe.--Tree burial followed by ground burial.--Mungarai tribe.--Tree grave.--Lurkun ceremony.--Bough coffin.--Ceremony on ceremonial ground called Kalal.--Lurkun shown to the women.--Mara tribe.--Eating the flesh of the dead.--Burial of bones in tree grave.--Gathering the bones, skull smashing and burial of them except arm bones.--Lurkun ceremony and final disposal of bough coffin.

IN certain respects the most elaborate mourning ceremonies that I have seen amongst the different tribes were those of the Melville and Bathurst Island natives. They are also interesting because they differ so completely from any on the northern mainland and seem to point to the fact that the island natives have either developed these ceremonies amongst themselves or have derived them from some other people with whom they, but, apparently not the natives of the mainland, have come in contact. It is well known that the natives on these Islands erect grave-posts that are often elaborately decorated with, designs of a nature peculiar to them. So far as I am aware, the mainland tribes have no similar custom, but enough is not known of the northern coastal tribes to speak with certainty. In most respects the Melville and Bathurst people are closely allied to those inhabiting the Coburg Peninsula and the country south of this along the Alligator Rivers, and the existence of these remarkable burial and mourning ceremonies on the two islands is very difficult to understand.

Thanks to the assistance of my friend, Mr. R. J. Cooper, who has for many years past lived on Melville Island, and to the opportunity of visiting the Mission station, recently established on Bathurst Island by the Society of the Sacred Heart, under the management of Father Gsell, I was able to witness and secure records of these quaint and interesting ceremonies. It is due to Mr. Cooper,1 who has great influence with the natives, that white men, during recent years, have been able to visit these islands with impunity and it is not too much to say that his presence on Melville Island has made it possible for the Missioners to found their station on Bathurst Island within sight of his little settlement, across the narrow Apsley Strait that runs between the Islands.

1. Years ago Mr. Cooper, who was speared by the natives, was obliged to leave the Island, like everyone else who, up till that time, had tried to form, a settlement there. The natives are physically very robust and were fierce and very resentful of any white man landing until, some years ago, when Mr. Cooper at length succeeded in establishing himself amongst them.]

In July, 1911, I paid my first visit to Melville Island in company with Dr. Gilruth. On that occasion,2 witnessed, thanks to Mr. Cooper, the erection of gray posts and the mourning ceremonies. These I briefly described but, in March, 1912, on Melville Island, and again, in December of the same year, on Bathurst Island I had a much better opportunity of watching the ceremonies. On the first of these two occasions, that is in March, 1912, it was near the close of the wet season and the natives at the same time performed a special and important yam ceremony, associated with the initiation of the young men. It rained in torrents every day and the damp, muggy climate made anything like satisfactory photographic work, out in the dripping wet scrub, very difficult. In December, the rain season was just setting in, but I was able to secure some good records, both with the ordinary camera and the cinematograph.

1. Bulletin of the Northern Territory, No. 2. April, 1912.]

When any man or woman dies on these Islands and, apparently, whether it be a man or a woman makes no difference, the body is buried in the ground. Tree burial seems to be unknown amongst them. They merely make a grave about four feet deep, clear the ground immediately around it and place sheets of stringy-bark on the top of the low mound of earth that is heaped up (Fig. 50). For some months it is left alone, then they go out into the scrub and cut down trees to make grave posts. The illustrations will serve to show what these are like. Each of them is from nine inches to a foot in diameter and they vary in height from about five to twelve feet. Some of them are merely posts but every grave has a certain number that are more or less rudely shaped. In some cases only a few, perhaps three or foul, are erected during the first mourning ceremony, others are added at intervals, the final number being, apparently, about twelve. Thirteen was the greatest number that I counted, on what was, evidently, an old grave, because the colour decoration had all disappeared and the posts were gradually rotting away, some of them having tumbled down (Fig. 51). The natives told us that, when once they have completed the ceremonies, they took no further trouble with the grave and, from the appearance of the old ones that I saw, there can be no doubt but that this is so.

As you travel across the Islands you come, every now and then, across these strange graves, right out in the lonely scrub, far away from any camp. Sometimes a space has been cleared round them, or they may be made in a small opening amongst the gum trees and the graceful palm-like Cycads, but, as often as not, they are in the thick scrub and bush fires have swept over them.

In the early days the posts were cut down and shaped by means of stone tomahawks; now the work is done with iron hatchets. At every grave there are one or more posts through which a rectangular space has been hollowed out, leaving, on each side, a thin slab which supports the upper part. The latter is often surmounted with a knob, standing on the end of a narrow column, or with a curious double-pronged structure, which may possibly represent a head or two jaws. Almost every grave has one of these pronged posts. On every grave also there are, normally, one or two posts, notably taller than the rest, and on these are placed, in the case of women, bark baskets, that they have used for carrying food and water. They are simply placed, in an inverted position, on the top of the pole and there they are left until, in course of time, they rot away or a bush fire destroys them. The finest graves that I saw were two, placed side by side, in a small opening amongst the trees close to some swamp land in the southern centre of Melville Island (Fig. 51). They were evidently old, because there were only traces of the original colour left on the posts. One had eleven and the other had thirteen posts round it and the space enclosed by each series measured eight feet in length by four in width. The natives who were with us did not show the slightest concern about them, evidently because they were old ones and all the necessary ceremonies had been performed long ago, but, on the other hand, when, later on, we came across a low mound, with no posts erected and just a sheet of stringy-bark laid on it, they immediately set to work and cleared away all the grass and herbage growing close around the grave (Fig. 50).

After the posts have been cut down and fashioned to the desired form, the base of each is, first of all, well charred, and then they are fixed upright in the ground and painted. In the two series that I saw painted, the designs varied very much and anyone who desired to do so was allowed to assist in the painting, even small boys took a hand in it (Plate X). Black, yellow, white and red were the colours used and the decorations consisted of bands, running in wavy or spiral lines down the posts, or of longitudinal bands between which there were oval designs, arranged in rows. down the length of the post. Each man decorating a post, chose his own design, and, while the work was in progress--and it occupied many hours--the men were continually laughing and talking and everyone in the camp, men, women, and children, were gathered round watching the progress of the work. Further details with regard to the designs are given the chapter dealing with Decorative Art.3

1. The first figure of these graves published was the one in my preliminary report, "Bulletin of the Northern Territory," No. 2, 1912. {footnote p. 233} In the journal of the Anthropological Institute, Vol. XLIII, 1913, Dr. Basedow has illustrated some of these posts. The designs in these drawings are typical but the yellow and red colours are much too vivid, more especially the yellow which is always of a somewhat dull ochreous tint. A slight reference to these graves was made by Campbell, Proc. R.G.S. 1826, p. 158. He describes them as being circular in outline with upright poles.]

When the painting was done, all the natives gathered round the posts and began to dance, the mother of the dead man, smeared all over with red ochre, taking a prominent part. When this preliminary dance was over, the posts were lifted out of the ground and carried into the scrub, where they were deposited for a time, about a hundred yards from the grave. A large fire was lighted, giving off great clouds of smoke, and, first of all, on this occasion, two old men, who were tribal fathers of the dead man, went into it so as to singe the hair off their legs and arms. They must do this or else they will be seriously ill. Then all the men ran round and round in the smoke, after which they gathered together and came on rushing towards the grave, yelling and throwing sticks and spears ahead of them. The idea of this was to drive the spirit, called mapuditti, into the grave. The women and children ranged themselves to one side, some of them wearing the curious armlets made of stringy-bark with remarkable projecting decorations, others carrying ornaments like great circular discs, out of which, in most cases, the centres had been cut (Plates VIII and IX). Each of them was made of bands of pliable reed or cane, over which human hair string had been wound. The string was coloured red, yellow, and black, and often had masses of beeswax, into which were stuck bright red Abrus berries, while tassels, ending in knobs of wax, decorated again with Abrus seed, hung down. The larger ones measured as much as fifteen inches in diameter. In general shape they are More like great flattened-out quoits than anything else. During the ceremony, and these armlets are apparently only used in this connection, the women wear them on their arms, for which in almost every case they are much too big. They can only be kept in place by pressing the arms against the side of the body and bending them at the elbow in a very characteristic fashion (Fig. 52). Some of them are large enough to go round a woman's leg. The discs are held in the right hand, which is raised up high when the women dance, during the ceremony.

After the men had come to the grave, they set to work and cleared away all the grass that had grown on and around the mound, and then dug holes for the posts (Fig. 54). This over, they stood quietly to one side while some of them went to where the posts had been deposited and brought them in one by one. The number of posts erected at any one ceremony varies to a large extent; there may be only one, or there may be several. When they were all firmly fixed in the ground, the men ranged themselves in a line close behind the grave, the women and children standing to one side. The men were decorated in various ways. Some of them had their bodies covered with red, others with yellow ochre, some with charcoal, others with lines of red and black or black and yellow. The women during the ceremony on Melville Island, which was concerned with a dead lubra, had the upper halves of their bodies painted red and the lower yellow, the leading one, a comparatively young girl and sister of the dead woman, had, in addition, the whole upper half of her face painted black. Two of the older men looked especially fierce and weird. They had very curly hair, almost frizzly, and had decorated themselves with lines and bands of yellow, red, black, and white, so as to cover not only the whole of their faces, but their hair and beards as well. They were very pleased with themselves and when, after the ceremony was over, I took a rough sketch of one of their heads to use as a colour key to a photograph, the other was most anxious that I should do the same for him. They both took themselves very seriously and evidently thought that they had made a strong impression on us, which, as a matter of fact, was quite true, because they looked about as wild and fearsome as human beings well could.

The performance began with the father dancing round and round the posts with his hands behind his back and his head thrown well back. While he danced he sang:--

Piti wa mi
Ra du du re
Piti wa mi
Ra du du re

ending always with loud shouts of Ia! la! E! E! the last very loud and prolonged. During the whole time of dancing, the men, standing in a long line, were singing and stamping furiously. The stamping is done in time to a very characteristic action which consists in every man striking his buttocks with the open palm of his hand. They become very excited and, far away in the bush, you can hear this peculiar striking sound, because the time they keep is perfect. After a pause, the father came on again, this time dancing right over the grave, in and out amongst the posts. A third time he came on, representing now a crocodile. He crouched down, low on the ground, walking on hands and feet, with his body fully extended. Every now and then he lifted his head, peering about from side to side as if he were looking about for his prey. This continued for some time, his acting being very good indeed and then, jumping to his feet, he was joined by two other men, one covered from head to foot with yellow ochre, the other with black, and then the three, with their hands clasped behind their backs and their heads thrown well back, rushed wildly round and round the grave. After a time they slowed down and then, coming in from one side, the women, led by a young girl, who was sister of the dead woman, took the lead and, very solemnly, danced round the posts. On Bathurst Island, during a similar ceremony, the women stood to one side and, at intervals, while the men were running round, they passed across and back again on the side of the grave opposite to that on which the men were standing. Every woman wears a curious apron (Fig. 55). It is made out of a more or less circular sheet of paper bark folded over to form a semicircular one. The paper bark is very soft and pliable and is always held in place by the elbows, which the women press against their sides, in a very characteristic way. It has not, apparently, struck them that a string, run through the fold and tied round the waist, would save them a good deal of trouble. Some of the women held the quoit-like ornaments in one hand which was lifted up, while the other kept the apron in place. One or two of them carried a picaninny on their shoulders, the little one hanging on to its mother's hair as she pranced across from side to side. I have been quite unable to find out what is the meaning of these discs and armlets., but they are always carried during these ceremonies and are, I believe, only used in connection with them.

For a time, the father, who had been very greatly exerting himself, joined the audience; he was nearly played out and the two men, the black and the yellow, took up the running, rushing round and round, pausing every now and then to face the posts and yell Boo! whrr! whrr! wildly at them. Then they stopped dancing and bent down, pointing at the grave in which the spirit was supposed to be watching them. The women formed into a procession and, with their deliberate movement and peculiar high knee action, danced round and round the audience of men who, as usual, were keeping time, striking their buttocks, stamping and singing. On Melville Island one man, but on Bathurst Island, about a dozen men performed a buffalo dance. They came out to one side of the grave, on to a cleared space and there they imitated, wonderfully well, the actions of the animals. Each man had his arms lifted up and curved round to represent the long horns. They rubbed themselves against the grave posts and trees, just like the animal does; browsed quietly about or pawed the earth up, with their heads down, as if they were angry. Finally, they all grouped themselves together, ran to the grave and circled round and round it. After a rest, the father came on again and, after dancing round furiously, fell down flat on the ground, beside the posts. Four other men came up with short spears and, after peering about from side to side, in a stealthy way, crept up quietly to where the old man was supposed to be asleep and, suddenly, speared him through the chest. He writhed about on the ground while all the men and women danced round. This of course was supposed to represent the killing of a native by enemies who had crept on him unawares, while he slept. Another very weird dance was supposed to represent a fight. All the men came to the side of the grave opposite to that on which they had been standing. Then they began prancing about in the most extraordinary fashion, men on the left side would suddenly rush across sideways to the right and vice versâ. Every now and again a man would jump up in the air as high as he could (Fig. 56). Even one of the older men would spring from the ground until his loins were on the level of the shoulders or sometimes the heads of the men amongst whom he was standing. This over they returned to their first position. After a short pause the father, together with the men painted black and yellow, respectively, danced round and round, gesticulating wildly and yelling loudly, while time after time they threw small spears into the side of the grave. Once more the lubras joined in and then the yellow-ochred man performed a prolonged dance with frenzied movements, stamping and yelling and raising the dust, while he pounded round and round, urged on by the yelling and stamping of the excited natives who were keenly watching him, until, thoroughly played out, he fell down on one side of the grave. Even then the dance was taken up by three others, two rushing round one way and one the other. It was now late in the afternoon; the sun was low and the shafts of light that pierced the scrub threw long shadows from the gum trees and Cycads on the group of weird figures dancing wildly in the luminous dust. It was in vain that I tried to secure some records of the scene but, under the shade of the scrub and gum trees and in the yellow light of a tropical evening, my camera was useless.

The sun was setting, but on and on they danced. All that we could make out of the singing were refrains such as these,

Yu, Yu, la, We, Ya,
Wi, A, We, A; A, We, A,
Ia, Ia, Ia, with a final prolonged E!!!

At length the performance came to an end. All the men took part in a final wild dance round the grave, the women moving slowly round and round on the outside until, suddenly, the men bent down, yelled at the mound with all their might, and ceased dancing (Fig. 53). For a few minutes there was silence, the men gathered round the grave-posts, leaned against them and over the mound, and then, in single file, passed away through the darkening forest.

At a later time, I saw the same ceremonies on Bathurst island and was able to use, more or less successfully, the ordinary camera and the cinematograph, but, though a considerably larger number of natives took part, there was nothing quite so picturesque as the first ceremony that I saw on Melville Island.

Apart from the short final scene, when they were clearly supposed to be mourning, there was certainly not the slightest indication of sorrow. Everyone was very excited, but, between the dances, they laughed and talked as if they were taking part in an ordinary corrobboree, and it is evident that the whole ceremony is carried out with the object of pleasing the spirit of the dead person and also, at the same time, of intimating to it the fact that they expect it to remain quiet and not trouble them.

In the Kakadu tribe, while I was working amongst the natives at Oenpelli with Mr. Cahill, a woman named Muranga died in the camp. Early in the morning we went down to see what was happening. The camp was under the shade of a Banyan tree and the body, wrapped in paper bark, lay to one side, men, women, and children sitting and standing around, looking very solemn and only speaking, when they had to do so, In whispers. The husband of the dead woman was seated with her head on his knee, while her two sons, one grown up called Wariut and the other a young man named Mungortja, sat at her feet where, also, close by, was the wife of her son Wariut, named Minborku. The body had been wrapped in paper bark by the husband, husband's brother, and eldest son, but not the younger one, who was not allowed to touch it.

Two men, named Majeralak and Wudeirti, neither of whom was closely related to the dead woman, lifted it from the ground and carried it away on their shoulder, through the scrub while we all, men, women, and children, followed in single file (Fig. 57). There is no obligation for any special men to carry the body and, if it has to be carried a long distance, any member of the local group may take his share in the work. After walking about a mile we came to a large rock by the side of which they laid the body down. This spot had been selected by the husband for the grave and, when we reached it, all the women and children and most of the men retired to one side and sat down. Three or four men set to work to dig, but after some time they came down on to bed rock and so a new grave had to be dug a yard or two away. This time they were successful and a trench, about four and a half feet long and two and a half wide and three deep, was dug with the aid of sticks and hands. There are no special individuals who are supposed to take part in the digging, any grown man is allowed to help. The grave itself is called Keramu.

When the exact site had been selected and before digging actually began, the women and children were summoned and came up, led by one of the older women named Kumbainba. She carried in her hand a shell that the natives commonly use for holding water or ochre, but, on this occasion, it held a few small stones which she jingled about as the women and children followed her in single file round the grave. This walking round is called Kulorbuto. As they walked round they sang the following words, which were supposed to be addressed to the spirit of the dead woman:--

Tjukororu, lie down; koyada, don't, ngeinyimma, you, workai, come back; tjukororu, lie down; kala, a word meaning all right, just so, etc.; bialilla, children; unkoregora, see; iwaiyu, spirit; balera, later on; kujeri, sick. That is, "You lie down quietly, do not come back, lie down all right--if the children see your spirit, later on they will be sick."

When the grave was approaching completion, three women, one of whom was the daughter-in-law, Minborku, went into the scrub and gathered armfuls of grass stalks and leafy twigs and, returning, placed them by the grave. When the trench was ready the husband, her two sons, and Minborku sat by the side of the body, which was still wrapped in paper bark, and cut their heads till the blood flowed down their faces on to their bodies. Three of the husband's brothers, named Mirriu, Mitjunga, and Kamerana, unwrapped the paper bark from around the body. Kamerana went down into the grave, arranged a thick layer of grass stalks and leaves, and trampled them down. The body was laid on the ground, face downwards, with the legs bent back at the knees. Then it was placed in the grave, lying on its right side, and a thick covering of grass stalks and leaves was placed above it. After this the soil was piled over it so as to form a small mound on which stones were firmly placed to prevent the dingoes from burrowing down in the loosened ground (Fig. 58). While this was going on and after it was over, everyone wailed and cut themselves freely--men and women alike-until the blood flowed.

Some of the blood from the husband and his two sons was collected in a small piece of the paper bark in which the body had been wrapped and, folding the remainder of the bark round the belongings of the dead woman, such as dilly bags, mat on which she lay and digging stick, which had been brought to the grave, brought the parcel back to camp and placed it in the Banyan tree close to the spot on which the woman had died.

All men who take part in the burial ceremony and cut their heads on the occasion, must, a little later on, take part in what is called the Morlil ceremony. Not only Is this the case in regard to the particular camp to which the dead person belonged, but, often in other camps, when they hear of the death of any special person, they will cut themselves and then, at a later time, will also perform the Morlil. The ceremony is really divided into two distinct parts. In the one that I saw, the woman died on July 1st; the first part of the Morlil was held on July 4th, and the second part on July 22nd.

It is a very interesting one and is, in part at least, of the nature of a purification ceremony. In connection with the first part everyone in camp brings up all of his or her possessions; the women bring their mats (nini-bura-bara), baskets (mangul), dilly bags (quiappa), and digging sticks (worbai); the men bring their spears, spear-throwers and tomahawks, though now-a-days, even amongst the Kakadu, the old stone axe is practically a thing of the past. In the centre of the camping ground, where the woman died, a circle of grass stalks was made about eight feet in diameter. Around this, the dilly bags and baskets of all the women in the camp were hung on sticks, or on tree trunks, close by; the men's weapons were arranged on the ground. Within the circle of stalks were placed, first the bundle of paper bark, or ranken (Fig. 59), in which the dead woman had been wrapped and carried to the grave, secondly, her belongings, mat, dilly bags, digging stick, baskets, thirdly, two or three palm-leaf baskets full of water, and, fourthly, a similar basketful of charcoal that must be made from a special pea-bush. The ordinary name for charcoal is kunbelji, but that used during the ceremony is miornai.

First of all, on one side of the ground, a special fire was made and the dilly bags of the eldest surviving sister were placed close to it, so that the smoke from the fire passed over and through them. The bags were thus purified and could be used again to hold food. The latter must not be placed in them, after the woman's death, until such time as they have been thus smoked. If this were not done and anyone should eat food carried in them, the result would be serious illness and very likely death to anyone who ate food that had been carried in them. After this, the grass stalks were lighted and the men who were to paint themselves went inside the circle and, while the smoke curled round them, they lifted up the baskets containing water and poured this over one another's heads (Fig. 60). At this particular ceremony the pouring of water was continued even after the fire had burned down and only a ring of ashes was left. The paper bark in which the body had been wrapped and all the dead woman's belongings were burnt in the fire, and afterwards the ashes were completely and very carefully covered over. In the case of a man his weapons are broken up and then burnt in the same way.4 In most tribes all the belongings of a dead person are the property of some special individual, such as a mother's brother, but here they are all destroyed.

1. The Kakadu have a word, ardi, which means the total personal belongings of any individual.]

After the water pouring is finished, the men take the charcoal or miornai, and rub themselves all over with it (Fig. 61). No woman paints at this part of the ceremony but all the men must, or else the spirit of the deaf person would be angry and they would become ill. Only black must be used. The women bring in numbers of little cakes, called munduaii, made out of lily seeds. These were eaten by the older men only, the Umulakiri, or younger men, are not allowed to eat them.

The second part of the Morlil is concerned mainly with the women. As before, everyone is supposed to bring all of his belongings into camp. The women's are placed on one spot, the men's on another, but nothing is done with them, and after the ceremony everyone simply takes away his own things. The description given to us of the ceremony before it was enacted was very brief but very accurate. It was as follows: Ngaia (1), nunborgi (sorry), wariji (dead or underneath), ngaia (I), wariji (cry), murora (old woman), wunmali (mud), gibu widjeru (all over), korto (arm), kundama (bracelets), ikiti okita (other or each side), geraiwin (young lubras), bialilla (children), kutjeri (red ochre). This meant that all were very sorry, that the older women would paint themselves all over with yellow ochre or mud and wear the special form of bracelet, called Kundama, on both arms, and that the younger women and girls would paint themselves with red ochre.

This was exactly what happened. The natives assembled under the shade of a clump of trees, this time away from the camp at which the death had taken place. The women were grouped together in one spot, the older ones coated with mud or yellow ochre. Each one wore two or more of the heavy armlets called Kundama (Fig. 62) These are made of a circlet of pliable cane twisted round with a coarse string made from the fibres of the bark of Banyan tree, the native name for which is Mukinoborbu. They are never coloured or decorated in any way, and, in this respect, differ markedly from the elaborate mourning bracelets of the natives on Melville and Bathurst Islands.

The women had brought in large supplies of lily-seed cakes, which were eaten by the older men, who were standing and sitting around. Nothing special was said or done, but everyone was very quiet. Narriyut, the eldest son of the dead woman, said to another man, named Bandiki--who was his tribal brother, and hence a tribal son of the dead woman--"Ngeinyimma (you), niorki (white), kala (all right), ngeinyimma onje koiyu (you another mother), ngaia miorni (I black), koiyu widjeru (proper, or very, mother)." That is, Bandiki could paint himself with white at this ceremony, but Narriyut and his younger brother, being own sons of the dead woman, continued to paint themselves in black. Another man, named Romula, who had been absent from the camp when the first ceremony was performed, also painted himself black. The men who have previously painted themselves black at the first ceremony are supposed to paint themselves white at this ceremony, except in the case of close blood relatives who, as above-mentioned, will continue to use black. The latter is practically the same as deep mourning, and the white half mourning.

As amongst other tribes, when anyone dies their name not mentioned and they are referred to, if there be any necessity for doing so, as "the old man" or "the old woman." If anyone, by chance, should mention a name they say, "monowei, koyada tjikaru narama"--"dead, do not say his name"; "ameina, mornda japul"--"why do you do that? It is bad talk." If a lubra mentions it, any son or brother of the dead man may strike her. At the first ceremony of Morlil, nothing but black may be used, but at the second, some individuals paint themselves black, others white.

During the course of the ceremonies, and until the period of mourning is over, certain relatives are called by special ceremonial names:--

The sons of the dead person are called Numulaiju.

The brothers of the dead person are called Noudbukara.

The husband's brothers, or husband, are called Nunkudumuramuran.

The sisters of the dead person are called Inudbukara.

The wife of the dead person is called Inkudumuramuran.

If, for example, anyone wishes to call out to Narriyut, a son of the dead woman, to come and get food, instead of saying, as he would under ordinary circumstances, "Narriyut preya jamo," he says, "Numulaiju preya jamo."

The third of the mourning ceremonies in the Kakadu tribe is known by the name of Kuderi and is carried out after the first rain season succeeding the last Morlil ceremony.

Everyone in camp brings all his ardi--personal belongings--to the ceremonial ground. Once again, everything belonging to the women is placed at one spot and everything belonging to the men at another. The women bring in supplies of sugar-bag, lily cakes, and yams and these are placed on two or three mats. All present sit down, wail, and work themselves up into a state of great excitement, the old women hammering themselves with sticks. The women also wear the ceremonial armlets called Kundama. Everyone is painted with red ochre and gradually they work themselves up into a state of great excitement and anger. The men ask each other who "stole his korno?" That is, who killed him by evil magic. The question is repeated time after time. After this has gone on for some time the women and children return to their camp, taking their belongings with them. The men above the status of Numulakiri, eat the food provided by the women. Their spears, supposing there are a good number in camp, are brought up and arranged in bundles on the ground, in just the same way in which the grass stalks are at the first Morlil ceremony, that is, they are roughly in the form of a circle.

In some curious way this ceremony has become associated with a system of barter. What is the connection between the two it is difficult to understand, and, of course, the natives have no idea of it. Each man then states what he wishes to secure in return for his weapons. Nothing more is done that day, but, next morning, messengers start off carrying the spears to a distant camp; the Kakadu people send theirs to the Umoriu people, for example. If there should happen to be any men from this distant camp visiting the Kakadu, they will carry the spears back with them to their own country, but, otherwise, special messengers will be sent. Arrived in the strange camp, where the meaning of their coming is well understood, the spears are placed on the ground in bundles, each one containing those belonging to one individual, and the visitors are asked what they want in exchange for them. There appears to be a regular, well-recognised, tariff, and, if the bartering takes place, the goods that are being exchanged for the spears are placed opposite to their respective bundles. When the business is over the men gather the different articles together, return to the home camp, and distribute what they have brought back amongst the owners of the spears. In due time many of the articles will again be bartered for spears. It is by means of this system that the natives in one part of the country, who are especially skilled in the making of one implement, such as spears, receive others that they, perhaps, do not make themselves, owing, it may be, to lack of suitable material.

In the case of a young child the mother carries the bones about with her in a dilly bag. In Fig. 63 are represented the total contents of the small bag represented in Plate XXIV., Fig. 4. I found it in possession of a woman of the Kakadu tribe who was camped by the side of a lagoon at Oenpelli near the East Alligator River. The child was evidently very young, and some of the skull bones, all of which were disarticulated, were missing. The upper jaw was missing and all the facial region. The lower jaw has the two median incisors, no others have cut the jaw as yet. The two femora were present, measuring four and a-half inches in length. Two shoulder blades, humeri, radii, ulnas, tibias, and fibulas are present, as well as a broken fragment of the pelvis, parts of the vertical column, and eighteen ribs.

A few locks of the child's hair were wrapped in a little piece of cloth.

The other contents of the bag, which contained all the woman's belongings except her digging stick and mat, were (1) a small mass of her own hair which had been cut off preparatory to being made into string, (2) two pairs of fire sticks, (3) two kangaroo incisor teeth in wax, (4) two loose kangaroo incisors, (5) a small Jump of red ochre, (6) a small stone, evidently used for pounding, (7) a bone awl (?), (8) one valve of a fresh-water mussel) used for cutting and scraping.

Whether the flesh of the child had been eaten or not I could not find out, but it is very probable that such was the case. I did not know when securing the bag that there were any bones inside it, and the woman parted with it readily for half a stick of tobacco--without any hesitancy.

In the Waduman tribe when a man dies the relatives, called Kadujgo (fathers) and Kamomo (mother's brothers), carry the body out into the bush and place it on a platform of boughs built in a tree. This tree grave is called Balbalba. As usual, all men and women in camp are wailing, and those whose duty it is to do so are cutting themselves. At a later period, when all the flesh has disappeared from the bones (wune), the Kamomo men, usually four in number, go to the tree, wrap the bones in paper bark, and carry them to a special camp called Laglauer, the usual name for a camp being Ludma. The lubras, meanwhile, have been out in the bush collecting food, which is brought in and placed in the middle of the camp. The four Kamomo men place the parcel of bones by the side of the food and retire a little to one side, while all the others in camp sit round and cry. After a short time they paint themselves, and when this is over the women go to the food and hand it to the men. Everyone on the ground eats some of it. There are certain women who do not come to the special Laglauer ground, but stay in their own camp; amongst these, in the case of a dead man, are the Ingauiu (wives and brothers' wives) and Idukal (wives' mothers). Nothing apparently is done to the bones, which, after the usual crying has taken place, are taken back to the tree and left there finally.

A curious feature associated with the mourning ceremonies in the Waduman and also the Mudburra tribe, which adjoins it, is that, after the death of any individual, his totemic animal or plant may not be eaten until after the performance of a little ceremony that takes place three or four weeks after the final placing of the bones in the tree grave. When this is performed one or two old Kadugo (fathers, father's brothers) and Nababa (father's fathers) go out into the bush and secure some of the totemic animal or plant of the dead man. If he were a flying fox man (gambin), for example, they capture some flying foxes. The members of the tribe have, meanwhile, gathered together at the Laglauer camp, to which also a supply of food has been brought by the women. A fire is made in the centre of the camp and the men bring the flying foxes in and place them on it. The Ingauiu (wives and brothers' wives) come up to the fire and, after calling out Yakai! Yakai! put their heads in the smoke arising from the fire, while the foxes are being cooked. An old Kadugo man hits them lightly on the head and then holds out his hand for them to bite a finger, which releases them from the ban of silence under which they have been since the death. When this is over they go back and sit amongst the other women. The same man then gives the cooked foxes to the Kamomo (mother's brothers), Pukali (mother's younger brothers' sons) and Tjuga (sisters' sons) and tells them that they may eat it. After this everyone is free to eat it and the yams, lily cakes, and other food, brought in by the women, are eaten by the men.

The dead man's belongings, collectively called kaning--spears, spear-throwers, knives, etc.--become the property of the Kamomo (mother's brothers), that is, they pass to the mothers' side of the tribe.

When a child dies in the Larakia tribe. the mother carries the bones about for a long time and then place's them in a hollow bough of a tree, so that wild dogs cannot touch them. Later on the bones are buried in the ground.

The bodies of men and women are first of all placed on platforms in trees. These tree graves are called maird-burrima. At a later time, when no flesh is left on the bones, the latter are wrapped in paper bark and buried in the ground. Stones are placed round the grave. . The stones are called lamilla, and the hole in the ground kau-ukwa. The Larakia, however, are now, and have been for many years, so hopelessly decadent that it would be unsafe to depend upon information gained during recent years with regard to their customs) except in general outline.

In the Mungarai tribe the body of a dead person is placed on a bough platform in a tree, this tree grave being called nadiri. When only the bones are left the mother's brothers (ngagung) and their sons (namminjerri) go to the tree. First of all they take some of the long bones of the arm and wrap them up in paper bark. These they give to the mother, who keeps them for some time, perhaps for four moons. She then hands the packet back to her brother, who makes arrangements for the final Lurkun (or Lurgun) ceremony. Lurkun is the name of the bough coffin in which the bones are finally placed, and the same name is given to the ceremony itself. The coffin is simply a section of the bough of a gum tree that has been hollowed out by white ants. It is prepared, and the bones are placed inside it by the ngagung (mother's brother).

A special ceremonial ground, called Kalal, is made in the form of a ring. Here the men, who have decorated themselves, assemble, no lubra being allowed to come anywhere near. This takes place late in the afternoon, and two men are despatched to the lubras' camp to procure food supplies that they have collected. The food is distributed on the ceremonial ground, and then all the men perform totemic ceremonies accompanied by the clanging of boomerangs. The lurkun is decorated with a design of the man's own totem; for example, if he be a lizard man, a lizard drawing will be made, and, also, the ceremonies performed are those belonging to the totemic groups of his own sub-class and the one associated with it. if the dead man were a Ngaritjbellan, then the ceremonies will be those associated with totemic groups of this and the Ngapungari sub-classes.

A fire is lighted on the Kalal by a man of the same totem as the dead man, and he also takes two sticks from the fire and strokes the Lurkun with them. All the men then rise to their feet and sing out Yo! Yo! Yo! Yo! After this the coffin is removed from the ground and carried round by several men, who cry Ma yai; Ma yai ending with a final prolonged Srr! This is late in the evening, and the Lurkun is once more placed on the ground, where it remains all night long, the men sitting round it striking boomerangs incessantly. In the early morning it is lifted up and placed on the head of a namminjerri man, who carries it thus at the head of a long procession of the men, walking in single file, towards the lubras' camp. Everyone cries out, Oh! Oh! ss yai! ss yai! Oh! Oh! Sr yai! and each man holds a boomerang between his arms, behind his back.

A hole has been made in the ground in the middle of the lubras' camp, and the Lurkun is placed upright in this, the men retiring to one side and sitting down, about fifty yards away. The lubras weep and wail for some time and then walk away, leaving the Lurkun in the hole, from which it is taken by the namminjerri. This completes the ceremony, and, when it is over, the Lurkun is placed in a hole in the rocks in some secluded spot, the locality of which is known only to the older men.

As Mr. Gillen and myself have already described,5 eating the body of the dead is often practised amongst the coastal tribes on the Gulf of Carpentaria. As can be imagined, it is a subject on which the natives are very reticent; in fact, unless you know them fairly well, they will, when questioned on the matter, either know nothing whatever about it or deny the existence of the practice in their own tribe, whilst admitting, at the same time, that it does exist amongst others.

1. Northern Tribes of Central Australia, p. 546.]

The following is an outline of what takes place in the Mara tribe, and my informant, a Mara man, who had considerable knowledge of other tribes, said that the same custom was practised also in the Yungman, Nullakun, Mungari, Kallaua, Binbinga, and Willingura tribes.

If a young man or woman, in fact any except the really old, dies, the body is first of all wrapped in paper bark by a namminjerri man and is left thus until the morning, when a big fire is made in a hole in the ground, and stones are heated on it. The hair is first of all cut off and burnt, none of it being kept. Paper bark is put on the stories, then the body and then another layer of bark, and the hole filled in. The cooking is always done out in the bush, far away from the main camp. All the preparations must be made by the namminjerri men, and while they are in progress the other men sit round and watch. The lubras, though not tar away, are not allowed actually to see, though they know, what is being done. When the body is sufficiently cooked, the namminjerri take it out and place it on fresh sheets of bark. It is then cut up by the same, men (mother's brothers' sons.)

Everything is regulated by custom thus:--

A Mumbali is eaten by Kuial and Murungun men and women.

A Kuial is eaten by Mumbali and Purdal men and women.

A Murungun is eaten by Mumbali and Purdal men and women.

A Purdal is eaten by Kuial and Murungun men and women.

If, for example, a Mumbali dies, a Kuial man (who is a mother's brother of the dead person) tells the Kuial and Murungun women to go to the cooking ground.

My informant told me that everything, including the intestines, was eaten, and it is evident that the practice does not appear to them to be in the least degree revolting. I have never come across any tribe in which cannibalism pure and simple, that is, killing human beings for the purpose of eating them, is practised, but amongst the above-mentioned and doubtless many other northern tribes, almost every individual, whether death be the result of natural causes or due to violence, is eaten.

When the feast, which the participants certainly enjoy, is over, the bones are carefully collected, wrapped in paper bark, and placed on a tree platform called kallakalla.6 If, for example, a Mumbali man dies, then Murungun men actually put them on the platform, while Kuial or Purdal men, his mother's brothers, stand below. As soon as anyone dies, the camps are immediately shifted, because the spirit, of whom they are frightened, haunts its old camping ground. The spirit part of a living man is called jalkarra, and of a dead man padinia. For a long time after death the padinia roams about watching whether the mourning ceremonies are properly carried out. When all has been done properly, then it goes back to what is called its Waidba, that is, its original home in the far past times.

1. in the Nullakun tribe this is called Mungalla, and in the Allaua Allagalla.]

The bones are left in the tree for some time, but after perhaps three or four months the father of the dead person says to the men who placed the bones on the platform, "You go and see, the bones are all clean now." The two Murungun men, if the bones be those of a Mumbali, climb up, open the paper bark parcel, and rake the bones out on to sheets of bark on the ground where the Kuial or Purdal men are standing. All the bones are pulled apart, the skull is smashed into fragments, and everything is buried except the long bones of the arms. Then all the men in camp come up and the tree is burnt. The arm-bones are wrapped in bark, and are carried by the namminjerri men to where the lubras are sitting down wailing, and are handed over to the mother, who sits with them across her legs. The wailing is kept up all night long. Next day the women grind up lily seeds and make a large cake with them. The mother's brother secures sugar-bag and, late on in the afternoon, the men and women sit down together, the men having meanwhile painted themselves. Food is distributed, and the women continue wailing. After this the mother may keep the bones for as long as two or three years.

The ngagung (mother's brother) decides when to hold the final ceremony. He takes the bones from the mother and carries the parcel to the men's camp, where the namminjerri have made ready a log coffin decorated with a design of the man's totem. All the day is occupied with singing and decorating. At sundown the father and mother's brother go to the lubra's camp and carry back to the ceremonial ground the supply of lily roots and cakes that the lubras have prepared, and after the men have eaten, the ceremonies begin.

The coffin, or Lurkun, both ends of which are closed with paper bark, is placed upright in the ground. The father comes up with two firesticks, one in each hand, and rubs the coffin all round. Then everyone dances and yells, Yo! Yo! Yo! While they dance they all carry firesticks, lifting their hands up and down. One after the other the men all rub the coffin. Some sit down. but others go on dancing for a long time. Finally, they all sit down and singing continues all night. At sunrise they get up and, with the namminjerri carrying the coffin in the lead, they walk in single file to a camp made by the lubras. This camp is roughly circular in outline, and has a raised margin with an opening left at one place, through which the procession passes. A hole has been dug in the centre, and close by this sit the mothers and sisters of the dead man, the other lubras being arranged in a circle round them. The namminjerri comes up to the hole, places the Lurkun upright in it, and then the men file out and sit down about fifty yards away. The men take away and eat the cakes of lily seed that the women have made during the night. The lubras, after weeping and wailing for some time, rise to their feet and leave the Lurkun, which is never actually touched by them. After they have gone right away, the namminjerri once more takes the Lurkun, and the men return to their own camp. The coffin is hidden, sometimes it is placed by the namminjerri in a hole ill the rocks on the hillside; at others it is placed in the boughs of a tree, overhanging some lily pool, until such time as it is washed away by a flood.


Magic and Medicine

Kakadu tribe.--Tjilaiyu ceremony.--Evil magic by means of burning korno or excrement.--Capturing the yalmuru of the victim.--Evil magic by means of securing a fragment of the victim's food.--Eating pounded ant-hill as cure for disease.--Evil magic by means of mud scraped from the victim's foot.--Magic ceremony to strengthen a boy.

IN the Kakadu tribe there is a very curious form of magic, the ceremony connected with which is called Tjilaiyu. It is concerned with injuring a person by means of dealing in a very special way with some of his excrement or korno. Because of this, everyone is most careful to cover over and hide from view all excrementa, one result of which is that Kakadu camps are more cleanly than those of many other tribes. It is not, however, a difficult matter for a man who wishes to injure an enemy to secure some korno. A medicine man, for example, will find out where it is buried and then, when no one is watching, he will go to the place and rake a little into a piece of bark with a stick, because it must not be touched. There are always at least three men who take part in the ceremony. The man who has secured the korno hands it, in the bark, to one of the others, who ties it round with string. It is then taken away from the camp out into the bush to a quiet spot where no one is likely to come. The performers have previously provided them. selves with a supply of wax, both beeswax and a kind of resin, called kapei, derived from the root of the iron-wood tree. They make five little spherical balls, one of kapei and four of beeswax. The first named is about three inches in diameter, the others one inch. These are called jungana. They are all hollow, or, rather, each has a hole pressed into it by the thumb. A pit is dug in the ground about two feet in diameter. It is called narul, and is just the same as the one made for an ordinary earth oven or peindi. A fire is lighted in it and this must be made on the spot by rubbing one stick on another. The red-hot tinder must also be wafted about on paper bark until it bursts into a blaze; it must not be blown by the mouth. The fire itself, when once it has been lighted, must be fanned by a lubra holding a norkun, or goose wing, in her left hand. The stones are then placed on the fire. Before this, however, the korno has been finely ground up and put in the wax spheres, which are then closed over and placed to one side of the hole. A shallow trench called ye-eini is made, about twelve feet long, with the soil heaped up on each side. It is broadest at the end where the pit has been dug and tapers away to the other end. The performers squat down at one side of the fire, the men in a line, one behind the other, the woman slightly to one side (Fig. 64). The general arrangement can be seen in Plate XI.

When the fire is hot enough the real performance begins. The men bend forwards, each of them with his hands between his legs, the woman does the same because the spirit must not, on any account, see their private parts. If it were to do so they would swell enormously. The stones are removed from the fire and, first of all, the feathers are knocked into the latter, one by one, the natives saying "keep quiet, keep quiet," the idea being that the birds they represent will thereby be persuaded not to give notice to the victim that any danger such as a snake or crocodile threatens him. Then the men sway about, looking as fierce as they possibly can, while they place the wax spheres in the piendi, the kapei below the smaller ones. Away in the distance they can hear the spirit cursing and swearing, saying mulyarinyu koiyu1 and using other opprobrious expressions. The men say nerk, nerk, nerk, and beckon it onwards. It is under a spell and comes on cursing more and more loudly. When it is near, the natives crouch down silently, the front man ready for action. On it comes like a whirlwind, rushes along the trench, scraping against the sharp Pandanus leaves. Suddenly, when it reaches the brink of the peindi, the front man knocks the stick representing it into the fire on the top of the korno. All of them shout, Ah, Ah, Ah; Ach, Ach, Brng, Brng! at the top of their voices. Without a moment's pause, stones and earth are piled on the Yalmuru, one special large stone being placed on top, the men pressing down hard with all their might to keep it in. The spirit underneath can be heard sizzling and swearing (Fig. 65). It tries to lift the stone but cannot. At length it is heard to say Grr, Grr, u-u. Then it is quiet and all is over. The Pandanus leaves are rubbed against the top stone, while the names of different snakes, Ngabadaua, Yidaburabara and Numberanerji, are hissed out. One or other of them are supposed to be sure to bite the victim before long. Finally a log of wood that is supposed to represent a crocodile, which it is hoped will seize him some day when he is bathing, is placed on top and then, when the performers have smeared their bodies over with burnt cork-wood and grass, the ceremony is at an end, and they go back to camp. Anyone coming across the remains of the trench, and seeing the stones and log piled up above the small mound, knows that evil magic has been performed. It is supposed that, by the capture of the Yalmuru, the man is left without his protector. If, for example, he be out in the bush, there will be no spirit to warn him of approaching danger, or guide him to where he can secure his food.

1. This is one of various opprobrious epithets and expressions used by men when angry and excited. This particular one consists in cursing their mother; others are still more opprobrious and objectionable. Such expressions are met with in all the tribes.]

Another form of practising evil magic amongst the Kakadu consists in a man who desires to injure an enemy securing some fragment of food that the latter has been eating. First of all he ties it up in paper bark and takes it away, unknown to anyone else, to his own camp where he pounds it up and sings over it, thereby projecting evil magic into it. Then he ties it up again and takes it to an ant hill, at the base of which he makes a small hole, pushes the food inside, and closes the hole so that it cannot be seen. This form of magic is supposed to be very effective and to act rapidly. Within three days the man becomes very hot, continually cries out for water and soon dies.

It is curious to note that, conversely, pounded ant hill, called Mupulangu, is eaten as a cure for certain diseases such as fevers. While, one day, we were in the Kakadu camp, we came across a woman named Minborku, who was in the act of eating some. She was evidently suffering from a mild attack of malarial fever and had perfect faith in the efficacy of the remedy.

Still another form of evil magic is associated with the mud that attaches itself to the foot of a native walking through a swamp. When he comes on to dry ground he naturally scrapes the mud off, generally using something such as a piece of paper bark to do so. if another man, who wishes to injure him, comes across his tracks, he gathers up some of the mud or paper bark to which it is attached. He wraps it in some more paper bark and ties it round with string. In his camp, when it is quite dry, he pounds it up until he can roll it into a ball and then, as in the previous case, places it in a hole that be makes n the base of an ant hill. By and by the victim's foot breaks out into sores which gradually spread all over it. The toes drop off, and the hands and feet decay. No medicine man can do anything to counteract this form of magic. It is a disease which is every now and then met with amongst the Kakadu natives and is, superficially at least, suggestive of leprosy. There was, at the time of my visit, one woman in the camp who was suffering from it, and Mr. Cahill told me that he had seen many cases.

In the Kakadu tribe there is also a magical ceremony, the object of which is to strengthen a boy who happens to be weakly and undergrown. His father, father's brother, or his elder brother, secures a little of the korno or excrement of some strong man. The performers, who always include the boy and his father and a young mature woman who has not as yet borne a child, go to some quiet spot in the scrub where they are well out of sight of the camp. Here a fire is lighted in a hole dug in the ground. This fire must be made on the spot by means of Ingornu or drilling fire-sticks. The korno Is finely pounded up and placed in a little sphere of kapei, that is, resin derived from the root of the Iron-wood tree. Enclosed in the wax the korno is then placed on the fire. The fire while being made must be fanned by a norkun or goosewing held by the woman in he, left hand. The boy sits down close behind his father, whom he clasps round the waist, looking over his father's shoulder at the fire. The woman sits to one side. The fire is covered over while the korno is burnt and the father hits the boy with a little bundle of paper bark called Yailla, saying as he does so, Phu, Phu, jereini kumerawardua; then he rubs his son, saying as he does so, Ngoornberi kumerawardua, after which he strikes him on the shoulder, saying, Phu, phu, umberabadua jereini, grow tall man; finally, he hits him very hard, saying, pierda nugorto, strong arm; balera yinyimma jereini pierda, by and by you strong man. When all is over the burnt korno is taken out, and together with the norkun is placed, as the natives say, Iwaji jiboulu, that is, inside a hollow tree and left there. The man whose korno has been used is supposed to part with his strength to the boy and to die.


Beliefs in Regard to the Origin of Children

Belief in reincarnation and spirit children entering women prevalent over great part of Australia.--Distribution of this belief.--Arunta belief.--Port Essington tribe.--Mungarai tribe.--Traditions of ancestors.--Spirit children in trees, etc.--They only enter the eight lubras.--Yungman tribe.--Nullakun tribe.--Sexes changing at successive reincarnations.--Waduman and Mudburra tribes.--Tradition of Idakulgwan, Imumdadul, and Ibangalma.--Distribution by them of spirit children.--Kakadu beliefs. -Yalmura and Iwaiyu.--Spirit entering animal or plant in form of a small frog.--That animal or plant becomes its totem. Spirit child entering the mother.--Account given by Ungara, a Kakadu native.--The old Yalmuru disappears and the Iwaiyu becomes the new Yalmuru.

ONE of the most striking features of the native tribes in Central and Northern Australia, whose customs were investigated by the late Mr. Gillen and myself, is their universal belief that children enter women in the form of minute spirits, the representatives of formerly existing men and women, who are thus reincarnated. This belief in reincarnation, and in procreation not being actually the result of sexual intercourse, has now been shown to be prevalent over the whole of the Central and Northern part of the continent--that is, over an area four and a half times the size of Great Britain-amongst many Queensland tribes and in a large part of West Australia. It is now too late to secure reliable information, in regard to matters such as this, from any part of Australia where the natives have been at all closely in contact with whites, but, though the belief was first described in connection with the Arunta tribe, it has now been shown to be widely prevalent over the continent, and I have little doubt but that at one time it was universally held amongst Australian tribes. From my own personal experience I know that it is, or was, held by the Urabunna tribe inhabiting the country on the West and North-west of Lake Eyre; by the Arunta that extends to the north of the Urabunna up to and beyond the Macdonnell Ranges; by the Kaitish and Unmatjera tribes whose territory extends beyond Barrow Creek; by the Warramunga tribe inhabiting country northwards to and beyond Tennant's Creek; by the large Worgai tribe out to the east of the latter, towards the Queensland border; by the Tjingilli tribe, whose country centres in Powell Creek; by the Umbaia, Nganji, Binbinga, Mara, Anula, Mungarai, Nullakun, and other tribes extending eastwards from the telegraph line to the Gulf of Carpentaria and occupying the vast area drained by the Roper, Macarthur, Limmen, Wickham, and other rivers; by the Djauan and Yungman tribes, north of the Tjingilli; by the Waduman, Mudburra and other tribes along the Victoria and Daly rivers running westwards; by the Kakadu, Iwaidja, and allied tribes inhabiting the northern littoral, and by the natives on Bathurst and Melville Islands.

The traditions in regard to their ancestors in all these tribes are very explicit. Amongst the Arunta, for example, there were certain great men and women, leaders of the various groups in the far past times, called Alcheringa, who had definite names. They carried with them numbers of spirit children who were deposited in certain places and it is these who now enter women and are born in the form of human beings, as well, of course, as the spirits of the great leaders themselves. My late colleague, Mr. Gillen, was supposed to be the reincarnation of one of them named Urangara. The Arunta believe that when any individual dies his spirit part goes back to his old camping place in the Alcheringa, inhabiting some special rock or tree which is spoken of as its Nanja. Here it remains until it chooses to enter a woman and undergoes reincarnation. All these spirits are called Iruntarinia. Previously to the first reincarnation, however) a second spirit, which is the double of the Iruntarinia, emerges from the Nanja, and is called an Arumburinga. When the former is reincarnated the latter inhabits the Nanja but it may, if it chooses, visit its human representative unseen, as a general rule, by the latter, though there are certain gifted beings, such, especially, as very able medicine men, who can actually see and converse with the Arumburingas. Sometimes, when a man is out in the bush, he will suddenly experience a curious sensation and find that he is on the point of treading on a snake, which shows him clearly that his Arumburinga has warned him of the danger. The Arumburinga is, as it were, everlasting, while the Iruntarinia sometimes inhabits its Nanja and sometimes undergoes reincarnation. It is not supposed to be born again until such time as the bones of its last human body have crumbled away. It may, of course, exist, but amongst the Warramunga and many other tribes, though we studied them carefully we did not come across any belief equivalent to that of the Arumburinga in the Arunta, though they have just the same belief in reincarnation.

In the far north of the continent, the Larakia and Worgait natives in the vicinity of Darwin have been for so long in contact with white men that it would be useless to seek information from them on points such as these, and I did not have the opportunity of coming in contact with less civilised members of these tribes.

The Port Essington natives believe that, at first, there were no real human beings, but only alligators, sharks, turtles, cockatoos, etc., and that the present men and women are descendants of these. They also believe that the spirit child goes inside the women at a spot which is frequented by such children and that natives who die are born again at a later period.

In the Mungarai tribe, in which I had more opportunity of inquiry, the beliefs are very definite. The far past time--the equivalent of the Alcheringa in the Arunta tribe--is called Kurnallan. During this time the old ancestors walked about. Each one had his original home, called Burnamandu. As in the case of the snake Uruanda,1 they made the country with all its natural features as they walked along. Wherever they stopped they performed ceremonies, and, when doing so, shook themselves,2 with the result that spirit children, called Mall-mall, who, of course, belonged to the totem (namaragua) of the ancestor, emanated from their bodies. These spirit children now go into the right lubras, and are born as natives. Close to what is now McMinn's bar, on the Roper River, there is a large gum tree full of spirit children, all of them belonging to one of the totems associated with the Nakomara sub-class, and always, so my native informant told me, on the look-out for the right lubra. Again, at Crescent Lagoon, the old ancestor Namaran, the thunder man, deposited numbers of spirit children, and, if a Ngaritjbellan woman dips her toes in the water, one at once passes into her up her leg, or, if she stoops and drinks, goes down into her through her mouth. The spirit of a dead person, called Anora, goes back to his old home (Burnamandu), and sooner or later is born again, and in this tribe the sexes are supposed to alternate at each successive incarnation.

1. An account of his wanderings is given in the chapter dealing with Traditions of Ancestors.

2. This shaking of the body is a very characteristic feature in the totemic ceremonies of many tribes. It was very much in evidence amongst the Warramunga, who decorate themselves profusely with down when performing the sacred ceremonies during which they are supposed to simulate the old ancestors. When they thus shake themselves, little bits of down tumble off just as the spirits used, originally, to emanate from him when he shook himself.]

In the Yungman tribe there is precisely the same belief in regard to the origin of children as in the Mungarai. For example, a Nanung, or sugar-bag (honeycomb) man arose at Opobinga, near the old Elsey Station. Here he is reported to have stayed without wandering about. He had numbers of spirit children, who now inhabit the trees and stones near his old camp, and out of these they come and enter the right lubras. He had, also, many bull-roarers, which the Yungman people call Purdagiair. In the Yungman, as in the Mungarai tribe, the sexes are supposed to alternate at each successive reincarnation.

In the Nullakun tribe the old times, during which the ancestors walked about the country, are called Musmus, and each of them has his place of origin, called Kundungini. Like one of them, a rainbow man, called Kulakulungini, each of them is supposed to have had numbers of spirit children who emanated from them when they shook their bodies during the performance of corrobborees. It is these who are now constantly entering lubras, and being born. After death the spirit of the dead person, called Maritji, goes back to its old home, Kundungini, where it remains until it is born again. At each successive reincarnation the sex changes.

The beliefs of the Mara tribe are fundamentally identical with those of the Mungarai and Nullakun tribes. The old times are called Djidjan; each ancestor had his ancestral home, called Wailba, and, as he wandered over the country, he made the natural features and left spirit children behind him, who are continually entering the right women. After death the spirit, which is called Padinia, goes back again to its Wailba until such time as it undergoes reincarnation. At each successive reincarnation, also, the sex changes.

In the Waduman and Mudburra tribes, inhabiting the country between the Daly and Victoria Rivers, they have the same idea of spirit children, whom they call Ngaidjan, existing in the form of little frogs. The Waduman believe that, in the far past times that they call Jabulunga, there were two old men named Idakulgwan and Imumdadul. They were brothers, and came from the north-east. As they travelled along they met an old woman named Ibangalma, or Tjoral, who came from the salt water country. She had no black-fellow, and her totem (Gwaian) was Eramerlgo, or sugar-bag. As they came along, the two men made country, creeks, yams, kangaroos, snakes, sugar-bags and many other things that the natives now feed on. They also carried with them plenty of Ngaidjan, or spirit children, and gave some of them to the old woman Ibangalma, telling her to take them away to other parts of the country and leave them there. They said, Ya moinja laia lungin, Ngaidjan anoadja tjumba angebir, which means, You go away to another country, where you stop leave Ngaidjan behind. She did so, and the natives say that, when leaving them behind, she gave them their totems. They grew up and were the first black-fellows, men and women. When they died their spirits became Ngaidjan, entered lubras, and were born again. Each Ngaidjan knows which is the right lubra to enter, and will not go into a wrong one. Each Ngaidjan, also, has one special place, called Poaridju, the equivalent of the Nanja of the Arunta, which is its normal stopping place, though, of course, if it chooses to do so, it can move freely about the country. Before going into a lubra each Ngaidjan enters, and stays for a time, in its mother's totemic animal or plant. If the mother be Eramerlgo, or sugar-bag, then it goes into this, if a yam then into a yam, and so on. Sometimes a woman, when digging for yams, hits one with her stick, and may hear the baby Ngaidjan crying out, or, if she hits a goanna, she may hear the child speaking inside it.

Ibangalma finally went to a place now called Hayward Creek, and, later on, the two brothers Idakulgwan and Imumdadul came up and stopped there. Tradition relates that Idakulgwan married Ibangalma, and that they had a great many children. First of all they had a boy named Giblongwa, then another named Widba, and a third called Ijubulma. Each of these three has been reincarnated and is now alive. The two old people lived a long time as, respectively, Maluka and Muluru. Their Ngaidjan have undergone reincarnation, but are not, at present, represented in the tribe. The two old men Idakulgwan and Imumdadul remained at Hayward Creek, where they are now represented by two stones, whilst another, at the head of the Flora Creek, represents Ibangalma. It appears as if a generation, at least, is allowed to elapse between any two successive reincarnations. One of our informants, for example, called Alwairi, was the reincarnation of a brother of his baba, that is, his father's father. Alwairi's young daughter, named Maidjangba, is the reincarnation of a woman of the same name who was her mother's mother.

In the Arunta and other Central tribes it is only, relatively, a few members of the tribe who actually bear the names of old ancestors, but in these more northern coastal tribes there is a constant succession of the names, and every individual, without exception, is the reincarnation of some special ancestor.

I was much interested in finding amongst the Kakadu and allied tribes not only a very firm and most definitely expressed belief in the reincarnation of ancestors and in the absence of any necessary relation between sexual connection and procreation, but also a curious parallel to the Arunta idea of Iruntarinia and Arumburinga.

As described in connection with the legend associated with Imberombera, the Kakadu believe that the whole country was originally peopled with individuals and spirit children who are now continually undergoing reincarnation. What we may call the original spirit, the equivalent of the Iruntarinia amongst the Arunta, is called Yalmuru. If we take the case of any one individual the belief is as follows. When a man, and the same, precisely, is true of women and children, dies, the Yalmuru, that is the spirit part, after the final burial and mourning ceremonies are complete, keeps watch over the benogra, or bones. After a time the Yalmuru, as it were, divides into two, so that we have the original Yalmuru and a second spirit called Iwaiyu. The two are distinct and have somewhat the same relationship to one another as a man and his shadow, which, in the native mind, are very intimately associated. For a long time they remain together but, when the Yalmuru desires to undergo reincarnation, the two leave the benogra or bones, which are always some distance out in the scrub--often miles away from a camp. They go forth together, the Iwaiyu in the lead, the Yalmuru behind. Out in the bush they find the natives, who of course cannot see them, hunting for food. The Yalmuru takes the Iwaiyu and puts it, in the form of a small frog called Purnamunemo, which lives under the sheathes of the leaves of the screw-pine or Pandanus, into some food such as fish or "sugar-bag" that the man is searching for. If, for example, it be fish, the Yalmuru goes into the water and drives them into the man's chipoiyu or fishing net, if it be mormo or "sugar-bag," he guides him to the tree in which the bees have made their hive. In either case, as soon as the man has secured the fish or mormo, out jumps the frog, unseen of course by the men. it is caught by the Yalmuru and, together, the two spirits return to their camping place. The food in which the Iwaiyu was placed will be the child's totem. The latter is thus always selected by the Yalmuru and may change from one reincarnation to another. As we have seen, when dealing with the totems, it often does. Sometimes, when an animal, such as a crocodile or fish, contains for a time the Iwaiyu and the animal is speared, then the Bialila, or child to which the Iwaiyu subsequently gives rise, bears the mark of the spear wound.

The natives return to their camp with the food that they have secured, quite unconscious of the fact that the Yalmuru and Iwaiyu have been out in the bush. At night time the two latter come back again to the camp and watch the men and women. The Iwaiyu is again in the form of a little frog. When all are asleep, the two come up to the camp and enter the mia-mia where the man and his wife are sleeping. The Iwaiyu goes up and smells the man; if he be not a "right" father he says, ngari koyada, which means, not this one. He tries another one, finds him right and says, ngari papa, this one is my father. Then he goes and smells the latter's lubra. The Iwaiyu gets into her hair, then feels her breasts and says, korngo ngari koiyu, these are my mother's breasts; ngai koiyu, this is my mother. Then he comes down and goes into the woman. The Yalmuru returns to the old camp. Every now and then he comes and looks at the woman. but does not speak. When it is evident that the woman is going to have a child, the Yalmuru comes up to the camp at night time and tells the father that the child is there and what its name is and also its totem. He tells the father that he must not give it any other name except the one that he mentions, because that is the child within his wife.

Ungara, a Kakadu native, told us exactly what happened in his own case. When his father's brother died his benogra, or bones, were left for some time in a tree, not very far from the camp at which he died, but, later on, they were carried more than twenty miles away and placed in a Banyan tree overhanging a water pool. Ungara, who had his wife Obaiya and one child with him, was once camped near this place. He threw his chipoiyu, or net, into the water and left it there for some little time. Then he gathered long grass stalks and went into the water to drive the fish into the net. He did not know that the Yalmuru had already done this, and that the Iwaiyu was in one of the fishes. The net was so heavy that he called out to Obaiya to come and help him lift it out on to the bank. While they were doing this the Iwaiyu jumped out and was caught by the Yalmuru and then they both went back to the bones. Ungara and his wife Obaiya took the fish out and carried them to their camp in dilly bags. There were a good many other natives camped about. That night, while they were sleeping, the Yalmuru and Iwaiyu came into the camp and, after examining the man and woman, as previously described, the Iwaiyu went into Obaiya. While telling us this Ungara mimicked exactly the actions of the Iwaiyu going first to the father then to the mother. Later on the Yalmuru carne one night and whispered as follows in Ungara's ear; chipoiyu nanjil yapo araji, the fish went inside your net; jibul widjeru, it was full up; mukara bialilla ngeinyimma, your child was there; brau Monmuna murakamora narama, give it the name Monmuna murakamora; jereipunga kunbaritja, its totem is kunbaritja (a small fish); balera koregora onje narama koyada, by and by do not look out another name; Monmuna murakamora ngeinyimma ingordua bialilla araji, Monmuna murakamora is the child inside your lubra.

When the child is young the Yalmuru watches over it. If it strays away from camp and gets lost in the bush, the Yalmuru guides it back and, later on, when the child has grown into a man, the Yalmuru still helps it, in fact a good deal depends on the Yalmuru because, if it be not vigilant, some other hostile one may work evil magic against the individual associated with the Yalmuru's Iwaiyu. Finally, when the individual grows really old, the Yalmuru comes some night and whispers in his ear, Iwaiyu ngeinyimma bialilla unkoregora, ngainma ngeimba, parda mornda, ngainma boro mornda moiyu, ngeinyimma jereipunga koregora; which means, Iwaiyu, you look after a child, my backbone and thighs are no good, my eyes are no good and sore, you look after the Jereipunga (totem). In other words the Yalmuru is supposed to tell the Iwaiyu, that is, the spirit within the man, that he, the former, is worn out and that the Iwaiyu must take on the part of providing for a new child being born, and must also look after its totem. As the natives say, baranga Yalmuru wariji ge, the old Yalmuru is done for completely; Iwaiyu nigeri Yalmuru, the Iwaiyu is the new Yalmuru. It is really rather like a very crude forerunner of the theory of the continuity of the germ plasm. The old Yalmuru splits, as it were, into two, one half, the Iwaiyu, persists, the other finally disappears. In its turn the former becomes transformed into a Yalmuru which again splits; one half remains, and the other perishes, but there is an actual spiritual continuity from generation to generation.

It will be seen from the above how very definite the ideas of the Kakadu tribe are in regard both to the fact that the child enters the woman in spirit form without any reference whatever to sexual intercourse, and also to the fact that the child within the woman is the actual representative of one special individual amongst the old ancestors.


Traditions Concerning Imberombera, the Great Ancestor, and Also Other Ancestors of the Kakadu Nation

Tradition of Imberombera, a woman, and Wuraka, a man.--Imberombera travels over the country making everything and leaving spirit children behind her.--She sends out spirit children to different parts of the country telling them to talk different languages.--Four groups of mythical ancestors In the Kakadu tribe.--Lists of children born to the pairs of men and women sent out by Imberombera.--Origin of the marriage system of the Kakadu tribe.--List of intermarriages in one of the local groups.--Tradition concerning Numereji, a great snake, in the Kakadu tribe.--Two traditions concerning Numereji and the medicine men.--The making of medicine men.--Tradition of two Numereji men, one of whom became the Numereji of the southern Kakadu people and the other the Numereji of the Geimbio people.--Tradition of Eribinjori the crocodile.--Women making fire and cooking.--The two crocodile men kill the women.--Tradition of Ungulla Robunbun.--She kills Kakadu men and throws parts of herself and her belongings away, some for the women, some for the men.--She makes mosquitoes.--The men she killed become transformed into birds.

THE Kakadu and allied tribes have traditions which relate to two great ancestors, one a woman named Imberombera, and the other a man named Wuraka. Of these two, Imberombera is much the more important, and a legend concerning her is met with in all of the tribes now occupying the Coburg Peninsula and the country drained by the Alligator rivers.

Wuraka came from the west, walking through the sea. His feet were on the bottom but he was so tall that his head was well above the surface of the water. He landed at a place called Allukaladi, between what are now known as Mts. Bidwell and Roe, both of which he made. His first sleeping place, after coming out on to land, was at Woralia. He then came on to Umurunguk and so to Adjerakuk and Aruwurkwain, at each of which he slept one night.

The woman, Imberombera, also walked through the sea and landed at what is now known as Malay Bay, the native name being Wungaran. She met Wuraka at Arakwurkwain. Imberombera said to him, "Where are you going?" He said, "I am going straight through the bush to the rising sun." The first language they spoke was Iwaidja, that s, the language of the people of Port Essington. Wuraka carried his penis, or parla, over his shoulder. He said to Imberombera, ngainma parla nungeroboama, my penis is too heavy; ngainma wilalu jirongadda, my camp is close by; ngeinyimma ngoro breikul, you go a long way.

At that time there were no black-fellows. Imberombera wanted Wuraka to come with her, but he was too tired and his penis was too heavy, so he sat down where he was, and a great rock, called by the natives Wuraka, and by the white men Tor Rock, arose to mark the spot, Imberombera had a huge stomach in which she carried many children, and on her head she wore a bamboo ring from which hung down numbers of dilly bags full of yams. She also carried a very large stick or wairbi.

At a place called Marpur, close to where she and Wuraka met, she left boy and girl spirit children and told them to speak Iwaidja. She also planted many yams there and said to the children whom she left behind, ungatidda jam, these are good to eat.

She went on to Muruni, leaving yams and spirit children, and told them also to speak Iwaidja. From Muruni she went on, by way of Kumara, to Areidjut, close to Mamul, on what is now called Cooper's Creek, which runs into the sea to the north of the mouth of the East Alligator River. At Mamul she left children, one boy being called Kominuuru, and told them to speak the Umoriu language. The only food supply she left here was Murarowa--a Cyprus bulb. She crossed the creek and went on to Yiralka but left no children there. This was close to the East Alligator River which she crossed and then came, in succession, to Jeri, Kumboyu, Munguruburaira and Uramaijino, where she opened up her dilly bags and scattered yams broadcast. She went on to Jaiyipali, where again she left food supplies. She searched around for a good camping place and, first of all, sat down in a water pool but the leeches came in numbers and fastened themselves on her, so she came out of the water and decided to camp on dry land, saying that she would go into the bush. Accordingly, she did so and camped at Inbinjairi. Here she threw the seeds of the bamboo, Koulu, in all directions and also left children, one of whom was a boy named Kalangeit Nuana.

As she travelled along, Imberombera sent out various spirit children to different parts of the country, telling them to speak different languages. She sent them to ten places, in each case instructing them as follows

(1) Gnaruk ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoyo Koranger.
(2) Watta ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoro Kurnboyu.
(3) Kakadu ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoro Munganillida.
(4) Witji ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoro Miortu.
(5) Puneitja ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoro Jaijipali.
(6) Koarnbut ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoro Kapalgo.
(7) Ngornbur ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoro Illari.
(8) Umbugwalur ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoro Owe.
(9) Djowei ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoro Nauillanja.
(10) Geimbio ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoro Waimbi.

The first word in each of these is the name of language which the children were to speak; ngeinyimma means you or yours; tjikaru is talk or language; gnoro is go, and the last word is the name of the place to which she sent them. Each of these places is regarded as the central camping ground of their respective tribes.

Imberombera is thus supposed to have been the founder of the ten tribes above named, all of whom, at the present day, inhabit the Coburg Peninsula and the country east and west of this, for some distance, along the coast line, as well as the inland parts drained by the East, South, and West Alligator Rivers.

It is most extraordinary how detailed are the traditions in regard to her and the individuals, some of whom she left in, or sent to, certain local centres and others of whom she sent out from her last camping place. In what follows I give details in regard to certain of these individuals. They were told us by a native called Araiya whose memory was wonderful. He is recognised as a great authority on these matters and, after checking the lists and also comparing them with information supplied in regard to other traditions, concerning the old ancestors, I think that the information may be regarded as accurate. It will be seen that he knew not only the principal people sent out by Imberombera from her last camping place at Inbinjairi, but also the names of the individuals in all the different local groups; he knew also whom they respectively married and the totemic group to which each of them belonged. It is, of course, quite possible that one or other of these local groups comprised more individuals than those whose names he gave us.

So far as the Kakadu and allied tribes are concerned there appear to be four groups of mythical ancestors:--

(A) Imberombera.
(B) Pairs of men and women sent out by Imberombera from Inbinjairi.
(C) Pairs of men and women sent out, at a subsequent time, by these (B).
(D) Individuals who had been left behind by Imberombera, or sent out by her, in the form of spirit children, or Iwaiyus, to different places when she travelled across the country.

It must be remembered that Imberombera is regarded as the original great ancestor from whom all the others emanated. It was she who originally walked over the country, making creeks, hills, animals, and plants, and though, at a later period, others amongst the early ancestors took part in the production and distribution of natives and different objects associated with them, and took part, also, in such matters as the distribution of totems, yet they one and all derived their powers, in the first instance, from Imberombera and were supposed to be acting under her instructions in everything that they did.

I have already dealt with Imberombera and will now deal with the other groups; but, before doing this in detail, one point in connection with the fourth and last (D) may be referred to. They form the original ten groups of spirit children, all of whom emanated from Imberombera and, at a later period, went inside the women sent out to various parts. They have, ever since, been undergoing a series of reincarnations, each one retaining, throughout, his or her original name. The men and women included in C are really a special number of those in D, who were incarnated at an earlier stage than the rest. The whole system, as elaborated by the Kakadu, gives us the most complete development of the reincarnation theory with which I am acquainted amongst these tribes. Some idea of the definiteness of the traditions may be gathered from the following account, given to us by three leading Kakadu men, one of whom especially, as already said, is noted for his superior knowledge in regard to these matters.

(B). Pairs of men and women sent out by Imberombera from Inbinjairi, her final camping ground. There were five of these, as follows, the letter m. indicating the man and f. the woman:--

(1) Kroaran (m.) and Munjerimala (f.), sent to Unbaringadamba.
(2) Nuinadalulk (m.) and Pulamoki (f.), sent to Jaijipala.
(3) Kuloma (m.) and Munganepa (f.) sent to Ingitpu.
(4) Kormi (m.) and Mumaraerk (f.), sent to Karal.
(5) Nowarna (m.) and Kumanangaira (f.), sent to Imbunijairi.

Each of these pairs had children, who again were sent out in pairs--five also, just as in the first instance--and told to go to various parts of the country to form what may be called local centres or groups. They were sent to places already prepared by Imberombera for their reception, and at which she had, during her travels, left, or to which she had sent, spirit children. It will be seen that there is a fundamental resemblance between this belief and that of the Arunta and other Central tribes, such as the Warramunga, for example, but that, at the same time, the traditions, which must once have had a common origin, have become both more highly developed and, at the same time, more sharply defined in the Kakadu and northern coastal tribes. The Arunta believe that the old ancestors wandered over the country in groups, kangaroo men and women in one, emu people in another, and so on, depositing spirit children in various local centres. The Warramunga belief is that each totemic group had one great ancestor who followed a definite and well known track as he wandered over the country. These ancestors made all the country as they passed along and, at certain places, left spirit children behind them. In the Kakadu there is, originally, just one great ancestor--Imberombera--who, in the beginning, was really responsible for everything. Possibly the myth concerning Wuraka may be the vestige of older traditions which, as in the Warramunga, were concerned with many wandering ancestors. In the Arunta and Warramunga tribes, each ancestor, or group of ancestors, was, so to speak, responsible for one totemic group, but in the Kakadu, Imberombera was responsible for all and she it was who distributed everything to the first five pairs whom she sent out. They, in their turn, acting always under instructions received from Imberombera, sent out other individuals to other parts. Imberombera herself was responsible for all the spirit children.

(C). Each of the five pairs sent out first by Imberombera, the names of whom are given above, had children. The names of all of these are carefully preserved, but it will suffice to give those of the supposed offspring of one pair, Munjerimala and Kroaran. They were as follows:--

(a) Pundamunga (m.) and Maramma (f.), sent to Koreingin.
(b) Miniorko (m.) and Japo (f.), sent to Kubarnbi.
(c) Narapalo (m.) and Kolabiljailpinja (f.), sent to Munmileri.
(d) Prienbi (m.) and Kurinuwalla (f.) sent to Kulapari.
(e) Muraupu (m.) and Juluuperi (f.), sent to Kupperi.

(D). Each one of these pairs formed a local centre, where spirit children of different totemic groups are mixed together, there being no such local segregation of totemic groups as are met with in the Arunta. These are the spirit children who were deposited, or sent out, in the first instance by Imberombera. Entering into the women of these various pairs, they were born in human form. The term Murumbudui is applied to these local centres. The same word also is used by a native when he speaks of any place as "my country" and to the special spot where his Iwaiyu and Yalmuru are supposed to live.

The following lists give the complete series of children born to the different pairs of men and women sent out by Imberombera from Inbinjairi, together with their totems.

(a). The children of Pundamunga and Maramma. The letter m. indicates a man and f. a woman:--

(b). The children of Miniorko and Japo.

(c). The children of Nurapalo and Kolabiljailpinja.

(d). The children of Prienbi and Kurinuwalla.

(e). The children of Muraupu and Juluuperei.

It must be remembered that Imberombera is supposed to have given instructions to the first series of pairs whom she sent out (Kroaran and Minjerimala, etc.) telling them to go to certain places and there eat the food supplies, yams, lilies, sugar-bag, etc., that she had made and left behind for them. She also told them all about the Jereipunga, or totems, and instructed them to give these names to the different spirit children. They in their turn handed on the instructions to the pairs of men and women whom they sent out.

At first the ancestors of the Kakadu group of tribes had no definite marriage system, and at the present day they have no classificatory system governing marriage such as is characteristic of what may be regarded as typical Australian tribes. In this respect they stand in strong contrast to tribes such as the Yungman, Warri, and others with whom they come into contact on the south and west of their own country. Of the tribes on their eastern boundaries we know nothing as yet. The Kakadu seem to differ in this respect from neighbouring tribes as profoundly as they do in their initiation rites. The only organisation that they appear to have is a local one based upon the groups referred to above. Tradition says that the head men of the groups talked the matter over amongst themselves and decided to institute an exchange of lubras between their respective groups. Pundamunga and Miniorko, for example, agreed upon this, so one day Miniorko set out from his camp at Kubarnbi, taking with him Opeik, a man, and Maringjanga, a woman. He walked between them as they journeyed along to Pundamunga's camp at Koreingin, where he found the former seated on the ground with Mukalakki, a man, on one side, and Kudbau, a lubra, on the other. In both cases, of course, the man and woman, that is, respectively, Opeik and Maringjanja, Mukalakki and Kudbau, were supposed to be brother and sister. The three from the Kubarnbi camp sat down immediately opposite the other three. The two women, Maringjanga and Kudbau, had each of them a norkun, that is, a goose wing, which is commonly used as a fan to keep flies off, in front of their faces so as to prevent them from seeing their brothers, or from being seen by them. Pundamunga said to Kudbau, Yapo Opeik, ngomukali ngeinyimma, breikul baranga, go to Opeik, (he is) your ngomukali (husband), far away from your elder brother. She accordingly went and sat behind him. In the same way, Maringjanga was told by Miniorko to go and sit behind Mukalakki, who was her proper husband. Maringjanga stayed with Mukalakki in his camp at Koreingin, and Kudbau returned with Opeik to Kubarnbi.

When this little ceremony was over, Pundamunga went over to where Miniorko was sitting, and said to him: Nygeinyimma nungordua umbali, have you got plenty of women? Miniorko said, ngainma ungornberri munna wilalu ngainma umbali, I have plenty of daughters there in my camp. Pundamunga said, kormilda mureyida, to-morrow we will all go. Accordingly, next day he set out, taking with him one lubra, named Maringeya, and four men, Munmona, Kulungepa, Mupulbara, and Mudanga. When they reached Kubarnbi they found Miniorko seated by himself with the gerewin and umulakirri, that is, the men and women's camps, a short distance behind him, far enough away for him not to be heard unless he spoke loudly. The old man Pundamunga went and sat down beside Miniorko; the four men he had brought with him squatted on the ground in such a position that the two old men were between them and the camps. Madingeya was by herself, a little to one side, with a norkun in front of her face. Miniorko called a man named Muniali out of the men's camp, and he came and sat down. Then Pundamunga, told Madingeya to go and sit behind Miniali, because he was her proper husband, which she did. The mother of Miniali said to him, maba jamo jauo, ngeinyimma nungordua, which means, literally, son food you eat, your lubra; in other words, she meant that the lubra would now provide him with food. The elder brother, Opeik, who had already been provided with a wife, said to Miniali, illaberri, preya wilalu mungari jirongadda, younger brother, come and camp close by here. Pundamunga then called Monmuna up, and he sat down. Miniorko called a lubra named Mukulora out of the women's camp and told her to go and sit behind Monmuna, because he was her proper husband. Then these two went some little distance away from Opeik and Muniali, who did not invite them to come close to their camp because the woman was Opeik's sister.

When this was over, Pundamunga, accompanied by Monmuna and Mukalora, together with Kulingepu, Mupulbara and Mudanga, returned to Koreingin. In this way, sooner or later, all the members of the local groups were provided, respectively, with wives or husbands. The old leaders of the local groups, who had received instructions, emanating originally from Imberombera, finally determined the man or woman whom each individual was to marry. At the present day the only organisation controlling marriage in these tribes, so far as I could discover, is based on the existence of these local groups. A man of any one local group takes his wife, from the same local group from which the old ancestor, of whom he is the reincarnation, originally derived his.

In the following table a complete list of the intermarriages of the various men and women comprised in the Pundamunga-Naramma group is given.

The information was given to Mr. Cahill and myself by the same man who gave us that which is included in the foregoing lists, and whose memory and knowledge in regard to these matters was most extraordinary.

(1) Wives of the men of Pundamunga's group.

(2) Husbands of the women of Pundamunga's group.

The localities in the first of these two lists are those of the wives, and in the second those of the husbands. At the present time the man must take as wife a woman belonging to the same locality as that in which the man of whom he is the reincarnation and whose name he bears originally secured his.

Tradition Concerning Numereji, a Great Snake, The Kakadu Tribe. (Fig. 66, facing p. 313)

Numereji is the name of a great snake that figures largely in the traditions of the Kakadu tribe. It appeared first at a place, called Kumbulmorma, which lies on a wide, open plain between the East Alligator River and Cooper's Creek. Not far away, at Yiringira, a large number of natives were camped and, amongst them, was a baby, crying. The snake came along with his head high in the air and said: Waji bialilla, yana waji bialilla--there is a child crying, where is the child crying? It turned its head round from side to side and went down into the ground, then it came up again and circled round and round the camp. The child was still crying and one native was blowing a trumpet. The snake then put his head up close to the child and sucked it in. The natives were terribly frightened and all started to run away, but Numereji folded his tongue round each one in turn and licked them in, until he had devoured them all save one old lubra, named Kominiyamana, who had climbed up into a tree and kept quite quiet for a long time. Most unfortunately, the mosquitoes were so thick that she could not help smacking herself, every now and then, to kill them. Numereji listened and said, Hallo! there is someone there, on top, He lifted up his head and sucked her in with his long tongue. His stomach was now simply full of black fellows.

He travelled along on the top of the ground to a place called Maipolk on the East Alligator River, arched his head up, put it down on the other side, so that his body made a great bow across the river and then, leaning on his head, swung his tail across. As he travelled along, saw some more natives but, though he went along, lying flat in the ground and making as little noise as possible, he frightened a mob of white cranes and cockatoos that rose, screaming, from the trees. The natives of course saw them and knew that something must have disturbed them. They went to see, saying, What is the matter, what has frightened them? One native went ahead and shouted out Kuwi! Kuwi!1 Come here, come here. He had caught sight of Numereji and said to the others when they came up, Look, what is the name of this big fellow? Numereji was lying down resting, gorged with black fellows. A very large number of natives came up. They all called out, Ameina! Ameina! What is it? What is it? Those in front said to those behind, come up close and look at the Morpiu.2

Its belly was sunk deep in mud, but its back projected high in the air. Numereji was so tired that he had gone to sleep. They all came close up and one old man who had heard of him and what he was like, said, This is Numereji. Ah! Ah! they said, is it? is it? This is the first time we have seen him. The old man talked to the snake and said, What have you been eating that your belly is so big? but the snake made no reply. Then the old man accused him of having eaten the black fellows, saying, Urawalla jereini jau--It is the Urawulla men that you have eaten. Then Numereji awoke, lifted himself up, put down his head and vomited forth the bones of all the men and women he had eaten. The bones have remained there to this day in the form of stones.

Numereji then went on to a place called Mungeruauera, where he went into the ground and there he remained.

1. This is pronounced in almost exactly the same way as the characteristic Australian call, spelt, usually, Cooee.

2. Morpiu is a general name for animals of any kind.]

Two Traditions Concerning Numereji and the Medicine men.


There were four men, Joemin, an elder brother, and Numuraupu his younger brother. Joemin had a son, called Mukurlul, and Numuraupu had one, called Kardimenjil. Joemin had stolen a small Numereji snake which he cut in two. The front half grew a new short tail, the hinder half died. Joemin carried the front half under his arm. The old Numereji snake remained in the creek at Mungeruauera, in fact, he is there still. The medicine man can see him but the ordinary natives do not drink there because they are afraid that, if they were to do so, Numereji would draw them in and eat them.

When Joemin cut the little snake in two, he drank some of the blood that flowed out, drained the rest into a shell, and then carried the latter and the snake along with him. He came to a place called Mulipaji and there he left some of the snake's blood, and made thereby a kumali wilalu, that is a kumali or sacred camp. The natives call this part of the country wilalu manungel, or blood country, and only medicine men go there, the others are too frightened. If they were to go near to it their fingers would break.

Joemin went to Mulipaji by himself and then returned to the others, bringing the snake with him. His young brother, Numuraupu, said to him, Baranga brau morpiu koregora, Brother, give me the snake to look at. Before coming into the camp, Joemin had hidden the snake a little distance away. First of all he rubbed his younger brother's eyes, or else the latter would not have been able to look at the snake, and then went away and returned with the snake. When Numuraupu looked at it, the snake opened his mouth and rattled his teeth. Joemin said to Numuraupu, Koregora pierda, look hard. Numereji's eyes were very large and bright. Joemin said, do not be frightened, look at it hard and your eyes will be an right. Numuraupu felt the snake with his fingers and said, it is very slippery. Joemin said, Illaberi, karu pierda kala, kularu kangu, that is, young brother, hold it firmly lift it up high. Numuraupu did as he was told and lifted the snake with his arm underneath it. Numuraupu was very frightened and trembled all over. Joemin said Koyada kumari, kara pierda kala, do not be frightened, hold it firmly. Numereji's mouth was opened and his teeth were rattling. The snake looked at the camp and was very angry or, as the natives call it, he was, Tjiritjeriyu widjeru, the latter word means "very," the former is a word applied to any man or animal that is always what the natives term "growling." Joemin said to his younger brother, hold it hard, Kara pierda kala, balera naigeri kuileila, if you do not your fingers will break. Joemin gave the snake to Numuraupu, saying Illaberi, ngeinyimma, ngai ningeri, young brother (that is) yours, I (will get) a new one. The snake lifted its body up with its head pointing forwards. It had a long snout and long jaws. The two men carrying it went towards the camp. When they came close up they put the snake down on the ground and, after covering It over with leaves and grass, left it and went on to the camp. It was now midnight and Numuraupu, instead of staying ill camp, returned once more to where the Numereji was secreted, leaving Joemin in camp. He uncovered the snake and, picking it up, carried it away and placed it by Joemin's side. Both Joemin and Numuraupu had a ranken kobonja, that is a wurley or bush shade made of paper-bark. Numereji said, Clck, Clck, Clck, and this woke up the natives, who said, Ameina, munanji? What is it, what is the matter? The snake went on, Clck, Clck, Clck, while Joemin lay still, pretending to be asleep. Numuraupu kept very quiet, pretending also to be asleep, but, in reality, he was listening. One of the men came up to Joemin and awoke him, calling him Murabulbu--that is, old man. Joemin said, Oeka, kala, tjikora oronga--go back, all right, lie down and sleep; so he went back. Then Numuraupu went into Joemin's camp, lifted the snake up and took it away to where it had been hidden before, and covered it with leaves. He said to it, Tjikora oronga, ngainma japu morpiu, madida auworkai wilalu kari; Lie down and sleep, I go (to get) food, to-night I come back to the camp and take you.

Two days later a child, about five or six years old, died and, as usual, the body was put on a stage of boughs in a tree. Joemin said to Numuraupu, ngainma areya numureji ningeri; I am going (to get) a new Numereji. Before starting, he went to the tree grave, cut open the child's body so as to get the fat (paloma) especially the "kidney fat," and cut off both heels for the same purpose. He wrapped the fat up in leaves and then put it in a shell (nambi), after which he carne back to where Numuraupu was seated in camp. Joemin carrying the fat and Numuraupu carrying the Numereji, set out from camp. A long way off they came to a big ant hill, a Mupungalu. Joemin told Numuraupu to go little distance away with his Numereji and hold it hard, Then he collected dry, stringy bark, and, twirling one stick on another, made a fire at the foot of the ant hill. Then he took some of the dead child's fat and put it on the fire, where it soon began to sizzle. There were several Numereji under the ant hill, and they smelt the burning fat. Joemin went a little way off from the fire and then carne back again and put some more fat on, and again it sizzled. This time a Numereji came out and Joemin captured it. Numuraupu, holding his snake hard, brought it up to where Joemin had the new one. The latter licked the old snake. Joemin's was a small one, and he placed it on the ground by the side of the other, which was much bigger. They measured the two on the ground side by side. Joemin had a stone knife, Tjumaiin, and, holding this firmly in his left hand, he cut the hind end off Numuraupu's snake so as to make them both the same length (Fig. 66). Neither of the snakes growled. Then they lifted the two up and rubbed and cleaned them. In this way Joemin got a new Numereji.


In the Kakadu tribe there is a close association between Numereji and the medicine men. They alone are supposed not only to be able to see him, but to have eyes that can withstand his glance; other natives are unable to do this.

At the present time new medicine men are initiated by the old ones. In the early days Joemin was the first medicine man, and he made others, and showed them what had to be done. At first Joemin's eyes were like those of other men, and he could not see Numereji. One day he went to a water hole and, looking over the edge, he saw his shadow, or iwaiyu.3 He looked all about. Then he put his head under water and opened his eyes. Day after day he did this, which is called Karareyu poro, washing eyes. Gradually they became very bright and piercing, Tjiralala poro, very good eyes, so that he could see at any distance, and could look right through men, trees, and rocks. He looked and looked all round, but could not see Numereji. Then he travelled on and came to Kunyembulul, where Numereji had eaten a lot of black-fellows, and there he found him quietly resting. Ah, he said, Numereji yori, Numereji lying down. Numereji was a great size. Joemin said to him, ngeinya jereini yana yau, where are the men you have eaten? Numereji said nothing, but just yawned. Joemin spoke to him again and said, ura wilalu jau jereini, you have eaten another camp of men. After this, Numereji vomited up an enormous mass of bones, the size of a great hill.

1. This same term iwaiyu is applied both to a man's spirit part and to his shadow.]

The old Numereji carried young ones twisted round it and feeding at the snake's breast. Joemin said, ilauila ngainma, I will have the little one; koyada ngainma jeri, do not growl at me; jereini jau bali, you have eaten plenty of men. Numereji just shut his eyes. Joemin caught a little snake, while the old Numereji laid down and took no notice of him. Joemin had provided himself with a large shell, and, after securing the snake, he cut it in two and let some of the blood flow into the shell, which, together with the snake, he carried on with him to Mulipaji, as already described. Joemin had a son called Mukurlul. When he grew old he said to the latter, balera ngaiya4 wariji, later on I die; balera ngeinyimma unkoregora Numereji, later on you look out Numereji, which meant that the son was to take his place as a medicine man. Accordingly, accompanied by Mukurlul, he went close to the Munangel wilalu, or blood camp, at Mulipaji. Each of them, Joemin and Mukurlul, had left all their armlets, necklets, wristlets, and hair belts at the home camp. Joemin took his small Numereji with him, and, while Mukurlul bathed and washed himself clean, the former took the snake to the blood camp. Then he said to his son, mareyimma unkoregora Numereji, we two go and see Numereji. Joemin brought out the shell that he had previously left, full of blood, at the camp and showed it to Mukurlul, saying, koregora munangel, koregora pierda, which means, look at the blood, look at it hard. Then he took a leaf (marlil), put some blood on it, and rubbed it over Mukurlul's head, arms, and shoulders, saying, pierda murongada, strong back; pierda korto, strong arms; pierda waira, strong sinews; tjiralala poro, good eyes; kapena poro, keen-sighted eyes. Then, taking some more blood, he said, munangel jau; he made him open his mouth wide (maiinya) and gave him some to cat, saying, munangel jau, eat the blood, araji kala, right down koyada nanjil umberdaroitba, don't let your tongue taste it; kulijidbo kumali, kulijidbo (a yam) is kumali; balera koyada jau kulijidbo, mapolo mornda murawarda, later on don't eat kulijidbo, your stomach will be very bad or swollen, meaning that the kulijidbo will grow and swell inside him. Certain kinds of yams, such as Kulijidbo, Mornun, and Gunumaramila, are kumali to a man who is being made into a doctor. They all belong to what are called "hot" yams, which must be specially treated before being eaten, or else they cause much irritation in the mouth. The idea that medicine men must not eat "hot" things seems to be widely prevalent. In the Arunta tribe the same belief holds. A medicine man has been known suddenly to lose his powers after drinking hot tea given to him by a white man.

1. The word for I is either ngainma or ngaiya--for me the word ngainma is used.]

When all was over, Joemin went, got the Numereji, and, bringing it back, said to Mukurlul, Ngoornberri koregora kala, son, look, all right. The boy was silent. Joemin said, morpiu koregora, Numereji koregora, look at the snake, look at Numereji. Numereji licked his mouth and rattled his teeth. Then Joemin, handing the snake to Mukurlul, said, kara pierda, hold it hard. Koregora pierda, balera, poro mornda, look hard (or) afterwards your eyes will be bad. Then he put the snake under Mukurlul's arm, saying, the snake is yours; kara pierda, wainyan korto, hold it firmly (under your) left arm. Then Joemin said, ngeinyimma Marunga, you are Marunga,5 that is, medicine man. Mukurlul replied, ngaiya Marunga, I am Marunga. Joemin said, mareyimma wilalu, we two go back to camp; pierda gneinyimma kutera, gnai pari, you go well in front, I behind. They went towards the camp, Mukurlul carrying the Numereji and Joemin a special large warbi, or fighting club. When they came near to the camp Joemin said, Ngoornberri, ngeinyimma pari, son, you stay behind. Joemin left his warbi and went on alone. In camp he told the lubras to go out and gather paper bark. They did so, brought it into camp, and built with it a new wurley, or bough shade. Meanwhile, Joemin made his camp between that of the men and the spot where Mukurlul was hidden with the Numereji, which he still held firmly. Later on, under cover of darkness, Mukurlul came into the new wurley, bringing the snake with him.

1. This word is pronounced in at least three different ways as if it were spelt Mari, Marunga, or Maringa.]

The natives in camp said; nigeri Marunga, kumali, a new Marunga, he is kumali. Mukurlul rubbed himself over with burnt grass. For four days he remained in the wurley, food being taken to him by his father, to whom it was given by his mother. No lubra was allowed to go near the wurley, which was kumali and no track out of camp passed near it. When the four days were over he came into camp. The Numereji he still kept, but no one could see it save medicine men.

Tradition of two Numereji men.

Two brothers, both of whom were called Naberayingamna, came to the Kakadu country, walking above ground, from a place close to what is now called Burundi. They had very long beards and were much the same as black fellows except for the fact that they were very much bigger men. They had one old and one new chipoiyu or fishing net. Travelling on, they came to a place called Ingertpu, a camp on the East Alligator River, just at the end of the tidal part. Here they threw their nets into the water and drew them out full of cat-fish. They determined to make a fire, cook and eat the fish, which, accordingly, they did. When this was over they took their nets and journeyed on to a place close to the stone which now marks the spot at which Imberombera died. They saw a snake in the grass and the younger said to the elder brother, ameina narenma, what is the snake, or, what kind of snake is that? The elder replied, It is Kintjilbara, that is, a large venomous snake, we will eat him. They caught the snake, broke its head, cut it off and threw it away. First of all they made a fire in the earth with paper bark and heated stones on it. Then they passed the snake's body through the fire so that they could easily rub the scales off. After this they took a stone knife and made two cuts right along the body, one on either side of the backbone and, with the same flake, they broke the latter, at intervals, along its length. When the stones were hot enough, the body of the snake was coiled round and round them, the tall end being pushed into the cut, front end; paper bark was placed above it and then the earth was filled in. When the cooking was over, a part of the under body-wall was cut off, great care being taken not to spill any of the juice in the body-cavity, because this is regarded as a great delicacy, called juri. The native telling us the tradition showed us exactly how the elder brother lifted up the snake by each end with his arms extended so that the body formed a loop from which the juri streamed into the man's mouth. The fat was cut out and eaten first, the body was then broken in pieces and the meat eaten; finally the bones were broken. When this had been done the older man took the fragments in his mouth and spat them out in all directions saying, now all men may eat Kintjilbara, bones and all.

After eating the Kintjilbara they resumed their travels and caught sight of some natives journeying to the northeast. The younger brother said to the elder, I can see a black-fellow. The elder said, Yes that is Mimonau, we will go to him. They did so and found him eating something. They said to him, ameina jau, what are you eating? He replied, ngai Kintjilbara jau, I am eating Kintjilbara. The older brother said, gnai juro, I do the same, ngai pumana noorkudua, I have eaten one. He asked the old man where his camp was and Mimonau said, Here, and asked them, ngeinyaminna wilalu, where is your camp? The elder brother replied, areyiminna breikul, we go a long way.

The two brothers then left Mimonau and, travelling on, came to a big blood-wood tree on which many bees were feeding on the honey in the gum-tree flowers. The younger brother said, hearing the buzzing, What is it, is it bees? Ha! Mormo! The elder brother was carrying a keerli, or stone tomahawk, which he handed to the younger man telling him to go and cut a forked stick. He himself gathered a leaf with a spider cocoon on it, which he shredded out, and, having done this, climbed the tree by means of the forked stick which was placed slanting against the trunk. He put a little bit of the web on each bee that he could reach, singing out to them to go home, and at the same time telling his brother to watch which way they went. They followed them up and put leaves into the holes they entered so that they would know, later on, where the honey-bags were. Some of the bees, on which he put web, he sent away to distant parts to make honey bags for the natives there. One he sent to Muborarari, a place between the two Alligator Rivers. When he had done this the old man went to the first honey-bag, cut it out with his stone axe and ate it. The two brothers then went back to the river, where they had left their nets in the water, took them out and brought them on with them. They came to a creek running into the East Alligator River where they found a number of natives living in bark wurleys. The men said, We can hear the black fellows' bamboo (i.e., their bamboo trumpets), we will go and look at them. They came close up to the camp and a heavy rain fell. The younger man said, I am cold, brother. When they came near they met an old man, named Pundamunga, who was out looking for sugar-bags. He was very frightened when he saw them and said, ameina, ameina, who are you, who are you? They said to him, ameina kumeri, why are you frightened? Kowe breyu, . koyada kumeri, come here, do not be frightened. Before this they had hidden their nets.

Each of the two brothers had the skin of a Numereji snake and a separate head, like a snake. They were men, but could change themselves into snakes when they wanted to and then back again into men. As the natives say, they were Numereji men. Before coming near the camp they had put their snake skins on, but now they took them off and hid them. Pundamunga was still very frightened. They said to him, We are black-fellows, do not be frightened, where is your camp? The two men then said, gnoro kutjali, nungortji, go and light a fire, we are cold. Pundamunga accordingly went and brought a fire-stick. It went out and he brought another. This also went out. Go again, they said. He did so, a third and forth time, but it always went out. The rain meanwhile was coming down in torrents. After a fifth unsuccessful attempt, the men told him to go to his camp and stay there. He did so and slept by his fire. The other men in camp were making a corrobboree and striking sticks together. The two brothers said, We will put on our Numereji skins and eat the men. Then they went to where their skins were hidden, blew them up, took their own black-fellow skins off and went into the Numereji ones. They had heads and teeth just like a Numereji and were of huge size. After moving about for some time they went underground until they came to the camp where the natives were corrobboreeing. The natives, except Pundamunga who was asleep, knew nothing about their presence, and the two snake men first of all came out and looked at the men in camp and then, going down again, suddenly arose under the camp, smashed it into bits and then devoured everything, men, women, children, weapons, in fact the whole camp and all that it contained. After that they went to sleep. The hole that they made when they came out is still to be seen at Jipaiumba and also two depressions in the ground where they slept. When they awoke they travelled on and, at a place called Purluwa, vomited up the bones, which turned into stone. At Purluwa also they shed their skins and changed themselves into black-fellows, putting their Numereji skins into bags. Then they came on to Kulapari, where there is a water pool, in which they put one of their nets. During the night this changed into a Numereji which came out and went on to the plains bordering the river and then back into the latter by way of a small creek.

The elder brother woke up early next morning and went to the river to see if there were any fish in the net, but it was not there. He called out to his younger brother, chipoiyu kaio, the net is not here. Of their two nets one was an old one, the other new, and it was the latter that had gone. They put their two snake skins in the one net and then followed up the tracks of the snake that they could clearly see going across the plain. The tracks led them across the latter and then back to the mangroves, where they went into the creek. Here they decided to leave the tracks and go round and try to head the Numereji. They ran quickly and caught sight of him, shouting, Here he is. They came up and tried to pull him out, but the snake said, I will stop here, this is my home. The brothers said, We will leave him, and went back to Tjironguda, close to Imorji, two places on the East Alligator River. They travelled on and came to a spot where they made a hill, called Tjaruma. They crossed the plains, at Mijela, where there is much sand, so that the place is called Mijela wilalu--the sand camp. They looked up and saw a hill, called Injoanbeli and the younger man said, Brother, there are stones there. He was carrying the net with the skins in and it was very heavy. However, the older man said, We will not stop here, we will go on further. They went on to Murakamiaiji, a billabong close to the range of hills that skirts the plains, and halted beside the water, saying quialu nanjil meja, we are hungry, we will fish. The young man made a fishing line out of shredded bark and they caught and cooked some fish.

Here they left the Kakadu country and came into that of the Geimbio. The older man said to the younger, Give me a string. He only replied, um, um. They baited the line with meat and the old man caught a cat-fish. He talked to his younger brother in Kakadu, but he would not answer and only said, um, um, and nodded his head. When they tried, later on, to pull the line out they found that there was something very heavy on it. The two men pulled hard, swaying about from side to side, but could not draw it out. The older man said to the other, Go and get a strong stick and we will tie the string on and hold hard. It was all of no use and the older man, who was nearest to the water, was pulled in, though his brother held on hard, but could not keep him out. The water was very clear and the younger brother could see right down to the bottom. He said, Where is my brother? At last he threw his net in and all that he had and dived down in search of his brother. He found him, and the old man told the younger to go back to the Geimbio country and talk Geimbio; I, he said, will go down the river and talk Kakadu. The elder brother then went into his Numereji skin and slept. He has remained there ever since, and there are still old met' alive who have seen him. Later on, the salt water came up and mixed with the fresh, hurting his eyes, so that he went down under ground, where he can still be seen by the medicine men.

The elder brother is now the Numereji of the southern division of the Kakadu tribe. The net that changed into a snake is the Numereji of the northern division. It is supposed to live at a place called Mungaddabremner on the East Alligator River, and no native, except medicine men, go there, because they are afraid that he would pull them into the water and eat them. The younger brother is now the Numereji of the Geimbio people.

Tradition of Eribinjori, the Crocodile.

Two black-fellows, who were the sons of different women, each of whom, however, was called Nimbiamananogo, went out hunting with the two women, their mothers. The men caught ducks and Karakera (spur-winged plover) on the plains, while the women got plenty of Wurijonga, that is, lily-roots and seeds, in the water pools.

At this time the men had no fire and did not know how to make it, but the women did. The latter cooked their food while the men were away in the bush and ate it by themselves. When they were just finishing they saw the men returning, away in the distance. As they did not want them to know about the fire, they quickly gathered up the ashes, which were still alight, and put them up their vulvas, so that the men should not see them. When the men came close up they said, yaninga kutjali? where or which way is the fire? The women replied, kaio kutjali, there is no kutjali; and then there was a great dispute and much noise. Finally the lubras gave the men some of their cooked Wurijonga or lily cake. When they had eaten a great deal of meat and Wurijonga they all went to sleep for a long time. Once more, when they awoke, the men went out hunting and the women cooked their food. The weather was very hot and the remnant of the first lot of birds that the men had brought in and had not eaten had gone bad. The men brought in a fresh supply, and again, ever, when they were a long way off, they saw the fire burning brightly in the women's camp. A spur-winged plover flew up and gave warning to the women that the men were coming back. Once more, they hid the fire and ashes, in the same way as before, and, again, the men asked where the fire was; the women were positive that they had none at all. The men said, We saw it. The women replied, No, you are gammoning, we have no fire. The men said, We saw a big fire; if you have no fire, which way do you cook your food? has the sun cooked it? If the sun cooks your lilies, why does it not cook our ducks and stop them from going bad. There was no reply to this. They all went to sleep, and when they woke up the men left the women and dug up the root of an iron-wood tree and got resin (kapei) from it.

Then they each took two sticks and found that they could make fire by rubbing them on one another. They said, That is all right. They had a long talk and decided to transform themselves into Eribinjori, or large crocodiles. Up to that time there were no such creatures, and they discussed what they were to be like. First of all they took a large lump of iron-wood resin, or kapei. They made a framework for their heads out of a very tough wood, called Umbarndil, using a flat stone for the top of the head. The rest of it they modelled out of kapei. Then they gathered some of the stiff stalks of all everlasting plant, called Benagra-benagra, and pierced holes for the nose. This done, they went to the jungle and cut Winbegi, or cane, to make a slit for the mouth. They made two of these frameworks, one for each man, and then put the whole thing over their heads. Then in order, so the natives told us, to enable them to breathe under water, they pierced their lungs from the outside, on each side of the body, with Winbegi knives and filled them with air through the openings thus made. One man pierced his first, and as he was successful, the other did the same. Then, with his crocodile head on, one of them dived into the water and swam away under the surface for a quarter of a mile or more. When he came to the surface he sang out, I am here now. Then the second man dived in, followed after the first and found him. They said, We are here together. Then they began playing about and had a race in the water, travelling at a great pace and ending up level.

The making of the heads had taken a long time, so that they had now been away two days, and, after discussing the matter, they decided to return to camp. Before doing so, however, they laid their crocodile heads on one side, hiding them from view, so that the women could not see them. As they went back, they once more saw the lubras making fire, and, again, the plover rose and gave the women warning. They wanted to know why the men had been away so long, where they had gone to, and what they had been doing, but the men said nothing at all.

Late in the afternoon, the women took their chipoiyu, or fishing nets, and set them in the water, where they left them all night. The next morning they went early to take them out. As they went along, one said to the other, I wonder if we shall find any fish in them. They had no clothing on, but daubed themselves over with mud. When they reached the water pool they went in, Meanwhile, however, the men had gone ahead of them, by a roundabout track. They fixed their crocodile heads on and dived into the water, so that, when the women came up and began to try to pull their nets out, they had no idea that the men had left their camp, much less that, in the form of crocodiles, they were hanging on to, and making the nets so heavy that the women could not move them. At last the lubras put their hands into the nets to find out what was the matter. The crocodiles bit them, dragged them under water and killed them, as the natives say, wariji ge, dead altogether.

When all was over, the Eribinjori men brought the bodies out on to the bank of the water pool and said to them, Get up, go. Why did you tell us lies about the fire? But there was no reply from the women; they were completely dead.

The two men kept their crocodile heads on, but they still had black-fellow legs and arms. They stood up, stretched themselves, and shouted out that they were going to cease from being black-fellows and would always be crocodiles. They threw away their sticks and spears, in fact everything that they had, changed their bodies, arms, and legs, and then, having made themselves completely into crocodiles, dived into the water in which they have lived ever since.

Tradition of Ungulla Robunbun.

A woman, named Ungulla Robunbun, came from placed called Palientoi, which lies between two rivers that are now known as the McKinlay and the Mary. She spoke the language of the Noenmil "people" and had many children. She started off to walk to Kraigpa, a place at the head of the Wildman Creek. Some of her children she carried on her shoulders, others on her hips, and one or two of them walked. At Kraigpan she left one boy and one girl and told them to speak the Quiratari (or Quiradari) language. Then she walked on to Koarnbo Creek, near the salt water at Murungaraiyu, where she left a boy and a girl and told them to speak Koarnbut. Travelling on to Kupalu, she left the Koarnbut language behind her and crossed over what is now called the East Alligator River, to its west side. She came on to Nimbaku and left a boy and a girl there and told them to speak the Wijirk language. From here she journeyed on across the plains stretching between the Alligator rivers to Koreingen, the place to which Imberombera had previously sent out two individuals named Pundamunga and Maramma. Ungulla Robunbun saw them and said to her children, There are black fellows here; they are talking Kakadu; that is very good talk; this is Kakadu country that we are now in.

Ungulla went on until she came near enough for them to hear her speaking. She said, I am Kakadu like you; I will belong to this country; you and I will talk the same language. Ungulla then told them to come close up, which they did, and then she saw that the young woman was quite naked. Ungalla herself was completely clothed in sheets of ranken, or paper bark, and she took one off, folded it up, and showed the lubra how to make an apron such as the Kakadu women always wear now. She told the lubra that she did not wish to see her going about naked. Then they all sat down. Ungulla said, Are you a lubra, and she replied, Yes, I am ungordiwa. Then Ungulla said, I have seen Koreingen a long way off; I am going there. Where is your camp? The Kakadu woman said, I shall go back to my camp if you go to Munganillida. Ungulla then rose and walked on with her children. On the road some of them began to cry and she said, Bialilla waji kobali, many children are crying; ameina waji kobali, why are many children crying? She was angry and killed two of them, a boy and a girl, and left them behind. Going on, she came near to Koreingung and saw a number of men and women in camp and made her own camp some little distance from theirs. She then walked on to Koreingung and said, Here is a black-fellow's camp; I will make mine here also.

She set to work to make a shelter, saying, Kunjerogabi ngoinbu kobonji, I build a grass shelter; mornia balgi, there is a big mob of mosquitoes. As yet the natives had not seen Ungulla or her children. There were plenty of fires in the natives' camps but no mosquitoes. They did not have any of these before Ungulla came, bringing them with her. She went into her shelter with her children and slept. After a time she came out again and then the other natives caught sight of her. Some of the younger Numulakirri determined to go to her camp. When she saw them coming she went into her kobonji and armed herself with a strong stick. She was Markogo, that is, elder sister, to the men, and, as they came up, she shouted out from her bush wurley, saying, What are you all coming for, you are my illaberri (younger brothers)? I am kumali to you. They said nothing but came on with their hands behind their backs. As soon as they were close to the entrance to her shelter she suddenly jumped up, scattering the grass and boughs in all directions. She yelled loudly and, with her great stick, hit them all on their private parts. She was so powerful that she killed them all and their bodies tumbled into the water hole close by. Then she went to the camp where the women and children had remained behind and drove them ahead of her into the water. The bones of all these natives are still there in the form of stones with which also their spirit parts are associated. When all was over the woman stood in her camp. First of all she pulled out her kumara (vagina) and threw it away, saying, This belongs to the lubras. Then she threw her breasts away and a wairbi, or woman's fighting stick, saying that they all belonged to the lubras. From her dilly bag she took a paliarti, or flat spear-thrower {Atlatl?--jbh}, and a light reed spear, called kunjolio, and, throwing them away, shouted out, These are for the men.

She then took a sharp-pointed blade of grass called Karani, caught a mosquito (mornia) and fixed it on to his head (reri), so that it could "bite" and said, Your name is mornia. She also gave him instructions, saying, yapo mapolio, jirongadda mitjerijoro, go to the plains, close to the mangroves; manungel jereini jauo, eat men's blood; kumanga kaio mornia, (in) the bush no mosquitoes. That is why mosquitoes are always so abundant amongst the mangroves. When she had done this Ungalla gathered her remaining children together and, with them, went into the water hole.

There were a great many natives, and, after they were dead, their skins became transformed into different kinds of birds. Some of them changed into small owls, called Irre-idill, which catch fish. When they hear the bird calling out at night they say dodo, which means wait, or, later on; to-morrow morning we will put a net in and catch some fish for you. Others turned into Kurra-liji-liji, a bird that keeps a look out to see if any strange natives are about. If a man wants to find out if any strangers are coming he says to the bird, umbordera jereini einji? are men coming to-day? If they are, the bird answers, pitjit, pitjit. Others changed into Jidikera-jidikera, or willy wagtails, which keep a look out for buffaloes and crocodiles. Others, again, changed into dark-coloured kites, called Daigonora, which keep a look out to see if any hostile natives are coming up to "growl." A man will say to one of these, Daigonora, if he sees it in a tree, Breikul jereini jeri, that is, far away, are there men coming to growl? If the bird replies to him he knows that they are coming, but if it makes no sound, then he knows there are no strangers about. Others changed into Moaka, or crows, that show natives where geese are to be found; others into Tidji-tidji, a little bird that shows them where the sugar-bags may be secured; others into Mundoro, a bird that warns them when natives are coming up to steal a lubra. Some, again, changed into Murara, the "mopoke," which warns them if enemies are coming up in strong numbers. They ask the bird, and if it answers with a loud "mopoke" they know that there are none about and that they have no need to be anxious, but if it answers with a low call, then they know that hostile natives are somewhere in the neighbourhood, and a man will remain on watch all night. Some of the women changed into laughing jackasses.

All these birds are supposed to understand what the black-fellows say, though they cannot themselves speak. While the men were explaining matters to us they spoke to two or three wagtails that came close up and twittered. The men said that the birds wanted to know what we were talking about, but they told them that they must go away and not listen, which they did.

Before finally going into the water hole Ungulla called out the names of the natives to whom she said the country belonged. They were all the children of Pundamunga and Maramma.


Various Traditions, Customs, and Beliefs

Tradition of Bubba Peibi.--Tradition of Dodaduriman.--A mischievous spirit enticing a native away.--Ceremonies concerned with the eating of Nuppadaitba.--Rain making in the Kakadu tribe.--Tradition of a snake man named Ngabadaua and of two snake women named Narenma.--Lubra sending the salt water back.-- Restrictions on speaking.--Ceremony to drive mosquitoes away.--Navel string or Worlu.--Child born dead.--The rainbow.--Menstrual flow.--Sticks given to a woman when enceinte.--Nose boring.--Beliefs with regard to animals.--Sun, moon, and stars.--Traditions concerning Uruanda, a snake man of the Mungarai tribe.--Tradition of Namaran, a Thunder man of the Mungarai tribe.--Tradition of Gulmurlu and his sons.--Tradition concerning McDougall's Bluff.--Tradition concerning Kulakueungini, a Rainbow man of the Nullakun tribe.--Naming of children.

Tradition of Bubba Peibi. (Fig. 67.)

BUBBA PEIBI is a very short, stout individual, only about two feet six inches high. He has long spears and a large meilla, or basket. He walks about in the water holes at night time, catching fish. In shallow water he takes them out with his hands and puts them in his meilla. As he wanders about he talks to himself, saying, Bi, Brr; Bi, Brr, with a long roll on the r. In deep water he uses his spears. If he sees a Kimberikara, or Barramunda fish, he spears it in the neck, which he then bites and puts it in his large bag, or meilla. This he is supposed to drag behind him through the water (Fig. 67). Then, perhaps, he spears a cat-fish and treats it in the same way; then a Kunaitja, or mullet, the neck of which he breaks with his hands. When he has caught enough fish he ties the mouths of his bags up, and, carrying them on his head, goes back to his own place, saying, Bi, Brr, Brr.

He lives inside a big Banyan tree, by the side of a paper bark creek. The hole in this tree, through which he passes, is only a small one, but he can enlarge it by breathing through it, and, when once he has passed, either in or out, it closes up. At the top of the trunk there is a hole through which air comes in. He makes a fire inside the trunk and cooks his fish there. Within the tree, also, he has a wife and children. The ordinary black-fellow cannot see him, but the Margi, or medicine men, can, and they also talk to him. Sometimes a medicine man happens to be close by when he comes back to the Banyan tree after one of his fishing excursions. Bubba Peibi says, Koyada ngainma bo, don't hit me. The medicine man says, Koyada kumeri, don't be frightened; ngai unkoregora; ngoro araji, I watch; you go inside.

Sometimes, when Bubba Peibi is out fishing and a medicine man hears him and is afraid that he will catch all the fish and leave none for the black-fellow, he plays a trick on him. He can go so quietly to the water hole that Bubba Peibi does not know he is there. In the water he hangs on to the large bag, or Meilla, that Bubba Peibi drags behind him, and the little man tugs and tugs, but cannot move it. Accordingly, he goes back to find out what is the matter, and, while he is feeling about to see if the bag has been caught by something, the Margi takes hold of his hand. Bubba Peibi is very alarmed, but the Margi says, don't be frightened, but go to another water hole and do not catch all the fish here. Bubba Peibi then ties up his bag, takes his spears and goes away. The ordinary natives can hear him talking to himself as he walks through the water, but only the Margi can see him.

Tradition of Dodaduriman.

In the far past times, which the Waduman people call Jabulungu, an old woman named Dodaduriman came up from the salt water, following along what is now the valley of the Daly River, which she made during her travels. As she journeyed on she also made the grass, trees, rocks, country, in fact everything. At last she came to what is now called the Flora River, but then called Tjaral, which she made as well as the Flora and Kathleen Falls, called, respectively, Tjarang and Tjimumum. At the former she made the rocky bar that now serves as a crossing for the natives. On her back she carried a large pitchi, as large as a boat, called nitjari, full of salt-water mussels, or naribu, on which she fed. Finally, she stopped at a place called Middle Waters, or Idodban, and there went down under the water. At the present day there is a spring at this spot which is always bubbling, and the natives believe that this is due to Dodaduriman's fire that she keeps alight down below.

It was Dodaduriman who first of all told the Waduman natives that they must not marry any lubra, indiscriminately. She gave them their class names and told them whom each was to marry and who their children would be.

A Mischievous Spirit Enticing a Native Away.

One of the Kakadu men named Ungara told us of an adventure that befell him one day when he was out in the bush cutting stringy-bark. He had been working hard all day and was coming back, carrying a number of sheets of bark on his head. They were very heavy, and it was just sundown as he came within sight of the camp. A spirit, or Myormu,1 belonging to another district, unfortunately happened to be lurking about in search of mischief. It saw Ungara coming along carrying the sheets of bark and, hiding itself in the scrub till he had gone by, came out, followed him up, caught hold of one corner of the sheets and threw him down. Ungara heard a noise in the grass very much like that made by a kangaroo, but, though he looked round, he could see nothing. He picked the sheets up and tried to go on, but he became very deaf and almost blind. Then he sang out, Woi-i, Woi-i, hoping to attract the attention of some of his mates. He thought that he was quite close to the camp, and the Iwaiyu kept on answering him, crying, Kuwi! Kuwi! which he thought was the natives answering his call. He followed in the direction of the sound and it led him away from his camp right across the bush into the mangrove swamps. Fortunately the men in camp had caught sight of him and followed him up, shouting Kuwi! Kuwi! They could not understand why he was walking in the wrong direction, but he could only hear the call of the Myormu or mischievous spirit. When once he got amongst the mangroves he knew that there was something wrong because he had come into a strange place. The natives came close up, but, even then, he could not hear them, though they shouted at the top of their voices until, finally, they lost sight of him in the thick mangroves. Fortunately, the Myormu, or Yalmuru, became frightened because there were so many natives about. Ungara climbed up one of the mangrove trees and said, Jirongadda, breikul, which means, close by, far off, the first in reference to the voice of the Myormu, the second to the camp-fire which he could see blazing away in the distance.

1. The Kakadu and allied tribes believe that the Yalmurus of other tribes come into their (that is, the Kakadu) country in order to work evil magic. This can only be frustrated by means of the careful watch that the Yalmuru of each Kakadu native is supposed to keep over the latter. Such evil-disposed Yalmurus belonging to other tribes are called Myormu, or Mormo, a general term applied to evil or mischievous spirits.]

By now it was dark, and, of course, the black-fellows realised that it was a Myormu that was enticing Ungara away. The latter, after the departure of the spirit, said to himself, koi pari, which means, literally, leave behind, that is, he determined to leave the mangrove swamp and go in search of the fires that he could see burning away in the distance. After a long time he made his way out of the swamp, and then the natives found him and took him back to camp.

If the men had not come up in large numbers and frightened the Myormu away the latter would have carried Ungara off to a place called Delborjii--a cave in the Ranges that can only be entered by the Margi, or medicine men. When once a man has been carried into this cave he can only be rescued by aid of the Iwaiyu, or Yalmuru, of his father, or some Kaka (father's father), or Baranga (elder brother). The latter spirit goes into the cave and says to the hostile Yalmuru, who has decoyed the man in, What are you doing with my boy? He pushes the Yalmuru down and tells him to stay in the cave, and then he takes the man away out into the scrub. While he is asleep, the friendly Yalmuru, or Iwaiyu, who has rescued him, tells him that he has been taken away by a Yalmuru who belongs to another country or, as he says, onji tjikaru, another tongue or talk. The man wakes up in the morning and goes to his own camp, where he becomes very ill. If there is a medicine man there he knows at once what is the matter, and says, Yalmuru mumaladjinu boro, which is a very strong expression--a most emphatic cursing of the hostile Yalmuru. First of all he gazes into the patient's eyes, then he massages the sides of his body and, after a time, and as the result of long-continued sucking, extracts something, such as a kunununeli--the finger-nail of a Yalmuru. After this has been successfully withdrawn, the man goes to sleep and, next morning, wakes up perfectly well and normal.

Ceremonies Concerned with the Eating of Nuppadaitba.

In the Kakadu tribe there is a special fish, called Nuppadaitba, in regard to the eating of which there are, for some reason, very rigid restrictions. It lives only in deep water pools and may only be caught by really old men and they must use nets or spears. The restrictions vary also in regard to different water pools. As usual there are no restrictions on the children until they reach, respectively, the status of Mulakirri and Yingulakirri, that is, they are from ten to twelve years old.

At one water pool, called Mungauilada, only Kakadu men may eat them, no one else may do so under very severe penalties. If anyone should venture to break this rule and to attempt to catch and eat them there, his eyes and ears would swell up and sores would break out all over his body. At Mungauilada also, it is only the very old Kakadu men who may catch them and, even when thus caught, no young man must touch them. A man's hair must be turning grey before he can eat them. He must also have attended at least four Ober ceremonies, though this in itself would not exclude many full grown men. One day, two fully initiated men were talking to us about Nuppadaitba. One of them, named Kopereik, was about fifty years old, the other, named Mitjeralak, was between thirty and thirty-five. The latter was not allowed to touch, much less eat them. If he were to do so he told us that his arm would grow crooked. On the other hand he may eat them if they are caught at a water pool called Nirriligauwa. Permission to do so had been given to him by Kopereik but, even now, he will only eat the fish at this place if he is in the company of older men. At Nirriligauwa women and children may eat the fish under special conditions. No Ningari youth, or girl of corresponding age, may touch them. For a woman to be allowed to eat the fish it must be brought into camp on the point of the spear by which it was secured. If it tumbles off before the camp is reached, then only old men may eat it. It must also be struck with a short throwing stick, called mumbarnbo, while it is still on the spear point. If these conditions are complied with, and unless there be a good supply of fish probably they are not, the women may eat. The old men also can make it fit for younger men to eat at this place by breaking the fish's neck.

Mischievous spirits, belonging to another tribe, sometimes place Nuppadaitba bones that they have "sung" in a Kakadu man whom they desired to injure. This is a very serious form of magic and can only be cured by an exceptionally able medicine man. The operation, as shown to us, was as follows (Figs. 68, 69). The patient lies down on the ground, flat on his back. The doctor kneels down beside him, leans over him and first of all blows on his chest. Then he massages him and finally passes his hand through his own arm-pit, so as to remove some of the perspiration that has gathered on the Wingorka, or hairs. This is rubbed into the man's chest and then the medicine man sets to work to suck hard until, bit by bit, he has removed all the bones.

After the fish has been eaten all the bones must be gathered together and burnt by the old men. If any were left lying about and a native should chance to tread on them he would soon lose the use of his legs and his arms also would most probably be affected.

Curiously, the bones are not used for "pointing" amongst the Kakadu themselves.

Tradition says that, in the old times, one man first of all caught a Nuppadaitba at Mungauilada and ate it. He found it good and told the others. Then a second man tried with the same result; then, one by one, they all caught and ate the fish. They were not very old men. After a time their legs began to swell enormously, sores broke out all over them and, finally, they all died. Other natives, who had, fortunately for themselves, not been to the water pool nor eaten the fish, decided that they were poisonous and must be kumali at Mungauilada and could only be eaten by very old men.

Rain Making in the Kakadu Tribe.

In the early days, Imberombera, when she ceased from her travels at a place called Inbinjairi, sent out various pairs of individuals to different parts of the country and, amongst these, were two named Kroaran, a man, and Munjerimala, a woman, whom she instructed to go to Baringadamba and stay there. In their turn, they also sent out pairs of individuals, of whom one pair, named Muraupu, a man, and Juluuperi, a woman, went to a place called Kupperi in Kakadu country. This man, Muraupu, was the great rain maker. One season there was scarcely any food and everything was quite dry. The fish were very poor and most of the water pools, even the deeper ones, were dried up.

Muraupu made a bough shed over a tidal creek that then ran down, and still does, into the East Alligator River. In this he placed logs (jamba) and put fire sticks (yungornu) on the top of them. Then he went back to his camp and waited. As the tide rose, the water came up until it covered the bough shed. It came bubbling up and then went back again. Clouds began to come up out of the salt water and soon the rains came. The sticks were left till they were covered with an evil smelling ooze, called kurawarwa. Then a kind of steam came out of them, like light clouds. It went away to the sea, down the river and then returned in the form of mokornbo--a light, misty rain that always comes from the west. When the natives see this, they know that the heavy rains are over and there will only be showers.

At the present day the rain maker still performs this ceremony. After the rain season, when the young geese begin to swim about, the yungornu sticks are taken out from the bush house and hung on trees. Later on, they are distributed amongst the men. The jamba, also, are taken into the bush and burnt, or else, if they were not destroyed, the rains would never cease.

There is only one rain maker in the Kakadu tribe, at any one time. The present holder of the position is a man named Niulu Bornjoan and he received his powers from his elder brother, who is now dead.

Tradition of a Snake Man Named Ngabadaua and Two Snake Women Named Narenma.

There is a special snake called Ngabadaua of which the natives are very frightened and the following legend is told to account for it. There was a black-fellow named Ngabadaua who, at first, was a man and not a snake. He had with him two women who were mother and daughter and were called Narenma, which was the name of a snake belonging to the Kakadu people. The Ngabadaua man wished to take the younger Marenma woman as his wife but she would not consent because she wished to have a Kakadu man as her husband.

Ngabadaua went out hunting and caught four large lizards which he brought into the camp and told the younger woman to cook.1 She declined to do so and then he asked her mother to cook them but she also refused.

Ngabadaua then went out into the bush and made tracks like those of a Narenma. He returned and told the women that he had seen some tracks made by a Narenma man. They at once started out to look for them and, when they had gone, Ngabadaua himself ran rapidly by a round-about track through the bush to a hole that he had dug in the course of the tracks. After changing himself into a snake he went into the hole. The younger woman found the tracks first, showed them to her mother and then, together, they followed them up until they came to the hole. The younger one began to poke a stick that she carried with her into the hole but her mother told her to stop doing so because there was nothing in it. However, the former gathered a handful of grass, put it in the hole and held it there while her mother poked with a stick. The Ngabadaua bit the younger woman's hand and she cried out, saying, I am bitten. The mother still continued poking and then the snake bit her on the wrist and came out, saying, I will always bite black-fellows. That is why the natives are now so frightened of Ngabadaua.

1. The cooking of food for a man by a woman is a sign that the latter is the wife of the former.]

Lubra Sending the Salt Water Back.

Two lubras in the Kakadu country, which, in the far past time, was almost covered with salt water, made an earth oven, or peindi, in the usual way, digging out a hole, lighting a fire in it and placing stones on the fire. One was a woman of the Wetta tribe and Kualpur, or ground rat, totem, the other was a Kakadu woman of the Monmorlpur, or tree rat, totem. The Kakadu said to the Wetta woman, Bring your food and we will put it on the fire. The Wetta woman did not answer. Again she said, Bring your food, and repeated this, time after time, without receiving any answer. She was standing by the fire with her digging stick. When the stones were hot she raked the fire out of the hole and left the stones in. At last, the Wetta woman said, wombotta, that is, what is it? The Kakadu woman said, Why do you not answer me in my own tongue? Then she grasped her stick and hit the Wetta woman so hard on her head that she fell down insensible and, whilst on the ground, the Kakadu woman hit her on the back. When she came to herself again, the Kakadu woman told her to go away to another country and talk Wetta. So she went,, leaving the Kakadu woman by herself.

The latter went and stood by the side of the salt water, which then covered the plains and said to herself, I will throw these hot stones in, saying, at the same time, aworkai breikul kadjira, go back long way salt water. It chanced that one of the hot stones fell on the back of Numereji, the great snake, who was under the water and he immediately went off into the deep sea, taking the water with him and leaving the plains dry. The woman then changed herself into a Monmorlpur rat, making, also, all of these animals that now exist. The other woman was transformed into a Kualpur rat and made all of these.

Restrictions on Speaking.

In the Kakadu tribe, a man may speak to his elder sisters, but only if they be thirty or forty yards away. He may not speak to his younger sisters under any conditions. They are supposed to keep out of his way, and, if he comes upon one of them suddenly and she is quite close to him, he is justified in hitting her.

He must not look at his mother-in-law or allow her to do anything for him. If he be a long way off he may shout to her. If she brings anything up to where he may happen to be, she must approach from behind so that they cannot see one another.

Ceremony to Drive Mosquitoes Away.

When mosquitoes become very troublesome the old men of the totem in the Waduman tribe make imitation mosquitoes, which they call Wallangulin kakilil. They each wear one in front and one behind, fixed in their belts. They dance about, clenching their fists and moving their arms up and down, time after time, singing loudly, Wallangulin kalilil, Wallangulin kalil, ending up with a loud Ya! Ya! Ya! They imagine that they are killing the insect. When this is over they hand the imitation insects to the other men, who dance while the mosquito men sing.

Navel String, or Worlu.

This is cut off, by means of a mussel-shell, about two inches from the abdomen. It is dried and carried about, until the child is about five years old, in one of the small bags that, in the Kakadu and allied tribes, the native habitually wears suspended from a string round the neck. When once the child can move about freely it is merely thrown into a water pool, without any ceremony, but, up to that time, it must be carefully preserved or else the child becomes very ill and probably dies. Should the child die before it is thrown away, it is burnt, but, on the other hand, if it be burnt while the child is alive, either before or after such time as the child can walk about, the result again is serious illness and probably death. If the child dies while the mother is carrying the Worlu, the death is attributed to the fact that the mother has broken one of the kumali rules; she must, they say, have eaten forbidden food or washed in deep water, so that the child's spirit has gone from it. The father says to the mother, Bialila niandida; ameina jau ngeinyimma; bialila, wariji; the child (was) good; what kind of food (have) You (eaten); the child is dead. He is very angry with the woman, and often punishes her severely.

Child Born Dead.

If a child is born dead this is often attributed by the Kakadu to Numereji, the snake, who is supposed to have caused the spirit of the child, or iwaiyu, to leave the mother's body while she was bathing. Women who are about to become mothers must not go into water while the wind blows at all strongly. The swish of the waves is due to Numereji. The spirit part of the child is frightened and leaves the mother's body, hastening back to its old camping place. The natives say that, when the body leaves the mother, the spirit sometimes comes and looks at it, and, at a later time, may go inside the same woman again.

The Rainbow.

The rainbow is supposed by the Kakadu to be the Iwaiyu of a Numereji snake. When the latter spits he makes rain, and says, Ganji Iwaiyu, ngoro muralla, Iwaiyu ngainma--up above Iwaiyu, go spittle, my Iwaiyu. It does so in the form of a rainbow which is supposed to stop the rain. As the natives say, Iwaiyu Numereji yapunga, kaio kuriaio--(when) Numereji's Iwaiyu comes out, no rain. The rainbow, when it melts away, is supposed to go back, underground, to Numereji.

Menstrual Flow

This is called kupara medjaur by the Kakadu natives. The pain felt by the woman is supposed to be caused by something that breaks near her heart. First of all the blood accumulates in a special bag inside, called kunamilami. It is when this bursts that the blood flows. At the first time of menstruation, the girl says to her mother, Koiyu, munangel, mother, blood. The latter says Mapa, ngoibu araji, child (put) grass under (you). A quantity of long grass stalks are cut and the girl sits on them with her legs tightly closed. The grass stalks are placed on the ground under a special bush shade, called Moiab, built some little distance away from the camp by the girl's future husband, who does not, however, as yet go near to her. She is looked after entirely by her mother and must not leave the wurley. Fresh supplies of grass are brought in, but all is kept until the flow has ceased. if any should by chance touch a man, if he were to put his foot on it, the foot would soon rot away. When the flow has ceased the mother brings a leaf basket full of water and pours the latter over the girl's head while she is still in the wurley. At the same time she gets some yellow ochre with which she paints lines on the girl's body, back and front, and over her eyes. These marks are called jebil. This takes place in the afternoon. Meantime she has told the girl's father that the flow has ceased, and he tells the girl's future husband to go and paint her. He, accordingly, adds some marks to those already on her body and after this goes away. The girl's mother puts wristlets called Kujorju and armlets on her.

The blood-stained grass has been removed and wrapped up in paper bark by the old woman, who says to the girl, kutjali kala mapa; jereini kuberloairda kupara moiyu; kadju jau wariji, which means freely translated, burn it with fire, my child; if it gets into the tracks of men their feet will be sore; if dogs eat it they will die.

During all the time that the girl is in the wurley she must have a fire specially made, if she needs one-it must not be brought from the main camp fire nor must her food be cooked there. If the smell of any fish or food cooking at the main camp fire comes to her she must immediately close her nostrils with grass. Should she deliberately smell anything cooked at the main camp fire, then the first child that she bears will be very small.

{TO SCAN P. 328 and 329} away from the home camp, where the mother and child are living, they halt for an hour or two, and are then invited to come in.

The mother brings the child up to them, having previously painted a white line across its forehead and lines of dots across its cheeks and nose. She herself is decorated in just the same way. The stick is given to the child, together with different kinds of dilly bags (buloko and mela), waist girdles (quiappa), etc., brought by the visitors, to whom the relatives of the child give spears in exchange, or, if they have brought spears, then they receive dilly bags, etc. After this is over, a general corrobboree is held.

As yet no name is given to the child, though the father knows what it is to be. Finally, he takes the stick, breaks it in pieces, and throws them into a water pool.

Nose Boring.

Amongst the Kakadu natives the operation of boring through the nasal septum, called mupairma reiyi, is performed by the father, elder brother, or jaidja. It is conducted when they are young-at the status of mulakirri, if a boy, or yingulakirri, if a girl--in either case the child is not more than ten or twelve years old. During the operation the patient is told, boy and girl alike, that he must no longer eat goose, goanna, eagle-hawk, jabiru, or turtle; if he were to do so his nose would rot away. They now point to a man in camp, named Ungortju, who has lost his nose through disease, as a striking example of what happens if a boy breaks the kumali and eats what he should not, like Ungortju is supposed to have done. It is probable that Ungortju is perfectly innocent of having infringed any tribal rule, but both he himself and everyone else in the camp now firmly believe him to have been guilty.

During the operation the patient lies down on the ground with his head on the knees of the operator. As a boring instrument, the pointed fibula of a kangaroo is used. This is called yardbi, and, holding it in his right hand, the operator pulls the septum down with his left and soon pierces it. The bone is taken out and replaced by a short length of bamboo. As soon as this is in place the father says, jauo Kulekuli, eat cat-fish; koyada Kunembo, koyada Pitjordu, koyada Karakera, koyada Kulungeni, don't eat goose, goanna, spur-winged plover, flying fox; Nanji, jau mort, eat fish always. In about a month's time the father tells the boy to go and bathe. He does so, and softens the wound in his nose so that he can pull out the bamboo, which he washes, brings back to the camp, and shows to his father, replacing it by a length of cane grass.

Beliefs with Regard to Animals.

The willi-wagtail, probably because it is a very friendly bird, always hopping and twittering about the camp, is supposed to be especially associated with the natives. The Margi, or medicine men, of the Kakadu tribe, tell the latter that the bird is a relative of theirs and that when they hear it twittering the Yalmuru, or Iwaiyu, of someone, such as their father or father's brother, is close at hand and will show them where there is game to be captured. The Margi says, You will not see anything but you will feel it, that is the Iwaiyu, inside you.

The Kakadu men have an extraordinary belief in regard to the mutual behaviour of Goannas (a species of Varanus lizard) and turtles. They say that a Goanna, or Pitjordu, will go out and search around until it smells a turtle that has burrowed underground. During the dry season, the small fresh-water and land turtles aestivate in holes that they hollow out for themselves in the mud around the margin of a water pool. The ground dries and cracks above them and here they remain until the next rains fall. Having smelt a turtle, the Goanna digs it up and then in some way, so the natives say, persuades it to follow it to its own hole, which it gives up in favour of the turtle and retires into another. The time comes when the turtle lays its eggs and then these are eaten by the Goanna. A native told me that not long ago he had seen a Goanna leading a turtle along in this way and had killed them both. It is probably a myth due to the fact that at some time a Goanna has been found eating turtle eggs in a hole where there was also a turtle. The natives, however, were quite clear on the point.

Sun, Moon, and Stars.

The Waduman call stars, in general, Millijen; the evening star they call Illurgan; the southern cross, Kamerinji. They are all supposed to be round, white stones.

In the ancient times, called Jabulunga, the moon was a man named Kandauuk. He had three dogs called Madburunga, Kajalimbilimbi, and Murtgijina. At first, and for a long time, he lived in a great cave in a hill, at a place called Laguning, far away to the West. When he died his Yungeba, or spirit,1 went up into the sky and gave rise to the moon. He also had an old kangaroo (inumbergo) and, with this and his three dogs, he can now be seen in the moon. Full moon is called Igul, half moon is Idadad and new, or crescent, is Wurdu. Moonrise is Tjuinma, moon-set is Yagadjun.

The sun is called Maningeni, or Ngurun, by the Waduman and Wulgnun by the Mudburra and is supposed to have been an old woman. When the sun sets it goes into a hole that leads through the earth-hence the darkness at night. The moon follows the sun in, sometimes almost directly, sometimes not till the next morning.

1. in the Waduman tribe the spirit of a living man is called Yibi; that of a dead man, Yungeba.]

Traditions Concerning Uruandu, a Snake Man of the Mungarai Tribe.

The snake called Uruanda (or Uruundu) arose, first of all, at a place far away to the north called Uulu, where a large Banyan tree arose to mark the spot. He went down into the ground, travelled away towards the mouth of the Roper River and then turned back on his tracks and came out at Dalauung, where there is a water-pool with a waterfall and a big rock in the middle that arose to mark the spot. Once more he went down and came out at a place called Jungun on the Roper River, where he stood up and looked back at Dalauung and said, "I am a long way off now; I will stay here; this is my country." A large tree and water hole arose to mark the spot and he went down into the water. Travelling on he came to Warrak-Warrak, further to the west on the Roper River, and from here looked back at Jungun. Then he went into the ground again and travelled to Dinyi, a water pool in the Elsey Creek, not far from the telegraph line. Then he went on to Gundamir, which lies to the west of the line. Here he came up above the ground and straightened himself out. A creek, now called Wry Creek, arose to mark the line of his march. He made a round hole, called Uro, where there is no water. Leaving the creek, he went along a stony flat to Daly Waters and then on to Imumyangun, which is so called because he left his eyes (Imum) behind him there and went on blind. He lost his way and went along wandering about until he came to Jinjindilly, where he found a billabong close to what is now Delamere Station. Then he travelled to Waiaramma, where a large tree arose; then to a small billabong called Ibululan, where another tree arose, Here he said, "I have got no eyes, I cannot go any further." Then he returned to his own country, to Jaupanna, on the Six Mile Creek, not far from Delamere. The natives will drink water here but will not bathe; if they did they would be caught by a big snake and dragged under.

Uruanda carried plenty of spirit children, called mallmall, with him and he also had a number of Kunapippi, or sacred sticks, but no spirit children were associated with these, nor was his own spirit part.

Tradition of Namaran, a Thunder Man of the Mungarai Tribe.

On the side of a hill, called Lurudminni, at the base of which lies the water pool, called Crescent Lagoon by the whites and Dadba by the natives, there are flat, table-like outcrops of sandstone on which are a considerable number of what look like pounding holes, cup-shaped in structure. They are evidently of great antiquity, and are certainly not used at the present day. It is indeed difficult to form any surmise as to when they were made, and what they were used for. They must be 150 feet above the level of the lagoon, and there is no special growth of any edible objects in the district requiring pounding which would account for their presence. They vary in size from very small circular depressions, perhaps an inch to two inches in diameter, and an eighth to half an inch in depth, to symmetrically-shaped, roughly hemispherical, cup-like depressions ten to twelve inches in diameter, and six to eight inches in depth (Fig. 70). On one slab of rock, of which a portion is represented, measuring about eight feet in length by four in greatest width, there were nine holes of various sizes, the smaller ones having evidently just been begun when the place was abandoned. It is quite evident from the way in which they are weather-worn, with slight projecting ridges running all round the depressions, each one corresponding to the position of a harder film in the rock, that it is long since they have been used. The natives know nothing definite about them. They are clearly of human manufacture, and strongly call to mind the cup-like structures found in other parts of the world. I have seen nothing like them anywhere else in Australia, and they seem to be the work of a people inhabiting the country before the present natives came. The latter, at all events, have no knowledge of their origin and meaning, and attribute them to the work of Namaran, the thunder man, who arose in early times at Lurudminni. He sat down inside the lagoon at Dadba, which is also called Maiigman (lightning) by the men, though the women do not know this name. At the bottom of the pool he lived in a hole a great rock, which is called Nanan. He made rain that filled the lagoon, and used to go in and out of the stone, where he camped all day. He had plenty of spirit children with him, and lived at Dadba before there was any hill called Lurudminni; in fact, he made this, and it was in trying to open up the rock that he made the cup-like depressions that can now be seen. The rock was too hard for him, so he went into the water pool again, where he kept his children, coming out every now and then to make rain and thunder and lightning.

The thunder man was a Nakomara man, and it is now only the latter men who dare go far into the water. The women will get water there, but will not bathe. During the wet season the old Namaran sits on the top of the stone, so that half his body is under and half above water. He keeps plenty of water in the stone, and every now and then opens it and a lot of water comes out. Then he says, "That is good; that is plenty"; locks the stone up, and the water ceases to flow.

If a Ngaritjbellan woman comes and puts her foot in the water, a spirit child at once goes up her leg into her body; if she drinks water it goes in by her mouth and the child, when born, belongs to the Thunder Totem, just like the old man.

Tradition of Gulmurlu and His Sons.

An old man named Gulmurlu, a frilled lizard, who belonged to the sub-class Ngapungari, arose in the country of the Allaua people and walked across to Kanbad, now known as Mole's Hill, on the Roper River, though at that time there was no river. He had two sons with him. The old man made a beaked boomerang which, first of all, he threw with the left hand, towards the cast. Then he turned round and threw it with his right hand towards the west with the result that he thereby carved out the course of the Roper River which here takes a very sharp bend. The water then came and filled the river bed which he had thus made. At the same time a great storm of wind swept down upon them, and the old man and his two sons were swept into the water. The father and younger son were drowned; the elder one just managed to get out. He was very sorrowful, and made corrobborees all day long with Kunapippi, singing, Ngaiaba nabilella, guda inugugari--I have lost them, which way have you gone? The old man went into a rock at the bottom of the water, taking his spirit children with him. After a time the elder son, who was very tired, lay down on the bank, pulled out his penis and testis, and placed them on the ground, where they can still be seen, turned into stone.1 At the present day the men make Gulmurlu, or frilled lizard, corrobborees at this spot.

1. With the consent of the two men who showed me the spot and told me the tradition, I brought the stones down to Melbourne.]

The old man was Ngapungari, and if a Ngaburella woman goes to the water to gather lilies one of the Ngapungari children will go inside her.

Tradition Concerning McDOUGALL's Bluff.

An old Warwian (kangaroo) man arose near the Macarthur River. He travelled over to the country of the Mungarai people, and made the Roper River and water holes in the neighbourhood of Burg-burg-mann, or McDougall's Bluff, which he also made. Travelling on, he made what is now called Mt. Keys, a prominent white hill, and also Burmgung, a little round hill to the west of the former, and there he remained.

The Red Lily Lagoons, further still to the west along the Roper River, known respectively as Wailyerauan (the smaller one) and Aramingun (the larger one), were made by a large kangaroo man named Kanjilara, who a Nakomara. He had spirit children with him, and these enter Ngaritjbellan women who go to gather lilies in the lagoon.

Tradition Concerning Kulakueungini, a Rainbow Man of the Nullakun Tribe.

The man arose at a spring on a hill to the east of Hell's Gates, called Nauurungandingandi, which indeed he made. He was a Mangaralli man of the rainbow totem. First of all he stood up, then he lay down on his stomach. A tree called Ellmalinji arose to mark the spot where he stood up. Two men from the north came up. The old man heard the two; he listened, and it was just like a wind coming up. They came up and saw the old man sitting by the side of his spring, which was a small one. They said to him, "Hallo! You sit down here." He said, "You two go away. I am an old man. I stay here." The two strangers said, "You have only got a little water." He answered, "All right, it belongs to me." The two men opened the spring and made it larger, and went away, leaving the old man angry and growling. They then went on towards the Hodgson River to Uranua. The old man had rainbow spirit children and, if the right mother for a rainbow child comes to drink at the spring, one of them will go inside her.

Naming of Children.

In the Kakadu tribe every man and woman has two names, or rather a double name. In ordinary conversation the individual is usually referred to by the first of the two only, though sometimes both may be used.

Examples of these names amongst the men are as follows:--Kulingepu Kunamullajumbo; Mukalakki Ningeniu; Mupplebara Mariapaleingum; Murrakoeri Yokorakorida; Munmona Murrakumora; Noroma Lala; Kinmorko Karawa; Mudanga Yerii; Mindapul Kutoru; Ukairi Muduarbulu; Ngarukorda Unkorpu; Ungara Arai; Chilongogo Areyi; Muriwallauwill Naroma; Namijeya Apperakul; Miniamaka Numerialmak; Nulwoiyu Niyaudadijeri.

Examples amongst the women are as follows:--Murrapurnmini Yarrawaiika; Kumerakan Maraonbi; Wareiya Montoquialla; Mangul Kumerangbukara; Kudauu Ungmerierigari; Buruwongu Umerumparengi; Ulloa Nolerupungeini; Tjeroboilu Muriiwapungen; Mudingeyia Korominjil; Mitchinga Alumberapa.

In rare cases, such as that of a man, Oberdopu, one of Pundmunga's children, an individual has only one name.

These names are those which were originally given to the first series of ancestors and have been passed on, unchanged, from generation to generation. If they ever had any special meaning, all trace of this has been lost and the present-day native can only say that he has a particular name because his old ancestor was given that name by Imberombera, or by someone else acting under her instructions.

There is a curious little ceremony concerned with the naming of a child. When it can walk, the natives assemble in their camp, into which a bundle of spears has been brought and laid on the ground. The father and mother sit at one end of the spears, the natives in a semicircle at the other. An elder brother of the child, a mother's brother or a mother's brother's son takes him by the hand and leads him from amongst the men and women to where his father and mother are seated. Th. former, in the presence of the whole camp, then says, "Your name is So-and-so," giving him both of his names at once. After this the spears are presented to the father.

There is not, so far as I could find out, any secret name given to men and women in this tribe. In the Arunta, where such names are always given, they are those of old ancestors of whom the living native is supposed to be the reincarnation. Each individual has, in addition, some ordinary name by which he or she is addressed. This name may be that of a natural object or place, or may have no special meaning, but it is quite distinct from the ancestral name which, indeed, is only known to the old men of the group to which each individual belongs. In the Arunta tribe a man does not know his secret name until he is well grown up, and the women never know theirs. These secret names are only mentioned in whispers and are the most difficult things to find out. In the Kakadu, on the other hand, the old ancestral names, the exact equivalents of the secret ones in the Arunta, are in everyday use.

In addition to the ordinary names, many individuals have what we should call nicknames. One man, for example, is called pierda kutjeri, which means very ill, on account of the fact that he always is more or less ill; another, because of his plumpness, is called niandil juri, which means good grease, fat, or juice. They are equally fond, also, of applying nicknames to white men. There was one of the latter with a most prominent nose and also a strikingly long neck; he is known amongst them as Brutpenniweir--the native name for the Jabiru or stork. Another, who always makes a mess of anything that he tries to do, is called Benagra-benagra, which is the name of a dry, everlasting plant that is not good to eat; it is also very thin and scraggy, like its namesake.

It is only in the Kakadu and allied tribes that a double name is met with. In all others, such as the Waduman and Mudburra, each individual has one name. In these two tribes, for example, we meet with names for men, such as Waljakula, Tjaluk, Iblongwa, Katata, Ngaraman, Willan; and for women, such as Karinian, Kangulk, Ujibinma, Unaianda, Tjitjinga, Inoma. They have no meaning known to the natives and are in everyday use. There does not appear to be any secret names.


Food Restrictions

Restrictions amongst members of the Kakadu tribe.--Boys and youths.--Women during pregnancy.--Husband.--Young men passing through Ober and Jamba ceremonies.--Removal of restrictions.--Young man giving food to his mother.--Special restrictions in regard to the snake Kuljoanjo.--Restrictions amongst the Port Essington natives.

IN probably all Australian tribes there are, under normal conditions, very definite restrictions in regard to the eating of particular foods by individuals at different ages or under special conditions, such as those attendant, more especially, on child-bearing. In many cases the object of these restrictions is very evidently that of reserving the best food for the elder men and women, but in others it is difficult to assign any adequate reason. In some instances it is quite possible that, for example, a woman, while bearing a child, may once have eaten some special food and have, afterwards, been seriously ill. That, in itself, would be quite enough reason for a restriction to be placed on that particular food in regard to all women in the same condition.

Nothing shows more clearly than these food restrictions do, the way in which the life of a native is hedged in with arbitrary rules that must be obeyed, often at the peril of his life. To the casual onlooker the native may appear to live a perfectly free life; in reality he does nothing of the kind; indeed, very much the reverse.

The following are the restrictions amongst the members of the Kakadu tribe, and they may be taken as fairly typical of all tribes:--

Those of the first series are concerned with boys and young men at various ages. When a child is very young there are no restrictions, though, of course, the parents take care that, for his own sake, he does not have the chance of eating certain very special things, such as a Kuljoanjo snake, which has a very special tabu, or kumali, associated with it. There are certain foods, such as these, that no child is likely to have the opportunity of eating, because its parents may not do so.

After the boy has passed through the Ningeri stage, when he is initiated and becomes a Numulakirri, he reaches a status during which--and it may extend over some years--he is much hampered in his choice of food.

He may not eat the following extensive series of animals and plants:--

Tjunara (a yam); Kulori (a yam); Gunumaramila (a pounded yam); Pitjordu (Goanna lizard); Narenma (a snake); Kuljoanjo (a snake); Tiradjuno (a water snake); Munmarner (a snake); Ngabadaua (a snake); Kalerungeni (flying fox); Murno (female opossum); Jimeribunna (native companion); Brutpenniweir (Jabiru); Kopereipi (emu); Karakera (spur-winged plover); Kulabaga (pled egret); Kupulapuli (white crane); Kudjalinga (female turtle); Yinganga (small species of crocodile); Mundebenbo (native turkey); Mangortji (wedge-tailed eagle); Eyenbumbo (fish hawk); Miriwidjonga (quail); Kopereipi Iwaiji (emu eggs); Korunokadju (wild dog).

He is allowed to eat the following:--

Murora (a small wallaby); lily seeds, roots, etc., which form the staple vegetable diet of the natives; Mormo (a sugar-bag); Murno (male opossum); Kudjalinga (male turtle); Eribinjori (large crocodile); Kimberikara (Barramunda fish); Kulekuli (cat-fish); and also all pigeons, ducks, and geese, with their eggs.

There is a curious restriction, the meaning of which the natives do not know, in regard to a dog and a goanna. If a dog catches a goanna (a species of lizard belonging to the genus Varanus) no boy or young man may eat it. If he were to do so, it would result in his having very severe pains in his back, and his fingers would rot away. The kumali, or tabu, may be removed by an old man, who, for this purpose, takes the bones of a goanna that has been caught by a dog. He pounds them up and puts them in the middle of a special yam (Gunumaramila), which itself must be pounded, and hands it to the young man to bite.

There are certain food restrictions that apply to women at different periods of their life, more especially during child-bearing. They are as follows:--

(1) During the early stages of pregnancy she may not eat Jimeribunna (native companion); Brutpenniweir (Jabiru); Karakera (spur-winged plover); Kalerungeni (flying fox); Kulawura (jungle-fowl); Tjikali (wood grub); Kintjilbara (rock snake).

The penalties for eating these are as follows:--Jimeribunna, the child is born with yaws; Brutpenniweir, the child is born with a sore nose and mouth; Karakera, the child has sores under its arms; Kalerungeni, the child has sore feet and tongue, and, if a boy, its penis is abnormal; Kulawura, a spirit is supposed to take the child away and bury it in the mound nest of a jungle, bird; Tjikali, the child has scabs all over its body; Kintjilbara, the navel string becomes twisted round the child, and it dies in the womb.

(2) During the latter stages of pregnancy she may not cat Pitjordu (goanna); Kunaitja (mullet); Mudburraburra (native cat); Gunumaramila (pounded yam); Eribinjori (crocodile); Yinganga (small crocodile).

The penalties for eating these are as follows; Pitjordu, the lubra, gets severe pains in her stomach; Kunaitja, the mouth of the child grows out like that of the fish; Mudburraburra, the child is born with spots all over it like those of a native cat; Gunumaramila, the child has yaws; Eribinjori and Yinganga, the child will fall into a water hole and be drowned.

During the whole period, also, the woman must not eat anything that is cooked in a peindi, or native oven, that is, a hole in the ground, in which stones are heated on the fire and the food is cooked by placing it upon them, covering them with paper bark or leaves and then piling the earth on. Everything she pats must be cooked at an ordinary fire or kutjali.

In the Kakadu the restrictions on the husband of the woman are just the same as those for the woman until the child is born, after which he is free to eat anything that the men do who are not Murabulba, that is, very old.

(3) After the child is born, and while it is young, the woman must not drink out of a deep water hole, the water must not reach above her knees; the husband tells the woman that she must not break this rule or the child will die. Also, she must not eat fish out of a deep water hole. They believe that if the child were to see its Mother drinking out of a deep water hole its spirit would Immediately leave its body, run to the water hole, and be drawn under and swallowed up by a Numereji snake. If, by any chance, the mother breaks the rule, the father, mother, and child, accompanied by a medicine man, go to the water hole. The father gives the mother a little water in a bark basket. The spirit of the child is attracted, comes up, and is caught by the medicine man, who alone can see it. He immediately places it in the mother's head, from which it passes down into her breast and the child, who is at once put to the breast, drinks it in with its mother's milk, or Kumilungornu. If the father finds out, when the woman is away, that she has been drinking at a deep water hole, he will at once go to the latter with a medicine man, who catches the spirit and places it in the father, from whom it is supposed to pass, at a later time, into the mother also, and, by way of her breast, into the child.

In the case of the mother all the restrictions are in force until the child has finished suckling. There is no ceremony when they are withdrawn.

The restrictions with regard to young men who are passing through the Ober and Jamba ceremonies have been already described in connection with these. While they are in progress the women may not eat the following: Pitjordu (goanna); Miniorko (bandicoot); all kinds of snakes; Biaka (wallaby); Mitjiborla (wallaroo, a kangaroo); Jeruober (old man kangaroo); Erlaungerla (echidna); Mudburraburra (native cat); Nabapungeni (black kangaroo); Monmorlpa (a large rat); Marabornji (brush-tailed wallaby); sugar-bags of all kinds; Tjunara (a yam); Gunumaramila (a yam): Kimberikara (Barramunda fish); Kunaitju (mullet); Kudjalinga (female turtle); Tjilaka (mud cod); Tjimidaba (a long-nosed fish); geese and ducks.

They are allowed to eat Murno (opossum); yarns, such as Mornun and Kulijidbo; lily seeds and roots of kinds; Kulekuli (cat-fish); Baralil and Tjameru (small fish); Kudjalinga. (male turtle).

I have already referred to the removal of certain food restrictions that take place in the moiab, or shade house, at the close of the Kulori ceremony, but, though this removal largely widens the food supply of the older men, it does not affect one or two special animals, the kumali in regard to which is very strict. There is, for example, a carpet snake, called Kintjilbara, that no Kulori man may touch until special permission has been given to him. An old man goes out into the bush, kills one of the snakes, and brings it back into the men's camp. He calls them up, saying, Kulori jereini, breida ge, Kulori men, come all of you; Kintjilbara jereba yinamba (if it be a female), para (if it be a male), jump over the Kintjilbara. The men all do this, one after the other. This finished, the old man says, jauidda kulori jereini Kintjilbara, all you Kulori men eat Kintjilbara. An earth oven, or peindi, is then made, and the snake cooked in it on the hot stones. When ready to be eaten it must be torn up by the teeth of an old man. Each Kulori man has a little piece of Tjali (flesh), paloma (fat), and benogra (bones) given to him, and is thereby made free of the animal. The old man, after the ceremony, removes a Winbegi, or small armlet, from each of the men.

Up till such time as a man is Kulori, he may not give any of the foods that are prohibited to him to his mother. After passing through that ceremony he may, but he has first to observe a special condition. If be secures, for example, a bird such as a Karakera (spur-winged plover), he takes it to his father, when the latter is in camp along with his (the young man's) mother. He says, Papa, Karakera Koiyu ngainma jau, Father, does my mother eat Karakera? The father says, ngeinyimma Koiyu wo, give it to your mother. The son says, ngai Koiyu wo, I give it to my mother, and does so. The mother says to the father, that is, her husband, ngainma kumali, this is my kumali, or this is kumali to me. The father says to her, jau-u kala, murrawarra kulori tanbuma, eat, all right, the great kulori is finished. Then he says to his son, ngeinyimma jau koyada wo Makorngo, Illaberi, don't give food to your sisters or younger brothers; koiyu kala jau umba wo, give food all right to your mother; kala moara, it is finished all right. Then he says to the lubras in camp, jau umba ge, eat it all of you.

There is another snake, called Kuljoanjo, to which also much the same restrictions apply. It may only be eaten by really old men. One of the older men, named Mukalakki, told us how narrowly he escaped with his life, after eating some of the snake when he was younger, though it was quite innocently done, on his part. The severe illness that resulted from his disobeying the Kumali law, took place, as nearly as we could calculate, fifteen years after he had eaten the forbidden snake. Mukalakki was out in the bush with another young man, named Murukambul, who caught a Kuljoanjo. The latter of the two men knew what it was, but he did not tell Mukalakki, who thought it was another kind of snake. Murukambul handed it to Mukalakki who cooked it, and then Murukambul told him to eat it and replied, when Mukalakki urged him to have some, No, I will go to the other camp. There was an old man there, named Mudorna, who also ate some and then he and Mukalakki took some of the paloma (fat) to a very old man who ate it and licked his lips as he did so, because the fat is very good indeed. He noticed, however, that Mukalakki had been eating it and said to him, ameina ngeinyimma jau kumali? why have you eaten kumali? ngeinyimma illauilla, you are a little man; Kuljoanjo (this is) Kuljoanjo; ngeinyimma kutjeri murrawarra, you will be very ill. Mukalakki was very frightened when he found out what he had done and said to the old man, ameina; ngai wariji? what is it; shall I die? The old man answered, owoi, kutjeri ngeinyimma pari, wariji, yes, by and by you (will be) very ill, (you will) die. Nothing happened for a long time, but fifteen years later, Mukalakki had a terrible time which he described very graphically to us. He was feeling very bad indeed and an old medicine man said to him ameina jau, ngeinyimma kutjeri, what have you eaten (to make) you ill? Mukalakki remembered what the old man had told him long ago and he answered, Kuljoanjo. Then the old doctor said, umbordera wariji--to-day you die. He was very ill then but, as the day wore on, he became much worse and, at night, it took three men to keep him down, one on his head and one on each leg. The spirit, or Iwaiyu, of Kuljoanjo had twisted itself round inside his body and, every now and then, came out through his forehead, rattled its teeth and hissed and looked straight into his eyes. It was terrifying. The natives, realising the gravity of the case, had sent away to a place, called Oenpelli, fourteen miles away, for a special, celebrated medicine man, named Morpun, who fortunately happened to be reincarnated at that time. He came post haste, walking and running the whole way, without once stopping. All day long the men and women had sat on Mukalakki, trying to keep him quiet, but it was just as much as they could do. He was all tied up with the Iwaiyu and shuddered and shivered all over when the snake shook himself. The lubras first of all and, later on, the men as well, did their best to keep Kuljoanjo quiet, but he kept overpowering them and shaking Mukalakki to pieces.

At length Morpun, the great medicine man, arrived. For a while he stood silently, some distance off, watching Mukalakki. First he ordered the women to go away, along way off. Mukalakki sat up. Once more the snake came out of his forehead and looked into his eyes but, at that moment, Morpun, who had come close up, made a sudden snatch at it and caught its head. No one but himself and Mukalakki could see it. He held it very firmly and carefully unwound it from Mukalakki's body. When he had done this successfully, he rolled the snake up in his hands and put it in his dilly bag, called Nunguluwara, and, after staying in camp for one night, went back to his own country, taking the spirit of the Kuljoanjo with him. He put it in a water hole, right away amongst the Ranges, saying to it, tjukoro ngai wilalu, lie down in my camp; koyada wagai, don't go back; tjikara onji jereini, which means, language (or talk) other men. To talk another language is the equivalent of saying that you are in another part of the country. The medicine man was telling Kuljoanjo to stay in his, Morpun's, country.

As soon as ever the snake was removed, Mukalakki felt immensely relieved. He perspired profusely, went to sleep and woke up all right in the morning. Since then Kuljoanjo has never troubled him again, but he had a great fright and everyone knows that, if it had not been for Morpun removing the snake, he must have died; and Morpun was the only man who could do this.

Amongst the Port Essington natives no young girl may eat turkey, kangaroo, turtle eggs, or turtle unless the latter be given to her by an old man. She may eat yams so long as the leaves are green but not when they are dried up, that is, she may eat them when they are small and forming, but not when they are ripe.

A woman when enceinte does not eat goanna, bandicoot, emu, or turkey. If she were to eat any of them the child would be born thin and lean-looking. She may eat kangaroo and turtle eggs. There are certain yams along the banks or creeks and billabongs that must not be eaten. The husband of the woman eats goannas, but they must be fat, not lean, and the same holds good for bandicoots, but opossum or emu he must not touch. This applies to the first two or three times when his wife is enceinte; after he has two or three children these particular restrictions are removed.


Weapons and Implements

Stone hatchets and knives.--Nature of stone weapon is determined primarily by that of the material available.--Spears; various types.--Clubs and throwing sticks; various types.--Spear throwers.--Bags and baskets; various types.--Trumpets.--Fire making and cooking.--Challenge sticks.--Rasp.--Spindle.--Fan.--Corrobboree wand.--Boats.

THERE IS much similarity amongst the more important weapons and implements made and used by the mainland tribes in the Northern Territory, and most of them have been fully described already by various writers.

The most characteristic weapons are (1) stone hatchets and picks, the latter of which do not apparently extend farther north than, approximately, Daly Waters, (2) stone knives, (3) spears, either wooden- or bone-barbed or stone-headed, (4) spear throwers of various forms, and (5) fighting sticks or clubs.

Stone Hatchets and Knives.

At the present day it is not common to meet with stone hatchets except amongst the tribes in far outlying parts, and these are so wild that white men very seldom come in contact with them. For very many years past, the natives, partly through intercourse with whites, and partly, along the seaboard, through intercourse with Malays and others, have been well acquainted with the use of iron. Amongst the Northern Central tribes, we have previously described in detail the nature and manufacture of their stone hatchets, picks and knives,1 and, in all important respects, what we wrote concerning these tribes is true of those with which I am now dealing. As I have pointed out before, the terms Eolithic, Palæolithic and Neolithic have no meaning whatever when used in connection with culture stages or periods in reference to Australia.

1. Northern Tribes of Central Australia, Chap. xxiii., p. 633.]

The one thing that stands out clearly, is that the nature of the stone weapon, or implement, used by an Australian aboriginal is determined, primarily, by the nature of the material available. If he lives where he can secure only quartzite, or some such rock, then he makes chipped and flaked implements. These may be as crude as the crudest so-called Palæolithic implements, or they may be as beautifully and delicately chipped as the finest arrow heads found in European prehistoric collections. If he lives where he can secure diorite and rocks of that nature, then he grinds his stone implements and, if he lives where he can obtain both quartzite and diorite, then he makes flaked, chipped and ground implements, just according to what material lies handiest. It is no uncommon thing, or was not until the Northern Central tribes came into contact with foreigners, to find one man carrying with him, at one and the same time, a ground and hafted stone axe, a flaked pick, a flaked stone knife, and a few small, crudely flaked, or perhaps flaked and chipped stones. He might even have also a beautifully chipped spear-head and, at the same time, you would find him using in camp a stone that he had just picked up and roughly flaked to serve some passing need. sonic indeed, of their stone implements are so crude that, if found fossil, they would only be recognised as being of human manufacture by those who have had personal experience of the Australian aboriginal, and have actually seen him at work, and even then in many cases it would be difficult to be absolutely sure.

It is not, I think, too much to say that we can now, amongst Australian stone implements, find parallels for all the various types that have been described elsewhere, and the interesting feature is that they all exist and either now are, or until very recently have been, in use side by side.

Tribes like the Larakia, Worgait, Warrai and others have practically no stone weapons left. They use iron or, perhaps, if they do not happen to have a white man's knife or hatchet with them, they may use a flaked stone which is thrown aside as soon as it has served its temporary purpose.

Amongst the less contaminated tribes of the interior, hatchets, knives and picks are still met with, though, yearly, in decreasing numbers. Amongst the coastal tribes two influences have been at work tending to lessen the importance of stone cutting implements. In the first place the natives have, for long years past, secured a certain supply of iron hatchets and knives from Malays and others visiting the northern coasts of Australia in search of trepang and tortoiseshell. In the second place they have found that shells, such as a large species of Cyrena, very common on Melville and Bathurst Islands. make admirable cutting and scraping tools. The I result is that stone implements of all kinds are now comparatively rare.

On Plate XII. four specimens of hafted stone axes are illustrated which are interesting because of their crudeness. Figs. 1, 2 and 3 are from the Kakadu tribe on the Alligator River. In the first specimen the stone is evidently a naturally wedge-shaped pebble of diorite. It measures six and three-quarter inches in length, three in greatest width and, in thickness, diminishes from one and a quarter inches to three-quarters of an inch just above the cutting edge. The latter has been worked on both sides. In the second and third the stone is also a diorite pebble. The second has evidently had chips knocked off the side which lies to the right in the figure, and both surfaces, close to the cutting edge, have been ground to a slight extent. The third has one surface left in its natural condition, the one seen in the figure has been roughly worked and there is just a slight, but only a very slight, indication of grinding close around the cutting edge. In each of these three specimens, the handle has the form of a bent withy, passing round close to the wider end of the stone, which, together with the withy, is enclosed in a mass of beeswax.

Fig. 4, which came from Melville Island, represents the crudest hafted axe that I have ever seen in Australia.2 It is simply a roughly shaped block of ferruginous sandstone, measuring six and a half inches in length, four and a quarter in width, and two and a quarter in greatest thickness. It has been very roughly flaked so as to reduce it to its present shape and to form, also, what must have been a very unserviceable cutting edge, but there has been no attempt at grinding. It is the only example, that I have seen in Australia, of a hafted axe which has been flaked and not ground. The withy passes almost round the centre of the stone, to which it is I attached by kapei, that is a hard, brittle resin, derived from the root of the ironwood tree (Leschenhaultia sp.), the two halves being tightly bound together by strips of bark.

1. Unless the extraordinary, roughly shaped little blocks of granite, hafted in resin and formerly made by certain West Australian natives, can be called axes.]


In regard to spears there is very considerable variety. Most of the types, however, that are met with in the Northern Territory have been already described and are well known.1 We have previously described eleven types as follows:--

(1). The heavy unbarbed spear of the Arunta tribe, with flattened blade.

(2). The barbed spear of the Arunta, peculiar to this tribe and the Luritja.

(3). The unbarbed spear of the Arunta with separate, flattened, head and shaft.

(4). Single-pronged, multi-barbed spears, with the barbs on one side only. The shaft distinct from the head and made of either light or heavy wood.

(5). Single-pronged, multi-barbed spears, with shafts of light wood or reed. The barbs are arranged along two or more sides of the head.

(6). Multi-pronged, multi-barbed spears, with shafts of light wood or reed.

(7). Unbarbed spear, with single, flattened, wooden point attached to a reed shaft.

(8). Stone-headed spear, with the head made of flaked quartzite and the shaft of reed.

(9) Stone-headed spear, with the head made of chipped slate and the shaft of reed.

(10). Stone-headed spear with the head made of chipped opalescent quartzite. The main part of the shaft is of reed, on to which a short length of hard wood is hafted.

(11). Short, light spears, with a thin tapering point of hard wood and a reed shaft, used for spearing fish.

(12). The single-pronged hafted, bone-tipped spear, called Jiboru by the Kakadu (Plate XIII., Fig. 2).

(13). The four-pronged, hafted, bone-tipped spear, called Kujorju by the Kakadu (Plate XIII., Fig. 3).

To these we may now add the following types:--

(14). Single-pronged, long, unbarbed and unshafted spear, round and pointed; the Wallunka of the Melville and Bathurst Island natives (Plate XIII., Fig. 1).

(15). The single-pronged, unhafted, heavy spear, with barbs on one side only, called Anurgitj on Melville Island (Plate XIV., Figs. 8, 9, 10, and 11).

(16). The single-pronged, unhafted, heavy spear, with barbs on both sides, called Tjunkuletti on Melville Island (Plate XV).

(17). The double-pronged, unhafted, unbarbed, heavy spear on Melville Island (Plate XIII., Fig. 5).

(18). The double-pronged, unhafted, barbed heavy spear on Melville Island (Plate XIII., Fig. 4).

(19). The short, reed hafted, sharp wooden-pointed spear, called Kunjolio by the Kakadu.

1. Cf. Spencer and Gillen, Northern Tribes, p. 670. Etheridge, Macleay Mem. Vol. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., 1893. Stirling, Rep. Horn Expd., Pt. 4, Pl. 5. Basedow, Trans. R.S., S.A., Vol. xxxi., and J.R. Anthr. Inst., Vol. xliii. 1913.]

In June, 1911, on Melville Island, I saw, for the first time, the remarkable spears that are characteristic of this and Bathurst Island, and again, in 1912, saw many more of the same type, and also one or two new and interesting types, amongst the Kakadu and allied tribes. In all the latter the commonest spear is type 4, as described above.

It is not actually made by the Kakadu natives, but by a tribe called Kuluunglutji, who trade it to the former in exchange for another special form of spear called Kunjolio. There are two forms--the ordinary barbed spear called Irpull and the curious one in which the barbs are indicated, but, though a series of holes is cut through the blade, the edge of the latter is left intact. This is called Yeripul, or Mikul, by the Kakadu, and is not uncommonly met with in the tribes inhabiting the country on the Gulf of Carpentaria and along the northern coast. The spear, type 5, with barbs along each side, is also common, and is called Mitjupali.

A new form that I had not seen before is represented in Plate XIII., Fig. 2. It is called Jiboru. Its total length is nine feet eight inches, the greater part of which consists of a thin shaft of hard wood only, at most, three-quarters of an inch in diameter. At the handle end there is a short length of reed or bamboo measuring twelve inches and made so that the point of a spear thrower can be fitted into it. At the opposite end there is a single sharpened bone, which projects for an inch and a quarter from a small mass of hard kapei, that is, the resin derived from the root of the ironwood tree.

Amongst the Kakadu, Geimbio, Umoriu., and Iwaidji tribes there is one special form of spear peculiar, so far as I am aware, to this part of the country. It is called, by the Kakadu, Kujorju, or Kumbata, and is shown in Plate XIII., Fig. 3. The total length is only five feet three inches. It consists, essentially, of four prongs of hard wood, and a short length of bamboo, into which they are inserted. The prongs are free for just three feet. From this point downwards towards the handle they are arranged around a central stick, immediately above which a pad of paper bark is inserted between the prongs, which are then bound tightly round outside for four inches, first with banyan bark string and then with split cane. As the natives say, ranken araji, bori ganji, that is, paper bark inside, string outside. The result is that, as shown in the figure, the prongs are divergent at their free ends. Beyond the split cane the four prongs and central stick are uncovered, then comes a length of bamboo measuring twelve inches, into which they are inserted, fitting tightly. For some six inches the upper part of the bamboo is wound round with banyan string, evidently to prevent it from splitting, as the pressure is considerable. Each prong ends in a sharp pointed bone, an inch long, projecting from a rounded mass of kapei resin. This special form of spear is never decorated with colour and is mainly used for catching fish and the large fresh-water snake, called Tiradjuno, of which the natives are very fond.

A third type is called Kunjolio and is made especially by the Kakadu. It is only a small one, usually not longer than about five feet, but is much the most dangerous one when thrown by an expert native. It has a sharp end, tapering almost to a needle point, called mageriyu and made out of a hard wood known as ainya, a species of Acacia. The shaft is of marlu, or bamboo, coloured with kuderi, the ordinary red ochre. A few inches at the lower end may have resin put round it coloured with nungorli, the burnt red ochre. It always has a hole, called munjan jil, into which the spear thrower fits. This is, really, though small and light, only weighing a few ounces, the most effective weapon that the Kakadu native possesses. It can be hurled with great speed and accuracy of aim, and has wonderful penetrating power.

The spears made by the Melville and Bathurst Islanders are remarkable by reason of their, relatively, ponderous weight and size, and also because of their characteristic decorations. They might better be described as javelins. They are all made of wood, and amongst the many scores that I have seen and handled. there has not been a single hafted one, though there are indications, on some, that hafting may have been once employed. At the present day each is made out of a single piece of wood, and may be divided into five groups, or types, a representative series of which is illustrated in Plates XIII., XIV. and XV.

The first consists of a simple long, round, unbarbed and sharply pointed stick. (Pl. XIII, Fig. 1.) This particular specimen measures eight feet four inches in length, and for about one-third of its length is ornamented with alternating bands of white, yellow, and red, otherwise it is perfectly plain and simple. The second consists of single pronged spears with barbs on one side only. They seldom measure less than ten feet in length. There are two kinds of single barbed spears, though to a certain extent they merge into one another. In one kind, as seen in Plate XIV., Figs. 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7, the barbs are relatively small and, more or less, widely separated from one another. The Melville Island name for these is Wallunka. The one represented in Fig. 1 is exceptionally short, measuring only seven feet seven inches in length, and only three-quarters of an inch in diameter. The barbs, of which there are nine altogether, only extend for a distance of seventeen inches from the end. The decorations consist of broad bands of white and red with much narrower ones of yellow. The one represented in Fig. 2 is much the same except that it measures ten feet three inches in length. Fig. 6 shows a somewhat different form. It measures eleven feet five inches in length and has nine barbs, the point of the last barb being twenty-two inches from the tip. This is succeeded by a length of seven inches, the surface of which, corresponding in position to the barbs, is marked by fourteen serrations. The decoration is very distinctive and is of the type more clearly seen in Fig. 10 and again in Fig. 5 on Plate XXXVI. The background of the whole of the barbed part is black. There is a white line along each side; alternate barbs are crossed by white and yellow lines and there is a definite pattern of the same along the back of the barbed part. The remainder of the spear is decorated with broad bands of white, red and yellow.

Specimens such as those shown in Figs. 4 and 5 lead on to the second series of the single-barbed forms. The barbs increase in size and are placed more closely together. Figs. 8, 9, 10 and 11 may be regarded as typical of this form of spear which is called Aunurgitch. The one represented in Fig. 4 measures ten feet six inches in length. There are twenty-one barbs, the point of the first is nine inches, and that of the last forty-six inches from the tip. The greatest width across the barbs is two inches and the longest barb measures four and three-quarter inches. Each one, in shape, is very much like a scale on a pine cone. It is attached to the blade of the spear by a very thin flattened stalk which swells out into a thicker part with a very distinct ridge leading to the point.

In Fig. 10 we have a very characteristic form. It measures eleven feet five inches in length and has nineteen barbs, the point of the last one being fifty-two inches from the tip of the spear. The last barb has a total length of ten inches. Immediately beyond the barbs there is a length of four inches where the blade is flattened from side to side and ornamented with serrations; beyond this again there is a length of three inches wound round with vegetable fibre string. This is very suggestive indeed of hafting, in fact, in the case of any ordinary spear from the mainland, the binding round with string in this part might safely be taken as a proof of hafting. The decoration of this specimen, also, is very characteristic. The ground work of the blade is black, the barbs are some of them black with red bands and white spots, others are red with white bands, others are black with white bands. In essential features it is similar to the coloured illustration, Fig. 5 on Plate XXXVI. Fig. 11, which has a total length of nine feet five inches, is a very good example of the type called, by the Melville Islanders, Aunurgitch. There are twenty-nine barbs, long, thin and close set, occupying a length of forty-two inches back from the tip of the spear, which tapers to a very sharp point just ten inches in front of the first barb. The whole of the surface in each of the three upper spears is marked with fine longitudinal grooves, right from the tip to the end of the handle. In some of the spears only the head end is grooved, the shaft being scraped; in others the whole surface is scraped. In most the shaft has been more or less carefully straightened, if it was not so to begin with, by heating it over a slow fire, but, in some cases, as in that of Fig. 9, the terminal third is very twisted and crooked. In all cases the handle end tapers to a point, and there is no indication of a hole for the insertion of a spear thrower, the use of which is not known, so far as I could ascertain, on either Melville or Bathurst Island.

A third, very characteristic, type is represented by the specimens shown on Plate XV. They are called Tjunkuletti, on Melville Island, and are cut out of the solid, various forms of wood being employed. The three upper ones are in process of manufacture out of iron wood and show the manner n which the barbs are cut, The surface was so smooth that at first I thought they must be cut by a knife, but this was not so. The native whom I watched at work had no knife but used the sharp edge of a bivalve shell (Cyrena sp.), which is very abundant on the coast, and forms a most excellent cutting implement. He first of all carefully incised lines, indicating the outline of a barb and then cut deeper and deeper until the barb was completely outlined. It was a work of infinite patience, and yet they readily parted with these spears for a stick or two of tobacco.

Fig. 4. was relatively a short one, measuring ten feet. it has fifteen barbs on each side, arranged, as is the case in all these spears, quite symmetrically on either side the middle line. The greatest width across the barbs, which are, relatively, flat, broad and short, is four inches. The whole surface has been smoothed, and it will be noticed that immediately beyond the barbs there is a length of two and a half inches tied round with string, which has been covered with beeswax and then whitened, exactly as if the head were hafted on to the shaft. By means of the scheme of colour decoration the barbs are divided into three successive series, lying one behind the other. The tip end of the spear is red, a central line of the same colour extending down the middle to the imitation hafting. On one side the successive series are yellow, white, yellow; on the other they are white, yellow, white, this alternation of colours being eminently characteristic of the decorative schemes of the islanders. The dark cross lines are red.

The spear represented in Fig. 5 measures twelve feet one inch. There are only eleven barbs on each side, which are somewhat more elongate than those in the first spear. Immediately behind the barbs, the greatest width of which is four inches, a square opening has been cut through, marking the termination of the blade.2

Fig. 6 represents one of the longest spears. It measures thirteen feet three inches, with a maximum width across the barbs of two and three-quarter inches. There are twenty-one barbs on each side. The blade, from the very point to the tip of the last barb, has a length of exactly five feet. Immediately behind the barbs are four rings of abrus seed set in beeswax. The whole surface is scraped smooth.

Fig. 7 is an admirable example of one special form in which the barbs are few in number--only five in this specimen. They increase markedly in size from the point towards the shaft, and the distance between the points of successive barbs is very great as compared with the other specimens. The decoration is also very characteristic, and the old hafting is indicated by a flattened band, grooved on both its upper and lower surfaces, and decorated with abrus seeds on both sides.

Figs. 8, 9, and 10 are characteristic examples of Tjunkuletti, in which the barbs are numerous, close-set) and narrow across from side to side. In the specimen represented in Fig. 9 there are thirty-three barbs, the tip of the last one lying forty-four inches behind the point of the spear.

These spears are extraordinary structures, and might better be called javelins.

Mr. Cooper and myself investigated the throwing capacity of some of the men. The spear we chose for the purpose was a double-barbed Tjunkuletti, a good average specimen, measuring ten feet six inches in length and four pounds in weight. The throwing took place on the open beach, where the sand was hard and afforded a good foothold. The spear was, of course, thrown with the hand, no spear thrower being known in Melville Island (Fig. 72). We gave the nine men who competed for the prize that we offered (a tomahawk), three tries each, and allowed them a preliminary run of twenty feet. They entered with zest into the competition, which was watched with interest by the other men in camp. It was interesting to note the varying degrees of ability, not only in regard to distance but to accuracy of aim displayed by the competitors. As a matter of fact, there was comparatively little accuracy, and provided, of course, only one or two spears were thrown, there would be no difficulty in avoiding them. The distances thrown were as follows:--

1. The decoration of the spears figured on this Plate is dealt with in the chapter dealing with decorative art.]

The fourth type of spear is a rare one. It is double-pronged, cut out of the solid and barbed. The specimen represented in Fig. 4 on Plate XIII. measures twelve feet nine inches in length. The barbs, of which there are twenty-two on each side, are arranged with perfect symmetry and, as usual, the colour alternates on the two sides. On the one prong it is red with narrow, white cross bands, and on the other white with narrow red bands.

The fifth type of spear is a rare one. It is double-pronged, cut out of the solid, and unbarbed. In the specimen represented in Fig. 5, Plate XIII., the total length is seven feet nine and a quarter inches. The prongs measure thirty-two inches in length, and the distance between their points is one and three-quarter inches.

Like many other parts of Australia, the boys on Melville and Bathurst Islands make toy spears. They take short lengths of stick, two feet six to three feet ill length, and sharpen one end to form a point. The other they leave blunt. When being thrown it is held in the right hand, sometimes with the forefinger against the blunt end just as if it were the point of a spear-thrower, The boys divide into two opposing parties and, stationed at a distance of perhaps ten or twelve yards from one another, indulge in a mimic fight, one side throwing and the other dodging. They are remarkably clever both in aiming and in dodging, and any specially good shot, or clever avoidance of the same, is much appreciated. Out in the scrub also they are continually cutting off lengths of reed and aiming these at one another.

Clubs and Throwing Sticks.

On the mainland there are at least four main types met with, each of which is represented on Plate XVI. They are used by one or other of the Northern coastal tribes and I collected all the four types figured amongst the Kakadu tribe on the East Alligator River. Figs. 1, 2 and 3 represent a very common form of club that has often been described. It is made of hard wood, is always circular in section and blunt at both ends. Of the three figured, the longest measures five feet one and three-quarter inches, and the shortest four feet eight inches. The handle end may be daubed over with beeswax, the opposite, which is slightly the broader of the two, is ornamented in various ways, with lines and bands of white, black and red.

Fig. 4 represents a club which Is also common but of very constant form and always well made. It is somewhat flattened with a broader end, bluntly pointed, and a narrower one which is always marked by a very distinct concavity. The one figured, both in shape, size and decoration, may be taken as a very typical form of this club, which. the Kakadu tribe call Periperiu; the Iwaidji, at Port Essington, where the first example was seen and described by Macgillivray in his "Voyage of the Rattlesnake," call it Miru. The specimen has a total length of fifty-eight inches and a maximum breadth of three and a half. In section it is slightly, but distinctly, bi-convex. The general surface is dull red ochre in colour, but a special bright red ochre is used for the tip and the five bands that run across from side to side. The two broad bands are ornamented with fine, cross-hatched white lines leaving lozenge and crescent-shaped areas of dull red. There is a narrow median band with a row of white circles and four short slanting lines attached to each. This is a very characteristic form of decoration for these instruments. The handle end is distinctly flattened; for a distance of fifteen inches it has been smeared over with beeswax, between two lines of white, and the terminal five inches is bound round with vegetable fibre string.

The two remaining types are much rarer and more restricted in their distribution. I do not think that they are found to the west of the Alligator River country. The one represented in Fig. 5 is used by the Iwaidji at Port Essington and the Kulunglutji and Geimbio tribes to the south-east, but is not made by the adjoining Kakadu or Umoriu tribes. It is called Mabobo or Wakadi. The one figured measures forty-seven inches in length and is decorated in much the same way as the Periperiu, from which it differs in being more club-like in form and in the shape of its blunt handle end. The fourth type, represented in Fig. 6, has much the shape of a bat, and is also made by the Kulunglutji, who call it Wakerti or Wakadi; the Kakadu name is Kadimango. Its length is forty-one inches and its greatest width five inches. it has a very distinct handle and the form of decoration is much the same as that of the Periperiu and Mabobo.

The above four, together with the simple straight club met with in Northern Central tribes, such as the Warramunga and Tjingilli, represent the only types of this weapon met with on the mainland.

It is, therefore, simply astonishing to cross from the latter to Melville and Bathurst Islands and meet, in such a small, restricted area, with a series of clubs and fighting sticks so varied as those represented on Plates XVI., XVII., and XVIII. It is all the more remarkable when one realises the fact that not more than a very few miles, easily crossed in a dug-out canoe, separates the southeastern corner of Melville Island from Coburg Peninsula on the mainland, inhabited by the Iwaidji tribe, who have none of these.

I have no doubt but that the Melville and Bathurst Islanders have other forms of clubs and fighting sticks beyond those now described; they will, however, probably differ from these only in detail.

They may be, roughly, divided into two groups (a) single-pronged and (b) double-pronged. Amongst each of these there are many types.

(a) Single-pronged.

To take the single-pronged ones first, because they probably represent the simpler types. it is very difficult to classify them satisfactorily, but we may conveniently divide them first of all into two sets (a) those that are circular in cross section and (b) those that are flattened or elliptical in cross section.

(a) Those that are circular in cross section.

These again are, more or less satisfactorily, divided into two groups (1) those with blunt and (2) those with pointed ends. Amongst the first of these we have two types:--

Type 1. A more or less curved stick, about twenty inches in length, with a very decided difference in the thickness of the handle and head end. Examples of this, which is perhaps, the commonest form, are seen in plate XVII, Figures 10 and 11. The weapon is made of hard, dark, heavy wood, such as that of an Acacia or Ironwood, and the surface is decorated with strongly incised parallel grooves which curve round the head end and meet at a very blunt point, in some cases, indeed, there is a slight concavity towards which they all converge. The diameter of the swollen end is not more than two inches and the surface is variously decorated with bands of yellow, red and white.

Type 2. An approximately straight stick, about twenty inches in length, or slightly more, with no strongly marked, swollen head (Fig. 9, Plate XVII.). The surface is covered with incised grooves and decorated just as in the preceding form.

Amongst those with pointed ends there are at least five types and there may be more.

Type 3. A straight stick (Plate XVII., Fig. 7) with a very marked swollen head and a more or less rapidly tapering point. The surface is strongly grooved. In its widest part the diameter is two inches or slightly more.

The Melville Island name for it is Muragugna.

Type 4. A somewhat longer stick than the last one, measuring thirty inches or more (Fig. 6, Plate XVII.), It gradually increases in size towards the head end the greatest diameter of which is about all inch and quarter. It has a long tapering point.

Type 5. This is a very characteristic form. It is made, like all the above, out of heavy dark wood and measures about two feet in length. It gradually increases in size towards the head end, which is bluntly rounded and has a sharp projecting point, five-eighths of an inch in length (Fig. 8, Plate XVII.).

Type 6. This is a very remarkable type (Fig. 5, Plate XVII.). It measures twenty-seven inches in length, and, in general form, is intermediate between types 4 and 5. The head end is more swollen than in type 5, so much as in type 4, and the form of the tapering point is also intermediate between the two. It is remarkable however. in having two distinct series of serrations on opposite sides of the swollen head.1 The whole surface is strongly grooved.

1. The serrations on the upper part are much more clearly marked than they appear to be in the figure.]

Type 7. This is an interesting type which is evidently a further development of, in one direction, type 6. The swollen head of the latter merges at each end into the main body. In this type (Plate XVIII., Fig. 8) the head part is of the same diameter throughout, and is distinctly marked off from the rest. It is also somewhat flattened sideways. The serrations, which are indicated in type 6, are here much more strongly marked, and, oil a small scale, are closely similar to the barbs of a spear. The total length is rather more than thirty inches, the pointed end. beyond the head, measuring ten inches. The coloration: The tip is white, followed by a red band. The serrations are red; the flattened surface on each side is yellow outlined with white; the handle has successive bands of red, white, red, yellow.

Type 8. Just as type 7 appears to have been derived from type 6 by development of the serrated head part, so as to mark this off more distinctly from the body, so in type 8 development has gone, as were, in the opposite direction. It is represented by Fig. 4 on Plate XVIII. It is twenty-seven inches long, and the swollen head part, with serrations, is much larger than in type 6. The point also is much blunter. The swelling is so formed that one surface is nearly flat, the other very distinctly convex. on the upper, flat, surface there is a series of deeply cut serrations running across at right angles to the length of the club, but on what may be called the under surface, the serrations, which on type 6 were suggestive of spear barbs, are now very clearly of this nature. They are seven in number, the longest measuring four and a-half inches. The whole surface is marked with longitudinal grooves. The tip end is red; the upper, small, serrations are red; the lower barbs are white; on each side of the head the space between the serrations and barbs is outlined by a yellow band and crossed by eight narrow bands of red, leaving square patches of dark coloured wood between them; the head is succeeded by a narrow band of red, then a still narrower one of white, and finally the rest of the handle is a bright orange red.

Type 9. This is much simpler in form than the preceding one, but, like it, may probably be derived from type 6. The swollen head part has practically disappeared, as have also the serrations on the upper part. Those on the lower side have been drawn out for a considerable distance, the last one being nineteen inches away from the sharp-pointed tip, into which the original head now gradually tapers (Plate XVII., Fig. 3).

(b) Those that are flattened or elliptical in cross section.

Type 10. This is represented by the specimens show, on Plate XVIII., Figs. 1, 2 and 3, and Plate XIX., Fig. 1. It varies somewhat in form but consists, essentially, of a flat slab of wood, varying in length from two and a half to four feet, in width from two to three inches and its thickness is an inch, or a little less. A handle end may be indicated in various ways, as can be seen in the figures, but there are no serrations. The surface may be either grooved (Plate XVIII., Figs. 2 and 3) or roughly smoothed down, and the decoration takes the form of a series of bands of red, yellow and white. The Melville Island name for it is Iruella.

Type 11. This is a much more ornate type, in which the handle end has serrations and both it and the blade may be pierced by openings. It is represented by the specimen on Plate XIX., Fig. 6. The total length is fifty-four inches; the greatest width three inches, and the thickness one inch. The decorations are crude but effective, the colours employed being yellow, red, black and white. A very characteristic feature of this and other of the Island implements is seen in connection with the method of coloration of the middle and terminal parts. The whole surface is, first of all, coated with red ochre; this has then been covered with a thin layer of white which has in its turn been scratched through across to show the red beneath.

Type 12. This is a very well marked and characteristic type, called Arrawunagiri by the Melville Islanders. It is represented by Figs. 5 and 7 on Plate XIX. The natives told me that they used it for catching fish in the mangrove swamp. The man sits on a mangrove, above the water, and "jabs" it down on a passing fish. One would have thought that a sharp-pronged implement, such as is represented in the adjacent Fig. 8, would have been more serviceable for the purpose, but the natives were quite definite on the point. The total length of Fig. 7, which is slightly larger than Fig. 5, the two being otherwise precisely similar to one another, is fifty-five inches. The head end is flattened, twenty-one inches in length, two and three-quarter inches in width, and one inch in thickness. It is succeeded by a round part, one inch in diameter and a foot in length. The next part for a distance of fourteen inches is flattened and the same width as the blade. It carries, on each side, six barbs, which are precisely similar to those of the spears. The handle is rounded, with a knob in the middle. The most remarkable feature of this club is the strong development of the barbs which, apparently, are not only useless, but must be a source of danger to anyone holding the weapon and making a downward thrust, because the points of the barbs are directed towards the handle end, and if the hand of the man using the weapon were to slip, the result would, inevitably, be a nasty wound.

(b). Double-pronged.

There is very considerable variation amongst these both in size and form. The smallest of those illustrated (Plate XVII., Fig. 1) has a total length of nineteen inches and a quarter, the longest (Plate XIX., Fig. 8) measures slightly less than seventy-two inches. It is, in fact, rather difficult to know where to draw the line between clubs and spears, and to group the present series together, under the common heading of double-pronged, is really an arbitrary proceeding. It includes two distinct series, in one of which the prong indicates the handle, and in the other the opposite end of the weapon.

(a) Clubs in which the handle is pronged.

Type 13. This includes a considerable series which cannot well be differentiated from one another. They differ much in regard to size and ornamentation but agree in the fundamental feature of possessing a prong which is relatively small and placed at what is evidently the handle end. They are represented by those illustrated it, Figs. 4, 5, and 6 on Plate XVIII., and Figs. 2, 3, and 4 on Plate XIX. The simplest and also most suggestive one, which gives us the clue to the true relation of the prong to the rest of the club, is the one shown in Plate XIX. Fig. 4. It lies next to three simple unpronged ones and there can be no doubt whatever that the prong is the handle end and merely a further differentiation of the same part in the simpler forms. Also it is called Iruwalla or Iruella, just as the latter are. The others are merely variations of this, all of them with the widest and main part of the implement at the opposite end to the prong and, with very rare exceptions, some special feature to indicate that the prong is the handle end. In Fig. 4. for example, on Plate XIX., we have an admirable illustration. It measures just four feet in length, three inches in width, and seven-eighths of an inch in thickness. The distance separating the points of the prongs is two inches and three-eighths. The length of the prongs is seven inches. Immediately beyond them vegetable fibre string is wound round for a space of five inches, in the way most characteristic of handles, and beyond this there are projecting ridges. From this the blade is uniform to the end, where it is bluntly rounded.

Type 14. In this type I group a series of double-pronged forms of comparatively small size, in which the prong is at the opposite end to the handle. They are represented by the specimens illustrated on Plate XVII. Figures 1 and 2, and Plate XVIII., Fig. 7. They vary somewhat in size and form. The prongs may be short and stout, or long and thin, but they are quite distinct from the handle end. Perhaps the commonest form is that represented in Plate XVII., Fig. 2. It measures twenty-one inches in length and two and a quarter in greatest width, the prongs) to the end of the central incision, measuring eight inches. It is made of very heavy wood, the prongs are beautifully shaped and very sharp, and the whole surface is covered with very regular, longitudinal grooves. The greatest relative length of prong is seen in Fig. 7, Plate XVIII., when they measure seventeen inches out of a total of thirty. The least relative length is seen in Fig. 1, Plate XVII., where they measure only two and a half out of nineteen inches. Despite their variation they are all members of the one type to which the natives give the common name of Japururunga or Taburaringa.

Type 15. This is a very distinct type and, to a certain extent, is intermediate between a club and a spear. It is represented in Plate XIX., Fig. 8. Its total length is seventy-one inches and a quarter; its general width is three inches and its thickness one inch, the proportions of these measurements being indicative of a club rather than a spear, the main shaft of which is typically circular, or nearly so, in section. The prongs measure fifteen inches in length and, at the opposite end, there is a very well marked handle, measuring seven inches in length. The decorations are very characteristic and a portion of the club, drawn in colours, on a larger scale, on Plate XXXVI., Fig. 1, serves admirably to illustrate the general colour schemes of the Melville and Bathurst Island implements,

Spear Throwers.

There are four types of spear throwers amongst the northern tribes, one of which is especially widely distributed, and is met with from the Kaitish tribe, at Barrow Creek, in the south, right across the continent to the northern coast, eastwards to the Gulf of Carpentaria, and westwards to the Indian Ocean. It has the form of a simple, straight, flattened blade of wood. It is usually made of a relatively light, soft wood, but may occasionally be made of a dark, heavy wood, such as an Acacia. At one end the blade is cut away on both sides, so as to form a serviceable handle, which can be easily gripped. Sometimes, but by no means always) string or tendon is wound round this part. At the other end, towards which it usually slightly tapers, there is a mass of either resin or beeswax, into which a small wooden point is fixed. In most cases it is coated with red ochre, but sometimes it may be decorated with a definite pattern. It seldom exceeds a length of three feet six or eight inches, and one of these implements is to be found amongst the possessions of almost every man amongst the northern tribes. In the central tribes, amongst the Warramunga tribe, it is called Wanmaiia. The Larakia name for it is Bletta, the Worgait is Kallum. In the Larakia an important man is called Bletta dunkal, which means a strong womera, or spear thrower; in other words, a good, strong fighter. Bletta is also the name of the tree out of which the spear thrower is made. So, again, in the Worgait tribe, an important man is called Kallum kundira, which means a strong womera.

The other three types are much more limited in distribution. One of them consists of a straight stick, circular in section, and not more than three feet long. At one end it has a tassel of human-hair string. This is really a fringe consisting of a long piece of fur string with twisted strands of hair string hanging down from it, very closely together.1 At the opposite end there is a small knob of wax or resin with a little rounded knob of wood that fits into a small hole in the end of the spear. This type is met with especially amongst the Gnanji and Umbaia tribes, and, once more, I met with it along the coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria, but not in the more northern tribes) though it is said to have been met with amongst them. They certainly do not make it, but, of course, like everything else, spear throwers are traded from one part of the country to another.

1. The method of attachment of the tassel, etc., is described in Native Tribes of Central Australia, p. 580]

A third type, entirely peculiar to certain of the northern coastal tribes, is represented on Plate XX. Figs. 1 and 2 represent it in course of manufacture; Figs. 3 and 4 show the finished article. It consists of a lath of hard, dark wood, such as an acacia, which may sometimes be straight, but is more usually distinctly curved, like a boomerang. The one represented in Fig. 3 may be taken as very characteristic of this type. The total length, in a straight line, is just four feet; the greatest width is two inches and five-eighths, and the thickness of the blade is only three-sixteenths. The handle is a truncated knob of kapei, or ironwood tree resin, measuring two and three-quarters of an inch in length and one and three-quarters in diameter. Its surface is worked in such a way as to give the appearance of strands of string running round either end and lengthwise across a band in the middle of the knob. The Kakadu, who make this form of spear-thrower, call it Palati. The wax knob is called kuleryu. At the other end there is a small knob of wood an inch in length and tapering rapidly from a diameter of five-eighths of an inch to a point. From the broader end there is a short projection, which is laid on one of the flat sides of the blade, and, after being enclosed in kapei resin, is wound round and round with Banyan fibre string. The wooden knob is called inedi. This form of thrower requires considerable experience in its use, but is most effective in the hands of a skilful native, because, unlike most other throwers, the thin edge of the blade cuts through the air, resulting in there being practically no friction.

Fig. 5 represents a very simple, distinct type, widely scattered amongst the northern coastal tribes who use the light, reed-hafted spear, called kunjolio by the Kakadu, It is merely a thin stick, from forty to forty-five inches in length and one-quarter to one-half of an inch in diameter. At the handle end it is coated with kapei resin, with a raised rim about five inches from the end, which makes a very efficient handle. At the other end a small, pointed knob of kapei is fixed on slantwise.

Fig. 6 is merely a small edition of this, made and used by the children for their toy spears.

Spear-throwers belonging to one or another of these types are found amongst all the northern tribes except on Melville and Bathurst Islands, where they are entirely unknown.

Bags and Baskets.

There are, according to the material out of which they are made, four main groups of baskets to be distinguished, (1) those made out of palm leaves, (2) those made out of paper-bark for temporary use, (3) those woven out Of grass, rushes or split cane, and (4) those made out of the bark of a gum tree. These are especially characteristic of Melville and Bathurst Islands, (S) Knitted bags. A striking feature of all the northern coastal tribes is the absence of the wooden troughs, or pitchis, that are so characteristic of the central tribes.

(1) Baskets made out of palm leaves.

These are very ingeniously made. A fan-palm leaf is taken with its attached stalk. While the leaf is soft and pliant the free end is folded in such a way that there is a median and two lateral folds, as seen in Plate XXI., Fig. 3. These three folds form the side of the basket opposite to that to which the leaf stalk is attached. The end of the stalk is bent over and then passed between the median fold and the two outer ones on the opposite side of the basket. It is then bent back on itself outside the latter. The edges of the folds, around the handle thus formed, are sewn together with thin split cane, the extent of the sewing varying much in different baskets. In the specimen figured (Plate XXI.) the sewing is confined to the upper edge, but the line of split cane may follow round the margin of the outer fold till it comes to the turned back leaf stalk, after which it may follow along the margin of the covered fold till it once more reaches the upper edge of the basket.

These palm leaf baskets vary much in size. The one represented in Fig. 2 measures eleven inches in greatest and eight in least width, its depth being nine inches. It has been covered externally with red ochre and then ornamented with white circles. Fig. 3 is quite plain. It is eleven inches broad at the top and only four in its narrowest and lowest part. Figs. 4 and 6 represent very small examples. In fact, the former is rather like a lady's large purse. Its greatest width is four inches and it is red-ochred all over. It is, however, just as carefully made as the larger ones. In this particular Instance the original attachment of the stalk is not used, probably because it would form too large a handle in proportion to the size of the basket. The leaf has therefore been folded on both sides, just as it is on one side only it, Fig. 3; the edges of the folds have been sewn and the handle attached also in the same way. It seems a great deal of trouble to take, because the basket is so small that it only serves to hold very little, in this particular case it contained only a little red ochre.

Fig. 6 represents also a small one, but here the attached stem is used as a handle. It is painted with red and yellow ochre, and ornamented with a flattened out tassel, consisting of a central mass of beeswax whitened with pipe clay, from which radiate the hairs forming the terminal tuft of a dog's tall. These particular specimens came from the Alligator River, but similar ones are widely spread amongst the Northern tribes.

(2) Baskets made out of paper bark.

In Plate XXI., Figs. 1 and 5, two types of these are represented. The first is, roughly, rectangular in shape. It measures eight inches in length by four in width, and the same in depth. The bark, which the Kakadu natives call ranken, is composed of sheet after sheet of soft, pliable material, each sheet not much thicker than tissue paper. The sheets very readily peel off so that the surface is always ragged. The handle is made out of a thin piece of cane. At each end it is passed through the folded bark and twisted back on itself. Split cane is used to bind together the bark and the handle.

The second type is still rougher. It consists Of thick sheet of paper bark, the two ends of which are pinched together and tied round with strips of bark, so that a kind of trough is formed. The one shown in Fig. 5 measures sixteen inches in length, seven in width and five and a half in depth. For some reason it has attached to it one of the small spherical bags, called Ballduk, which the natives usually wear suspended from a string round the neck and in which they carry small personal belongings.

(3) Baskets woven out of grass, rushes or split cane.

These form a very distinctive series and can be divided into two main groups, one containing three and the other two types. So far as my experience goes there is wonderful uniformity in the manner of their actual manufacture but, whilst this is so, they afford the natives more scope for the display of decorative work than any other of their ordinary implements. The names that I use are those in use in the Kakadu tribe. The first group (A) consists of those that have a neck, the mouth opening of the basket being greater in diameter than the part immediately succeeding it. The second group (B) consists of those in which there is no neck.

(A) Baskets with a neck.

These vary much in size and amongst them three types may be recognized.

Type 1. This is represented by the specimens figured in Plate XXII., Figs. 1 and 4. It is called Kurokura. The meshwork is very open. The longitudinal strands vary in different specimens. In the larger ones, such as Fig. 1, which measures twenty inches in length, they may be formed of thin pliant twigs, but in smaller ones they are made of stiff grass or rushes, called woirnya. The transverse lines are each made of two strands of plaited) bark fibre string, called meribainja. Four inches below the open end, in Fig. 1, there is a raised line made by the plaiting of three, instead of the usual two strands. The margin of the opening is bounded by a circle of cane wound round with fur string and, immediately below this, are two other narrow circles of wood which serve to preserve the shape of the opening and are kept in place by string which can be seen passing round them and the marginal circle. The base of the basket has a very strongly marked indentation. The decoration is very simple, and consists, first, of a band of white, passing all round the neck region for a breadth of four inches. Below this there are eight white lines enclosing as many longitudinal spaces. Two of these, which are opposite to one another, and one of which can be seen on the right side of the figure, have five rectangular spaces of red ochre, outlined with white; on each side of these there is a yellow band and between these a red one.

To one side of the opening there is attached a loop of banyan fibre string, by means of which the basket is carried.

In the second specimen (Fig. 4) the margin has been broken away, and there is no colour decoration. I found it in the possession of a lubra camped by the side of a lagoon at Oenpelli, near the East Alligator River, and, on investigating its contents, discovered that they consisted mainly of the bones of her young child, who had died a few months previously.

Type 2. This is represented by the specimen figured on Plate XXIII., Fig. 4. It is called Djilara. As compared with the Kurokura, this and the next type are characterised by the relative closeness of the mesh-work. The longitudinal strands of the Djilara are made of grass stalks, called mugana, or mukana. The cross bands are made of plaited, single strands of string. Sometimes the longitudinal bands are made up of two or three fibres, which look much as if a single grass stalk had been split longitudinally. Around the margin of the basket the ends of the longitudinal stalks are turned down and bound round, together with other stalks, by means of a double strand of shredded bark, to form a definite margin to the opening.

The total length of the basket is fourteen inches, the diameter of the opening is seven, and that of the neck five. The decoration is very simple. There are a series of crossing and slanting yellow bands, outlined with white, that enclose a number of lozenge-shaped light red spaces.

Type 3. At first sight this is very like the Djilara, but, on closer inspection, it is seen to differ very distinctly. It is represented by the specimens figured on Plate XXII., Fig. 3, and Plate XXIII., Fig. 5. It is called Nuborgo, and resembles the Djilara in having, as compared with the Kurokura, a comparatively close mesh-work. A typical example is shown in Fig. 3, Plate XXII., the total length of which is nineteen inches and the width of the opening eight inches. The longitudinal strands of the Nuborgo are usually made of twisted grass stalks or shredded fibres of Pandanus leaves. The cross bands always differ from those of the Djilara in being composed of double strings, whereas, in the latter, each of the two plaited strings is a single fibre. In Fig. 3, at the base of the basket, about fourteen of the longitudinal strings are gathered together, bound round with fine string and then pass up the opposite side; the other longitudinal strands are similarly bound together and pass under, and at right angles to the first series. In this specimen there 'I no attempt at decoration, but in Fig. 5, Plate XXIII., there is a more or less elaborate scheme. There series of light red bands outlined with white, enclosing dark red triangular spaces.

(B) Baskets without a neck.

These are much more common than those of the first group, but, though very numerous, and differing very much in size, they may all, so far as these northern coastal tribes are concerned, be divided into two types.

Type 4. In this, which is called Maleba, the meshwork is open; not nearly so much as in the Kurokura, but sufficiently so as to render it unsuitable for carrying fluid material. It is represented by the specimens illustrated on Plate XXIII., Figs. 3 and 6, and Plate XXIV., Figs. 1, 2, and 7. Fig. 3, Plate XXIII., may be taken as a typical example. It measures seventeen inches in length and five and a half in diameter. The longitudinal bars are made of two, or more, split grass stalks, or shreds of Pandanus leaves; the transverse lines by two, plaited, single strands of string. just as in the Djilara. Around the margin of the opening, the ends of the longitudinal bars are cut off abruptly and a strand of string is threaded in and out to form a binding. To carry the basket a loop of four strands of vegetable fibre string is attached to one side, which may be spoken of as the back of the basket because, here, there is left an uncoloured band, four inches wide, running along the length of the basket, the rest of which is ornamented with bands of light red outlined with white and enclosing spaces of dark red. Fig. 7, Plate XXIV., has lines of the bright coloured feathers of the Blue Mountain parakeet woven into the grass strands so as to outline rectangular spaces, all of which have been painted over with red ochre and most of them then crossed with lines of white. Of the three specimens illustrated on Plate XXIV., Fig. 2 is interesting because of its design, to which reference is made later, and the one represented in Fig. 7 because of its relatively small size. It measures eight inches by two and a quarter.

Type 5. This is represented by the specimens illustrated in Plate XXII., Figs. 2 and 5, Plate XXII., Figs. 1 and 2, Plate XXIV., Figs. 3. 4, 5, and 8. It is called Numalka, or Numalga, and its characteristic feature is the way in which the strands are so closely woven together that the basket can be used for carrying fluid material, such as honey or even water. In addition to this, the surface is always crossed by paired ridges, each one made by the weaving in of an extra strand of string. So far as shape, size and the nature of the strands are concerned, it is similar to the Maleba, but the open mesh-work of the latter and the closed one of the Numalka, serve, at once, to distinguish these two types. Fig. 2 on Plate XXII. is a good, simple example of this type. It measures twenty-five inches in length and seven in diameter. A little way below the mouth a circle of Blue Mountain Parakeet feathers has been woven in to the uppermost of the cross ridges. These are arranged in pairs and are utilised in the design, which consists only of alternate bands of light and dark red ochre, the former always including, and terminating with, the ridges. As in the Maleba, so in the Numalka, the loop, which serves for carrying the strand, is woven into the strands at two points on what may be called the back of the basket, because here the raised ridges and the colour bands are absent. The ends of the longitudinal strands of grass, rushes or Pandanus leaves, used in the making of the basket, are cut off abruptly round the margin of the mouth and a strand of two-ply string is threaded in and out, just as in the Maleba. This thread always passes through the side of the basket between the second and third transverse strands of string. Fig, 5, Plate XXII., measures eighteen inches in length and eight in width. It is decorated in squares and the ridges end in a curious asymmetrical way on the back, some projecting much further than others on to the uncoloured median space. The remaining specimens differ from one another mainly in regard to size and decoration, which will be referred to later. Fig. 8, Plate XXIV., is one of the smallest examples, measuring only seven inches in length, Fig. 3, Plate XXIV., however, is somewhat interesting, In this one the shape is distinct, inasmuch as the mouth of the basket, which measures fourteen inches in length, is decidedly smaller in diameter than the lower part of the basket. This may possibly be intentional, but the natives called it by the same name that they gave to the specimens represented in Figs. 4, 5, and 8 (Plate XXIV). By some chance the maker, Or, perhaps, some one at a later period, had secured a few rags of cloth which, by way of ornament, he had woven into the strands. They formed an unpleasant contrast to the circle of beautiful parakeet feathers running round a short distance below the margin.

(4) Baskets made out of bark.

Bark baskets are known from other parts of Australia, but those made by the natives of Melville and Bathurst Islands are remarkable both for their great size and bold designs. They are entirely different in this respect from any known elsewhere (Plates XXV., XXXIV., XXXV.).

They are made, apparently exclusively, from the bark of one particular series of Eucalyptus, known as the stringy-bark gum tree, out of which, also, the natives make their bark canoes and lean-to shelters. The island name for them is Wunga-dunga, the second half being the word for bark. The bark can only be stripped off with ease during, the wet season, and it is at this period that these baskets are made. From the point of view of design they are dealt with in the chapter on Decorative Art.1 They are all made in a precisely similar way, however small or large they may be. An oblong piece of bark of the desired size is cut from the tree, now-a-days by means of an iron tomahawk, but originally by the sharp edge of a shell or a stone axe. It is first of all carefully scraped over, to remove the outer, rough surface . Then it is bent double on itself, and the two sides sewn firmly together by means of strands of split cane. In many cases a thin coating of wax, or resin, is added, but, whether this be so or not, the edges are always so closely united that the basket will hold water. The handle is always very small, and, in many cases, appears to be quite inadequate in size and strength. It is attached to what may be described as the back of the basket, and is made sometimes out of banyan bark string, sometimes out of split cane. In either case each end of the loop passes through the bark and is knotted on the inner side. When empty it may be carried in the hand, but when full of yams, or other food, it is carried on the back by means of a stick passed through the handle. In many cases, as in Fig. 1 on Plate XXXIV., the two sides are strengthened, near the opening, by special strands of split cane sewn across from side to side in criss-cross fashion. In every basket the margin on the back is sewn Over with a double strand of split cane, also in criss-cross, the object evidently being to prevent the bark from splitting down, as it might easily do in this part where the pressure is greatest around the handle. The cane sewing is, also, always continued round each side, where the two edges have been originally united, and for a short distance on the front margin.

1. See Chapter xiv.]

These bark bags vary very much in size. Figs. 1 and 2, on Plate XXXV., represent specimens of, probably, maximum size--at least, amongst a great number I have never seen any larger ones, and, when full of yams, one of these is quite enough for an ordinary blackfellow to carry. The largest measures thirty inches in height, and fourteen from side to side, across the opening. The specimen between the two larger ones measures a foot in height, Four of fair average size are shown on Plate XXV, Fig. 1 measures sixteen inches in height; eight across the opening and fifteen at the base. The corresponding, measurements in Fig. 2 are fifteen, ten and a half, thirteen and a half; in Fig. 3 they are sixteen, ten and a half, twelve; in Fig. 4 they are fifteen, eleven, fourteen. One of the smallest of these bark baskets is represented in Fig. 4. Plate XXXIV. It measures only eight inches in height, five across the mouth and seven at the base.

(5) Knitted Bags.

In all tribes knitted bags are met with. They vary much in size from little ones. a few inches in length, to large ones which, when flattened out, are typically broader at the base than the mouth and may measure two feet, or even more, across in the widest part and are carried by means of a string loop. The Kakadu people have two distinct kinds, one, called Mela, in the knitting of which a knot is employed and another, called Nunguluwara, in which there is no knot. The favourite material for making them is string, called Mukinoborbo, made out of Banyan bark, though other kinds may also be used.

These bags, like the baskets, are often carried by the women, suspended down their backs with the loop passing across the forehead.

There is one very characteristic little bag which is worn by men only. In the Kakadu and allied tribes every man has one of these. Each is spherical, from two to two and a half inches in diameter, with a loop of string, the two ends of the loop being tied round and round close to the mouth of the bag, which is thereby tightly closed. In this bag the man keeps little odds and ends, perhaps a cutting flake, or a bit of resin, or if he can secure it a little bit of tobacco. It is, if not full, padded out with paper bark and is always spherical. It is called Ballduk and is worn suspended from the neck (Fig. 8) usually in front but sometimes in the middle of the back. The string is always long enough to allow the bag too be held in the mouth. During fights and ceremonies when the men get excited one of the first things that they do is to put the bag between their teeth and bite it hard. A man wearing it is shown in Fig. 8. Spherical masses of birds' down of the same size and known by the same name, are used as ornaments. One of them is carried by the Mikinyertinga girl during the initiation ceremonies in the Melville Island tribe. (Fig. 7, Plate 1.)


These are identical with those that we have described before1 and are of two types (1) those made out of hollow branches of gum trees, ironwood, etc., and (2) those made from bamboo.

1. Northern Tribes.]

The term "trumpet" is, of course, a misnomer, but it is popularly applied in Australia to this native musical instrument, for which the name conch would, perhaps, more appropriate. The Australian aboriginal has two forms of musical instruments; one consists of sticks, which he clangs together, and the other of a hollow stick or small log, through which he blows.

The trumpets, or conchs, are much used during both the ordinary corrobborees and the sacred ceremonies and, under ordinary circumstances, produce a monotonous booming sound, much like a continuous repetition of the words "biddle-an-bum," with a long, strong emphasis on the "bum." the "u" sound being long-drawn-out, There is, however, very considerable variation in regard to the ability of different musicians. In the Kakadu, for example, there is one man who is notably good and will imitate wonderfully well the calls of various birds, such as the native companion. When in camp he is constantly asked to perform and the natives listen to him by the hour. Most of the music is, however. extremely monotonous and one can often hear the trumpets booming away, till late at night, out in the scrub, where the natives are singing and dancing round their camp fires.

Five typical examples are shown on Plate XXVI., Fig. 1 is just four feet long and two inches in diameter; it is made out of a gum tree branch which has been smoothed down. Fig. 2 is very crude and unfinished, the bark still remaining on it. The twist in the branch is not a matter of importance, in fact, some of the best trumpets have a decided twist or bend and it is surprising how much difference there is amongst them. Fig. 3 is a well-made specimen, measuring five feet in length and tapering from a diameter of three inches at one end, to one and a quarter at the mouth end, which is coated over with beeswax. The two remaining ones are made of bamboo, and, like all of these, are ornamented . with an incised design. The latter is very simple, consisting only of a series of zig-zag lines.

It, the case of the gum tree branches there is no difficulty in regard to the hollowing out. It is very rare, in any of the northern parts; of the Territory, to find any branches which are riot hollow, so that the natives can easily secure one that is suitable for a trumpet. In the bamboo, the partitions that pass across the nodes have to be removed, which can be done by means of a fire stick. As a general rule, the mouth end is coated with wax so that the lips can fit on tightly.

Fire Making and Cooking.

There are two methods of making fire amongst these, as, indeed, amongst many Australian tribes, in their primitive condition. The first is the drill. In the Kakadu tribe, which may be taken as representative, the fire sticks are relatively short, usually under two feet in length. Those illustrated in Plate XXVII., Fig. 4, vary between eighteen and twenty-two inches. In some tribes, such as the Binbinga, on the Gulf of Carpentaria, the lower stick is made of soft, and the upper, which is twirled upon it, of hard wood. In the Kakadu there is no distinction made, and both sticks are called Ningornu. When making fire by this process the native lays a Pandanus leaf on the ground; on this he places the lower stick, which, squatting down, he holds with either one or both feet. He has previously prepared a little tinder, which consists of a little dry, shredded Pandanus leaf. Then he proceeds to twirl the upper on the lower stick, using the palms of his hands for this purpose. By the side of the concavity, which is soon made in the lower stick, a small notch is cut, so that the hot, powdered wood can tumble out. The tinder is always made up into the form of a minute nest, so that the red-hot powder tumbles down right into the middle of it. During the process, one of the Kakadu natives whom I watched making fire, stopped the whirling process at a certain point--when the wood was fairly warm--and rubbed the warm end of the drilling stick against his nose, so as to press out on to it a little of the greasy secretion of the sebaceous glands, which the Arunta natives call ernia. He also put a very little pinch of fine sand into the hole so as to increase the friction. When the embers were smouldering the little sphere of tinder was wrapped round in a few shreds of Pandanus leaf and very carefully blown until it burst into flames.

The fire sticks are always carried about, as seen in Plate XXVII., Fig. 4, with one of their ends wrapped up in some material, such as paper bark. In many cases a length of bamboo is used, with the closed end ornamented with a knob of resin, or wax, studded over with bright red abrus seeds.

A second method of fire making is by means of a sawing motion. In the Arunta the same principle is applied, but in a different way. There, a soft-wood shield forms the under piece, and the edge of a spear thrower, made out of hard mulga or gum-tree wood, serves for the saw. In these northern parts the shield is replaced by a cleft stick, which is placed on the ground and held by the feet while another stick is run across, the cleft. The hot, powdered wood falls amongst some tinder placed in the cleft. As a matter of fact, the native does not often have to make fire, because the women, when moving from camp to camp, always carry lighted fire sticks with them.

So far as cooking is concerned, there are two main methods. The first is the simple one of cooking on the open fire in a very rough and ready way (Fig. 19). If, for example, they catch a flying fox (a large bat), which is a favourite and, in many parts, easily secured article of food, they first of all singe the hairs off, then dislocate the limbs, and perhaps, as I saw the Waduman women doing in their camp on the Flora River, they will tear it up with their teeth and cook the parts separately. As a general rule, however, the body is not opened, so as to keep all the juices within. When they cook a snake, for example, they will, if they are not in a hurry, coil it round hot embers or stones, and, when it is done to their liking, they carefully make an incision in the belly wall and then, lifting each end of the snake up, apply the hole to their mouth and carefully drink all the fluid from the body-cavity.

A more careful and very favourite method of cooking amongst all the northern tribes consists in making an earth oven, which the Kakadu call Peindi. The size of the hole varies, of course, according to the size of the food to be cooked. It is used for both yams and animal food. An average sized Peindi will be from one to two feet deep and about two feet in width--for yams it may not be more than a foot deep. It is dug by means of a simple, sharp pointed digging stick or Wairbi. First of all a fire is made in it and a number of rounded stones placed on the fire until they are really hot. Then the fire, if anything save embers remains, is raked out, leaving the stones, upon which grass or green twigs are placed. On these the food is laid and covered with grass or twigs, or if they can get it, Ranken or paper bark. Then the earth is piled over, forming a small mound, and in this Peindi the food remains until they judge it to be sufficiently cooked. It is the savage precursor of the modern paper-bag cookery.

In many tribes, such, for example, as the Waduman, special precautions are taken with regard to the cooking of special yams that are said to be "hot." There is one, for example, called Nongura, which must, first of all, h, cut up into slices and then put on an open fire for about a quarter of an hour. Then it is pounded up on stone and made into little cakes. Two stones are used, a large under one called Kari, and a smaller one with which the actual pounding is done, called Mumburra. The cakes must be placed on the fire again. Then they are. made up into a big damper and put on the fire for a time, then once more the pounding process is repeated and, finally, it is again placed on the fire, after which it may be eaten, The damper itself is called Tjalangi.

Another form of yam called Magolu is treated very differently. First of all it is skinned; then it is cut into slices, placed in a basket and soaked for some hours in water. Then it is pounded on stone, made up into a damper and cooked, always in an earth oven, or Peindi. These yams vary in size from small ones not much larger than a big marble to others the size and shape of large potatoes, while some are as big as "Turk's heads" and others perhaps two feet or more in length and shaped like swollen, crooked roots. So far as food is concerned, and apart of course from special food restrictions, the natives eat everything that is edible. Their stock vegetable supplies being yams, grass seed of various kinds, which they pound up on stones and make into dampers that may be cooked in the embers of an open fire or in a Peindi, and, in parts where they grow, the seeds, stem, and roots of the Red Lotus (Fig. 74), and the ordinary Lily. In places such as Oenpelli, where the backwaters are full of lilies, you can see the little black faces of the women just above the water all day long gathering lily "tucker," which they call Wuridjonga. The seeds they pound up and make into a damper, which is baked on the fire; the stalks they eat raw, and the roots they cook in the open fire.

Challenge Sticks.

In the Kakadu tribe there are certain challenge sticks, called Medjingeli, that are sent out to invite natives of other camps or tribes to take part in a fight. Two of them are represented on Plate XXVII., Figs. 1 and 2. The upper one measures thirty-nine inches in length, and is a solid stick with a bunch of stiff grass stalks attached at one end by means of shreds of banyan bark. The whole thing is whitened with pipe clay, and looks like a miniature broom. This form is sent out as a challenge for a general fight. The second one is smaller, and measures only twenty-one inches in length. It is made of reed or thin bamboo, is red ochred, and has the grass stalks bound round with banyan bark string, otherwise it is essentially like the first, and is used as a challenge to a single fight with a club called Periperiu (Plate XVI., Fig. 4).


Amongst the possessions of a Kakadu man I came across a very simple but effective rasp (Plate XXVII., Fig. 6). I thought at first that it must be of extraneous origin, but the men assured me that it was not. They call it Munum-bura-bura. It is made of a small flat slab of wood, just a little less than a foot in length, tapering slightly towards the handle end.

Starting from the broad end, a piece of stingaree, or shark skin, studded with five sharp denticles, was tightly stretched across one of the flat sides for a length of seven inches, the two edges of the skin being sewn together on the opposite side. It certainly made a very effective implement for smoothing down the surface of a club or spear, but I have not met with it elsewhere.


In all these tribes some form of spindle is used for making hair-string. Vegetable-fibre string is made by twirling the fibre round on the thighs by means of the palm of the hand. There are two main forms of spindle; in the one which is almost always used in the centre of the continent there is a central stern with two, usually curved, pieces at right angles to one another. In the Kakadu and other tribes the one most generally used has simply a little terminal hook, which serves to hold one end of the twine while the spindle is rapidly rotated on the thigh. The hair, or fur, as the case may be, is served with the other hand. Normally the right hand is used for twirling and the left for serving. The spindle is called Kopeida (Plate XXVII., Fig. 5).


In the coastal area practically every woman has a fan, or Norkun, though these are often used by the men also. They are always made out of two wings of the palmated goose, a bird which is very abundant on the billabongs and backwaters. The two wings are always tied together with human-hair string. It is a most useful implement in a country where flies by day and mosquitoes by night are often a perfect pest. No woman is without her norkun (Plate XXVII., Fig. 10).

Corrobboree Wand.

This, apparently, is only met with amongst the coastal tribes. The total length is approximately a foot and the diameter two inches. It is called Yai-illa by the Kakadu and is made by tightly wrapping together strands and folds of paper bark (Fig. 73). There is an outer covering of the same material which leaves one end free, as seen in the figure. This is the handle end and, during corrobborees, the men squatting down strike the ground with the Yai-illa, keeping time to the singing.

It also has a quite different use, in connection, really, with magic. If a man has a pain in his back he will fasten one of these into the small of his back by means of his waist girdle. The pain, or rather evil magic causing the pain, is supposed to pass into the Yai-illa and can then be thrown away with this.


The natives on the northern coast use two very different kinds of boats, one of which is indigenous, the other has been derived from the Malays. The first is the bark canoe1 which is met with all along the northern coast, on the islands, and round the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria. This is made in parts where the natives can obtain suitable material. The first that I saw, in 1900, was at Boroloola, on the Macarthur River, near the Gulf of Carpentaria. In this six natives had come across to the mainland from the Pelew Islands, and then more than fifty miles up the river. The water was, of course, smooth, but this is a long journey for so frail-looking a craft, and two of the men were kept busily at work baling with a large shell (Melo diadema). These bark canoes are all made in essentially the same way. The material used seems to be generally, if not always, stringy-bark, a species of Eucalyptus, the same one that is used for the manufacture of bark baskets. The bark is cut during the wet season, when it is more easily worked and far less brittle and liable to crack than in the dry season.2 It is trimmed down with the sharp edge of a Cyrena shell and cut into the required shape, the sheet is folded and the two ends sewn together. Sometimes only one sheet seems to be used, but at others more than one may be employed, as, for example, in the specimen first described by Mr. Gillen and myself. Along each side runs a long mangrove stem which is sewn on to the edge of the bark, and usually projects where the bark bends in to form the bow and the stern. From four to six pairs of sticks, placed crosswise in the interior of the canoe, and the same number passing across in a corresponding position from gunwale to gunwale, serve to assist in maintaining the shape of the boat and also to prevent it from collapsing. In most cases, either end serves as stern or bow, the two being identical in form, but in some, one end is curiously shaped.3 In one that I brought back from Apsley Strait one end was shaped very much like the tail of a shark turned upside down. It was one of six canoes that put out from Bathurst Island to interview Mr. Cooper and myself when we were passing through Apsley Strait in his lugger. These canoes vary in length from twelve to fifteen feet, and there is no difference whatever in the essential method of construction of, on the one hand, those on Melville and Bathurst Islands and, on the other, those, far away, on the Macarthur River.

1. This was figured and described by Mr. Gillen and myself in Northern Tribes, 1902. It has recently been described and figured again by Dr. Basedow, J.A.I., Vol. xliii, plate II, 1913.]

1. The natives told me that neither baskets nor bark boats are made during the dry season.

2. Good figures of one of these are given by Dr. Basedow, op. cit.]

Of the dug-out canoes I saw two quite distinct types, one of which is the common one, the other is apparently a local variety. Both of them are cut out of the solid. The shape of the ordinary one can be seen in the illustration (Fig. 75), and, as said before, it seems most probable that they have been derived originally from the Malays. First of all, when one is to be made, a tall, solid tree is selected. I saw the one that they use on Melville Island, but have been unable to identify it. It is cut down, now-a-days, always with an iron tomahawk, and carried to the shore or bank of a creek. Here it is trimmed into shape and hollowed out. In one which a native made for me the whole work was done by him, single-handed, with one axe. The boat is fifteen feet long and two feet six inches high at both ends. Its greatest width is two feet, and it narrows in to each end, there being no difference in this respect between the bow and the stern, so that when being propelled with paddles it does not matter which end goes foremost. There is no keel of any kind, the bottom being perfectly round. In hollowing out the log, a slab, six inches in width and two in thickness, was left, running across from side to side, about a third of the way from one end. This slab has a hole in the centre through which a mast can pass to be fixed into a hole in the floor of the boat. The natives are very fond of sailing, if they can secure anything that will serve as a sail, and, in this boat, the native brought himself and his lubra across from Melville Island to the mainland--a distance of sixty miles across open water during the monsoonal period. These boats are quite right in smooth water and so long as everything goes well. Mr. Cooper and myself went many miles round the southern coast and up some of the rivers in one of these dug-outs (Fig. 75). You squat down on the floor so that all the weight is as low as possible and the gunwale is within an inch or two of the Water If they upset, the men simply rock the boat about until the greater part of the water is shaken out and then they climb in, a very difficult business in the case of a boat without the vestige of a keel. They are, however, quite accustomed to this experience and think nothing of a capsize. There is never any attempt made to decorate the boat with carvings or design of any kind. The second form I saw only on the Daly River, but every boat there was of the same kind. In the ordinary one the two ends are precisely similar, but in this one, one end is pointed and the other is abruptly truncated, so that bow and stern ends are clearly marked. It was just as if the tree had been sawn straight across, leaving a semicircular end. There are special landing places in the mangrove scrub where these boats are drawn up and from which little tracks lead away into the scrub above water level. Along the Daly we saw two or three that are used as ferry boats and are kept at special spots where it is customary to cross the river.


Clothing and Ornament

Pubic tassels and aprons.--Waist-belts.--Armlets.--Head ornaments.--Pendants made from birds' feathers in imitation of flowers.--Ornaments made of beeswax and Abrus seeds.

THE northern coastal tribes are not much troubled with clothing. Out on the central uplands and around the coasts of the Gulf of Carpentaria the nights in winter are bitterly cold--often below freezing-point, and yet the natives have never learned to make fur rugs out of the skins of the kangaroos, wallabies, and opossums that they can, and often do, secure in plenty. In the more northern coastal districts the climate is different and clothes are not much needed. To keep themselves warm the natives there will often use sheets of paper bark.

The only things that can perhaps be strictly described as articles of clothing are the pubic tassels which are worn amongst many tribes by men and women, and the curious paper bark aprons that the women wear on Melville and Bathurst Islands. The former are often of considerable size. They consist of a large number of human-hair string pendants, forming a tassel that may be a foot in length and four to six inches across. The tassel is always attached to a belt made of the same material. In the Central tribes the belt consists of, perhaps, twenty strands that are only attached to each other at the two ends of the loop. In the Northern tribes there are many more strands, and it, addition to being thus attached, there are two, three, or four cross bands, at regular intervals, through which the strands of the belt are woven and which serve to flatten it out, so that it may have a width of three or four inches. The native is very pleased if he can secure some coloured wool with which to make the cross bands.

In the Kakadu, Iwaidji, and other northern coastal tribes bark waist-belts are sometimes worn. They are made from the bark of the cypress-pine and are called Kupelbi. Their nature can be seen from the photographs of the three reproduced in Fig. 71, which were obtained from natives on the South Alligator River. In the middle one the belt consists of a length of some ninety inches of bark four inches in width, wrapped round so as to form three circles. The two ends, one on the inside and one on the outside, are close together, and a circle of string is tied round in such a way that it passes between the free end on the outside and the free end on the inside. The nature of the design can be seen in the illustration, It is always drawn so that it starts close to the edge of the belt on the outside, and occupies the greater part of the outermost circle. In this example it commences at a distance of two and a quarter inches from the outer end. The general colour of the ground is dull red, with white bands and cross lines, leaving lozenge and crescent-shaped spaces between them. The four bands running across the width of the belt in the middle line in front are, however, bright red. The one on the left-hand, though essentially the same, measures only fifty-four inches in length and has only two circles. The one on the right hand measures seventy-eight inches in length and has three circles.

A series of ornaments of various kinds is represented in Plate XXVIII.; Figs. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, are ordinary armlets, made of very closely woven vegetable-fibre string. Fig. 1 measures three and a quarter inches in width, three in diameter, and has nineteen rows of strands. Fig. 2 is two inches in width, three in diameter, and has fourteen rows. Fig. 3 is one inch in width, and has six rows. Fig. 4 is three and a half inches wide, has a diameter of two and three-quarter inches and consists of twenty-two strands. Fig. 5 is two and a half inches wide, three in diameter, and has fourteen strands. The colours used in decoration are only red and white. In the Kakadu tribe these string ornaments are called Muraradi, and are made out of banyan-bark string.

In Figs. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 a distinct form of armlet is represented which is worn by almost every man and youth. It is called Winbegi, and is made out of split cane and may be very thin as in Fig. 10, where it only measures an eighth of an inch, or, as in Fig. 8, it may be an inch and three-quarters in width and consist of many strands. In some cases, as seen in Fig. 11, representing a specimen from Bathurst Island, a number of plaited armlets may be carried about together. In this case they are made of palm leaf, and have been gathered into two groups, twenty-two in one and fourteen in the other. One end of a loop, consisting of a few strands of human-hair string, is tied round each group of armlets, the free end being then attached to the main strand by means of a lump of beeswax.

The special armlet represented in Fig. 12, called Kundama, has been referred to in connection with the burial ceremonies of the Kakadu tribe. It is never coloured and is always made of banyan-bark string in the fashion seen in the illustration.

Very characteristic forms of head-dresses are seen in Plate XXVII., Figs. 16 and 17. Each of them is composed of kangaroo incisor teeth, wax, and string. In the first there are forty-five teeth, each of which is embedded in a small mass of beeswax. They are attached, side by side, by means of two double strands of string. Each single strand passes in front of and behind alternate teeth, and at each end the four strands pass out and are bound round with string so as to form a fairly strong cord, which passes behind the head. The wax is red-ochred and the inner surface of the teeth is whitened. In the second specimen there are forty-four teeth, which are embedded in beeswax in such a way that the whole ornament looks very much like a jaw. The teeth stand out prominently because they are whitened on both sides. The wax is black, and from each end there passes out a strand of vegetable-fibre string, The whole is very pliable and can be easily adapted to the shape of the head, on which it is usually worn, with the points of the teeth hanging down. A simpler ornament, which is one of the commonest, is represented in Fig. 15. It is called Majimbo by the Kakadu, and consists of a flattened central mass of beeswax, from two to three inches across, with kangaroo incisor teeth projecting from the more rounded part of the margin. String is fixed into the centre of a smaller flattened part, and serves to tie the ornament to the hair of the head on which it is worn hanging down over the forehead.

The most picturesque, or, at least, tasteful, ornaments are curious pendants made from birds' feathers. Some idea of these can be gained from those illustrated on Plate XXVIII. They are only made amongst these northern tribes and those on the coasts of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The ones figured were collected amongst the Kakadu tribe. In the specimen represented in Fig. 20, two of then, are attached to an ordinary head ring, which is made of vegetable fibre. At two places opposite to one another, the strands are bound round with string, and the pendants are attached to this part. Each consists of the light grey feathers of a native companion, all cut down to an even length and arranged so as to resemble the petals of a flower, the stamens in the centre being indicated by a little tuft of down. The stalks of the feathers are embedded in a little tapering mass of wax, from the other end of which the string passes off to attach the pendant to the head band, which is worn in such a way that a pendant hangs down over each ear.

In Figs. 16 and 18 white cockatoo feathers are used, and the human-hair string, by which it is attached to the hair of the head, is largely enclosed in red-ochred beeswax. Fig. 19 is rather more ornate. The two pendants are attached to one another by four strands of vegetable fibre string. The imitation flower is made out of the bright feathers of the Blue Mountain Parakeet and the wax is red-ochred and dotted over with white. The total length of the ornament, which is worn on the head, is twelve inches. Fig. 15 is made out of white feathers crossed by black bars and has a small knob of wax in the centre. Shredded bark is used as string and the wax is banded with white and red. In Fig. 17 the dark coloured goose feathers are used, the whole pendant measuring five and a half inches in length.

Fig. 21 represents one of a pair of similar ornaments of uncommon form. It consists of the head of a Blue Mountain Parakeet with its bright orange bill and metallic blue feathers and a few of the upper, orange-coloured neck feathers. The base of the skull is attached to a short, curved wax handle by means of which it can be fastened to a lock of hair. As the eyes, tongue, and brain have been simply cut out and no preservatives used, this is more or less a temporary ornament in a moist, warm climate.

On Melville and Bathurst Islands and on the northern coast the natives make very decorative ornaments out of masses of beeswax, studded over with abrus seeds. A few of these are represented on Plate XXVII. The Abrus is a leguminous plant with a pod like that of a pea. Each seed has a bright red coat except for a small black patch where it is attached, and, in most cases, this part of the seed is hidden from view. Each ornament consists of a central mass of beeswax, moulded by the hand to the desired size and shape, and then the seeds are simply pressed on. Fig. 11 is a sphere two and a quarter inches in diameter; Fig. 12 measures four inches by two and has a strong loop of banyan-bark string; Fig 13 represents one of the smaller ones, measuring two inches and a quarter by one inch. Fig. 14 is rather interesting; it came from the East Alligator River; the larger part measures three inches by two and a half, the smaller is an inch and a quarter in diameter, and the ornament is evidently moulded on the form of one of the little spherical bags called Ball-duk that almost every man wears round his neck.


Decorative Art

Mourning armlets, rings, and discs of the Melville and Bathurst Islanders.--Bags and baskets.--Grave posts of the Melville and Bathurst Islanders.--Clubs and spears.--Sacred ceremonial objects.--Decorations drawn on the bodies of men. -Bark and rock drawings.

THERE is, of course, much that is common, in regard to their Decorative Art, to all the tribes of Central and Northern Australia, especially in respect of the ornamentation of their commoner weapons and implements, so that much of what we have already written on this subject1 holds true of the tribes now dealt with. On the other hand, there are certain forms of design restricted to special parts of the country and characteristic of different tribes or group of tribes. In the west of the continent we have the incised and painted zig-zag pattern; in the centre there is the strong development of spiral and concentric circles drawn on the ground, rocks, and sacred objects. So again, in the far north, we meet with quite a different scheme of design, the most characteristic being that of the Melville and Bathurst Islanders, whose drawings and decorations are entirely distinct from any on the mainland and suggest contact, in past time, with a people whose art was more akin to that of the islands to the north-east than it is to anything in Australia. Then again, amongst the Kakadu nation, we meet with rock and bark drawings superior to any amongst the central tribes.

1. Northern Tribes, Chap. xxv. p. 696.]

So far as the methods of ornamentation are concerned, we can distinguish the following:--

(1) Incision by means of a stone, shell, or tooth. This is best seen on some of the Muraian objects.

(2) Painting the surface with pigments, those used being pipe clay, red ochre of at least two kinds, yellow ochre, and charcoal. This painting may take place on human bodies, on implements and weapons of various kinds, on sacred objects, and on rocks and bark. I did not amongst these northern tribes see any instance of painting designs on the ground.

(3) Decorations with down derived from birds or plants.

We can again, so far as the nature of the decorations and designs is concerned, divide them into three main groups: zoomorphs, phytomorphs, and geometrical designs. It is quite possible, that, amongst the latter, not a few may be the derivatives of one or other of the first two, and it is interesting to note, amongst the sacred Muraian objects of the Kakadu tribe, some which have been distinctly designed in imitation of the form of an animal, others which faintly suggest an animal or plant, and others which are purely symbolic.

In describing them I will, as before, deal with them under the headings of the various implements, weapons, ceremonial objects, etc., with which they are concerned. From this point of view they can conveniently be divided into the following groups: (1) Mourning armlets, rings, and discs of the Melville Islanders; (2) Bags and baskets; (3) Grave-posts of the Melville and Bathurst islanders; (4) Clubs and spears; (5) Sacred ceremonial objects; (6) Decorations drawn on the bodies of men; (7) Bark and rock drawings.

(1) Mourning Armlets, Rings, and Discs of the Melville and Bathurst Islanders.

The first time that I saw these was in connection with the mourning ceremonies on Melville Island, in July, 1911. In March, 1912, and again in December of the same year, I saw them both on Melville and Bathurst Islands.1 They are quite unlike anything known on the mainland and, so far as my experience goes, are only used together with curious, flat, almost quoit-like rings, during the dances that take place in connection with the burial and mourning ceremonies. They are most distinctive structures and it is very rare to find two that are alike in form and decoration. Those figured on Plates VIII., XXIX., and XXX. have been selected out of a considerable number and from a fairly representative series.

1. A short description of them was given in Bulletin of Northern Territory of Australia, No. 2, April 1912, Plates x. xi. xii.]

Each one consists essentially of a sheet of bark, derived from the stringy-bark gum tree. This is cut into various shapes, according to the design decided upon, and is then folded on itself in one of two ways, giving rise to two main types of armlets. Of these, one may be described as the single-, and the other as the double-fold armlet.

Of the single-fold we may take as an example Fig. 2 on Plate XXX. The original sheet of bark was shaped as in the accompanying sketch (Diagram I, p. 410), and has approximately the following dimensions:--

Bark Armlet Pattern
Diagrams 1, 2, and 3 represent the original form of the sheets of bark out of which three armlets have been made.

The total length was twenty-eight inches. The width at each end was four inches and, at a distance of five inches from each end, it gradually swelled out, reaching a maximum of eight inches in the middle, along the line c--d. A piece, approximately two inches square, was cut out of each end and then the whole sheet was bent over so that the two ends came together, meeting along the lines e--f and enclosing an open space for the arm to pass through, eight inches in length and three in greatest width. Where the edges of the two square ends came together they were sewn round with split cane which was continued all round the free margin on both sides. A light-coloured stick with knobs of beeswax, ornamented with red abrus seeds, was passed through the upper angle of the armlet space and kept in place by human-hair string, strands of which were bound round the open square, some of them passing, on either side, below the cross stick.

Split feathers of white cockatoo and brown owl were fastened between the square ends, the only other decoration consisting of a circle of wax on each side covered with abrus seed. This was one of the very few examples in which the surface of the bark was left in its natural state, no colour design of any kind being drawn on it.

Of the double-fold type we can take two examples, one a simple and the other a more complicated one. The first is the one represented on Plate XXIX., Fig. 3. The central oblong measured seven inches in length and eight in width (Diagram 2). At each end there was a projecting slip eight inches long and two broad. The first fold was along the central line a--b, the second along the line c--d, so that when the armlet was formed it had a single projection at one side. The bark was sewn together with split cane along the top line and round the two free edges on the left-hand side in the figure. The two projecting piece were bound round with fur string and, while the bark was pliant, were shaped so that they formed a kind of spout, which was smeared over with beeswax and white pipe clay. At the free end there was a lump of wax with abrus seeds, and the same were also fixed into wax round the proximal end and along the upper line of the armlet. The whole surface was decorated with a central band consisting of red spaces outlined with yellow. On either side of this was a broader band of white crossed by slanting lines of red. As a second example of the double-fold type we may take the more complicated one represented in Plate XXX., Fig. 4. The shape of the original piece of bark was as indicated in Diagram 3. The total length was approximately twenty-four inches. At each end was a projecting piece four inches broad and five inches long. The central piece measured fourteen inches in length by eight in width. In each projecting end piece a square was cut out, and in the main central part four oblongs were cut out, each measuring four inches in length by one and a half in width, in such a position that when the bark was folded over along the line a--b the two upper and the two lower ones, respectively, coincided in position, and when, again, the sheet was folded along the line c--d there were two window-like openings formed, one on each side of the armlet. The free edges of the upper part of the main body of the armlet, and of the openings, were sewn round with split cane. Where the two halves of the bark came together, on the upper side of the armlet, there was a thick coating of beeswax daubed over with pipe clay, and below this many strands of vegetable fibre string were wound round and round. The projecting upper part was bound round partly with split cane, partly with string, and a stick, fastened between the two original halves, ran across from side to side, its ends decorated with tufts of split cockatoo feathers. A characteristic feature of this particular armlet was the presence of two rings-a flat one, four inches in diameter, fixed at the very end, and a round one, five inches in diameter, at the base of the projecting piece. From the upper of these a strand of human-hair string, carrying a bunch of feathers, hung down on each side. The colour decorations were very characteristic. Above the window was a red circle with yellow dots, below it a black band outlined with white and bearing white dots. On each side of the circle was a white space, one covered with red, the other with yellow cross lines. Then came a cross band, yellow on the left of the window, black on the right. The spaces by the side of the window were white, with red cross lines on the right and yellow on the left. Then came a yellow band on the right and a black on the left, and below this again white spaces with red cross lines on the left and yellow on the right. Each of the spaces and bands was outlined either with yellow or white, and throughout the whole scheme the colours alternated on the two sides.

Figs. 1, 2, and 4, on Plate XXIX., are representatives of single-fold armlets. In two of them there is only one projecting piece, the end of which in each case is tipped with beeswax and ornamented with birds' feathers and abrus seeds. In the third specimen (Fig. 4), there are four projections, each approximately three inches in height. The main body of the armlet is ten inches in width and the same in depth. The free edges of the bark are everywhere sewn round with split cane, and two bands of vegetable-fibre string assist in binding together and strengthening the projecting pieces, two of which carry tufts of feathers. There are six series of bands running in a slanting direction from above downwards, three in one direction and three in the other. The two sets cross one another and produce a series of lozenge-shaped spaces. The general ground colour is dull yellow ochre; the bands are all outlined in white; some of the spaces are filled with white lines, crossed by yellow, and others with spots of yellow and white. The projections and sewn upper edge are daubed over with white.

Fig. 1 on Plate XXX. shows a somewhat different type. It is an example of the double-fold type. Apparently there were four small projecting pieces left in the bark, two at each end. These are brought together by the folding and bound round with string. Bent pieces of split cane are inserted in the projections so as to form a structure shaped like a basket handle, eight inches high. A strong strand of string crosses over from one side to the other in a slanting direction, and a considerable amount of beeswax covers the lower part of the handle. The main armlet is seven inches wide and seven deep and the greatest width of the opening is four inches. The upper line of the armlet, where the two edges are sewn together, is encased in beeswax, which is coloured black, and affords a strong contrast to a whitened band of banyan string that runs round immediately below it. The colour decoration consists of red, white, and yellow bands. The white bands are crossed by dark lines due to the white having been scratched off with a stick while it was wet so that the dark bark shows through. Fig. 3 is an example of a small double-fold specimen. The total height to the top of the knob is ten inches, the internal space of the armlet measuring only four inches by two. The projecting portion was similar in form to that in Fig. 2, but the bark has been completely hidden from view, partly by string and partly by beeswax. The string has smeared over with wax and then whitened. From the upper cross-bar a knob projects, and this, together with the cross-bar, is a mass of bright red abrus seeds. The general surface of the bark has been coloured a dull red; white lines have been drawn across this and then red ones again, crossing the white.

Other forms are represented on Plate VIII., from which a good general idea of the colour scheme and decoration of these armlets can be gained. The two lower ones (Figs. 1 and 2) are amongst the most ornate, and it is possible that the string ornaments have been suggested by the rigging of a ship. The brown feathers are those of the Nankeen night heron. Fig. 3 is a curious type with a handle-shaped structure from which sharp-pointed sticks and red-ochred hair pendants hang down. In all cases the lines of red and yellow pigment cross the white ones. In Fig. 3 it will be noticed that there is a curious asymmetry in the structure of the ornamentation formed by the two whitened sticks. It is impossible to say what they represent.

In addition to the armlets, the women carry, during the burial and mourning ceremonies, on Melville and Bathurst Islands, curious but very decorative objects, some of which are flat discs, others like these with the centre cut out. In essential form the latter are similar to the armlets, in fact, as can be seen in the various objects figured on Plates IX., XXXI., XXXII. and XXXIII., there is a complete gradation in size between the large ceremonial disc, called Bamagun, measuring fifteen inches in diameter, shown on Plate XXXI., and the child's armlet (Plate XXXIII., Fig. 5) in which the central opening measures only an inch and a half.

The large disc represented on Plate XXXI. was carried by a woman during the last series of mourning ceremonies that I saw on Bathurst Island in December, 1912. The disc itself is made of six circles of bent cane, each wrapped round with split cane. The inner and outer margins of the disc are set round with interlaced pieces of split cane, as is well shown in Plate IX, Fig. 3. A certain amount of human hair, or sometimes banyan-fibre string, is used to bind together the various circles and then the whole surface is covered with a layer of beeswax. In this particular instance the disc has a total diameter of fifteen inches, the central space measuring nine inches. The colour decoration is very distinctive. On the upper part of the circle, on the inner side, there is a white area edged with yellow above, and to the outside of this there is first a black and the area on the margin, the two being separated by a white line which has been a good deal rubbed out. Following down each side, there is a red area separated by a white line from a yellow space on the margin of the outer side, Then there follows a black band running across from the outer to the inner margin; then a broad white band edged With a narrow yellow line on the upper and a red on the lower side, and, lastly, in the middle, lower part a broad yellow band. To the margin of this lower part there is attached a stout, median strand of banyan-fibre string and, on either side of this, a loop of the same, from each of which two strands hang down. The parts of the string strands close to the disc are coated with beeswax, thickly studded with bright abrus seeds. Each of the five pendent strands ends in a rounded mass of wax covered with seeds, the central one, in addition, being ornamented with a tuft of owl's feathers. The total length of the object was just thirty inches and, when in use, was carried by a woman who held it up in her right hand so that the strands of string hung pendent.

The specimens illustrated on Plate XXXII. were also used during the same burial ceremony as the one last described. The one represented in Fig. 1 is called Pellapella and is made of a series of rings of split cane, joined together and coated over with beeswax. The disc measures eight inches in diameter, the central area of three inches being occupied by abrus seeds. Around these is a white ring crossed by yellow lines and, on the outer margin, are four areas with the same colours, the remainder of the surface of the disc being red-ochred. At the lower end, when it is held upright in the hand during the mourning ceremony, is a mass of beeswax with abrus seeds, and hanging down from this a strand of banyan-bark string. The first five inches is whitened, then comes a small mass of wax and abrus seeds; this is followed by eleven inches of red-ochred string and more wax and seeds, and this again by five inches of whitened string and a terminal lump of wax and seeds.

Fig. 2 is simply another Bamagun, made of seven concentric rings with a total diameter of thirteen inches and a half. The design on the disc itself is exactly the same as that on the larger one already described, but in this case there is only one single pendant which takes the form of a strand of banyan-bark string, just twelve inches long. At its upper and lower end, it passes through a small disc, each made of split cane, bound round with human-hair string and coloured with black, yellow and red bands. Immediately beneath the lower disc it ends in a knob of wax covered with abrus seeds.

Fig. 3 is a small Bamagun, made of five circles of split cane. The innermost is bound with split cane; the next one the same; the third has human hair, the fourth has shredded bark and the fifth and outermost one is bound with fine split cane arranged in criss-cross fashion. A certain amount of wax has been added, but not nearly enough to cover the surface, which is ornamented with two patches of white pipe clay, the rest is red-ochred and there are a few clumps of abrus seed set in the wax.

The objects represented on Plate XXXIII. are, some of them, used during mourning ceremonies, others are ordinary armlets. They show, taken in conjunction with those figured on Plates IX., XXXI., and XXXII., the transition from the ordinary armlet (Plate XXXIII,, Figs. 7, 8, 9,) to the highly elaborate and ornate disc, which is far too large to be worn on the arm and which, as a matter of fact, is always carried in the hand. Each of them consists of the usual circles of split cane bound round with cane and hair string, with ornamental pendants of different kinds. The most elaborate ones are those represented in Figs. 4 and 5, Plate XXXIII. In the first of these the disc measures five inches across and has a human-hair pendant more than a foot in length, The upper part has the form of a loop, the two halves of which are largely covered with beeswax and there is also a short cross-piece, between the loop and the main disc, that serves to carry bunches of feathers. The two halves of the loop unite to form the main pendant, which is surrounded, at its free end, with a ring of wax and terminates in a bunch of feathers. Fig. 5 is a child's armlet, called Belliu Belliu; it is covered all over with thick fur-string and ornamented with abrus seeds and three pendent strands of fur-string, each terminating in a knob of beeswax. Figs. 7 and 9 represent the ordinary armlets that are in everyday use.

The whole colour-scheme and design of these armlets, discs, and rings, as shown in Plates VIII. and IX., is quite distinct from anything met with on the continent.

(2) Bags and Baskets.

Amongst the objects which lend themselves most to the display of decorative art are various forms of baskets. There are three main types, woven, leaf, and bark baskets.

Amongst the woven baskets there is practically an endless series of designs, some idea of which may be obtained from the illustrations on Plates XXII., XXIII., and XXIV. In the case of the more open-netted forms the design is limited to lines and bands. One of the simplest of these is seen in Plate XXII., Fig. 1, in which the network is very open. Down the back is a broad band of red outlined with white, on the outer side of which is a band of yellow. The central line in front has a series of red squares outlined with white. On Plate XXIII., Figs. 3, 4, and 5, we have very simple designs. Around the centre of one bag (Fig. 3) run four bands, two of light and two of dark red, outlined with white; other bands of the same colours run from these either lengthwise or crosswise, leaving between them uncoloured triangular spaces.

The decoration in the more closely woven baskets varies to a large extent. The spacing of the design is largely governed by the presence of distinct transversely-running ridges. In its simplest form it is seen in the basket in Plate XXII., Fig. 2, in which there are a series of light and dark-red circles, the light-red ones always including the ridges. A little way below the margin there is a circle of Blue Mountain parakeet feathers. A slightly more elaborate design is shown in Plate XXIII., Fig. 6, in which the circles are broken up into oblongs by longitudinal lines, some of the spaces being coloured red while others are crossed with white lines. All of them are outlined with parakeet feathers. In the specimen on Plate XXIV., Fig. 3, there is a further variation. Around the margin there is a circle with a special design of V-shaped lines, the apexes of which are cut through by a white circle. Below this we have a band of dark red and then four other bands, two of red and two covered with cross-hatched white lines. The very apex of the basket is dark-red with which also all the bands are outlined. Along the length of the basket run lines decorated with odd shreds of red material that the maker had picked up somewhere and which, being white-man's material, he used instead of his own native feathers, probably thinking that he had, thereby, enhanced considerably the value of his work. In Plate XXII., Fig. 5, the ridges are used, in the same way, to accentuate the design. The two upper spaces in front are dark-red, then follow two with white cross-lines, then two black; then two dark red; two with white cross-lines; then red spaces with slanting lines of white as in the circle round the margin, the apex being dark red. The four dark red squares in the front have white circles and all the transverse and longitudinal lines are light red, the whole design being very effective, as is also the one on the basket shown in Plate XXIV., Fig. 4.

On some of these baskets the human figure is introduced into the design. It is always conventionalised, but in all cases the drawing is remarkable because it shows how clearly they have recognised the equivalence, anatomically, of the fore- and hind-limbs and the fact that, just as in other mammals, the elbow normally points backwards and the knee forwards. As a general rule the sexes are clearly indicated by the fact that on those intended for women the breasts are indicated by lines. For example, the basket shown in Fig. 2 on Plate XXIV. has a dark-red oblong in the centre with the figure of a man. This oblong, outlined with white, lies in the middle of a light red band running along the length of the basket, on which, one above and one below, two women are clearly indicated. In Fig. 6 the man and woman are placed side by side.

The palm-leaf baskets are not often decorated, which may perhaps be due to the fact that they are of a less permanent nature than the others. In Fig. 2 on Plate XXI. one of the few decorated ones that I met with is represented. The design is very simple, consisting only of circular patches of red outlined with white. The rest of the palm-leaf surface is uncoloured. Again, in Fig. 6, the surface of the leaf has been daubed over very roughly with red, yellow, and white and, by way of extra decoration, a dog-tail ornament has been attached by hair-string to one side of the basket.

It is amongst the bark baskets of the Melville and Bathurst Islanders, however, that we meet with the most striking and original decorative schemes. Some of these are represented in Plates XXV., XXXIV., and XXXV. There is a most extraordinary variety amongst them and, not only this, but the two sides, in very many cases, are quite distinct from one another. In most cases the design is purely conventional, zoomorphs or phytomorphs being very rarely met with. In some, as in the one figured in Plate XXXIV., Fig. 1, the design is simple and bold. The total height is twenty-nine inches. The longitudinal white bands run into a circular one round the margin, so that the red bands, edged with yellow, do not reach the margin. The split-cane sewing is very strong on either side, and is emphasised by being painted white. Fig. 2 shows an entirely different design. The whole surface has, originally, been covered with red ochre. On this, sinuous bands of yellow have been drawn. In the lower half these run roughly parallel to, but distinct from, one another.

From the lowest row bands pass off, as seen in the figure, and run round the bottom of the basket to communicate in just the same way with the lowest band on the opposite side. In the upper half, the sinuous bands are arranged so that the upward curve of one corresponds in position with the downward part of the one immediately above it. The apexes of the curves are made to run into one another. A very distinctive effect is produced by outlining the bands with white spots. Fig. 3 is more ornate. The design is quite symmetrical and is repeated, with very slight variations, on the opposite side. A very effective feature is the series of black circular patches, surrounded with white dots on a red band. It also shows one point which is often noticeable in these decorations. On both the white and yellow bands a succession of fine lines, running in a slanting direction, have been scratched out. The natives are very fond of this, the idea evidently being to make the band look less solid and heavy. The effect that it has can be well seen by comparing Fig. 1 and Fig. 3 on both Plate XXXIV. and XXXV. In Fig. 4, Plate XXXIV., the decoration is as simple as possible. The whole surface has been covered with a dull red and, then, on each side a simple white rectangle has been drawn.

In Fig. 1, on Plate XXXV., a particularly bold design is seen. The designs of the two sides are quite distinct. The design is formed of circles and bands of red, white, and yellow, with intervening spaces crossed by white lines. The yellow bands are outlined with red, the red with yellow. The design on each side is framed, as it were, with a broad band of white all round. Fig. 2 shows one of the most roughly drawn designs. On the plain, uncoloured. bark, bands of white cross one another and are margined with yellow on one side and red on the other. In some, but by no means all, of the interspaces, roughly circular patches of red are drawn, surrounded by white. The design of Fig. 3 is very symmetrical, but differs on the two sides. The whole surface has been red-ochred. On the side shown in the illustration there are six bands; two white ones running parallel to one another in the centre and, on each side of these, a white and a yellow, that cross one another. The two central bands are bordered with yellow on their inner and red on their outer sides. The slanting white band is bordered with red on its inner and yellow on its outer side; the yellow band has white on its inner and red on its outer side. Right in the centre there is a red space crossed by two white lines. The interspaces have all a red ground. Some of them have a simple series of horizontal white bars across them. Others have slanting lines of red, drawn over lines of white. The long bands have all been scratched over.

The one figured in Plate XXV., Fig. 1, shows a slight asymmetry in the design. There is a central band of yellow with white lines running down it in a zig-zag way. On either side of this is a red band, then a white one, followed by a broader red one, crossed by festoons of white dots; then comes another white band, but outside this the design varies on the two sides. On the right is a red band with two lines of white dots, on the left is a simple white band succeeded by a red. The margin has a white band with two rows of black spots.

Fig. 2 represents one of the rare ones, in which zoomorphs are introduced, In this case they take the form of three crude, conventional representations of human beings. The design is in the form of yellow, curved bands, outlined with white dots, looking rather like ribs projecting from a central line of vertebræ. The general surface is dull red, and the design on each side is enclosed in a white margin.

Fig. 3 is a remarkable, quite asymmetrical and apparently quite meaningless, crude design. The general surface is a dull red. The lower part is coated with pipe clay, with lines roughly and irregularly scored across it. A white band passes part of the way round the margin and is connected, at one end, to another running down to the lower white patch. It is also marked with two lines of slanting incisions. The last one shows a very symmetrical design (Fig. 4), with bands of white and yellow. The white surface was originally red-ochred. In the central band white spots are painted on a black background. Then follows a white band with incised lines; then the red ground with slanting yellow lines crossing white ones; then a yellow band with incised lines; then a black band with white spots; then a white band with incised lines; then another band of slanting yellow lines crossing white ones; then a yellow band with incised lines and, finally, the split cane that sews the edges of the bark together is coloured yellow. In addition to this each band is outlined with a line of colour, the succession of colours starting from one side of the central area with black spots, being as follows; yellow, yellow, white, white, yellow, white, white, white, with the sewn margin yellow.

(3) Grave Posts on Melville and Bathurst Island.

I have already referred to these in connection with the subject of burial and mourning ceremonies. Their arrangement round the grave is seen in Fig. 51, where there are two old graves side by side. The decorations of the posts could be distinguished in the case of the more recent of the two, and three of these are drawn in Plate X. (facing page 232) just as they were renewed by the natives. The fourth (Fig. 2) is from the older grave, and only faint impressions of a design can be detected. A bush fire, also, has evidently swept over it. The nature of the designs can be seen in the figures, that in Fig. 1 being very simple. These four examples serve also to give a very good idea of the characteristic forms of the posts. Almost every grave has at least one shaped like that in Fig. 2 and another like that in Fig. 3. In Fig. 2 the projecting pieces are rod-like in form. In Fig. 3 the pieces supporting the top are slab-shaped. The total height of the post represented in Fig. 2 is nine feet seven inches; but the tallest one seen in Fig. 50 measures nearly fourteen feet. The designs, so far as can be told, have no significance whatever, and may be drawn by any man, or even boy, each individual appearing to follow his own fancy.

(4) Clubs and Spears.

Plate XXXVI. [Decorated Spears, Melville and Bathurst Islands.] serves to give some idea of the really extraordinary and varied decorations on the Melville Island clubs and spears. Much as they vary in detail, they may really be divided so far as decoration is concerned into three main groups, first, those in which the surface is blackened (Plate XXXVI., Figs. 5 and 7), and a design of lines, circles, and dots drawn on this; second, those in which the surface is not blackened, and the design takes the form of a successive series of colour bands; third, those in which the colours alternate from side to side.

The first is really a very well marked series, of which an excellent example is shown in Plate XXXVI., Fig. 5. Along the middle of the shaft runs a series of narrow, elongated, oval-shaped patches coloured alternately white and yellow. Each barb is a work of art in itself. In the first place they are cut with perfect symmetry, the space between the barb and the shaft being so narrow as to make it a matter of wonder how it is incised with the shell (Cyrena, sp.) that they use for the purpose., To take one barb as an example-the third from the end. The tip is yellow; then a red section crossed by white lines; then yellow spots on black then white circles on black; then a white spot on black then yellow lines on black; then white lines on black then yellow spots on black; then red lines on black then white spots on black; then white lines on black then a red patch and, lastly, yellow spots on black. All these different sections are painted on the one barb, and the decorations pass all round, on the side of the barb facing the shaft. In this particular spear, the shaft expands just beyond the barbs to form a somewhat flattened projecting piece, which is clearly reminiscent of the swollen hafting of many spears in which the barbed part is made out of a separate piece, and must be hafted on to the main shaft. This is ornamented with beeswax and abrus seeds. This type of ornamentation is quite distinct from any other either in the Island or Mainland tribes, and is much less commonly met with than the second or third types, mainly, doubtless, because it takes an immense amount of time to execute.

The second type is simple. It is seen in its simplest form in the specimen clubs on Plate XVII. Fig. 10, where there is one band, is the very simplest. In Fig. 5 the lines in the second band are drawn so as to aid in suggesting the presence of deeply cut barbs, faint traces of which are seen on the margin of the club. The scheme is well shown in Fig. 1 on Plate XIX. and again in the spear represented in Plate XXXVI., Fig. 6. The colours used are generally red and white, with sometimes, but more rarely, yellow. In this spear, which is ten feet ten inches long, the tip is red, then follows a white circle, a yellow and a red band; then follows, in succession, eight inches of white, four of red, seven of white, five of yellow, eight and a half of white, three of yellow and one of red. In this spear, also, the part corresponding to the hafting is much emphasised. It is swollen and flattened out with two holes pierced through it, each ringed in red. Behind them is a mass of beeswax wound round with whitened banyan-bark string. The whole of the shaft is grooved by a cutting stone. In some cases a chipped flake has been used to trim the spear, in which instance the whole surface is grooved; in others, and they form the majority, the shell is used and then the surface is often as smooth as if it had been cut with a. knife. The same design is well seen in the spears with a single line of barbs in Plate XIV.

The third scheme of decoration is the most characteristic and is, so far as I am aware, peculiar to these Island tribes. It is certainly not met with amongst the northern Mainland tribes. Its striking feature is an alternation of colours on the two sides. It is well shown in its simplest form in the spears seen in Plate XXXVI., Figs. 2, 3, 4 and 8. In each of these there is a central line of red all the way along between the barbs, alternate sections of which are coloured white on one side and yellow on the other side of the shaft, the colours alternating on the two sides also. In Figs. 2 and 8 narrow, and in Fig. 3 broad, bands of red separate the white and yellow sections. As all the colours go straight across it follows that one particular barb may be red, white, and yellow in different parts--as, for example, in the fifth barb from the lower end in Fig. 2. A curious example of this asymmetrical colour design is seen in Plate XIII., Fig. 4, in which one prong is white with red bands and the other red with white bands, both prongs ending in a red point.

The best examples of this alternating scheme of decoration are, however, to be found on some of the remarkable, almost grotesque, clubs represented on Plate XIX. As a typical example I have chosen a part of the club represented in Fig. 8. This is seen in colours in Plate XXXVI., Fig. 1. The colour scheme is very characteristic with cross lines of yellow, red, and white In addition to the colour there are a series of lozenge-shaped areas along the margin, marked with incised lines that are clearly meant to suggest barbs.

(5) Sacred Ceremonial Objects.

Amongst the most decorative objects in these northern tribes are those associated with the Muraian ceremony in the Kakadu tribe. Those represented on Plate III. will serve to give a good idea of the form of decoration employed. It must be remembered that each one of them is associated with a totemic animal or plant just as in the Arunta the Churinga and other objects such as Waningas and Nurtunjas are. In the case of the latter there is no attempt to represent the animal or plant, but amongst these Muraian objects there is occasionally an attempt made to depict the object. Possibly in times past the resemblance was greater, and more general, than it is now. In Plate III., Fig. 1 represents a fish; it is just, perhaps, sufficiently reminiscent of the general form of one to suggest the animal. Fig. 2 is a "native companion," the Australian crane. The two projecting points are evidently intended to represent the beak. In both of these the general body ground is yellow, bands of which are left crossing from side to side. The spaces between these are filled with fine, cross-hatched, white lines. The Melville and Bathurst Islanders use cross-lines for decorative purposes, but they are very crude and coarse as compared with those drawn by the Kakadu. Also, in the former, the crossing lines are always of different colours. The lines are so close that only a very little bit of the background shows through, producing a very pleasing and characteristic effect. The great majority of these objects are red-ochred to begin with, and the nature of the design can be seen in the plate. Fig. 3 represents a turtle, the flat, expanded and slightly concavo-convex slab which forms the body being ornamented in the same way on both sides. The head and tail are quite distinct, but the limbs, which are represented in some of the specimens (Figs. 1, 2, and 3, Plate IV.), have disappeared in this. The remaining specimens represent yams. Fig. 5 is just slightly suggestive of one attached to a root, but the others have no resemblance whatever to them. In Fig. 7 the cross-hatched design is varied by leaving bands where there is only one set of lines.

These objects are re-painted each time they are used, and, apparently, the design is handed down; though, with a successive series of artists, it must vary to a certain extent. In three or four of them, such as the one represented in Fig. 4, the feathers of the Blue Mountain parakeet, woven into string, are used to decorate them. Somewhat the same scheme of decoration, with crosshatched lines, is seen on the clubs used by the Kakadu and allied tribes (Plate XV.).

During the special ceremony, when the Muraian objects were being shown, some of the men painted, very roughly, designs on their bodies which were associated with one or other of the totems. Some of these are shown in Fig. 76; a represents a Kudjalinga, or turtle, and bears some resemblance to the animal, which has, however, lost its hind legs; b represents, better still, the same animal; c is the egg of a crocodile; d is a Jimidauapa, a small fish, to which it bears no resemblance, but it is somewhat like one of the sacred Muraian sticks associated with this animal. The two side-pieces evidently represent strings with feather ornaments at their free ends; e is a special yam called Tjunara, and was painted right down the middle of a man's back, the sinuous band terminating on the left shoulder; f is a turkey (Eupodotis) and g an emu egg.

(6) Decorations Drawn on the Bodies of Men.

The decorations on the bodies of the men during ceremonies are nothing like so elaborate as amongst, for example, the Arunta, Kaitish, and Warramunga tribes, Birds' down is used to a certain extent, but it is quite common to find the design drawn in pigment; indeed, on Melville and Bathurst Islands down is very rarely used. Simple designs in connection with sacred ceremonies are seen in Figs. 42 and 46 in which the painted men belong to a fish totem, the design being supposed to represent fish bones. Those with bunches of white cockatoo feathers are kangaroo men. In the more southern tribes blood, to use as gum with which to affix the down, is drawn from a vein either in the arm or in the penis. In the Kakadu they cut a vein in the back of the hand.

Amongst the Kakadu I met with curious designs drawn on the bodies of men performing an ordinary corrobboree. We were watching one of the sacred Muraian ceremonies of the Kulunglutji tribe, out in the scrub near Oenpelli on the East Alligator River, when some of the men of the Kakadu, Umoriu, and Geimbio tribe came up. They had just been performing an ordinary corrobboree in their camp and some of them had their bodies decorated with quaint irregular designs, drawn in white pipe clay, a few of which are represented in Fig. 77. They were quite irregularly arranged over the back, chest, and arms; a represents yams drawn on the body of a Kakadu man. The lines on the top left-hand one are leaves; those radiating from the others are roots; the long bifid line in the lower right drawing on the body is a flower stalk, and the dots on the arms are bees. In b, the oblong in the middle of the back is a honey-bag, called jailba, inside the tree; the line on top with a swollen end is the entrance and the passage down to the bag; the dots around are the bees outside the nest. Another sugar-bag is drawn on the arm with some bees inside and some outside. They were drawn on the body of a Umoriu man. In c the three upper drawings represent sugar bags drawn on the body of an Iwaidja man; of the three lower ones, the left is a yam; the central is a black-fellow; and the right is only a mark and means nothing.

The decorations of the Melville Island men, like those of their weapons, are very distinctive. Sometimes, but only very rarely, birds' down is used. The only occasion on which I saw it used was during the initiation yam ceremony (Fig. 29), when most of the men, at one special stage, had the upper part of their bodies thickly covered with down so that they looked very much as if they were wearing fur tippets. Each man had a thick, white line of pipe clay running down the middle of his abdomen to the pubic region.

In connection with other ceremonies they used only Pigments, sometimes with the most weird and grotesque results. Lines of white are often added round the eyes and over the bridge of the nose (Fig. 78, a). In the simplest forms of design the whole body was covered over with pipe clay, bright red ochre, yellow ochre, or charcoal, one colour only being used and the whole body covered from head to foot. In others the upper part of the body would be coloured with red or yellow, the lower half of the face yellow, if the body were red, the upper half red or vice versâ, according to the colour of the body. Sometimes the upper part of the body, sometimes the whole of it was decorated with alternate lines, longitudinal or transverse, of black and red or black and yellow. A very characteristic design in the yam ceremonies consisted of sinuous lines of white and yellow, alternating on the two sides of the body, the general surface of which was sometimes uncoloured, sometimes coloured all over with red (Fig. 78, b).

In the most elaborate decorations of the head, the hair is often included. This I have never seen on the mainland. In the simpler designs it may be coloured, wholly, white, red, or yellow, but when a man desires to be very prominent, he will decorate himself elaborately with a very definite design (Fig. 78, c and d).

(7) Bark and Rock Drawings.

In the Kakadu, Umoriu, Geimbio, Iwaidji and other tribes excellent rock and bark drawings are met with. There is a great deal of difference in the capacity of various men in this respect, some of them being much better than others.

Up on the hill sides, among the rocks, wherever there is an overhanging shelter where the native can screen himself from the sun and rain, these drawings are certain to be found in the country of the Kakadu.

The accompanying illustrations (Figs. 79--92) will serve to give some idea of their nature. The colours used are red, white, black, and yellow. They represent the animals with which the natives come in contact, and also their ideas in regard to the nature of certain mythical and mischievous spirits. So far as the animals are concerned, it is interesting to notice that the drawings are always more or less anatomical, that is, they represent not only the external form, but, to a certain extent, the internal structure. The backbone is almost always represented, as are also the heart and main features of the alimentary canal. Even in side view, as a general rule, both eyes are drawn; the animal has two eyes and so they must be shown.

In the case of mythical beings, or Mormo, no such delineation of internal, anatomical details is attempted, because, perhaps, the native does not associate with them such mere animal traits, but it will be noticed that in all cases the sex is unmistakable. They are evidently drawn to represent the external features which are associated with them in the native mind.

The drawings represented in Figs. 79--92 will serve to give a very fair idea of these bark drawings which are amongst the most highly developed and interesting of any made by Australian aboriginals. Fig. 79, [Bark Drawing: a Mormo, Called Ingwalin (Kakadu Tribe)] which is four feet six inches in height, represents a special Mormo called Ingwalin. There are supposed to be plenty of them living in the delborji, or caves, amongst the Ranges. They are tall and thin, with plenty of hair on their heads. Each one carries in his right hand a kadumango or club and in his left a bunch of feathers called niaru.

These Ingwalin are supposed to visit the tree grave, or wurkara, in which a dead native is buried. They put their hands on the dead man, talk to him, and try to make him get up, but cannot do so. Then they make corrobborees and when they go away, other spirits called Norminada come to see the body and they also make corrobborees.

The explanation of the kadumango is that, sometimes, a mischievous spirit from another locality may come to visit the body, in which case the friendly Ingwalin drives him away with his club.

These Ingwalin only move about at night time, when they can be heard making a noise that sounds like Brr! Brr! The medicine men can see them but no one else.

In Fig. 80 [Bark Drawing: Two Mormos, Nangintain (L.), Auunau (R.)] two very interesting drawings are seen, The one on the left hand is called Nangintain, and is a spirit associated especially with the Geimbio tribe. This is one of those mischievous individuals who, every now and then, leaves his own country and visits the Kakadu and other neighbouring tribes. He looks out for boys and young men and, if he finds one alone in the bush, tries to lure him away and take his Iwaiyu, or spirit part, from him. The only way in which the Iwaiyu can be recovered is by the aid of a medicine man, who, carrying a Numereji snake under his arm, follows up the Nangintain. When he finds the latter, he shows him the Numereji, which so frightens the mischievous spirit that he hands over the Iwaiyu to the medicine man, who then hurries back to camp, carrying it in his hands, of course unseen by ordinary men, and replaces it in the body of the boy.

In the figure, the double projection from the back of the Nangintain's head represents two very long ears, or kadi. When he shakes these he makes a strong, rushing wind. Both eyes are drawn and two sharply projecting jaws. Then follows the neck which is succeeded by two spaces, supposed to represent the moairu, or shoulder region. From the front of this the two arms project and, from the back, two outgrowths that are supposed to represent especially long spines of vertebral bodies--much longer than in ordinary men. On the right hand side of the body the backbone is shown with the ribs attached and, on the left, the two longitudinal spaces indicate the skin.

This spirit is really a kind of bogey, the supposed existence of which is used by the older people to frighten children and youths and prevent them from wandering away from the camp fires at night time.

The figure on the right hand is a drawing of a spirit called Auuenau, plenty of whom live in the rocky ranges in the country of the Geimbio tribe. It is extremely thin and attenuated and covered all over with hair, called ipimp. There is a great bunch of hair projecting from the back of the head, and from the neck a long, stiff, curved spine hangs down which can be erected and waggled about, so that the natives can hear it making a noise like a rattle. From the wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles lines project ending in knobs, and these represent bones that the spirit has taken from dead men and fastened on itself. From the pelvis there is a downward projection, supposed to represent the mulowa, or lightning which the natives always see on the hill tops at night time when the Auuenau is prowling about. The straight lines above and below the hands and behind and under the feet indicate maggots. The spirits are supposed to wander about in search of dead men whose flesh they eat and can only be frightened away by medicine men.

Fig. 81 [Bark Drawing: a Mormo, (Geimbio Tribe)] represents a different type of spirit. This one belongs to the Geimbio tribe and is supposed to fly about in the daylight or moonlight but not on dark nights. It lives amongst the bamboo trees, hanging on to special ropes made out of banyan-bark string, called Mokinoborbu. It has flaps projecting from its body, which covered all over with hair, called ngoinbu, and has also two masses called krabir, one on either side of its head.

This particular spirit is friendly to the natives and about watching them. If it sees a native ill, out in the bush, it goes to a medicine man and tells him. It is, also, supposed to be margi, or medicine man itself.

In Fig. 82 [Bark Drawing: a Mormo, Called Yerobeiri, (Kakadu Tribe)] two spirits belonging to the Geimbio country, but called Yerobeni by the Kakadu people, are drawn. Some of these are women, others are men. They are supposed to live in caves and holes in the ground, or in banyan trees in the jungle, where they sleep at night time, only coming out during the daytime, when they dance about under the tree graves but do not interfere with the bodies. The woman on the left side is drawn with her head in profile showing the long-drawn-out mouth and nose above it. Towards daylight they can often be heard singing out, yirkudda, quick, Koapungi, daylight, nungoitji, cold. They can be seen by the margi, or medicine man, wandering about in the bush, the man carrying a basket (drawn hanging from his left shoulder) in which he collects sugar bag, and the woman, who carries a digging stick, searching for turtles and yams.

Fig. 83 [Bark Drawing: a Mormo, Called Warraguk, (Kakadu Tribe)] represents a very special spirit which was first seen by a medicine man named Mitjuombo. It is called Warraguk and is supposed to walk about in the day time, searching for mormo, or sugar bag. When at rest it lives in the bamboos and paper bark trees, on to which it hangs like a bat. Also it has flaps of skin running on each side of its body from the arms to the legs, by means of which it flies. Its general form has certainly been suggested by that of the "flying-fox," a large bat that is very commonly met with in the jungle along the river flats in the Kakadu country.

Fig. 84 [Bark Drawing: Three Snakes, (Kakadu Tribe)] represents three snakes, the two left hand ones being Narenma and the right hand, Ngabadaua, a snake that figures largely in the traditions of the Kakadu.

Fig. 85 [Bark Drawing: Crocodile, (Kakadu Tribe)] is a drawing of an Eribinjori, or large crocodile. Behind the two jaws are the eyes, and behind them is the tongue, or nainjil; then follows the neck, or munganumo, which is succeeded by the shoulder, or mundambir, from which the front limbs project. The trunk and tail are remarkable because they are drawn, as it were, in profile so as to show the backbone running along the right side, the scales on the under surface being also indicated. The pelvic region, called parda, is marked by cross lines and has the hind limbs arising from it, and along the right side of the tail the dorsal row of spines is drawn, with the backbone below them.

Fig. 86 [Bark Drawing: Native Spearing Kangaroo, (Kakadu Tribe)] represents a special, very rare, form of black kangaroo, called Madjiborla, that lives amongst the ranges. The native is supposed to have been out searching for Mormo, or sugar bag, with which he has filled the numalka dilly bag that hangs from his neck. On the way back to is camp he is supposed to have met the kangaroo, and is represented running along with his spear-thrower, called paliati, from which he has just hurled his spear. In this, as in many of the drawings, there is no attempt made to indicate the proportionate size of the human being and the animal.

Fig. 87 [Bark Drawing: a Kangaroo Hunt, (Kakadu Tribe)] is really a composite drawing. On the right hand side there is a kangaroo, the main figure in the drawing. Behind it there are two male figures, upside down, who have nothing to do with the main scene. Behind them is a man with a spear-thrower in his hand, from which he has just thrown the spear that is entering the kangaroo. Behind him, again, follows a woman, whose sex is indicated by her breasts. She carries a digging stick in her hand and a dilly bag hanging from her head. Behind her is a man, evidently following the chase with a spear in his left hand and a spear-thrower in his right. In front of the kangaroo is the figure of a man who is supposed to be killing the wounded animal with a club.

Fig. 88 [Bark Drawing: Pigmy Goose, Barramunda Fish, Stecilled Hands, (Kakadu Tribe)] represents three quite distinct things. The uppermost is a pigmy goose or peevi, the middle one is a fish, called Baralil, and the lower is the stencilled drawing of a hand. The latter is very often met with, and is made by placing the hand, with the fingers extended flat on a rock, or bark, surface and then blowing either red ochre or white pipe clay over it from the mouth, with the result that an outline drawing of the hand is left on the rock or bark. Much has been written about the so-called "red-hand" but in reality it has no special significance of any kind whatever.

Fig. 89 [Bark Drawing: Barramunda Fish, (Kakadu Tribe)] represents a Kimberikara or Barramunda fish (Osteoglossum leichardti). Along the back a line of tjali, or flesh, is indicated; below this there is the backbone, and below this again the internal organs.

Fig. 90 [Bark Drawing: Native Spearing 'Native Companion', (Kakadu Tribe)] is a drawing of a Jimeribunna, or native companion (Grus australasianus) which has been speared by a native. The relative proportions of the bird are well shown and its internal anatomy indicated.

Fig. 91 [Bark Drawing: Palmated Goose, (Kakadu Tribe)] is a most excellent drawing of an old, male, palmated goose, or Kurnembo. The hard, horny crest on the head, called kundeiya, is very characteristically drawn, as is also the beak. The backbone is shown and, though the wings had to be omitted, in order to indicate the internal anatomy, the shoulder girdle is represented by the cross lines, immediately at the base of the neck, along which the œsophagus runs. The breast muscles, gizzard, alimentary canal, and pelvic region are clearly outlined.

Fig. 92 [Bark Drawing: Echidna, (Kakadu Tribe)] Is one of the best of the animal drawings. It represents an Echidna, or erleringerlura. The strong, compact body, with short legs, is very well expressed, and there is no mistaking its identity.

Taking them altogether, the bark and rock drawings of the Kakadu, Geimbio, and Umoriu tribes represent, I think, the highest artistic level amongst Australian aboriginals, with the possible exception of the Melville and Bathurst Islanders, whose art, however, shows indications of the influence of some culture outside that of the Australian Continent.

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