Camp Jottings Volume Two
One bound volume.
PRG 54 contains the journals, notebooks and vocabularies compiled by F.J. Gillen, anthropologist and explorer. With an address presented to him by fellow officers of the Overland Telegraph. This notebook is 2 of 4 notebooks that make up Gillen's Camp Jottings.
Nama Irrinna is called Munnapawina or Ung-narinja
Ordinary wooden churinga Murtu murtu
Intichiuma is Thulanmirila - Maelchinla
Alcheringa is called Wingara
Words sung when using the pointing stick Nin[?] Yanginlie wari you pai alkarie
The Alcheringa is tyled Wingara in Warramunga tribe.
Camp Jottings Vol II
June, 6th. Camp No. 33. Barrow Creek (Ilkirumpa Ilkira). Up at daylight, strong, fresh wind blowing. Horses split up and wandered a good deal during the night. At sunrise an old friend of mine ‘Tungilla’ of the Kaitish tribe made his appearance. We fed him and invited him to come on with us to the Barrow. Started at 8.20 driving ‘Lang’ and ‘Lubbock’, the two horses we always use when there is a ticklish bit of road to negotiate. At quarter of a mile from our camp began ascending the Foster Range which has a gradual slope on the south side of about three miles and a steep and somewhat dangerous descent of half a mile on the north. We crossed the range in safety and without the loss of a bolt although the buggy skid was quite useless. Spencer hung on to the back of the buggy and acted as a human skid over the steepest parts and his boots have suffered considerably in consequence. The Foster Range has an elevation of 325 ft. above the general level and is comprised of quartzite and sandstone clothed with aggressive-looking, blue spinifex and a few widely
scattered, stunted grevillea trees. On the surface of the range over which we travelled there is not a blade of grass to be seen and no sign of animal or bird life. One miserable-looking beetle arrested our attention and he had probably lost his way. For 6 miles after crossing the range we passed through wretched spinifex country with scrub and occasional patches of grass, then there was a gradual improvement for the remaining 6 miles in to the Station which is rather prettily situated in good country at the base of a bold flat-topped range with escarpment of horizontal sandstone grit and conglomerate resting on granitic and metamorphic rocks. The creek from which the Station takes its name is a shallow sand watercourse with the usual fringe of gums which however are not to be compared with the fine trees of the rivers in and south of the MacDonnells. I am glad indeed to once more see the cheery rotund figure of my old friend Frank Scott, otherwise
the McGillicuddy, from whom we receive a hearty bush welcome. The afternoon is spent in chatting and reminiscing, we are rather disappointed to find only half a dozen blacks here, but word has been sent out notifying our arrival and in a few days we hope to have a large mob assembled. Two wooden pitchers are added to our collection. Arranged with lubras and piccaninnies to go out hunting for natural history specimens tomorrow. Received following wire from Hon. the Premier ‘There is a proposal to release aboriginal prisoners Koonea alias Jacky and Wonjuckara alias Charley who were sentenced to ten year’s hard labour in eighteen ninety seven for attempted murder of aboriginal named Paddy and I desire to know if in your opinion in the event of their release the last named would be safe from them.’ I replied ‘I think Koonea and Wonjuckara may be released without any danger to Paddy.’ They have curiously mixed things up over this case. The two prisoners named were sentenced for attempting to murder a white man named Charlie Beattie and ‘Paddy’,
Beattie’s blackboy, was a witness for the prosecution. Beattle was since murdered by a blackfellow near Glen Helen in the Eastern MacDonnells. The murderer was arrested by M. C. Cowle and shot dead by a black tracker when trying to escape. To camp at 10 p.m. Bar. 28.160. Aneroid 1730. A.T. 63. S.T. 63.5.
June, 7th. Camp No. 33. Barrow Creek. Bar. 28.165. Aneroid 1725. A.T. 66. S.T. 61. Up in time for 8 o’clock breakfast, we are having our meals at the Station but sleeping at our own camp. Busy all day unpacking stores etc. Collected from natives: 4 spears, 3 clubs, 17 Pitchis, 9 shields, 13 boomerangs, 8 Churinga, 7 stone knives, 6 magic knouts (Atilika), 3 hair girdles, 2 curved adzes, some fur necklets and string, in return for which we served out flour, tomahawks, butcher’s knives, pocket knives, beads, looking-glasses. Native women and children brought in a number of lizards and animals, 1 legless lizard being of very recently known and rare variety. On the 23rd of February 1874 this Station was attacked by blacks and the Station Master and cook were killed. Their graves are close to the Station in a neatly fenced stone enclosure
with a headstone bearing the following inscription: In Memoriam John L. Stapleton Station Master and John Frank Lineman Killed by Natives at Barrow Creek 23rd February, 1874. The graves are still tended with care by the local officials. Close by, today a number of natives were camped, one of whom is said to have been implicated in the attack. He was one of those pursued by the avenging party of whites and only escaped being shot by hiding himself in a hole, the mouth of which he closed with a tussock of porcupine. In the annals of native treachery there is no crueller or more unprovoked attack than that in which poor Stapleton and Frank lost their lives. Stapleton had been kind to the point of weakness to the natives, giving them almost everything they asked for until their demands became wholly unreasonable, and he was unable to comply with them. Then without warning of any kind the natives assembled on the evening of the 23rd of February 74 and attacked the staff who were,
having had tea, sitting out at the north western corner of the building which was originally built in the form of a stockade
The staff seeing the natives approaching fully armed along the northern side of the building, ran around in the opposite direction hoping to reach the gateway which they found guarded by armed blacks - there was no alternative but to make a rush for the gate and this they did while the cruel spears were thrust at them from a distance of a few feet. Frank reached the kitchen door only to fall pierced through the heart by a spear. Stapleton received a spear in the groin and lived a few brief hours knowing that he was mortally wounded; he had a wife and bairns in Adelaide and to me as an operator in the Adelaide office fell the painful duty of conducting a telegraphic conversation between the dying man at the Barrow and his heartbroken wife in Adelaide. Flint the Assistant received a severe spear wound in the thigh while other members of the staff escaped with only trifling scratches. The following verses signed ‘Geoffrey Crabthorn’ and published in the Adelaide Register of March 3rd 1874 are surely worth recording here.
‘The Last Message’ There is a threadlike creek in a stony bed
With dull brown tufts of a stunted shrub
An open plain where the grass is dead
And sombre forest and tangled scrub
There’s a long low range stretching far away
And readily fashioned of rough hewn stone
In the mellowing light of the fading day
Stand the high white walls of a station lone
In a darkened room of the building drear
There’s a deep red stain where the life stream ran
The poisoned point of a broken spear
And the pain pinched face of a dying man
There’s a faithful friend who has faintly heard
A whispered wish from the trembling mouth
There’s a throbbing needle that sends the word
Twelve hundred miles to the peaceful South
There’s a woman who sits in a lofty hall
And waits with a wan and bloodless face
While the terrible moments seem to crawl
For a word one word from the far off place
There’s a message that comes on its path of fire
The whispered wish of the Station lone
And an answer that lies on the mystic wire
From the woman that sits with the face of stone
Husband and wife but how far apart
With never a clasp of the dear one’s hand
Yet mighty science how great thou art
They speak o’er forest and scrub and land
And the pain pinched features no longer wince
And a tear of joy from the dim eye slips
At the fond last words that a moment since
Came fresh and warm from the Wife’s sweet lips.
In the archives of this Station all the original correspondence with regard to the attack are carefully stored. Developing plates in the evening also reminiscing with Scott. Weather cloudy and threatening. Bar. 28.125. Aneroid 1720. A.T. 73. S.T. 71.
June, 8th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.195. Aneroid 1700. A.T. 73. S.T. 73.5. A warm night threatening to rain at any moment. Working with niggers on and off all day, got some interesting results especially with regard to totems. Men of the Kaitish tribe have exclusive right to take and eat their totem animal or plant within the totem country. This
is an important variation on the custom of the Arunta. Recorded traditions about Central Mt. Stuart and other natural features, also customs with regard to burial of the dead. All men and male children are buried in trees until the bones become dry when they are carefully removed and disjointed by men bearing a certain relationship to the deceased and then buried in the ordinary way. Young lubras are also buried in trees but the old women and young female children are buried in the ground. In the days of the Alcheringa men arose again after being dead for three days but all this was changed by a man of the Curlew totem (Wilirra) who came from the north and with his feet thrust the spirits of the dead man into the great underground waters and drowned them. Recorded interesting myths about the sun and moon. In the Alcheringa the sun came from the east and stood up at Atumba where a great gum tree arose to mark the spot. All animals and birds found on this tree are tabu and may not be
killed or eaten. Should any blackfellow disregard this law his intestines would be burnt up. Young men and children may not eat emu, snake, porcupine, wild cat, rat, eaglehawk or Irunpa big lizard. We are well satisfied with our day’s work - Women and children brought in a great number of natural history specimens but nothing new and very few marsupials. Their contribution included two varieties of snakes. In the afternoon I took some photos which turned out badly - Weather close, cloudy and threatening all day, shifted our bunks into the tent. At 8 p.m. it began drizzling rain with some thunder and lightning and for the first time since leaving Oodnadatta we are going to sleep under cover, we are hoping to have a good downpour during the night. Scott, taking a great interest in collecting, was out all this afternoon looking for rare birds but only succeeded in shooting one, a rare form of kingfisher which Spencer skinned. The scientific names of some of the animals greatly amuse
the McGillicuddy who has a tender spot in his big heart for long words. Our horses not doing well at the Station where the water is highly mineralised so we have shifted them out on to a soakage 1 1/2 miles north. To camp at 10, raining lightly, tent very comfortable. Bar. 28.195. Aneroid 1700. A.T. 75.5. S.T. 61.5.
June, 9th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.275. Aneroid 1625. A.T. 67. S.T. 60. Raining lightly on and off all night with heavy shower about 7.30 a.m. At 9 a.m. 110 points registered. Steady rain all day. Barrow Creek flooded about noon and dam filled much to the joy of Scott; at 6 p.m. 2 inches had fallen and Alice Springs reported 75 points. Working with lubras during day recorded some interesting customs concerning magic as practised by women and with regard to disposal of their own and their children’s hair. In the Arunta tribe a woman’s hair goes to her son-in- law, here in the Kaitish it is handed to her husband’s mother’s brother whom she designates Erlitchia. As in the Arunta most of the hair girdles worn by men are
of women’s hair. Scott in a sentimental mood this afternoon leads me on to talk of girls. I dilate upon the manifold attractions of the bevy of beauties who assisted at my ‘corroboree, for the piccaninnies’, he is enraptured and fervently resolves to hie to Moonta early next year. I have tried to be absolutely impartial in describing my fair assistants so as not to bias him in any particular direction. He appears to be warmly interested in one whom I may describe to you, my diary, as possessing a sweetly amiable disposition and a wealth of fair hair. Weather cleared up after tea. To roost at 10. Bar. 28.225. Aneroid 1670. A.T. 73. S.T. 62,
June, 10th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.300. Aneroid 1600. A.T. 66.7. S.T. 62.7. Up just in time for breakfast, weather still unsettled, total rainfall 208 points. We are indeed in luck and the road ahead will be in first rate condition. Visited the blacks’ camp during morning and collected a number of valuable articles including 3 Walya Walya and 2 Akuntilya, sacred articles made from the hair of dead warriors and worn by men when going on war expeditions. In the afternoon we took some photographs and Scott shot some birds for our collection. Lubras and piccaninnies,
out hunting for specimens all day, returned in the evening with a variety of beasts but nothing very rare, except Varanus gilleni lizard and Antechinomys laniger rat. They brought in a green snake of which they are very much afraid and which I have often seen on the southern tablelands where the blacks call it Athrakathrika. Chance fixing new skid on buggy; his hand has been giving him some trouble for over a week, thinks he strained a sinew lifting water barrel. Developing plates in evening, I am disgusted to find that plates sent up with our loading are all seriously fogged, quite impossible to do good work with them. Some lubras arrived tonight say big mob of warriors will be here in a day or two, these lubras brought in some fine yams 9 inches long 1 in. diameter at the thickest part and shaped like a torpedo. They are called Menadji. To roost at 10 p.m. Poor Scott has had neuralgic twinges all day. Bar. 28.275. Aneroid 1625. A.T. 70. S.T. 61.5.
June, 11th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.325. Aneroid 1575. A.T. 62.5. S.T. 58. Spencer about early, stuffing birds. I did not turn out until breakfast time. Heavy dew during
night but fortunately we camped in our cosy tent. Had blacks on the gridiron shortly after breakfast, tested them for colours and found that they have distinctive names for only six colours, viz. Black, White, Red, Yellow, Green and Blue. Heads of totems perform ceremonies for the increase of the animal or plant bearing the name of their totem. In the Grass-seed totem, after the conclusion of the ceremonies, when the seed has ripened, some is gathered by men of other totems and brought in to the head of the Grass-seed totem who grinds up some, eats a little and then filling his mouth spirts the seed out in all directions. He then informs the men who brought in the seed that they are at liberty to gather and eat as much of it as they like. Places in which the sacred stones of the various totems are kept are never visited except by men of the totem to which the place belongs. Animals or plants in the vicinity of the sacred spots may not be killed or eaten. Recorded further information about magic as practised by women. Lubras and piccaninnies brought in some zoological
specimens but nothing of special value. Billy Abbott arrived from the Stirling and brought me a couple of decorated Churinga which an old blackfellow asked him to hand to me; he also brought us some specimens of frogs one of which Spencer thinks is Notaden bennetti, commonly called the Catholic Toad because it has a cross on its back. From the appearance of this frog, it is evident that like the Chiroleptes it stores water in its body cavity. Printing and toning and developing photos during the afternoon. Have obtained some nice views of Barrow Creek. The whole of Spencer’s spare time taken up skinning birds, a painfully tedious job which I should not care to undertake. Great discussion on the Boer War during evening, Scott intensely patriotic. To roost at 10. Bar. 28.325. Aneroid 1575. A.T. 56. S.T. 56.
June, 12th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.350. Aneroid 1550. A.T. 59. S.T. 51. Getting into bad habits, did not turn out until bell rang. Working with niggers until noon, recorded interesting traditions about the rainbow which
which the Kaitish people call Aneara or Tchechara and the Arunta Umbalara. The Kaitish believe that the rainbow is the son of the water; in the Alcheringa it came from the great stone at Aneara, which represents the Water totem and at which ceremonies (It-thna) to bring about rain are performed by the headman of the Rain totem, and went into the sky where it has remained ever since. Sometimes when they ‘make rain’ the rainbow appears in the sky and tries to prevent it falling, then the head of the totem sings to it to go away and let the water come. After rain falls, all the blacks in the locality collect and bring in to the rainmaker a quantity of food of all kinds. Printed and toned some photos between 12 and 1 o’clock. After lunch recorded a tradition relating to two young men of the Ullakupera or Hawk totem who bled themselves at a spot now represented by a peaked hill some miles south of the station. The blood which flowed from their wounds formed two creeks one of which
is Barrow Creek, the other a small creek flowing away to the north west. Also recorded tradition relating to some women of the Irriakura totem who in the Alcheringa used to wander about in the locality digging up and eating Irriakura. They used to go to a particular spot to shed the tubers of their husks which are now represented by a rugged looking sandstone hill on the exact spot. Tradition relates that an old man of the Panunga totem tried repeatedly to take away one of the women but without success, then another old man also a Panunga, but of the Achilpa or Wild Cat totem, came along and tried to induce a woman to go away with him to his country. She wouldn’t listen to his pleadings so he returned to his camp armed himself with a stone axe (Ilippa) and cut her head off - Spencer enlarging quarter plates during the afternoon but weather cloudy and unfavourable. I took 3 type pictures of women, result not very satisfactory, light too dull for instantaneous work. Scott and I reminiscing, Professor bird stuffing all the evening. Scott relates an incident of native cunning
that came under his notice at Tennants Creek. Man of the Warrumunga tribe was anxious to possess a woman of the Walpiri tribe amongst whom he could not go except at serious personal risk. So he furnished himself with a cleft stick in which he stuck a piece of folded paper and marched in to the Walpiri country where he represented himself as a messenger from Scott who had sent him out to collect weapons. The Walpiri loaded him with weapons of various sorts and treated him as a distinguished visitor, until one morning they awoke to find one of their most attractive young lubras and the distinguished visitor missing. Needless to say the gay Lothario was a self constituted messenger, Scott knew nothing of his errand and did not want weapons. The usual bush method of sending letters for notes with natives is to place them in a cleft stick and a native so provided is never molested. The natives appear to have a superstitious dread of a properly authenticated messenger whether sent out by whites or their own people. To roost at 10. Bar. 28.350. Aneroid 1550. A.T. 63. S.T. 54.
June, 13th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.355. Aneroid 1545. A.T. 56.5. S.T. 53. Up early, printing photos before breakfast. From 9 until 11 working with blacks, got some interesting information about various forms of magic practised by the Kaitish tribe who like their southern brethren do not believe that death can result from natural causes. The Kaitish make pointed sticks of various kinds which they endow with evil magic by singing special chants handed down to them from the days of their Alcheringa ancestors. The names of the various magic sticks are as follows ‘Ingwanya’, a few inches long, blunt at one end and tapering to a sharp point; the blunt end or haft is covered with Atja (porcupine grass resin) to which is attached a few feet of human hair string, circular rings are burnt around the stick for its whole length and it is then covered with birds’ down Undattha, which is stuck on with human blood. Having made his infernal machine, the blackfellow sings over it for some time, plants it, resting on bark, in a secluded spot for a night or two and then while his enemy is asleep at night, he goes close to his camp and stooping down grasping the stick by the haft with both hands he jerks it
three times in the direction of the sleeper who shortly becomes ill and dies, unless saved by the skill of some Medicine man. ‘Ungwurlia’, about the same length, hafted with wax in which a length of hair string is fastened, painted with a substance called Murlalpira, spotted all over with blood drawn from the arm, decorated with Undattha at the haft and point and along the hair string - Used in same manner as the Ingwanya. ‘Thirpira’, much longer than those described, notches burnt along its whole length, hafted with wax in which human hair string is fastened used in same manner as others, ‘Atnillinga’, hafted with wax and the usual hair string, notched all over with fire; Undattha stuck on haft and point. (The notches made with fire are called Intilinja) used in similar manner to others: when making this implement the man sings Ya kurtie wali - Ya paril purtie. Ya kinti wari. You pai alkarie. We have not been able to obtain a translation of this song and it is doubtful if the natives who use it know the meaning of the words; they can only say that it has been handed down from the Alcheringa in which mythical period it was imparted to men of the Apanunga, Uknaria, Kabidgi and
Appungerta. Curiously, pointing implements do not appear to be made of bone in this tribe which occupies a limited area bounded by the Foster Range (Upmaraninga) on the south and the Bonney Creek (Pitcha-tchalkara) on the north. Recorded tradition about a Rat man who sprang up at a place called Inluk-quara and whose name was Atwainintika. This man loved the darkness and was continually saying Oknurcha Atwainintika anilla ania yinga ingwuka Kartwia. Great Atwainintika, sit down my dark country. At 11 o’clock some lubras came and invited us to go and witness the ceremony of Arinpirra (knocking out of teeth). We at once shouldered our cameras and followed the lubras to a spot on Barrow Creek where some lubras and piccaninnies had assembled. A shallow hole was scooped out in the sand and a young girl laid down with her head resting in the hole, a woman then came forward and with her nails pushed back the gums, then taking a specially prepared piece of wood in one hand and a stone in the other, she pressed the wood firmly against the tooth and struck it sharply several times, evidently
causing the girl great pain. The tooth showed no signs of loosening and a second attack was made upon it without success, then the girl got up and elected to have the operation completed on another occasion. A young woman then came forward and lying down was quickly deprived of a tooth in the manner described. A few minutes after the operation the young woman got up and taking the tooth danced forward and threw it in the direction of her Mira Alchera, that is the place of origin of her Alcheringa ancestors. We obtained first rate photos of this ceremony, probably the first ever taken. Toned some prints before dinner after which we developed all exposed plates. In the afternoon did some work with blacks and recorded Kaitish tradition of origin. As in the Arunta these people believe that in the Alcheringa they changed from animals or plants into imperfect human creatures but unlike the Arunta their traditions attribute the making of these creatures into perfect men and women to two Ullakupera or Little Hawk boys who came from a place called Anjwia, far away in the south west beyond the country of the Ilpirra. In fashioning people the Ullakupera used stone knives called Inkwartija. The imperfectly
formed men and women were called Interintera. After operating upon some here, the Ullakupera performed a certain operation upon themselves which changed them into men, after which they went on wandering over the country making men and women until they became knocked up and finally died lying on their Churinga at a place out west called Atnungara. These 2 Alcheringa men cannot be reincarnated because when dying they hid their Churinga under their bodies. Had they placed them alongside, instead of under them, they would have been born again just as other Alcheringa men are. Lubras brought in number of zool. specimens including two rabbit bandicoots (Peragale lagotis), the white tail tips of which the native women use as ornaments in their hair. They also obtained 1 Phascologale macdonnellensis, the fat tailed little marsupial described by Spencer on the Horn Expedition and not previously found north of the MacDonnells. A busy day glad to go to roost at 10 p.m. Bar. 28. 312. Aneroid 1580. A.T. 63.
June, 14th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.355. Aneroid 1560. A.T. 57. S.T. 53. Prof. up at sunrise skinning birds. I did not turn out until 7.45. Working all the morning with blacks. Recorded tradition relating to
an Alcheringa man named Erlukera of Panunga class and Emu totem who journeyed from his place at Pumpa near the Taylor river line, crossing to Alalkira another Emu totem centre where he stole some Churinga and ran away back to his country. He was caught in the act of removing the Churinga by an old man of Alalkira named Tomokitta who was too feeble to stop him and all the others being away hunting the thief got safely back to Pumpa where he stored the Churinga from which many men afterwards sprang. A tree at Pumpa arose to mark the spot where Erlukera sat down and for many generations its hollow trunk was used as a storehouse for the Churinga. Some years ago it was burnt down in a great bush fire and as the Churinga were destroyed too no children of the Emu totem can arise there.
Each man woman and child of this tribe is associated with some natural feature such as a tree or rock, this feature marks the spot at which their Alcheringa ancestor died - Every person now living is the reincarnation of an Alcheringa individual. Generally the natural feature is a tree and it is carefully tended by the
man or woman with whom it is associated and who speaks of it as his or her Ilpilla. Often a clear space is swept around its base and dry pieces of bark are picked off and thrown aside - Animals or birds occupying the Ilpilla must not be killed or eaten by the person with whom it is associated at the risk of serious illness and probably death. The owner of the trees (Atinkillia) that is mother’s brother’s sons have the right to kill animals in the tree but it is a serious offence for anyone else to do so. Each person in the tribe has a spirit double called At-tham-arinya and some specially gifted men have the privilege of seeing and communicating with them. One local man is so gifted he rejoices in the name of Ingarn-guria and is much looked up to by men less gifted. The At-tham-arinya show him sacred ceremonies which he shows to the men of his tribe and which in some instances he presents to his friends who are afterwards privileged to perform them. Printing and toning between 12 and 1 p.m. - Spencer enlarging - Chance started skinning birds but could
not get on owing to his having a bad thumb. In the afternoon did some work with the darkies and recorded tradition relating to the Mira Alchera place of origin of Arabinya-urungwinya, an old man of the Thungalla class of Grass-seed totem who is attached to our local staff and from whom we have gathered a lot of valuable information, also recorded tradition relating to the marching away from the W. south W. of a man named Atnung-ga who was of Umbitjana class and Ocherta Rabbit Bandicoot totem this man during his wanderings came across an old man named Atnung-ga-urlunda who was of the same class and totem and who sent him out to hunt Ocherta and gave him a Churinga to dig them out with. He tried unsuccessfully to dig out an Ocherta but it always managed to evade him then becoming angry he threw the Churinga at it and missing his aim the Churinga was broken.
Spencer did some enlarging and I took some type pictures. Parunda, the brave and the gay, was thrown off a Station colt today while out horse hunting. His language in describing the colt simply sulphurous. Erlikilyika, the Subdued, is displaying great interest in our work and his knowledge of the Kaitish language has been of great use to us.
It is very funny to see him with a large sheet of paper making ‘notes’ - to use his own expression - and these ‘notes’ are really a great help to us especially in ferreting out traditions of a certain character. Spencer got from an old woman a damper or cake made from the pounded seed of a grass which the blacks call Irlipina. They make cakes from various seed products. To roost very tired at 10. Bar. 28.215. Aneroid 1675. A.T. 66. S.T. 63.
June, 15th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.270. Aneroid 1625. A.T. 65. S.T. 61. Spencer up at sunrise writing I got out in time for 8 o’clock breakfast. From 9 till 10.30 busy printing and toning photographs. Filled in time until lunch working, with blacks. Pursuing our enquiries about the Ullakupera or to give them the Kaitish name Ullarabba-rabba, we elicited the following highly interesting information. In the Alcheringa these two remarkable men were first of all a pair of Hawks eggs resting in a nest at a place far away in the south west called Unjwia. The occupant of one of the eggs broke the shell and came forth a little boy. He saw
another egg in the nest and listening he heard a noise issuing from it, he then cracked the shell and released a younger boy who was his brother. The latter looked around and said where is our father and the elder brother (whom I shall designate Alkiriia the term used by the Kaitish to distinguish the elder from a younger brother who is designated Achirri) replied we have no father or mother. Achirri then said let us journey to the west (Aldoria). Alkiriia made no answer then Achirri proposed that they should go east (Gnirra). Alkirria remained silently standing for a time and then said we will go north (Aiyirirra). They at once started and, after travelling for a long time and passing many groups of imperfectly formed human creatures en route, they reached Kararinya, a spot some few miles S.W. of this Station where they camped. Day after day they tried to perform certain rites upon themselves which would make them men instead of boys; at last a great Oknirabata, named Atnitta, who lives in the great blue sky (Alkirra) and who is the Father of the Sun (Ochirka) and Stars (Kuratya) and who had been
watching them from his lofty perch threw to the Alkirria a stone knife called Allalirra. The Alkirria seeing it descending thought it was a tree leaf until it came close to him and he grasped it. He at once performed certain rites upon himself - now practised at initiation ceremonies - and returned to his camp. Achirri now walked out and received a stone knife from the heavens and, like his brother, operated upon himself and returned to camp. The two brothers then proceeded to a place called Linchilyinga where they found a number of Interintera people of a Little Bird totem whom they operated upon with their Allalirra and made into ‘finished’ men and women. This is the first time on which they exercised their peculiar functions and the place at which the operations were performed is now marked by a creek which runs south from the Foster Range. Every Alcheringa tradition is represented by some such local feature - At the spot Kararinya where the Ullarabba-rabba camped, two peaked
hills arose to represent their figures. The tradition of a great Oknirabata inhabiting the sky is new to us and we are much interested in it. We cannot find that he in any way directed the movements of the Ullarabba-rabba or that he exercised any creative force. In a vague sort of way they are afraid of him. If he were made angry by neglect of the blacks to swing the bull-roarer Churinga at initiatory ceremony he might bring the heavens down upon and smother them all or he might discharge at them a shower of spears upon which they would be impaled and drawn up into the heavens. The belief here is that when Atnittu hears the roaring of the twirling Churinga, he performs initiatory rites upon one of his own sons. The Sun (Arilpa, Kaitish term) is said to march past its Father, Atnittu, every day but he remains in one place and does not wander about - Atnittu is described as being curiously formed but for the most part human in shape - One Peragale lagotis added to collection. Bar. 28.260. Aneroid 1645. A.T. 68. S.T.62
June, 16th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.260. Aneroid 1640. A.T. 67.5. S.T. 63. Sunday. A cloudy, close and threatening morning. Spencer anxious to get a photograph of an old man with a small and very low type of head resembling closely in general contour the Neanderthal skull figured in Taylor’s Origin of the Aryans. As the weather was not favourable for photography I made the above sketch (plates no. 28, 29) which, barring the nose, is not unlike the old savage. Spencer curiously enough snorted with indignation when I offered to allow him to take a copy of it for publication and when I subsequently out of pure good nature suggested that he should copy this modest little study he shrivelled me with a glance and left the room muttering something about conceited asses. Some people are hard to please - during the night some blacks arrived from the Hanson but they are very poorly equipped
with weapons and only added three shields, 1 spear, two boomerangs, 1 stone knife and some fur articles to our collection. One of the men ‘Il-lilta’ belongs to the Fire totem and from him I looked forward to getting some interesting information about that totem but unfortunately the old men have recently died without imparting to him any of the important traditions connected with the totem and so those traditions are lost for ever. The old men are perfect storehouses of tradition and unless the younger men show a special and reverent interest in such matters the old fellows remain dumb as oysters. Now and again we drop across young fellows who delight in listening to the old men’s lore and such young men rarely settle down to work steadily with the whiteman. It is the frivolous, light-hearted and sceptical youngsters who most readily attach themselves to the whites - morning spent working with blacks, eliciting information with regard to the custom of knocking out of teeth (here the left upper incisor is knocked out) which is perhaps the most widely distributed custom
connected with initiatory rites of young men. In many tribes it is the only rite of initiation but amongst the central tribes, so far as we have knowledge of them, it cannot be regarded as of an initiatory character at all. That it was so though, perhaps far down the centuries, I have no doubt; now it is merely a custom without any sacred significance and it applies equally to both sexes. The tradition as to its origin in this tribe is as follows. In the Alcheringa two snake creatures Mundurra sprang up at a place called Arinpirra lakillika a rock waterhole out to the eastward, they were brothers and their mouths were full of teeth. One day the elder brother said we will pull out a tooth each, the younger brother replied No I will knock out your tooth. So Alkirria laid down after making a hole in which to rest his head and Achirri knocked out his left upper incisor. Achirri said blood’s flowing from my brother’s mouth and laid down inviting Alkirria to operate upon him which he did. Then both men or rather snake creatures, for
they were at once snakes and men, sat opposite each other examining the appearance of each other’s mouth with which they were much pleased. The teeth after being pulled entered the ground and a rock-hole arose to mark the spot. After some time the younger brother Alchirri proposed that they should go away naming all the cardinal points. Alkirria listened but remained silent. By and by he said no we are snakes and cannot walk, if we went, we should have to travel on our bellies. We will stay here and by and by when Arilla (blackfellows) jump up, they will knock out a tooth like us. At the time these snakes lived, some Interintera lived close by and they were very much afraid that the snakes would bite them so they always carefully gave them a wide berth - Some time after the death of the snakes and not in the Alcheringa time at all, an old man of the Panunga class and Snake (Mundurra) totem who sprang up at Arinpirra and whose name was Ullung-anjia said the snakes knocked out a tooth in the Alcheringa, we should do likewise. Then he invited another
man to knock out one of his teeth, the man did as requested and then submitted to the operation himself and this is how and when the custom of Arinpirra arose in the Kaitish tribe. 9 p.m. Bar. 28.248. Aneroid 1650. A.T. 69. S.T. 64. Mr. Pepperill arrived from Tennants Creek en route for Alice Springs, he will take a mail from here. We are glad to have an opportunity of writing. Two mares of ours purchased from Davidson and lost from Charlotte Waters have been found by Frank Wallis, east of Arltunga, and he has delivered them to Mr. McFeat at Alice Springs. He had the third missing horse but unfortunately it got away from him. These horses have evidently been ‘sweated’ by some unprincipled scoundrel. We are paying Wallis 30/- a head reward for their recovery. Bar. 28.248. Aneroid 1650. A.T. 69. S.T. 64.
June, 17th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.275. Aneroid 1625. A.T. 67. S.T. 63.5. Another cloudy, close morning we are getting tired of this gloomy, unseasonable weather. The sun has not been visible for three days and though it has looked as if it were going to pour,
there has not been enough rain to damp a mosquito’s wings. The absence of sunshine makes photographic work slow and tedious. One of the first visitors at our camp, on arrival here, was the gracious and venerable dame presented on this page (plate no. 30). She is attached to our staff in the capacity of Ratter-in-Chief and each day she generally adds something to the collection. Her native name is ‘Artipintunga’ but she is known locally as the Town Crier. Her hair appears to be worn in a fashion peculiar to herself, and it is evident that she holds the particular method of wearing the hair most affected by fashionable circles in her own race in deepest contempt. Today she and a lady friend contributed two large Pitchis (Terna), wooden vessels used for carrying rood and water, to our collection. Printing and toning, trimming photos and writing mail during the day. Scott gave me two nicely decorated Warramunga stone Churinga of the Honey
totem. One of these I shall give to the Prof. for his private collection. Packed up small box of implements for Miss Stirling, also packed prints for Dick, packet marked 5. Parunda resplendent today in tight fitting breeches and leggings which he has bagged from one of Scott’s boys. Ilpalyurkna, a member of the Unmatjira tribe, arrived this afternoon and joined our staff for a few days. Chatting with blacks at odd intervals during the day but doing no real work, as we think it advisable to give them two or three day’s rest. A blackfellow who has just come through from the tableland country and Anthony Lagoon informs us there are no blacks left in that country. He states they have all been ‘shot or driven off, on account of their murderous attacks on settlers and their continual depredations amongst the cattle’. In view of this statement which we have no reason to doubt, we shall probably revise our original plans and strike across from the Newcastle Waters to Borroloola on the McArthur River. This route would carry us through several large tribes and I am inclined to
think it would be our wisest course. If we could prevail upon a paternal Government to assist us with the Government launch, generally lying idle, and food or barnacles at Port Darwin, we could proceed leisurely down the McArthur River and do some good work amongst the natives and perhaps find time to take a run up the Roper River and see something of the tribes inhabiting that district. To roost at 10.15. Bar. 28.225. Aneroid 1575. A.T. 66. S.T. 61.5.
June, 18th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.425. Aneroid 1480. A.T. 62. S.T. 54.5. Up in time for breakfast. Still cloudy and threatening, a few light showers during the night - Printed and toned some pictures during the morning. Spencer furious because weather will not permit of his doing some enlargements for the Age. Sun persists in remaining hidden; light showers during morning but towards evening a trifle of blue sky peeped out and we hope to have some sunshine tomorrow. Both busy writing our mail in the afternoon. Spencer bowls off letters with machine-like rapidity and
he solemnly avows that he sticks to the truth. I never can write a decent letter without at least exaggerating the truth and my great trouble is to do it in an interesting manner. This admission is strictly between you and I, my diary. The lady whose elegant profile graces this page (plate no. 31) is one of the local leaders of fashion her name is Alcherta and she is one of four wives possessed by a mighty old warrior of the Kaitish named Alkurta. Her lip is a masterpiece of the Creator’s art and something to be remembered for a lifetime. It impresses me much more than the copy of Titian’s Venus - Unlike her friend Artipintunga, figured on a preceding page, she is a stickler for fashion and in the highest circles of Kaitish Society there is no woman who more rigidly adheres to the unwritten laws which prescribe what is right and proper for a woman
to wear. To be seen without head-rings and necklets (made of animal fur) she would consider indelicate if not an insult to her Alcheringa ancestors. There is however nothing else that she would consider indelicate. No additions to our collection today. Both writing all the evening. Scott very unwell had to take to his bunk after tea. Bar. 28.390. Aneroid 1510. A.T. 64.5. S.T. 55.
June, 19th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.385. Aneroid 1515. A.T. 64. S.T. 55. A lovely morning, just sufficiently crisp to be really enjoyable. We are delighted to see the much abused old sun shining out once more and we vow that we’ll never abuse it again, for shine it ever so hotly it is always the friend of the photographer. Printing and toning during morning, Spencer taking series of types, various ages. In the afternoon blacks invited out into the scrub to see a sacred ceremony. We found three men decorated with birds’ down, portulaca down dyed red, and yellow ochre. They told us that two represented Alcheringa men of the Achilpa or Wild Cat totem and the third, who was the most elaborately decorated, wearing a long tapering head-dress, represented an Emu man
of the Alcheringa, of whom the performer was the reincarnation. There was nothing of special interest about the performance: the men quivered in the usual manner and the onlookers standing by them shuffled about and shouted Urr-r-r-r. We had never previously met with a composite ceremony of this sort; all Alcheringa totem ceremonies of the Arunta are confined to the one totem which they represent, and of course we thought we had fallen in with a new development. On making enquiry however, we found that the performers had departed from the Alcheringa rule and run two ceremonies into one, probably because they thought it would be more imposing. They are not likely to repeat the experiment in view of the dressing down I gave them, for trying to take in a great Oknirabata of the Arunta. The Emu performer represented an Alcheringa man named Ullapaia of the Apanunga class who marched from Ululkira to Urlutia on the Taylor Creek where he sat down and formed Oknanikilla, that is a totem centre - The two Wild Cat Achirta or Achilpa men represented a ceremony
belonging to a place called Achirtapunja, a hill near the 9 mile range north of this Station - This is probably the first sacred ceremony ever witnessed by a whiteman in this tribe and it is certainly the first occasion upon which a ceremony has been photographed. Blacks performed the ceremony spontaneously and without any request from us, which shows that they have taken us completely into their confidence. In the evening men arrived from the Taylor Creek including Imbarkwa, who is a great man and head of the Rain totem in this locality. He is an old friend of mine but I regret to say that his character or honesty is as low as it is possible for a human creature’s to be. He has and perhaps always will resent the whiteman’s presence in his country and on one occasion when a southern man had ‘made rain’, that is performed a ceremony to bring about rain, my friend deliberately, by means of magic in which he is specially gifted, prevented the rain from falling so that the whitefellows might be driven out of the country for want of water. The southern rain man was very wrath and, as no rain resulted
from his ceremony, he challenged Imbarkwa to fight. Diplomatic relations are still strained between the two men. Two Pitchis and 1 fighting club (Kutira) added to collection, also a couple of lizards, one of which Spencer thinks may be new. Having shown you, my diary, some elderly types of Kaitish society, I think it only fair that you should be adorned with examples of youth and beauty, always an important factor in society of any kind. Here is a young lady who is the much admired daughter of my friend Imbarkwa. She is called Urri-ung-alla (plate no. 32) and she has an untrained fringe which more than one Moonta girl of my acquaintance would envy - Writing a little in the evening. Bar. 28.375. Aneroid 1525. A.T. 63. S.T. 51.
June, 20th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.375. Aneroid 1525. A.T. 65. S.T. 54. A lovely, crisp morning, quite a delight to feel that one is alive. Slept like a top and feel as fit as a fiddle. Printing and toning until 11 a.m. Spencer enlarging quarter plates until noon when the new arrivals rolled up to interview us bringing with them: 2 spears, 19 boomerangs, 3 shields, 2 Lonka lonka pearl shaped ornaments, worn suspended from the waist at corroboree, 3 Matcherta, 1 stone knife, 1 Alpita, 1 bunch feathers, 1 Nose stick Lalkirra, 2 Arkara sticks tipped with feathers and worn in hair by men. Nothing specially good amongst this lot, but in all probability they are holding the best things in reserve for future occasion. We dispensed a number of tomahawks, knives, pipes and tobacco and gave each man a large pannican of flour. In the afternoon we took some half plate photos, types and scenes. Some of the men with whom we traded this morning are murderous-looking ruffians and at least one of them was implicated in the attack on Frew River Station some years ago,
while two others are notorious cattle killers. The curly-headed and dignified-looking young warrior here presented is not to be classed amongst the ruffians of his tribe but rather amongst the highest type and most presentable men. He is by way of being a dandy and fully arrayed with a bone through his nose and his body clothed in emu fat and red ochre. He is an ideal Australian savage, lithe and active as a cat, dignified in manner and with a graceful carriage which anyone might envy, (plate no. 33). Clothe him in the garb of the white man and he becomes a miserable looking cuss. His name is Atnittalirkirna, long may he live. I photographed a tree grave from two positions today and tonight to my infinite disgust I found, upon
developing, that I had, like a muddy-minded mooncalf, taken both pictures on the same plate. Spencer grating hard at his Age articles in which he is embodying in a highly popular form much of the material contained in our book. These articles in book form should make an interesting and saleable volume and I am hoping that he will have them put together and republished in that form later on. Both writing all the evening. Bar. 28.325. Aneroid 1575. A.T. 62. S.T. 55. June, 21st. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.375. Aneroid 1525. A.T. 58. S.T. 49. Up early, started printing before breakfast. From 9 until 11.30 engaged with blacks. Recorded tradition relating to the making of imperfect Alcheringa creatures into men and women in the Unmatjira tribe, which adjoins the Kaitish on their southern boundary and stretches out east for a considerable distance. The tradition is as follows: In the Alcheringa when all the people were imperfect creatures (Interintera), a Churinga at Ung-wurla on the Woodforde River changed into a crow being, at once man and bird. Looking at himself he said ‘I am a hawk but no, I am too dark’
then he said ‘I think I am eaglehawk but no I am black’. Then he said I am a crow, yes I am crow and I am black and have wings. Looking around he saw in all directions Interintera creatures and he said to himself I will go and cut these people’s limbs free. He at once started and travelled all through the country of the Unmatjira, making perfect men and women of the curious creatures who had emerged from the animals or plants into that condition. Having completed his important mission he returned to Ungurla and made a stone knife with which he intended to perform certain initiatory rites on the Unmatjira but, when about to start out again, he saw two Echunpa great lizards coming from the south and watching their movements, he saw them performing the initiatory rites with their teeth. So he sat down and wandered about no more. A great black stone arose to mark the spot where he died. Also recorded tradition relating to Central Mount Winnecke (Earitjapunja) and the wanderings
of Unthurkinpunda, an Ungalla man of the Idnimita Big Grub totem, who in the Alcheringa marched from Umburinga on the Burt Creek to Illaquarra where he met another man of the same totem to whom he gave a Churinga and Alalkira nose bone and received in return a Churinga and bunch of Alpita, white tail tips of the rabbit bandicoot. He then returned to his own country where he died and was reincarnated in the person of my friend Unthurkinpunda of the Arunta tribe. The son of the second man mentioned (he too was reincarnated and died) is a member of the Unmatjira tribe and head of the Idnimita totem; who performs ceremonies to promote the increase and growth of the grub of which he can only partake very sparingly. At the conclusion of the ceremony the men of other totems bring him an offering of a Pitchi full of grubs, he tastes a little performs a sacred totemic ceremony and then hands the grubs back to men of the classes which do not belong to his division - the tribe is practically divided into two societies - and bids them eat plentifully. Practically the same custom exists in the Arunta. We are very glad to be able to
record something about the Unmatjira. 2 shields, 2 necklets (Atipina), 1 Alpita tuft, 3 boomerangs, 1 hair girdle, 1 club (Kutira), 1 Matcherta, 2 stone knives and 2 Alalkira added to collection today. Printing and toning from 11.30 until dinner time. In the afternoon got two good pictures of a tree grave in which a young woman lies buried on a platform covered with twigs - At a distance the place of sepulture looks like a great bird’s nest and years ago a German scientist friend of mine, on seeing a tree grave for the first time, thought he had discovered the nest of some huge and unknown bird. He cautiously surveyed the tree and seeing that the nest was apparently empty he climbed up and began to examine it, presently he was confronted by a grinning skull and he descended the tree with the agility of an opossum. He had not heard of tree burial in Central Australia. Writing in the evening. Packet 5 sent to Dick, also packet of prints to my wife. Bar. 28.325. Aneroid 1575. A.T. 61.5. S.T. 54.
June, 22nd. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.310. Aneroid 1590. A.T. 61.5. S.T. 55. At work printing before breakfast, after which we worked with the blacks until 11.30. Continuing our enquiries into the customs of the Unmatjira we found that each head of a totem is called Inkwartija while in the Kaitish they are termed Ilpilpiruntiana. The headship of the totem passes from father to son provided always that the son be old enough to accept the responsibilities, one of which is the custody and care of the sacred storehouse in which the Churinga are kept and which is called Ertnalulinga, as in the Arunta. Provided the son is not of suitable age the care of the sacred spot is vested in a brother of deceased or, failing a blood brother, then in one of the tribal brothers who in course of time will pass it on to the proper custodian. The sacred storehouse may be a cleft in a rock or a hole in the ground and near it no woman or youth must go on pain of death. The Kaitish call their storehouses Amoama - Widows pass to the younger brother of their husband and he has the power of passing them on to men who stand in the same relationship to deceased, but they
need not necessarily be blood brothers. Young men (or women) who marry within the forbidden degrees of kindred or, to put it more correctly, outside of the class to which their choice of a wife is by aboriginal law restricted, are buried in the ground and are not honoured with tree sepulture. Very old men are also buried in the ground unless they are men of great influence at the time of their death. This rule also applies to very old women, but young women unless they have broken the marriage laws are buried in trees - Young children of both sexes also receive tree burial and it is believed that they may be reborn. The bodies of dead men are placed in trees by men who stand in the relationship of Alirra, sons, fathers and brothers, blood or tribal, and after the burial the sacred totemic ceremony of the deceased is performed before the assembled blacks (men) by a man standing in the relationship of Elder blood or tribal brother of deceased: this ceremony when so performed is called Undattha-lurparima. A dead man is called Kirra-ilchapma which translated is ‘bitten meat’!
Tree burial is one of the most widely spread of native customs in Australia. It was practised by many of the south eastern and Murray River tribes and, if not common, to parts of New South Wales. It certainly extends into parts of Queensland. Why, exactly, the blacks adopt such a form of burial, no one yet has succeeded in ascertaining and it is doubtful if they know themselves; it is an Alcheringa custom and beyond that we can get no explanation. That it is a form of degradation and punishment for young people to be buried in the ground will be noted on the preceding page but why it should be so is quite beyond our ken. Oh that we could get inside the greasy heads of some of these old men, if only for one short hour. Toning prints until dinner time. In the afternoon we proceeded to a spot
about half a mile from the Station and witnessed our sacred ceremonies. Quab Rain Urtwa of Aneara in which there were two performers, one carrying a Nurtunja tipped with a bunch of owl feathers which represented the sky and underneath white Undattha representing clouds, and red and white Undattha representing lightning, which they call Auill-auillia. The performers’ heads and bodies were decorated in red and white Undattha (birds’ down) designs representing lightning and the principal performer, the man who carried the Nurtunja, was my friend Imbarkwa, head man or Ilpilpiruntiana of the Rain totem - Quab Idnimita (big edible grub found principally in roots of trees) of Intiara, two performers represented the two Alcheringa men of that totem who met at Intiara and exchanged Churinga, as previously recorded - Quab-Atnilunqua (Emu)of Undattharara and Quab Irlipina (Grass-seed) of Yerlitcha, the latter representing the Alcheringa ancestor of Arabinya-urungwinya, the aged ruffian now attached to our staff. The Idnimita
ceremony belongs to the Unmatjira tribe and was performed by the head of that totem - Trimming prints and developing plates in the evening. A busy day, both tired. To camp at 10. Bar. 28.365. Aneroid 1540. A.T. 64. S.T. 55.5. June, 23rd. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.425. Aneroid 1480. A.T. 56.5. S.T. 49. Sunday morning and Spencer’s 41st birthday so we celebrated the occasion by remaining in our bunks until the bell rang for breakfast. On appearing at the breakfast table the Prof. was handed a wire from my wife wishing him many happy returns of the day, which appeared to please him greatly. Toning and printing until 10, when we began working with the blacks and continued until 12.30. Enquiring into the origin of tree burial in the Unmatjira tribe we learnt that in the Alcheringa a great Oknirabata named Amulyila-unquainika, who was of the Bulthara class and Unkirta Jew Lizard totem, arose at a spot near the Hart Ranges now called by his name. When he first came to life he was stiff and could only move with difficulty, but after lying in the sun for some time he was able to straighten himself. He then examined himself all over and filled out as he did so. Then looking around, he saw some lizards and said ‘these are the same as me’ ‘these are me’, in every
direction he looked he saw lizards and said ‘these are me’ ‘there I am again’. He journeyed away to a place called Unqurtunga where he met a great Oknirabata of the Kumara class and Ewutta Nail-tailed wallaby (Onychogale lunata) totem whose name was Arilkirra - (Previous to starting on his journey he saw one of the Lizards (men) die and said I must bury him, then he paused and said No, I will put him in a tree. I am too sorry to cover him up, ‘the dead man is me’) and to whom he said you are a big man, you have a big Ertnatulinga, look at yourself well and keep on looking at yourself and by and by you will be a great Oknirabata like me and you will have many sons piccaninnies. I had no mother, I sprang up. Keep looking at yourself, keep looking at yourself as I did until I saw a mob of lizards around me. If you look at yourself well, you will see a lot of wallabys which will be you. He then said if you die your sons must put you in a tree. Arilkirra ‘looked at himself’ and had many sons whom he called together and bade them
place his body in a tree when he died; he also told them to place the bodies of all men for whom they felt sorry in trees. Amulyila the Lizard journeyed on to Intukina where he found a man named Qualpa, who was of the Appungerta class and Qualpa (Long-tailed Rat) totem, and he spoke to him, just as he spoke to Arilkirra. When he had repeatedly told him to ‘look at himself and grow great”, he asked ‘what will you do Qualpa if your sons die’ and Qualpa replied ‘I will throw them away anywhere on the ground’. Amulyila said No, No, you must not do that, that is not good. You will be sorry; you must put them in trees and you must tell your sons to put you in a tree when you are dead - Qualpa looked upon himself, again and yet again, and he had many sons whom he called together and instructed in the Lizard’s method of burial, bidding them dispose of his body in that manner after death. Amulyila the Lizard proceeded to Arwampina where he met a man named Warata who was of the Kumara class and Arawa Wallaby totem. He spoke to him, saying what is your name? and Warata replied my name is Warata. What is your name? Amulyila replied I
am the Great Lizard Oknirabata and I have many Alirra sons and brothers at my camp; you will have many sons by and by; look upon your flesh and it will grow, look upon yourself, again and yet again, and you will grow and become great as I am. Warata looked at himself and saw black hairs sprouting from his side. He looked at his arms and stretching them out said they are hairy and short like a wallaby’s. I am a Wallaby; Amulyila the lizard looked at him and said Yes you are a Wallaby and Warata said Yes I am a Wallaby and you are a lizard for you have prickles on your body. Amulyila again spoke saying look upon yourself and become great and you will have sons who will be you. If your sons die, place their bodies in trees and when you die they must put you in a tree. Warata became great and had many sons to whom he commended the Lizard’s instructions. Amulyila continued his journey to Achalpira where he found a man of Umbitchana class and Atnungwa (Porcupine Grass Rat) totem, named Ilchinkinja, who was black and had hair on his foot.
Amulyila spoke to him enquiring his name and the Rat replied I am Atnungwa the Rat - Amulyila said Yes Yes I thought so, you are Atnungwa. Who made you? The Rat replied I had no father or mother, I sprang up in the porcupine. Had you a mother? To which the Lizard replied I had no mother, our camps are close together: you must look upon your flesh and grow great and you will have many sons, who will be Atnungwa like you. The Rat looked upon himself and slept, resting his head on his Churinga, and when he awoke he had grown great and looking about he saw an Atnungwa and said Hulloa! there is Atnungwa, that is me. Looking again he saw another and said that is me, on every side were Atnungwa who were ‘him’ because they were of his flesh. He called them together and instructed them in tree burial. Amulyila tired of journeying, in fact quite worn out, returned to his camp at Amulyila-unquainika and, calling his sons together, he divided them into two parties, bidding one party go east and the other west, warning them to be careful of the wild dogs, to which warning they replied saying the dogs
will not bite us, our prickles will protect us. Then after bidding them bury their dead in the trees they departed and he was left alone. He watched them go and then laid down on his Churinga and died. It was from Amulyila the lizard that the Unmatjira got their custom of tree sepulture. An interesting and very curious tradition, and this from a race which some authorities like Mr. W.A. Horn assert is without traditions of any sort. Tree burial is only the prelude to internment in the ordinary way but the bodies are not finally placed in the ground until the bones become quite bare, when they are carefully gathered, disjointed and placed in the ground with the skull facing the Mira Alchera, that is the place of origin of the brother of the deceased’s mother. If the mother had no blood brothers then her son’s skull would be buried facing her Alcheringa place. It is believed that the Spirits (Kurinna) of dead persons return to the Alcheringa camp of their mother’s brothers or to her camp according as the skull is placed in its final resting place. Spencer and I photographed each other and both plates
Unmatjira most of the day. We are anxious to learn as much as possible of their customs while opportunity offers. The gentleman here depicted is Ilpalyurkna (plate no. 35), a totem head man or Inkwartina of the Unmatjira, and we have indeed been fortunate in laying hands upon him. He is at present a much valued member of our staff and quite a walking encyclopedia of the lore of his tribe. It has been a big day and we are glad to get to our tent at 10 where, lying in our bunks, we discuss the day’s work with satisfaction and map out plans for tomorrow. Bar. 28.400. Aneroid 1500. A.T. 61. S.T. 53.
June, 24th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.450. Aneroid 1545. A.T. 57. S.T. 52.5. Printing photos until 9.30 after which we again tackled the Unmatjira and kept them on the ethnological gridiron
until 11.30. Toning prints until noon. With blacks again for an hour or so after dinner. Recorded a long tradition about the doings of two Oruncha devil devil Alcheringa men who sprang up at Irknina and had some curious adventures. Having killed and eaten a man they were attacked by an avenging party whom they succeeded in baffling for a long time by diving into the earth and coming out again behind their attackers. After this had taken place several times two men adopted a stratagem and retiring to the rear of the party they hid themselves behind a bush and when the Oruncha bobbed up as before they killed them but their hearts leapt from their bodies and hid in the long grass and when the avenging party were returning from the scene well pleased with their success they were assailed with a torrent of abuse which seemed to issue from the bodies of the Oruncha. The avengers returned and broke up the bones and again returning were abused in the vilest language; they again returned and broke up the skulls and all the unbroken bones until they were fairly pulverized. Again they started only to be reviled even more fiercely. Then two of the party crept cautiously back taking care to hide themselves.
Presently the abuse was repeated and the men looking about in the grass found the two hearts and destroyed them thoroughly after which the party were allowed to depart in peace, One very important result of today’s work is the discovery that the Unmatjira have two distinct traditions of origin. The Arunta belief is that every man and woman was changed in the Alcheringa from an animal or plant into a human creature sometimes perfect man but more often an imperfectly formed or rudimentary man, who was subsequently completed either by certain spirits called Ungam-bikulla or some other great Alcheringa men whose mission it was to go about the country perfecting their species. Our enquiries today have led to the discovery of an entirely different and certainly more primitive account of the origin of certain totems in the Unmatjira. The Great Lizard Amulyila and his contemporaries did not emerge from the animal stage at all, they arose spontaneously and at the time of their advent there were no animals of the species after which they named themselves. From the bodies of each man, spirits (Kurinna) issued and these spirits are the
ancestors - the real Alcheringa men - of the men of these totems. For instance the sons of Amulyila the Lizard were the ancestors of the lizards, the sons of Arawa the Wallaby were the ancestors of the wallabys etc. This belief takes us down to the solid bed-rock of the origin of totemism so far as it concerns the Australian Aborigines and we are in the seventh heaven of delight. Curiously no women sprang from any of the great totemic Eponyms, but there are several traditions relating to the marching into and through the country of hordes of women of various totems, and spots are indicated at which certain women were left with men of suitable classes with whom they could and did intermarry. In speaking of these women, who of course were also Alcheringa beings, we noticed that the blacks in speaking of them never used the term women but always Ertwaninga, which literally translated means belonging to men. I’m afraid this would be a severe shock to some modern strong-minded lady friends of mine. At the time Amulyila the lizard arose there
were no lizards in the country he inhabited. He was at first a very small, smooth, fly eating lizard called Amunga quinya quinya but grew and grew until he became a full fledged jew lizard. When he died, a lizard man named Amulya sprang from one of his (Amulyila’s) Churinga and it was he who by means of sympathetic magic created the lizards and caused them to increase and spread over the country, and so on through all the totems which originated in the same manner. The Unmatjira tribe are practically divided into two halves. One half originating in the manner just described and the other passing through the Interintera stage. To camp at 9.30 Bar. 28.400 An. 1500 A.T. 63. S.T. 55.
June, 25th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.375. Aneroid 1525. A.T. 58. S.T. 53. A busy day with satisfactory results. As an instance of how the Interintera arose, I cannot do better than record fully the tradition relating to the creation of that totem at a place called Intiara. In the Alcheringa a lot of Hairy Caterpillars (Iknitha) lived at Intiara. They crawled over the ground and up into Idnimita trees, just as they do
today, and fed upon the leaves. A great rain fell which washed off their hair and changed them into Idnimita (tree grub large and edible) and they went into the ground burrowing into the roots of the tree and growing until they became large white grubs. Bye and bye more heavy rain fell bringing with it from the country of the salt water, far away, a great number of little Idnimita grubs, which fell near to a particular tree at Intiara; they were spotted on the backs but gradually grew and changed to a reddish colour, then still growing they gradually became white, just as the grub is today, and finally burrowed into the roots of the tree. One little Idnimita did not fall near the tree but was blown by the wind to a spot called India some little distance off. It grew rapidly and when it reached maturity formed a chrysalis (Irtnia) from which it emerged, an Interintera man of the Idnimita totem. A rudimentary creature who presented the appearance of a human creature, all doubled up into a rounded mass in which the outline of the various parts of the body could be vaguely seen. He grew
steadily, always trying to free his limbs, until one day rubbing his chin he discovered that he was growing a beard. Just then Ungappa the Crow (mentioned in records of the 21st instant) came along and alighted in a tree close by; seeing the Interintera move he was startled and flew to another tree from which he again examined the Interintera and recognising it he said ‘Oh this is Interintera I think I will open his eyes and set his limbs free’. He at once began operations and, using his beak as a knife, he made a deep incision across the middle of the body which enabled the Interintera to straighten himself; he then formed arms, and fingers, the marks on the palm of the hand show where the wounds healed when the hand was formed. With two small incisions he released the eyes and using his beak as a boring apparatus, he formed the nose providing it with nostrils; the ears were formed in a similar manner and then the mouth was formed after which he carved out the legs and toes and the Interintera stood erect, an Alcheringa man. The chrysalis case from which he emerged was his Churinga. He slept with it
under his head and from it he withdrew a number of smaller Churinga from which many men subsequently sprang. He fed always on the Idnimita grub for at that time there were no animals or birds except a tiny, thin bird called Thippa Thippa. On several occasions he performed Quabara Undattha - that is a sacred ceremony - at various spots near to his camp and at each one of these places an Alcheringa woman afterwards sprang up. Two of these women are now represented by living women who are their reincarnations. All through one half of this tribe, similar traditions with regard to origin exist. It is curious indeed that in one tribe we should find two such entirely different systems, Also recorded tradition relating to the wanderings of some women and the murder of a Kurdaitja man and woman who had married within the forbidden classes, The Unmatjira have various forms of magic but one is new to us. A man wishing to get rid of an enemy procures a small ant-hill which
he fills with evil magic (Arung-quiltha) by singing over it, as the Alcheringa men did. Having charged it with magic he carefully wraps it in bark and takes it to his camp, where he secretly pulverizes it and awaits a favourable opportunity to scatter the powder in the camp of his enemy, who after a few days is sure to be seized with a mortal illness. This form of magic is called Inkupia and it is evidently much dreaded. Our Unmatjira friend, Ilpalyurkna, is a great Medicine man (Nongara) and he informs us that he graduated in this way. A Medicine man of the Ilpirra tribe fitting a magic crystal (Atnongara) in his woomera threw it at our friend with great force. It penetrated his body and struck him dead. The Medicine man then cast another crystal which went in at one ear and out at the other. He then withdrew and threw away Ilpalyurkna’s intestines and filled up the vacant spaces with sacred crystals and, covering his face with leaves, left him lying where he fell, until his body swelled up, when he inserted some more crystals. He then patted the dead man’s
I find that I accidentally skipped these pages and rather than allow them to remain blank I am devoting them to the heads of two Kaitish celebrities who are assisting us in our works. The gentleman here enshrined is ‘Imbarkwa’ (plate no. 36), head man of the Rain totem and perhaps the most influential man in his tribe. There is an air of benevolence about his appearance but so far it has not proved to be one of his characteristics. He prefers the whiteman’s mutton to the blackman’s jew lizard and on more than one occasion he has gratified his appetite by robbing the local sheep yard. From our point of view he is a pure savage and therefore a fine fellow - It will be noticed that he wears, suspended from his side whiskers, a kangaroo tooth set in porcupine wax. He is the happy possessor of 4 wives.
This perky looking old fellow (plate no. 37) is an old friend of mine and on my various visits to this locality I have always hobnobbed and cultivated friendly relations with him. His name appears amongst those who were implicated in the attack on this Station on the 23rd February 1874 and stoutly as he denies I am afraid that he cannot be exonerated. He rejoices in the name of Arabinya-urungwinya and he is head man of the Grass-seed totem. He is a perfect mine of native lore and, since we have succeeded in penetrating his crust of reserve, he has added much to our knowledge of his tribe. Probably for the first time in his life he is at once getting, without exertion, as much tucker as he can eat and as much tobacco as he can smoke and when our caravan disappears on its trek north he will probably be the saddest savage in mid-continent. His domestic hearth is shared by two wives, one of whom I may some day find a place for in these pages. 'over'
head and he came to life again. He was not conscious of anything that happened and did not know where he was, until his medical friend spoke and said You are now Atnongara, a Medicine man. I killed you and made you jump up Nongara. This is an instance of how Medicine men, awful frauds that they are, obtain their qualifications in this tribe. It would be utterly hopeless to try to persuade any of this man’s people that the story here recorded is all moonshine and, although Ilpalyurkna must know that he possesses no real power, he firmly believes that other practitioners have power to counteract magic and work evil. Added: 1 spear, 1 beaked boomerang and 1 Matcherta to the collection. Spencer fills in every spare moment skinning birds. He is a tremendous worker. I do have an idle moment now and again but he never rests until we get to camp at night. Bar. 28.325. Aneroid 1575. A.T. 64. S.T. 52.52.
June 26th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.325. Aneroid 1575. A.T. 56. S.T. 55. Today’s work measured by the extent of our notes
does not amount to much but the results are highly satisfactory. In the records for the 8th instant, it is stated that ‘men of the Kaitish tribe have an exclusive right to take and eat their own totem’. This is not quite the position for, on further enquiry, we find that a man may only eat sparingly of his totem but when, for instance, an Emu is killed by a man of the moiety - the tribe is divided practically into two moieties - of the tribe to which the Emu totem does not belong, portion of the bird must be taken to the Emu man to eat before it can be partaken of by the others and, if one of his own moiety kills a bird, it must be handed to the other moiety who cook and distribute it, taking special care to offer a little to the Emu man. A man will not kill his totem animal if alone, unless there are men of the other moiety handy, in which case he will kill the bird and hand it to them and they in turn will cook it and return some to him. There is here, it seems to us, a clear recognition of the ownership of the totem animal by the man of the totem. Men of the Water totem will not drink water
water unless it is handed to them by men of the other moiety and men of the Fire totem will not make fire themselves but must receive it from the moiety of the tribe to which the Fire totem does not belong. The head of the Idnimita totem, Unmatjira tribe, asked today what would happen if he ate his totem animal indiscriminately, replied that the Idnimita would leave his country altogether and he would be unable to make them multiply by means of Intichiuma and that the members of the other moiety of the tribe would kill him by means of magic, as punishment for depriving them of Idnimita which would cease to exist in his totem locality. If he were ‘big fellow’ hungry he might appease his appetite by eating the grub provided he carried with him the ‘Alpita’ used at the Intichiuma ceremony and sang the Alcheringa song peculiar to that ceremony - but not otherwise, Some years ago, when the present head of the totem was a boy, a man named Talpira by means of magic killed several Idnimita men who had eaten the totem animal too freely. Bar. Aneroid. A.T. S.T.
June, 27th. Camp No. 33. Bar. Aneroid. A.T. S.T. Most of the day spent with blacks recording full account of initiation ceremonies in the Unmatjira, also fuller particulars relating to the doings of the two great lizards who coming after the crow completed the task of making the Interintera into perfect beings. We were earnestly engaged trying to elucidate certain points with regard to the origin of some indescribable customs when news came from Mrs. Spencer saying that poor Spencer’s father had died suddenly on the 24th May. The news came to me as a great shock and it nearly broke me up to have to communicate it to my poor friend who just then was wrapped up in the work upon which we were engaged. He took the news in a dazed manner and after a little time, I left him alone with his sorrow. A sad day all felt deep sympathy for Spencer. Bar. Aneroid. A.T. S.T.
June, 28th. Camp No. 33. Bar. Aneroid. A.T. S.T. A long day without much results. Recorded tradition of the doings of two Panunga and 1 Appungerta man of the Yarunpa totem who sprang up at a place
in the MacDonnell Ranges named Arumbia and went to a place named Iloora where they met with a mob of lubras and took some Purula and Umbitchana back with them these being of the classes with which the Panunga and Appungerta men might intermarry. This tradition, a very long one with very little in it, was the outcome of an effort to discover if these people have any tradition relating to the division of the tribe into the 8 classes now existing. So far we cannot learn of the existence of such a tradition. Also recorded tradition relating to the wanderings of a man named Ankirra who was of the Porcupine Wax (Atja) totem and who after some adventures was finally whisked up to the skies in a whirlwind and carried back to the point from which he started viz. Ilkilatyilla where he alighted and was changed into porcupine grass from which the natives extract the wax used by them as a cementing substance etc. Amongst other things we learnt that fathers-in-law are entitled to receive meat from their sons
in-law who in turn receive seed food from their fathers-in-law. No son-in-law is permitted to eat meat upon which his father-in-law has looked; it is Ekirinja, that is taboo. Added: 13 Pitchis, 1 spear, 2 magic sticks (Nintara), 1 Walya Walya (sacred article made from dead man’s hair), 1 Churinga Nama Twinna, 2 Aknarinja magic sticks used for charming women, 1 stone knife and some nose sticks to collection. Mail arrived today and we are delighted to have letters from home. The blacks are granted a holiday in the afternoon so that we may have a few hours free to enjoy our mail. Bar. 28.250. Aneroid 1650. A.T. 64. S.T. 56.
June, 29th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.335. Aneroid 1560. A.T. 61. S.T. 56. The morning was wasted through the natives being engaged in a squabble arising out of slander spread by one woman against another. There was much loud talk and recriminatory epithets, some threats and brandishing of weapons but happily no bloodshed. By dinner time the storm had blown over and, after soothing the nerves of the head of the Rain totem with a good feed, we placed him on the grid for a couple hours with satisfactory results. Amongst other things we
recorded, of course, in fuller detail, the following tradition relating to the establishment of the Rain or Water totem at Aneara which is the great rain making centre in the Kaitish tribe. In the Alcheringa a man named Arininga of the Purula class came out of a rock at Aneara and the exact spot at which he emerged is now marked by a rock waterhole. When he first appeared he was small and red in colour but, after lying in the sun he became black and dividing himself in two, there were two men, the second one being of the Kumara class; at sundown again becoming one individual he went into the rock from which he came forth at sunrise and became two men again. They laid in the sun for many days growing quickly until they became big men, their whiskers grew long and they stroked them continually until they became Oknirabata, that is great men. They debated as to where they should go and then wandered about and made sacred ceremonies at various spots, now marked by hills which arose to mark the scenes of their labours. One day they heard a baby crying and looking about they found a
woman of the Purula class with a young child. Arininga promptly fastened a barb on his spear and killed, cooked and ate both. After partaking of the feast, which was not shared by the younger man, Arininga performed Intichiuma which produced heavy rain, flooding the whole country and this rain issued from his whiskers. It ran away in a great flood until it was nearly out of sight and he then brought it back to his feet, by beckoning to it with his hands. Time after time he allowed it to flow onwards but he always watched it carefully for he feared that some other blackfellow might steal it, that is steal the flood, and when he thought it had flowed far enough he recalled the waters as before. Finally the two men sat down at a place called Arumba a big billabong and cut off their beards which floated into the sky and became clouds from which the rain always falls. Having sacrificed their beards they died at a spot now marked by two stones called Aroota at which the Intichiuma for rain producing ceremonies are now performed. From the side whiskers of these ancestors of
the rain people two euros sprang up and the two animals were their special friends for Ilquatheri. Today all men of the Rain totem are entitled to wear euro teeth suspended from their side whiskers - see picture of Imbarkwa - but the flesh of the animal is Ekirinja, that is taboo, and may not be eaten by any person of the totem. Men of the totem may only drink water given to them by men who belong to the moiety of the tribe to which the Rain totem does not belong. If I am a rain man then it is the special duty of my father-in-law to give me water. If a Rain man drank water other than that supplied to him by the other moiety he would lose his power to make rain and the whole tribe would suffer for his misdeed, Added to our collection 6 Pitchis and some women’s head-rings. In the evening paid a wurley to wurley visit, to the camps and got rid of some tobacco. Bar. 25.308.(?) Aneroid 1590. A.T. 65. S.T. 51.5.
June, 30th. Camp No. 33. A cloudy, boisterous morning. I awoke several times during the night and hearing the wind howling felt
glad that we were sheltered by a stout tent. The young woman here presented is Aralchalchinna (plate no. 38) one of the wives of Arabinya-urungwinya whose head is enshrined in the records of the 25th inst. She has a somewhat pleasant face of a type not common amongst the natives of the Centre. Amiable as she looks she has a reputation for possessing fighting qualities which a man might admire in his enemy’s wife but never in his own. It is even whispered that at times she makes her lord and master tremble in his naked soles. Spent the morning obtaining information with regard to the Rain totem and recorded a curious little tradition about a Euro animal which sprang up at Aneara and was suckled by a woman without her husband’s knowledge, until it
reached maturity and wandered away to a spot called Inquarndo, where he fell in with a number of Iguanos who tried to kill him with lightning, but could not succeed in striking him. The Euro turned upon his assailants and hurling at them the lightning which he carried with him, killed them all and then returned to his own country where he was attacked and killed by a number of women of the Water who at once went into the ground. Reincarnations of two of the women concerned in this mythical murder are now living and 1 is pictured in the records of the 17th inst. In the afternoon we witnessed and photographed three sacred ceremonies viz. Quabara Irnpa of Aneara, the ceremony of the Rain totem of Aneara, in which the performers 5 in number decorated with birds’ down represented the Iguanos who attacked the Euro. Quabara Irtwintilla of Unung-pa-lunga,
the ceremony of the Frog totem of that place, and Quabara Elia of Achutupunja, the ceremony of the Emu [totem] of that place - There is nothing in the nature of these ceremonies to distinguish them from the ceremonies of the Arunta tribe which we have so often described. Added to our collection: 1 Walya Walya and 1 magic stone - beautifully chipped, opaline quartz called Nartinja. This stone is prepared by some tribe in the far north and traded through the various tribes, it is said to be charged with a very deadly form of magic and when being used it is pointed at and jerked in the direction of the individual it is intended to injure. Bar. 28.350. Aneroid 1550. A.T. 65. S.T. 58.
July, 1st. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.370. Aneroid 1530. A.T. 58. S.T. 50.5. How rapidly the time flies. We are now in our fifth month and only just beginning to fully realize that it is hopeless for us to attempt to do more than two or three tribes in the time at our disposal. To effectively work through the various tribes to the Gulf of Carpentaria we should require another year, that is two instead of one year, but much as I should like to complete our
researches in a thorough manner, nothing would induce me to remain away from my family for a second year. Working with the Unmatjira all the morning. Recorded tradition about the doings of a certain Alcheringa man of the Opossum totem named Urluqunta - Also interesting new matter on other subjects not suitable for record here, When a man of the Unmatjira tribe dies his property and his hair goes to his actual son-in-law or if he has no actual then to his potential sons-in-law who take possession of it in turn, each man of this class has to submit to have his shoulders and thighs deeply cut with a stone knife as a token of grief for the departed; a man failing to pay this mark of respect to the memory of a dead father-in-law would be promptly and severely punished by other men of his class. As every man who dies is the potential father-in-law (Ichuntira) of every man in another class it amounts to this that something like from 50 to 100 men have to submit to severe
wounds whenever a man dies. The tribe is divided into 8 classes and the following table shows how they must intermarry; each man and woman may only marry into one particular class (chart no. .) -
man marries woman & children are
Panunga Purula Appungerta Uknaria " " Thungalla " " " Bulthara Bulthara " " Kumara " " " Uknaria Appungerta " Umbitchana " " Panunga Kumara " " Bulthara " " " Purula Purula " " Panunga " " " Kumara Umbitchana " Appungerta " " " Thungalla Thungalla " Uknaria " " " Umbitchana Our work with the Unmatjira is now completed and we much regret that we cannot devote a few weeks more to this interesting Tribe. There is yet much to learn but I think we have worked out the most important points - Printed and toned some photos in the afternoon, Chance busy packing up collection to which we added 1 Lonka Lonka, 2 Walya Walya, 1 stone Churinga of Grass-seed totem and 1 Chur[inga] Nama Twinna. Bar. 28.350. Aneroid 1550. A.T. 62.5. S.T. 52.5.
July, 2nd. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.350. Aneroid 1550. A.T. 59. S.T. 47. A boisterous night with drizzling rain in the early morning and continuing until dinner time. We are sending a mail off tomorrow with two boys who are going to Ryans Well to meet and bring up two of our mares which are being sent on with a mail from the Alice - For the first time since our arrival we are taking a holiday so that we may write our letters without interruption. Erlikilyika has entire charge of the ethnological branch today and is on his own account digging up a Kaitish tradition which he is carefully recording on paper in his own peculiar fashion. Tomorrow we will check and record it in the official journal, and his original drawing illustrating the tradition will be attached to these pages, as an example of native skill. Writing on and off all day. In the evening fixed some of our prints in Scott’s album and the good little man is delighted. Posted packet no. 6 prints to Dick, also parcel containing two stone knives and 1 Lonka Lonka to my wife. Bar. 28.350. Aneroid 1600. A.T. 58. S.T. 48.5.
July, 3rd. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.275. Aneroid 1620. A.T. 55. S.T. 46.5. A delightfully crisp morning with but few clouds. Got to work with the Kaitish immediately after breakfast and spent two hours recording a tradition relating to two Alcheringa men who came out of a hole in a rock at a place called Akalpira. When they first emerged they were in the form of a small bird, a species of Podargus, called by the blacks Thutheri. They had large eyes and their bodies were covered with fine Undattha down. They perched in a tree and basked in the sunshine until they grew big and had whiskers, the younger of the two often slept but the elder always remained on watch. By and by he heard a great humming noise which was caused by a man of the Bellbird Okupallapalla totem swinging a Churinga at his camp some distance off. This frightened the watcher and he called the younger man, saying come and listen to this noise. Both stood listening for some time then the noise ceased and a Churinga passed rapidly above their heads nearly striking them; they watched the flight of the Churinga and followed it a long, long way to the sea, where they discovered it stuck in the mud. Catching hold of the string attached to it they pulled hard and the string broke,
causing them to fall heavily on their backs. They arose examining the string [and] said oh this is a man’s hair. As it was now impossible to extricate the Churinga they returned to their own country and upon examining their camp found that two out of their four Churinga had been stolen. They were very angry and at once looked about for tracks of the thief which after a little time they discovered and believed to be a man’s tracks, until following them for some time they noticed that they were made by a woman. They went on and on sticking closely to the tracks until they overtook a woman named Mirlinja-luka of the Grass-seed totem who offered them some grass-seed which they refused to take. (This woman’s reincarnation is now living in the person of a very old Kaitish woman.) The woman then said what shall I give you? The elder of the two men walked up close to her and with one blow of his Churinga cut her head off and then searching in her Pitchi (wooden vessel) they discovered their stolen Churinga which they took, and returned to their camp where their lives were spent in hunting wallaby and performing sacred ceremonies.
When they had become old men, an old man named Araneara, who was of the Opossum totem and had only 1 leg, visited them and proposed that they should all three camp together. The Thutheri men pretended to be friendly but as soon as a favourable opportunity occurred they beheaded the opossum with a Churinga and placing his body in the ground they gathered their Churinga. Together and sitting on top of the opossum they disappeared into the earth to be reincarnated in modern times. When the Bellbird Churinga broke away he followed it for some time and then returned to his camp at Kalartampinga where he found his shield burning. In trying to quench the flames he scorched himself across the breast and this is why the bellbirds have a black streak across their breasts - In the Alcheringa a Man of the Moon totem named Arilpa, a Purula, started from a place far away in the east intending to travel to his home in the distant west; when he reached a place called Karla karlu he found a number of
women of [blank] a Little Bird totem who sprang up there and were of all classes. He married one, a Panunga, but, tiring of her, changed his class to Appungerta and took a Kumara woman, tiring of her, he took a woman of each of the remaining classes in turn and had many children. By and by an old man named Intuir-pruk who was of the Bulthara (Kabidgi) class and Magpie totem came along in search of a wife and was met by Arilpa who enquired do you want a wife of the wrong class? Intuirpruk said no, then Arilpa said will you take a Panunga woman and Intuirpruk said No she is my Tualcha, that is mother-in-law. Then will you take an Umbitchana woman - No the Umbitchana are wives of the Appungerta, I want a proper wife, I want a Kabidgi woman, you are Purula and my Ichuntira, that is father-in-law. Arilpa said that is good, you must always have a wife of the proper class. (The old ruffian is but now when in the sere and yellow posing as a moral reformer.) You may take my daughter, she is
Kumara and the old man went his way content. Subsequently men of all classes visited Arilpa who furnished each man with a wife of the proper class and explained to them the awful enormity of marriage outside of the proper class - which can be readily seen on referring to the Unmatjira table contained in the records of the 1st inst., It was from the great Arilpa that the Kaitish people - so says the tradition - learnt the proper class into which each of the 8 divisions was to intermarry, Having accomplished his great work the Moon man died at Karlakarta where a great stone presenting the appearance of a man wielding a stone tomahawk arose and remains an eternal monument to his greatness. How on earth this class system arose in these central tribes is a mystery into which we have probed deeply without a shade of success. The blacks do not appear to have any tradition as to its origin. Writing our mail at odd intervals during the day. Bar. 28.250. Aneroid 1650. A.T. 65. S.T. 56.
July, 4th. Camp No.33. Bar. 28.275. Aneroid 1625. A.T.56.5. S.T. 52. Working with Kaitish, morning and afternoon, with satisfactory
results. Recorded lengthy tradition about the doings of two men named Ilcherkna and Illinja of the Thungalla class and Opossum totem. The latter was grinding up some Allia gum tree seed one day. Some how or other it did not cook to his satisfaction so he dipped his thumb into it and smeared his breast with it and that is how the animal came by the reddish streak, now so noticeable on its breast. Ilcherkna came from a place far away in the west called Inchinminchinga and he was continually remonstrating with Illinja for eating freely of box tree seed in which the latter seemed to thrive. Ilcherkna carried with him some Allia seed and left it at his camp where a man of the Allia Seed totem sprang from it during the night. On seeing him the two men said where has this man come from, he has sprung from the Allia tree Seed and is an Allia man and they at once killed him, dismembered his body and threw the parts away in various directions; the spot at which each part fell is now marked by a natural feature. After going through many adventures the two men went into the earth at Ania Ania. Atnulunqua, an old Emu, laid an egg in the
Alcheringa at a place called Arinpinpa and in the morning upon returning to her nest found that a man had sprung from it. He was of the Panunga class and his name was Ulubaia. She laid another egg and from it sprang a man of the Appungerta class named Quirrililpinna. She then laid a third egg from which a man named Alungameara sprang and he was of the Appungerta class. Atnulunqua then went into the earth. By and by a man of the Emu totem named Inkaleelpa came from Alalkirra and approached the camp at Arinpinpa where the three Emu men were sitting down. They saw him approaching and being afraid that he was coming to steal their Churinga they
dived into the earth, and the dust they stirred up frightened the man from Alalkirra and he at once made off. Time after time he tried to approach the camp but the Arinpinpa Emus always dived into the earth and he was unable to speak with them. At last he came by night when the Emus were out feeding and took all their Churinga but 4 and returned to his country. When the Arinpinpa people returned and missed their Churinga they dived into the earth taking the remaining four Churinga with them, finally two of them came up at a place called Munkathera in the country of the Warramunga tribe and sitting down there formed Oknanikilla, that is a totem centre of the Emu. When a Kaitish man dies his property and hair is inherited by his son-in-law (Gammona) who makes from the hair and beard of the dead man a magic girdle and other articles termed Walya Walya. He and all men of his class within the group to which he belongs score their shoulders and legs with stone knives and then the actual son-in-law, the possessor of the Walya Walya, organises a war party and proceeds to a group of people who are of his class but not of his totem and kills a man of his own class. It is not supposed that the particular man killed in this instance is suspected of boning the dead man for subsequently they may hear that another man gave or pointed the magic implement that caused the death and in which event they will dispatch another avenging party. The murder of a potential son-in-law of the dead man appears
to me to be something in the way of an expiatory sacrifice. The chief avenger who is the actual son-in-law wears the Walya Walya when on his murderous mission and when so armed he is believed to be invincible for in addition to his own strength he is endowed with that of the dead man and the accuracy of his aim is assured while weapons cast at him will be diverted by the presence of the spirit of the dead man in the Walya Walya. Men are always buried with their faces in the direction of their son-in-law’s (Gammona) Alcheringa place of origin. Bar. 28.225. Aneroid 1670. A.T. 65. S.T. 62.
July, 5th. Camp No.33. Bar. 28.265. Aneroid 1630. A.T. 60. S.T. 56. Kaitish tribe on the ethnological grid morning and afternoon with fair results. Pursuing our enquiries about Atnittu the dweller in the skies, referred to in the records of the 15th June, we found that he is certainly a nearer approach to a divine being, a creator than any other mythical being in which the central tribes believe. The tradition says that he sprang up in the sky where at one time all the blacks lived but Atnittu became
angry with them because they did not give him sufficient Churinga and Undattha so he drowned them and threw them down on to the earth saying You can stay there and be big men but I shall remain here and be Atnittu; with them he threw out implements etc. of the various sorts used by this tribe and also the mysterious creative influence which caused men and women to arise in the Alcheringa. A tradition states that long ago Atnittu was angry with a group of men at a place called Irril-lilya who were attending an initiatory ceremony and had neglected to swing the bull-roarer, so he caused a bundle of spears to drop from the heavens on to the men who were impaled thereon and drawn up to him. He killed and ate one young man but not liking the flesh he threw the others away beyond the skies. The swinging of the bull-roarer at certain ceremonies is something in the nature of a propitiatory offering for, if it be not done, Atnittu becomes angry and may even cause the heavens to fall but, if it be done thoroughly, he is said to be highly pleased. The first man to make and swing a bull-roarer was a Bulthara
named Urtumina who lived at Urluminna-launtima. In the country of the Illiaura tribe they had heard the rumbling of Atnittu’s Churinga in the sky and tried to imitate it with a view to pleasing Atnittu. First of all they tried to produce the noise by swinging a piece of bark that would not answer, so they tried a piece of mulga shaped precisely as the bull-roarer is today and it answered perfectly. As they swung the implement, Undattha, that is something sacred in the form of birds’ down, went out from it and was distributed all over the country, trees arose at certain spots where Undattha fell, as a result of its magic qualities. The Bulthara men intended to personally spread the tidings of their success but unfortunately two wild dogs came along and ate them so the task of spreading it fell upon two Umbiljana men named Atnabubu and Kalidnalidna who had seen the sacred Undattha fly from the bull-roarer and knew that a great discovery had been made. The information given above in an abridged form is of the greatest importance and we shall probably communicate it at once to the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. Also recorded information as to
to burial customs and a tradition relating to the doings of a great Curlew of the Alcheringa before whose advent men used to die and arise again in 3 days. This Curlew thrust his foot into the grave of an Illuta man and pushed him through the earth into the salt water and since then dead men have not arisen in the flesh - The spirits (Ulthana) of dead men for some time after death hover around the camp of their wives, often awaking them at night. Finally they retire to their Alcheringa place of origin and, unless cantankerous spirits, trouble their relatives no more. Hereunder is depicted a Kaitish girl named Ungwangna (plate no. 39) who is just on the threshold of womanhood. She has added a goodly number of natural history specimens to our collection and has a keen appreciation of our lollie tin which is now in a depleted condition. Probably her interest in our collection will cease when the supply is finished. Bar. 28.225. Aneroid 1670. A.T. 63.7. S.T. 59.
July, 6th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.270. Aneroid 1635. A.T. 59. S.T. 55. A very busy interesting and successful day with the Kaitish. Younger brothers inherit the widows of their elder brothers. A widow is compelled by tribal law to remain silent from the time of her husband’s death until his bones are taken from the tree in which he is first placed and buried. The period of suspension in a tree varies from 1 to 3 years and during this time the widow may only converse by means of the gesture language, in the use of which the people of this tribe are marvellously expert. After the bones have been placed in their final resting place the widow and younger brother meet together, the woman brings a Pitchi full of yams alongside of which she kneels with her forehead resting on the yams. The man, her future husband, strikes her two or three light blows on the head with some twigs and then hands her some meat. They then separate, the man going to the camp of the men (Ungunja) where he eats one yam and hands the remainder to men of the moiety of the tribe to which the woman belongs. The widow eats a little of the meat and hands the balance to female Alirra, that is female children to whom she stands in the relation of actual
or tribal mother. Another exchange of food is made and then the woman is released from the ban of silence and takes her place in the camp of her new husband who may already have two or more wives. Should he not care to add her to his household, he may hand her over to another man standing in the same relationship, actual or tribal, to the dead man, In the records of the 11th ultimo some reference is made to a ceremony performed by the head man of the Irlipina or Grass-seed totem for the purpose of increasing the supply of seed. Such ceremonies are performed in each totem and here they are called Ilit-nainga; today we were fortunate in securing a full account of the ceremony performed by the head of the Grass-seed totem. When about to perform the ceremony, he goes to the sacred storehouse of his totem, in which the Churinga are stored, and first of all carefully sweeps a clear space around it, this done, he takes out a couple of Churinga and after greasing them well and polishing [them] with red ochre, he decorates them with Undattha (birds’ down) and then, while singing the song used by his Alcheringa ancestor, he rubs them together thus causing
Undattha (which is a sacred material always used only for ceremonies of a sacred nature) to float off in all directions. The Churinga are replaced in their storehouse and the head man returns to his camp and waits for the grass to grow. By and by when it springs up, he goes amongst it carrying a Churinga and singing to it to increase and ripen. When he notices that it has ripened and is falling from its husks, he then with the assistance of his lubras gathers a quantity of the seed and takes it with a grinding stone (Irnta) to the camp of the men where he grinds it up. As it drips from the large flat stone on which it is being ground, a man of the Panunga class who stands in the relationship of mother’s brother to him, catches some in his open hand and places it in the mouth of the grass-seed man who swallows a little and blows the remainder out in all directions, saying ‘Go eat plenty of this seed, it grows in my place’. He then gives some seed to his lubras and tells them to give it to the other women and tell them to eat it. She obeys his instructions and then makes three seed dampers which he takes to the men’s camp and gives 1 each to the men of the Panunga, Appungerta and Kabidgi classes. The lubras furnish a damper to the Uknaria men
who are their actual and tribal brothers. The Purula women who are wives of the Panunga men then collect some grass-seed and take it to the head man’s (he is of the Thungalla Class) lubras who grind it up and cook it and hand it to the head man who eats a little and then passes it along to the men of the Umbitjana class who are of the same class as his father and of his own sons saying ‘It is mine I am glad to give it to you’. He now instructs his lubras to muster up their female friends and collect a lot of seed, this they readily do. His lubras bring to him, at his camp, all the seed they collect and the other women send their lot to the camp of the men of the moiety to which the head man does not belong and these men send some to the head man and receive in return all the seed collected by his wives. This ends the series of ceremonies. The grass-seed man will from time to time, while the seed lasts, receive offerings of small quantities of seed from people of the other moiety but he may only eat very sparingly of it. Blacks brought in some natural history specimens and Abbott sent some up from the Stirling. Bar. 28.245. Aneroid 1650. A.T. 62. S.T. 58.
July, 7th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.275. Aneroid 1625. A.T. 57. S.T. 49. Working during the morning without adding much to our records, Whirlwinds (Awuranjiringa) are supposed to be caused by the Oruncha, devil devil creatures, who are always roaming about. Men and women carefully avoid them lest the Oruncha should injure them, In the afternoon we witnessed and photographed two Airpirrima knocking out of teeth ceremonies, performed on two young men. At the conclusion of the ceremonies each man took his tooth and threw it in the direction of his Alcheringa place of origin saying ‘go to my Alcheringa camp, go to my Alcheringa camp!’. Middleton added our little birds of a rare sort, Zenophilia, to our collection - tiresome little beggars to skin and the job falls to Spencer, the tireless, as Chance’s fingers are too massive and clumsy for such delicate tasks. We have today begun preparing for a move onwards. Bar. 28.250. Aneroid 1650. A.T. 65. S.T. 60.5.
July, 8th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.295. Aneroid 1605. A.T. 61. S.T. 56.
This is a very bad attempt to present a picture of a young man of the Warramunga Tribe (plate no. 40) who is one of the Station staff, an old favourite of my friend Scott who brought him from Tennants Creek when he was transferred to this Station. The young man whose name is Mungarrie has been for many years associated with white men and unfortunately knows little or nothing of the customs and traditions of his tribe. Having presented the Servant I have made a still worse attempt to portray his Master (plate no. 41) whose genial hospitality has done much to make our stay here delightful. I have not been feeling very fit for some days, so today we took a day off that I might minister to the wants of a refractory liver. A tiresome organ, the liver, pity we can’t do without it. Bar. 28.300. Aneroid 1600. A.T. 68. S.T. 62.
July, 9th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.325. Aneroid 1570. A.T. 63.7. S.T. 59. Working at mourning customs until noon. When a Kaitish man dies, his wife, father and mother smear their bodies with white ashes, the widow also has her hair cut off and singed close to the scalp with a fire-stick by an actual or tribal younger brother of deceased, the father cuts off his beard and moustaches. Should the widow neglect to suitably conform to the mourning regulations the Spirit (Ulthana) of her dead husband would be very angry and punish her by causing the flesh to fall off her bones. Sons mourn their fathers by cutting off their whiskers and moustaches - These mourning customs date back to the Alcheringa when they were first introduced into the Kaitish tribe by a great Oknirabata of the Panunga class and Illuta Rat totem named Kulkumba who also first introduced the custom of making magic hair girdles (Walya Walya), etc., from the hair and beard of dead men. It was this Illuta who decided that a dead man’s hair should pass to his son-in-law and that the latter should, while carrying it, kill a man of his own class. Recorded lengthy tradition relating to the doings
of some Illuta women and one of the Atnamarinya. Blacks brought in 3 Peragale lagotis. Feeling much better today. Bar. 28.275. Aneroid 1675. A.T. 69.5. S.T. 62.
July, 10th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.245. Aneroid 1555. A.T. 57.5. S.T. 66.5. The piccaninny boy here presented (plate no. 42) is called Tchanama and he is attached to our staff in the capacity of beetle hunter and picker up of zoological trifles such as frogs and small lizards. He doles out specimens one at a time and generally succeeds in extracting some lollies, although we have tried our level best to make him understand that we prefer the day’s collection being brought to us in one lot. Like the wily Chinee him no sabee and in an hour’s time he returns with another beetle. Spencer lectures him and vows that never again shall he have a lolly until he brings in a ‘big fellow mob’. Tchanama smiles, his eyes sparkling, his teeth gleaming
beautifully white and even, and with a lolly in his mouth and two or three in his little black fist he trots off joyously; Spencer comes in and assures me that he has made the little beggar understand this time, I am not sanguine and in an hour or so the little ruffian appears again this time accompanied by his little sister Nun-galla each hanging on to a frog for bare life. Nun-galla (plate no. 43). Spencer’s face is a study as they come forward with their offering, two of the commonest of froggies, he dare not refuse to take them for fear of discouraging the kiddies, so again they are told not to come in until they get a ‘mob’ and Sometimes 5 or 6 piccaninnies will roll up bringing with them again they grin and go off with some lollies. a solitary frog or beetle, but be their party ever so numerous they are never allowed to go away empty handed. Generally these native children are bright and pleasing to look upon with well opened eyes and chubby little figures but as they grow into adolescence the features lose their delicacy, the eyes, probably through being
unprotected from the sun’s rays, become smaller and they are no longer specially attractive. A very useful day’s work recording full particulars relating to the administration of human blood as a remedy in cases of severe illness, also customs relating to the disposal of women captured on war expeditions - The custom of blood giving is called Auwilya. Printed and toned a number of photos and took some types during the day. Spencer busy during the afternoon doing anthropometric measurements of natives, a tedious and disagreeable job but as usual he revels in it. Packed and posted small box containing Walya Walya and other sacred things to Museum Melbourne. Bar. 28.220. Aneroid 1580. A .T. 69.5. S. T. 59.
July, 11th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.350. Aneroid 1550. A.T. 63. S.T. 58.5. Cloudy, gloomy morning with very mild temperature. There has not been a really cold day here since our arrival. Busy all morning printing and toning with not very satisfactory results, although negatives were first class. Spencer doing anthropometric measurements of piccaninnies. Mail arrived
about 1.30 so we took a half holiday and enjoyed our letters and papers. Boys brought the two mares lost from Charlotte Waters, we have named them Dodo and Eily after Spencer’s older daughter and my girlie. Chance preparing for the march. Here is a young man of the Unmatjira tribe named Atwain-tika (plate no. 44), a very peculiar type of face. He was measured yesterday by Spencer and it was most amusing to watch the look half fear, half wonder on his face when the anthropometric instruments were being applied to his head. He is a pure savage, does not know a word of English and until a week ago had never been near a white settlement. He now returns to his tribe supplied with tomahawk, knife, pipe and tobacco and doubtless he will have some wonderful tales to
relate about the white Oknirabata. Bar. 28.280. Aneroid 1605. A.T. 68. S.T. 61.
July, 12th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.345. Aneroid 1555. A.T. 64. S.T. 55. Dull and gloomy, threatening rain all day, began drizzling at 6 p.m. and has every appearance of continuing through the night. Very peculiar weather for this time of the year. I shall be surprised if the coming wet season is not an unusually wet one. The young woman here depicted (plate no. 45) is a member of the Unmatjira tribe named [blank] whose husband is a Kaitish warrior. On the opposite page is the head of piccaninny girl of the Kaitish tribe (plate no. 46) who like those on the preceding pages has been a constant worshipper at the Shrine of our lolly tin. Printing and toning during the morning. Spencer packing. We have now practically finished with the Kaitish tribe and we are more than satisfied with the results
recorded. In many important particulars their social customs and beliefs differ from those of the southern tribe. Were our investigations to end here, we should still feel that our mission had been abundantly justified. We are now eager to get amongst the Warramunga tribe who inhabit the district around Tennants Creek where we also hope to come in contact with the great Waagai Tribe which stretches across to Camooweal in Queensland. It is in the Waagai that we expect to find the totemic system which Dr. Roth so persistently asserts does not exist in the Queensland Tribes. The Kaitish Class system is on all fours with that of the Unmatjira recorded in the records of the 1st instant.
The Kaitish count up to three One (Auwinyerta), two (Athera), three (Arkunjirta), any number over three is called Ilkunja. We are surprised to find that they do not make use of the fingers in counting - In the evening we have a warm discussion on Irish politics arising out of a mild remark of mine about Chamberlain. I have to do battle alone for ould Ireland - as usual - and with three to one against me I come off rather badly. Bar. 28.300. Aneroid 1600. A.T. 64. S.T. 51.
July, 13th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.375. Aneroid 1530. A.T. 59.7. S.T. 53. A depressingly dull morning, with light drizzling rain. It took all night to register 008 points. Hoped to get Chance away with wagon today but weather looked too threatening until we turned the horses out and then of course it began to clear up. Did some work on the Warramunga language during the day and got out pronouns and a number of adverbs. Their language differs entirely from the Kaitish in which one frequently meets with familiar Arunta
terms. We have today added to our staff a young Kaitish man named [blank] who is locally known to the whites as Sullivan, (another injustice to my long suffering country). He is familiar with the country between here and Tennants Creek and should we wish to make a trip east or west of the track he will be very useful. He is a most unprepossessing looking chap but is probably a better fellow than he looks. While at the Alice we bought an old horse for 27/6, sold him today for 30/-, good business. Bar. 28.365. Aneroid 1540. A.T. 64. S.T. 55.
July, 14th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.375. Aneroid 1525. A.T. 59.5. S.T. 52. Crisp and delightful morning with just a few streaks of dark cloud away to the north, it makes us happy to see old Sol’s genial face shining out once more, for these dull cloudy days without much rain are very depressing and not what one expects to meet with at this time of the year in this climate. It is Sunday and, with us, mainly a day of rest but in the morning I toned and cleared off all imprinted negatives, while Spencer taking
advantage of the sunshine did some enlarging. In the afternoon Chance started with the wagon. Horses were fat and lively and would like to have gone off at a trot, but the staid and dignified shafters, Howitt and Fison, could not be induced to move out of a slow walk. Our dog Phiz howled piteously when he saw the wagon depart, Parunda the brave and gallant looked sad and we felt that we’d like to be trekking too but there are several little jobs to do and besides we must write our mail before leaving. Chance promises to have a plum duff in readiness to pop on when we overtake him. Spencer, who rarely touches sweets down country and plum duff never, is very keen on them up here, they really do taste wonderfully good out in the bush where the fresh air gives one a rare appetite - an appetite that I would rather be without at Moonta with meat at 10d. a lb. We have packed away our photographic plant today. Negatives taken up to date number [blank]. Bar. 28.380. Aneroid 1510. A.T. 65. S.T. 54.
July, 15th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.450. Aneroid 1460. A.T. 59. S.T. 54. A lazy day spent in reading the papers and writing letters. Today we dispensed with the services of Arabinya-urungwinya, the old man whose face adorns the records of the 25th ultimo. (plate no. 37). The old fellow has fattened on our fare and perhaps never again will he wallow in such abundance. He is fitted out with tomahawk, knives, pipes and a good supply of tobacco and says that he is going away into the bush where his lubras will feed him on yams until he recovers from his grief at our departure. He has been of great assistance to us in our work amongst his tribal brethren and we shall often think kindly of the old rascal in the days to come. It is hardly likely that we shall ever see him again. He was undoubtedly one of those concerned in the attack on this Station in 1874[?], and he tells vividly the story of his escape from the avenging party of whites who passed within a few feet of where he had concealed himself in a cleft rock, deftly using tussocks of grass to mask his retreat. Bar. 28.450. Aneroid 1460. A.T. 64.5. S.T. 51.
July, 16th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.500. Aneroid 1407. A.T. 58. S.T. 54.5. Writing letters on and off all day, Spencer hard at it on his Age copy. A delightful day and we envy Chance being on the road. He will meet the Bishop of Carpentaria, Dr. Gilbert White, at the Wycliffe and we are hoping that His Reverence will give him the benefit of a little spiritual advice. The old geezer chastened by a real live Bishop will be something to remember for the rest of our journey. The young man whose face embellishes this page (plate no. 47) is a member of the Unmatjira tribe named Intilillika and he is an elder brother of the lippy type depicted in the records of the 11th instant. Bar. 28.455. An. 1450. A.T. 65. S.T. 54.
July, 17th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.510. An. 1400. A.T. 58. S.T. 51.5. A chilly night with the wind whistling around us
angrily; since using the tent we are rather spoilt for open air camping at this season of the year. Getting traps together and writing nearly all day. We intended starting tomorrow but in deference to Scott’s wishes we remain until the 19th. During the morning I did some ethnological work relating to infanticide and some other minor customs in which women are particularly concerned. Also added to Warramunga vocabulary. The difference in the language of these tribes is extraordinary, considering the short distances by which they are separated - Remitted £16/1/8 to our credit at Union Bank Adelaide proceeds of sale of surplus stores at this depot. Bar. 28.445. Aneroid 1460. A.T. 66.5. S.T. 56.
July, 18th. Camp No. 33. Bar. 28.450. Aneroid 1455. A.T. 58. S.T. 52. Finished off our mail and got everything in readiness for a start tomorrow. We are leaving here to be sent down per Camel Caravan later on: 5 cases and 2 bundles native weapons, utensils, etc., posted to Sir C. Todd or Mr. Gill, 2 boxes of negatives. Gill is storing all our plates in the Treasury until we return. We have decided not to have kinematograph or phonograph sent
round to the north. It is doubtful if films would stand in that climate and they are too expensive to experiment with. Bar. 28.400. An. 1500. A.T. 66.5. S.T. 56.
July, 19th. Camp No. 34. Taylors Creek (Apoampa). Bar. 28.450. An. 1490. A.T. 62. S.T. 51. Up at daylight and got buggy packed and everything in readiness for a start as soon as the horses came in. At 9.15 we bade good bye to Scott and his staff and started driving Little Jack and Wallis. All hands hanging on to Jack while he was being put in, but contrary to expectations he went off quietly and we are glad to know that the long spell has not made him too frisky. Our buggy is such a light one that unless our horses are quiet it might be easily wrecked. We are sorry to leave Scott whose continued kindness has made our stay at the Barrow the pleasantest experience of our trip. Yet it is very pleasant to be once more on the track and moving homewards and I think we are happier so. The first four miles led us over a well-grassed alluvial flat running parallel with the Barrow Creek which we crossed at this point, the same class of country continued for about two miles
when the mulga scrub became denser, the country poor with low spinifex and stumps thick as leaves in Vallambrosa it took me all my time to dodge them. At nine miles we crossed a gap in the Walt Range and continued travelling through wretched spinifex, mallee and mulga scrub until 1 p.m., when we camped for dinner at 16 miles. Our progress this morning has been slow so we hurriedly ate a snack without boiling our quart pots and pushed on over alluvial grassy flats until 5.30 when we reached and crossed the Taylor Creek which, like all Central Australian creeks, is fringed with gum. There is a Government well in the overflow of the river bed but, as the water is very brackish and disagreeable, we brought supplies for ourselves from the Barrow. We are much concerned to find that the mare ‘Eily’ has been staked in the pastern-joint during the day and is now very lame. The Taylor Creek flows away to the north and it lies here at the base of a quartzite range called the Osborne which in appearance is much like the MacDonnells and quite unlike the ranges around the Barrow. We are accompanied by Parunda
and Sullivan who follow us closely with the loose horses. The latter with his hair cropped and dressed in whiteman’s apparel looks capable of any atrocity. While I write he is giving the brave and gallant a lesson in the Kaitish language. Distance travelled 28 miles. Talked till 10, mainly chortling over success of our work at the Barrow. Bar. 28.625. An. 1290. A.T. 62. S.T. 59.
July, 20th. Camp No. 35. Wycliffe Creek (Nan-pu-lunga). Bar. 28.625. An. 1390. A.T. 48. S.T. 49. Parunda knowing that we are anxious to get an early start is up long before daylight and we awake to see the flames leaping up from a great camp-fire in which judged by Moonta prices there must be 5/- worth of wood. We finish breakfast just as the rosy streak of dawn appears, and just as the sun is rising over the tree tops we start driving Tylor and Dodo. After travelling 17 3/4 miles through wretched desert country of red sand loam, spinifex and stunted trees we met Dr. Gilbert White, Bishop of Carpentaria, who is being driven to the Barrow by Warne, one of the Tennants Creek staff. His Lordship who was clad in - much to our surprise - ecclesiastical clothing is long, lean, spectacled and spindly-legged. We lunched together and I’m afraid the Bishop was a little shocked at the meagreness of our table furniture. Chance forgot to leave us plates, mugs and spoons so we are reduced to very primitive methods in feeding. After lunch I took a photo
of the camp in which the prelate can be seen sitting on the tucker box with a plate on his knees. At 1.30 we said good bye to the Bishop and started on, driving Little Jack and Wallis. Desert country continued for 12 miles and for the remaining miles there was a marked improvement extending to the Wycliffe Creek which we reached at 5.30. Distance travelled 33 miles of probably the dreariest desert waste in this land of deserts. In one respect only is this desert fruitful: it grows a very fine and nutritious yam, weighing from 1 to 3 lbs. in weight, of which the blacks are especially fond; the tubers grow on the roots of a bush not unlike an orange tree in appearance. While discussing a grilled steak and cussing the old geezer for not leaving us a plate, a wild, tousled-looking savage clothed only in a smile rolled up and presently he was followed by his household: three gins and a piccaninny. We dispensed hospitality in the shape of tobacco and scraps and sent them away happy. Later on the man returned bringing with him two wooden Churinga which he smilingly presented to us; his English vocabulary consists of two words ‘thank you’ and ‘drunk’ and as our knowledge of Kaitish is not much more extensive, we did not enjoy the pleasure of
a conversation. He had been smoking some of our specially strong Nigger tobacco and pointing to his pipe said thank you drunk drunk thank you drunk: I named him Spencer. There is a well on the southern bank of the creek at present yielding a good supply of excellent water but in dry seasons the supply is very limited. Over the camp-fire we discussed the Bishop and unanimously voted him a good fellow. Bar. 28.810. An. 1110. A.T. 58. S.T.
July, 21st. Camp No. 36. Dixon Creek (Kurti-chinga-chinga). Bar. 28.800. Aneroid 1120. A.T. 45. S.T. 49. Breakfasted before daylight and boys started away after the horses, carrying fire-sticks. At dawn four of the brutes took it into their heads to ramble during the night and boys did not get back with them until 10 a.m. At 10.10 we started, in anything but an amiable frame of mind. I know nothing more calculated to make me livery than having to sit in camp for a couple of hours waiting for strayed horses, when I am anxious to make an early start. I walked the first 3 miles and Spencer then footed it for 7 to ease the horses, the road being mostly heavy red sand into which the wheels sank some inches. At 10 miles we reached the Wauchope Creek (Kokulaina) and camped for lunch. We are hot upon Chance’s tracks for we found his camp-fire still burning; in half an hour we are again
on the track driving Tylor and Dodo who carried us along splendidly; four miles over sand and loam flats in some places very heavy, took us to the spurs of the Davenport Ranges after crossing which we struck the Sutherland Creek (Illai-tunga); along the flats and stony rises abutting on to this creek a very deadly species of poisonous plant, Gastrolobium grandiflorum, appears to flourish and for this reason no one ever ventures to camp in that locality if it can be avoided. The plant when in full bloom grows clusters of beautiful red flowers, is two or three feet in height and can be readily identified by its ovate leaf with a cleft or notch at the outer end. Many sheep and some camels have fallen victims to it and some years ago one man had the misfortune to lose all his horses, 5 or 6 in number, in one night. Fortunately it is fairly confined to a narrow strip of country some 8 or 10 miles through. Following the course of the Sutherland for 4 miles brought us to the ‘Devils Marbles’, a remarkable series of fantastically shaped and grouped granite boulders, mostly rounded, some stones, weighing perhaps 100 tons or more each and almost perfectly spherical in shape and resting on a narrow base, look as
if they could be easily toppled over. One particular stone close to the road is known as Hanson’s Folly from the fact that some years ago a man named Hanson wagered £10 that he would with the aid of a crowbar overthrow it. Of course, he could not make the slightest impression on the stone although it looks as if very little would upset its equilibrium. The shape of these curious-looking stones is entirely due to the action of the weather during countless ages; granite more than any other rock takes curious shapes through weathering and it is more affected by heat and cold - the two extremes - than perhaps any other rock. Any one living in granite country cannot fail to notice the remarkable manner in which huge granite boulders are split as if cloven with an axe; in some cases it is the result of a very cold night, in others perhaps the result of an unusually hot day. Leaving the Marbles we pushed on over pebbly country to the Dixon Creek which we struck in two miles and followed for another four when we were pleased to catch sight of the old geezer perched on top of the wagon on the look-out for us. He has chosen a first
rate camp and we are glad to be with him again. The camp never seems like home to us, unless Chance and his wagon are there. We dine sumptuously off steak and prime plum duff. The Subdued shot a fine turkey today but unfortunately we shall not benefit by it, as we leave Chance again in the morning. Two wild niggers from the Wauchope have attached themselves to the wagon, they are going to Tennants Creek as special messengers from the Kaitish to negotiate for the purchase of a corroboree from the Warramunga tribe. It is very funny to see the condescending manner in which Parunda, the brave and gallant, treats these savages of whose language he is as ignorant as they are of the Arunta tongue. This camp is prettily situated on the bank of the Dixon amidst long waving grass and bean trees. Distance travelled 24 miles. Bar. 28.680. Aneroid 1230. A.T. 58. S.T. 55.
July, 22nd. Camp No. 37. Gilbert Creek (Pitcha Chalka). Bar. 28.650. Aneroid 1265. A.T. 54. S.T. 57. Parunda roused us all before daylight and we had finished breakfast before dawn. At 7.30 we said good bye or rather Au Revoir to Chance and started
driving Little Jack and Wallis. After travelling about 30 yds, Jack stopped dead and then began plunging and rearing in a most determined manner. Spencer jumped out and tried to calm him down but the little brute had his monkey up and had evidently made up his mind to smash the trap rather than budge an inch. We were just then on the brink of the Creek crossing with a huge rut on one side of the track and a steep sheer drop of 8 or 10 feet into the creek on the other so that if the horses succeeded in getting off the track there was bound to be a smash. There was nothing for it but to take the horses out and get another pair and this we did quick and lively. We made another start at 8, driving Lang and Lubbock, and left Jack with Chance to be worked in the wagon chains to the Tennant. At five miles we crossed the Bonney, a large stony watercourse rising in the Murchison Range which is now visible on our right and running due west; seven miles further on we crossed the McLaren, a sandy creek with precipitous banks, and here we camped for lunch. At 2.30 we resumed our journey driving Dodo and Wallis and at 5 p.m. we reached the Gilbert Creek which, like the Bonney
and McLaren, rises in the Murchison. Our camp is on the bank of the Creek surrounded with gum trees and, taken altogether, it is probably the most picturesque camp we have struck since leaving Alice Springs. Spencer and I took photos of it. Country travelled over today simply ghastly, red sand loam and spinifex plains, timbered with dwarfed mallee with occasional narrow clumps of mulga. Within a hundred yards of our camp there is a fair sized waterhole at which, when we arrived, hundreds of galahs were drinking. Parunda evidently intends to enter Tennants Creek in state, for this afternoon he washed all his spare clothes; Sullivan looked on amazed for he considers washing of any sort superfluous. His nose, always broad, now occupies more than half the frontage of his face, the result of a fall from the ‘Devil’ yesterday. It is cloudy and close this evening and I shall not be surprised if we are roused out by rain during the night. Bar. [blank] Aneroid 1250. A.T. 66. S.T. 66.
July, 23rd. Camp No. 38. Kelly Well (Palqua-LuIkira). Bar. 28.660. Aneroid 1255. A.T. 47. S.T. 53. Breakfasted before daylight and moved off camp at 8 a.m. Driving Dodo and Wallis, travelling through desert country for 13 miles,
usual red sand and loam with spinifex and stunted scrub, then for 1 mile through richly-grassed clay depression covered with stunted and curiously twisted gums and literally thousands of ant-hills ranging from a few inches up to 8 ft. in height; from the growth of grass on this piece of country the soil must be exceptionally rich; spear grass grows here to a height of 7 or 8 ft. and our loose horses travelling on a hundred yards ahead of us could not be seen from the buggy. Camped for dinner at the northern edge of this rich strip which is locally known as Little Edinburgh, the place of tombs would have been a more fitting name for it, as viewed from a short distance the thickly scattered ant-hills give the place an appearance of a great disused graveyard. At 3.10 p.m. started on again and in 6 miles reached this camp where we found the well water strongly redolent of decayed rats. Fortunately with care we have enough good water in our canteens for ourselves and the boys don’t mind the ratty flavour a scrap. Bar. 28. 700. Aneroid 1212. A.T. 70. S.T. 71.
July, 24th. Camp No. 39. Tennants Creek. Bar. 28.800. Aneroid 1230. A.T. 50. S.T. 52. Breakfasted before daylight, bunk last night awfully hard and I am feeling sore all over. Horses
were in and out at the troughs all night and it is evident that the ratty fluid does not appease their thirst. Started at 7.25, driving Dodo and Wallis, country rather better than yesterday and the going light so we knocked out 24 miles by 12.30 when we camped for dinner under the fenestral shade of an appletree gum, a species of grotesquely twisted and stunted Eucalypt peculiar to this locality. This place rejoices in the name Tchinquir-okwira. Refreshed the inner man and rested the horses for an hour and a half and then pushed on; in three miles we crossed the McDouall Range and caught sight of the Station away in the distance. Five miles over splendid bowling road through blue spinifex and ironstone pebble-strewn country, entirely destitute of grass, landed us on the Station flat where Squire beaming as of yore accorded us a hearty welcome. Of all the places I know in Central Australia Tennants Creek takes the cake for absolute dreariness. Right up to the very doors the ever busy white ant has built his nests in thousands. Within a couple of hundred yards
of the Station doors, Tennants Creek flows when it rains heavily, but not at any other time; the main waterhole, which is well sheltered with gums, lasts when full about 5 months. The Station draws its supply of drinking water from a well on the bank of the Creek but the supply is not sufficient for stock purposes. Spinifex or, to call it by its proper name, Porcupine grass flourishes all round within sight of the doors, and where our poor horses are going to get feed is a problem that gives me some anxiety. We had not been here half an hour before some of the local niggers waited on us and in their company we made the round of the camps. Spencer is greatly struck with the comparatively tall stature of these people. One woman with whom I chatted must be quite 5 ft. 8. Tomorrow messengers are going out in all directions to announce our arrival and in a few days we expect to have a great crowd in. A blackfellow who has just come in from the downs about 40 miles N.E.
brought us a remarkable-looking lizard which Spencer does not know and we are hoping that it is new. From the great size of its body and extraordinary tail development it must be a valuable addition to the blackfellows’ culinary department. The beast had been carried alive for a week before it fell into our hands. In the afternoon we unpacked and displayed our stores to a gaping, grinning, chattering crowd and some of them later on added to our collection: 2 Tarna (sacred pendants made from whiskers of dead men), two stone knives, 1 Wilgara (wooden hook used for spinning fur string), the first of the sort we have met with, 2 Kutirra (women’s fighting clubs), 1 small Pitchi and some odds and ends. Until we arrived today the people here had not had a mail for over three months. Oh what a life to lead! and yet there was a time when I thought it an ideal life; quite a summer’s day here and it is hard to realise that we are in the depth of winter. Talked till 10, then to camp. Wind howling furiously, it always does howl
here for about nine months out of twelve. Bar. 28.670. Aneroid 1150. A.T. 68. S.T. 69.
July, 25th. Camp No. 38. Bar. 28.875. Aneroid 1048. A.T. 62.5. S.T. 63. A cold night and we wished that Chance had arrived with our tent. Breakfast at 8. Spencer spent the morning fitting up one of the bedrooms as a dark room for our photographic work, and as there is no ceiling it was no easy task; fortunately we have 30 or 40 yds. of Turkey red on hand, otherwise we should have had to do without a dark room and do our developing at night. I spent the morning cultivating friendly relations with sundry greasy old savages and in the afternoon we started work with satisfactory results. Recorded tradition relating to a man named Parkalungara who is of the Chupilla Class and Utu Wind totem. He is the reincarnation of an Alcheringa - here the term is Wingara - man who together with a Churinga (Murtu Murtu) sprang from a waterhole called Wongirta on the Bonney Creek where he sat down and amused himself swinging his Churinga. By and by two men, one of the Thupungarlu and the other of the Chapalcharrie class, started from a long distant country and came to Alyikie where they remained for some time,
but becoming tired of that place, they wandered on travelling very fast until finally they were dissolved by the wind and carried high up into the sky; the wind rushed along a course which is now marked by the Bonney Creek and when it reached Wongirta, Parkalungara saw it and was afraid that it might injure or take away his Churinga, so he rushed out and split it in two with his boomerang, and then dived into the ground, emerging again at Urtatchera Pitchirrie, where the wind again came rushing along and was finally slain and taken into the bowels of the earth where it remains now with Parkalungara. Also recorded tradition of the origin of a man named Turintura of the Thanpungarti class whose ancestor was a water snake (Walunkwa) that sprang up at Thabanillie where it rose on its tail and straightening its back looked over the surrounding country and made sacred ceremonies called Minyinpiru. The spot at which the snake sprang up is now marked by a rock-hole from which Turintura and all men of his class must not drink; the water contained in the rock-hole is tabu (Thama) and the Snake, owing to the fact that Medicine men obtain their powers from
it, may not be eaten by a member of the tribe. Like the Arunta the Warramunga have 8 classes but the women have a special set of class names. The classes are divided into two moieties of four thus: Moiety A.consists of Males Females
Thapanunga, Napanunga Kabidgi Nalcharrie Thapungartie Napungartie Chunguri Namagillie Moiety B. Chupilla Naralu Thakomara Nakomara Thungalli Nungalli Chambein Lambein
and the classes intermarry as shown hereunder: Thapanunga man marries Naralu woman & children are Thapungirta [?]etc. Kabidji Thakomara Chunguri etc. Chunguri Thungalli Kabidgi etc. Thapungartie Chambein Thapanunga etc.
Took a couple of views during the afternoon and in the evening developed a number of plates. Women brought in a lot of zoological specimens but very few of any value, here as at other places animal life has suffered almost total annihilation by the all-
devouring drought fiend. Two stone knives and a half a dozen wooden Pitchis added to our collection. To complete the table showing intermarriages of classes Thakomara man marries Nalcharrie woman & children are Chupilla Chupilla Napanunga Thakomara Thungalli Namagillie Chambein Chambein Napungartie Thungalli To camp at 9 p.m. Bar. 28.80. Aneroid 1030 ft. A.T. 63.5. S.T. 59.
July, 26th. Camp No. 38. Bar. 28.950. Aneroid 970 ft. A.T. 56. S.T. 55. Slept soundly notwithstanding the howling of the wind. Working with the blacks morning and afternoon with satisfactory results; it is already evident that radical and important differences exist between the customs of this tribe and those already passed through. Recorded tradition relating to a Black Snake (Thalaurla) which sprang up at a picturesque spot called Tchinquirokwira a series of rock-holes at the junction of [blank] and Tennants Creek. This Alcheringa animal spent the whole of its time making sacred ceremonies (Thuthu) and various natural features such as rocks and trees mark the exact spots at which the ceremonies were performed. His special camping place was a fine rock-hole and close to this is a
gum tree which arose to mark the spot where he stood up and warned off a mob of lubras who wanted to approach his camp and see his sacred things. A clump of gum trees around a billabong called Kitchiparachie, close by, represent the yam-sticks carried by the women as do the trees dotted about here and there, away from the bank of the Creek. The Snake did not relish the close proximity of the fair sex so he bade them depart and they went off to the east taking with them a great quantity of yams which they dropped along the route and that is how the yams (Menadji) were established in such profusion in the eastern country. After the departure of the women, the Snake continued to pass his time in performing sacred ceremonies until one day he saw a White Snake (Kilaritchie) coming from the north, he looked at it and felt angry and the White Snake smelling fire stood up at a spot now marked by a tall column of rocks and said: where is that fire, who is that, and then he saw the Black Snake and came close to his camp. The Black Snake said angrily: What are
you looking for, I think you want to steal my Thuthu (that is sacred ceremony) and the White Snake said I have a big Thuthu too. The Black Snake then said: Don’t steal my Thuthu and, without further remark, hurled his fire-stick which was of acacia wood at the intruder, who retaliated by throwing his fire-stick of orange tree wood at him. The two Snakes then fought and the White Snake being severely injured showed his Thuthu to the Black Snake and then they fought again until both were dead - and then they disappeared into the earth. Two rock-holes separated by a few yards show where they went into the ground, It was the great Black Snake that made Tennants Creek from its junction with [blank] down to Mt. Cleland. It also made the trees in and along the creek’s banks. The rock-holes are regarded as sacred spots from which women and young people are excluded under very severe penalties. Neither the men of the Black Snake totem or any of their class will eat black snake nor will they drink water from the rock-holes, but men of other classes may drink at the holes. There is a cornet on this Station that I would give a trifle to own. Its present owner delights in torturing us with nightly
fanfaronades, generally made up of a series of groan-like shrieks which give one the idea that the poor instrument’s insides are out of order. Chance arrived with the team at 11 a.m. and we are now comfortably housed in our tent. To camp at 9, discussing the day’s work till 10, then to roost. Bar. 28.880. Aneroid 1040. A.T. 60. S.T. 55.
July, 27th. Camp No. 38. Bar. 28.960. Aneroid 980 ft. A.T. 58. S.T. 58. First rate night’s sleep. Printing and toning photographs all morning, Spencer enlarging quarter plates. After dinner we went out to the corroboree ground and obtained photographs of the sacred ceremony of the Water snake of Gnurutitchi (Thuthu Walunkwa). The ceremony was performed by a man of the Thapungerta class and Water Snake totem (Mung-ai-i) who like other men of that totem are descended from the Water Snake (vide records of 25th), his body was decorated with the white down of the portulaca plant through which a design in charcoal was painted to represent the figure of a snake. The performer came out of the bush at a run with exaggerated high knee action, occasionally turning round
and quivering until he arrived in front of the audience of men who stood beating boomerangs together and shouting, he then gave a final quiver and sat down on some boughs spread out in readiness to receive him. The singing ceased for a moment and then began again with clattering of boomerangs and two men, decorated with portulaca down and broad charcoal bands, came running forward dancing as before; these men were performing the first of a series of ceremonies (Thuthu) connected with the Black Snake of Tchinquirokwira (see yesterday’s records) and when the series is completed it is believed that many black snakes will arise as a result. The performers were both men of the Black Snake totem and sprang from the Snake of Tchinquirokwira. On reaching the audience they circled round, quivered and sat down on the boughs. The singing or rather shouting ceased and some of the men in the audience stepped up and ran their fingers over the charcoal lines which represented the Snakes; this is said to give the great ancestral Snakes pleasure and it is called Irrimunta. Recorded tradition relating to the origin of a man
of the Thungalla class named Terangintie whose ancestor was a boy (Thabala) who never passed through the initiatory rites. This boy sprang from a rock at a place called Yabakulunga where he spent the whole of his time playing with bark, just as the little boys play now. One day he noticed a number of boys coming from the west and they were playing with bark; they stopped, when they got close to his camp, and he sang out to them: Are you boys and they said yes we are boys, he then said: I am a boy too, Where have you come from? Where are you going? Come and stay with me at my camp; the boys agreed to his proposal and laughed uproariously and he took them into his rock where they slept during the night. In the morning they came forth from the rock and played with bark and laughed loudly all the time. Finally they went into the rock where they still remain and anyone visiting the rock now may hear them laughing. The rock is regarded as sacred, no women or children are permitted to go near it, and only certain men have the privilege of drinking the
water at its base. These peoples’ traditions of origin are very different to those of the more southern tribes. Groups of men and women appear to have sprung from single ancestral beings who were generally animals gifted with speech and extraordinary miraculous powers; the black snake people of today sprang from the snake of Tchinquirokwira that is to say they are reincarnations of spirit snakes which were created by him; the trees are occupied by these spirits and when a child is born in this locality it is taken for granted that it is the materialised form of one of the spirits and the child’s totem (Mung-ai-i) is Black Snake. To camp at 9. Bar. 28.925. An. 1000. A.T. 59. S.T. 52.
July, 28th. Camp No. 38. Bar. 28.970. Aneroid 955. A.T. 59. S.T. 56. Spent the morning printing and toning. Spencer enlarging. Squire repeated for our edification two stories told by His Lordship of Carpentaria from which I am forced to believe that even ecclesiastical magnates are not above drawing the long bow, when I say long bow I put it as mildly as I possibly can; if a common or garden layman told these stories they would be rudely characterized as lies. A friend
of the Bishop’s whose veracity was unquestionable (I do wish my veracity were unquestionable, it’s always being questioned) visited a certain mine at which a man lived in the capacity of Caretaker. The Caretaker complained that there was something very uncanny about his quarters. He was given to swearing and found it a great relief to his feelings but whenever he indulged in this direction, the table moved about the room after him until he stopped. The Bishop’s friend, the man of unquestionable veracity, listened politely and thought to himself this is a sad case of too much whisky. They chatted on various topics connected with the mine until something put the Caretaker out and he began swearing. The table at once and in the presence of the Bishop’s friend (please remember this friend is a man of unquestionable veracity) moved across the room and pinned the wicked Caretaker to the wall until he stopped swearing. I should like to have seen more of the Bishop. I must be a sad judge of character for I took him to be a rather hard-headed, unimaginative
cleric. Here is the second story. Some years ago the Bishop of Ballarat, who was then in England, was appointed to a country living. He was the owner of a dog which for some unaccountable reason could never be persuaded to enter a church. Bishop Kennion, now Bishop of Bath and Wells, accompanied the Bishop of Ballarat to the new scene of his spiritual labours, just to see him fairly started. On the first Sunday the Bishop of Ballarat who was then plain Reverend preached morning and afternoon at two churches and his dog as usual stayed outside. In the evening they proceeded to another church when, to their great astonishment, the dog ran in and made a careful examination of the building including the pulpit which seemed to specially attract his attention. The Reverend owner was nonplussed and quite at a loss to account for his dog’s extraordinary action until a month later he learnt that the church had never been consecrated - Wonderful dog! Oh veracious Bishop! In the afternoon we attended the corroboree ground
and obtained photographs of The Wind ceremony of Nurnapeela peela (Thuthu Utu of Nurnapeela peela) performed by two men of the Wind totem. The decorations on the performers’ bodies represented the Bonney Creek and a waterhole in its bed and their head-dresses represented the wind. Also obtained photographs of Thuthu Tchutia (death adder) of Tchalirpa performed by an old man of that totem and the decorations on his body represented a tree with which the traditions relating to the origin of his Alcheringa ancestor are closely associated. Also got photographs of Thuthu Qulpu (native honey) of Thala-para-maningie. Spent the afternoon at corroboree ground. An awful day; wind howling and dust blowing continuously, very unfavorable sort of weather for photographic work. The noble savage depicted above (plate no. 48) is a member of the Warramunga tribe whose Alcheringa ancestor was
a Curlew. We have now attached to our staff a Warramunga man of the Water Snake totem named Turintura who although a young man is full of tribal lore and we are hoping that through him we shall obtain much information. The old men are showing a most friendly disposition towards us and their appreciation of our stores is even keener than that of the Kaitish. The men of middle age have a curious custom of clipping the moustaches close to the skin which gives them a peculiar appearance. The beards of the old men are also clipped and the hair is carefully treasured by their sons-in-law who make it into magic articles which they use on war expeditions. In stature and general physique these people are superior to any of the southern tribes. It is interesting to remember that they drove Stuart back on two occasions from a point about 45 miles north of here. Judging from the great scars with which many of them are decorated I fancy they are much given to fighting amongst themselves. Roost at 10. Bar. 29.100. Aneroid 840. A.T. 56. S.T. 51.5.
July, 29th. Camp No. 38. Bar. 29.050. Aneroid 880. A.T. 51. S.T. 50.5. Here is another type of the Warramunga, a man named Thuritkarrie (plate no. 49), who is perhaps one of the most expert stone tomahawk makers in this tribe. He has today added to our collection a very fine specimen of his skill. In a very few years the stone weapons of these central tribes will be a thing of the past and I am afraid we shall contribute very largely to their extinction by distributing iron tomahawks and knives. With the present generation of middle aged men the art of making the implements will pass away, there will soon no longer be any necessity for their manufacture as the whiteman’s tools are so vastly superior and they are gradually coming into general use, owing to the annual distribution made at the various Aborigines depots at the Telegraph Stations throughout the continent.
An awful day, blowing half a gale of wind with continuous dust until 3 p.m., when it modified a point or two. Printing and toning all morning, Spencer enlarging. Spent half an hour with the natives before dinner and after dinner returned to the corroboree ground and remained there until 4 p.m. Obtained photographs of Thuthu (this word means a ceremony of a sacred nature), Thalaurta (black snake) of Lanta-lan-talkie. This ceremony was performed by two men of the Snake totem and it is the second of a series of ceremonies intended to bring about an increase in the number of snakes of this particular species, The bodies of the men were decorated in a red and white design which was intended to represent a rock-hole in the McDouall Range at which the great Snake of Tchinquirokwira performed this ceremony in the Alcheringa (Wingara here). Developing plates until tea time. Trimming prints during evening, Spencer doing bromides. Bitterly cold night with strong south east wind. Bar. 29.075. Aneroid 850. A.T. 56. S.T. 52.
July, 30th. Camp No. 39. Bar. 29.125. Aneroid 810. A.T. 52. S.T. 50. Another characteristic Tennants Creek day: wind and dust galore and piercingly cold. Printing and toning until 11.30 and then at niggers’ camp until dinner time. In the afternoon attended corroboree ground and witnessed another of the black snake series of ceremonies, practically a repetition of yesterday’s ceremony; also a ceremony of the Water Snake of Turintura. Obtained pictures of both ceremonies and some types. Chance unpacked our stores and we are much annoyed to find a lot of our stuff seriously damaged by wet, the carrier could not have taken much care to protect it from rain; unfortunately Squire certified it as reaching here in good order and condition and consequently we cannot come upon the carrier to compensate us for the damage due to his neglect. So far progress with our ethnological work is slow but we are gradually getting the ‘hang’ of things and expect to make more satisfactory progress in a week or two. If only I knew something of the language we should get along much faster. Blacks bring in a few animals every
day but so far nothing of value except the lizard mentioned in records of the 24th. Bar. 29.025. Aneroid 900. A.T. 57. S.T. 53.
July, 31st. Camp No. 39. Bar. 29.050. Aneroid 880. A.T. 54. S.T. 53. The months are slipping by with astounding rapidity and it is hard to realise that it is nearly five months since I left home. We work continuously from early morn until 9 every night, and the days are always too short to accomplish all we should like to do. Printing and toning until 11. Then at work on initiatory rites until dinner time. In the afternoon we secured some types, also photographs of the ceremony of the boy (Thabala) of Yabakulunga which was performed by the gentleman whose picture embellishes this page (plate no. 50). There was nothing very striking in the decorations of the performer but while going through his evolutions he laughed boisterously, just as his
Alcheringa ancestor the boy of Yabakulunga did (vide records of the 27th). The gentleman with the forehead band performed the ceremony of a great bird called Karini which the natives say is as large as a native companion but marked differently about the head. Spencer thinks it may be the jaberu. According to tradition this bird, in the Alcheringa, killed and ate many blackfellows in the ancestral home of the performer, some of the designs on whose body represented lakes formed by the blood which flowed from the slaughtered men. We also secured photographs of the Wind (Utu) ceremony of Walchalkie on the Bonney Creek which was performed by three men of the Wind totem belonging to that locality. Body decorations of performers were intended to represent the
course of the Bonney Creek along which the wind travelled in the Alcheringa (vide record of the 25th). The head-dress of the principal performer, Inchi-larung-una, who is head of the totem represented a whirlwind rising upwards. There is a great deal of sameness in these ceremonies and one soon tires of them but without a knowledge of them it is very difficult to get at the beliefs of the blackfellows to whom they are very real. Each performer believes that he is repeating a ceremony in precisely the same manner as it was performed by the mythical ancestor of the Alcheringa. The body decorations are sometimes quite artistic and the material used is always birds’ down or the involucral hairs of the portulaca plant which by means of white pipeclay or red ochre may be made either
white or red. The decoration of a man’s body for an elaborate ceremony sometimes takes from three to four hours, the material is put on bit by bit, just in little dabs and it is made to adhere to the body with human blood; it is astonishing to see the amount of blood used in these ceremonies. The calm and unconcerned manner in which they open veins in their arms and allow the blood to spirt out will not be readily forgotten by anyone who has witnessed it. Occasionally, but that is indeed rare, a man faints from loss of blood. The man whose picture is on the preceding page (plate no. 52) and whose name is Untu-marung-una provided nearly a quart of blood for one of the ceremonies today and, while the red fluid was spirting from the rudely punctured vein, he laughed and smoked as if he were really having a good time. Bar. 28.980. Aneroid 935. A.T. 60. S.T. 57.
August, 1st. Camp No. 39. 9 a.m. Bar. 28,975. An. 950. A.T. 55. S.T. 57. Another boisterous morning with bitterly cold wind and dust galore, truly this is a delightful spot. Printing and toning until noon, then to
blacks’ camp until dinner time. After dinner took some types and spent the rest of the afternoon at the corroboree ground where we obtained photos of the ceremony of the Black Snake of Oapa performed by two men of that totem, also ceremony of the Carpet Snake (Muntikurra) of Tchinpa, also ceremony of the White Cockatoo Tchalikipa of Purumpura which was performed by a very old man of Thakomara class, who is head of the totem; also ceremony of the boy Thabala of Yabakulunga the second of a series. The young lady whose face graces this page (plate no. 53) is one of five wives possessed by the old man who performed the Cockatoo ceremony. Her name is Yobalatchakukie. Like her white sisters she likes to give her hair a fuzzy appearance and it will be noticed that her head is covered with a number of small plaits which when unravelled give the desired effect. 9 p.m. Bar. 28.965. An. 960. A. T. 62 . S.T. 55.
August, 2nd. Camp No. 39. 9 a.m. Bar. 28.975. Aneroid 950. A.T. 57. S.T. 53. Polygamy flourishes in the Warramunga tribe and few of the older men have less than three wives, my friend on this page (plate no. 54), Marang-gung-una who is my tribal brother is the happy possessor of 7, the youngest, a girl of about 14 years, is depicted on the opposite page (plate no. 55). I should much like to adorn these pages with the whole of his household, just to show his broad and comprehensive taste in female beauty but time will not permit. If I were a Warramunga I think I should be a polygamist: the man who has a household of 7 women fighting for his smiles is bound to be well provided for. He need not toil or trouble himself about procuring food for the women will get more than he requires and it is their duty to furnish him with all the tit bits; they may go short but he at any rate will have a sufficiency. Fortunately for the Warramunga, women
preponderate in numbers very considerably so that he is able to gratify his tastes for a bulky household. Owing to the nature of the tribal law with regard to the disposal of girls, it is rarely that a young man of under 30 years gets a wife unless his elder brother dies, in which case the widow after the period of mourning has elapsed becomes his by right, or unless some generous elder tribal brother transfers to him an elderly woman of shrewish temper and indolent habits. Brothers have the right to dispose of their sisters’ female children and if an old man presents a young man with his daughter, the young man in turn will make over his sister’s daughter, who may be only a child of tender years, to the old man. The old man almost invariably has two or three young wives but those of my friend on the opposite page (plate no. 54) are all young. He tells me that he finds elderly
women a nuisance, they invariably have big appetites, uncertain tempers and are not good at digging yams which article of diet my friend is very partial to; he has already transferred three women of uncertain age and temper but great appetite to younger tribal brethren. One of these women is responsible for the tearing away of the septum of his nose. It appears that they had a little difference on one occasion, it was not about the household washing or the butcher’s bill but at any rate she rushed at him and seized him by the nose bone and hung on until the bone and [a] piece of his nasal organ came away. I did a little business today with the old lady touching the purchase of some Pitchis, and from the glint of her one optic I should say she is not to be trifled with. Printing and toning all the morning, Spencer enlarging. Added 5 stone knives, 3 Pitchis, and two Tarna to our collection and Spencer and I by great good luck secured for our private collection 2 mysterious sacred articles called Kupitchi which are worn through the septum of the nose by Medicine men. I have tried for years to get
hold of one of these articles but until now was unable to persuade the owners to part; they believed that if they gave the Kupitchi away, their special powers would leave them and they would probably die. The difficulty in this instance was got over by consulting with the old men who conferred the special powers upon the Medicine men. We have been specially careful to keep in with the old fellows although at times it is a little trying to one’s sense of smell and after considerable yabber yabber and mysterious whisperings it was agreed upon that we should have the much coveted Kupitchi and the old men - the great men whom the Warramunga style Punturqu - are to provide the Medicine men with substitutes and their powers will remain intact - which to us is very comforting. Spent the afternoon at the corroboree ground where there was a goodly muster. Recorded tradition relating to two hawks, Kirkalanja and Warapullapulla, that sprang up in the Alcheringa (Wingara) at a place called Waaquitha, now marked by a rock-hole which indicates the exact spot at which the hawks came out of the ground. They wandered about the locality of their origin for some time
apparently doing nothing until one day Kirkalanja said to Warapullapulla “Let us make fire.” Wara agreed to the proposal and they separated, one going to one side of the rock-hole and one to the other. They each succeeded in producing fire by a rotatory movement of hard wood upon a softer wood but Kirkalanja’s fire sprang up so rapidly that he was burnt to death. Wara’s fire spread out over the country and burnt a bandicoot who was the wife of the moon but the latter resuscitated her by bathing her with his blood, after which they both ascended into the sky where they have remained ever since. Warapullapulla was much grieved at the death of his friend and at once flew far away to the east. The ceremony connected with these mythical birds was performed today by two old men of the Honey totem with whose country the tradition is associated. The decorations on their bodies represented fire flames. Also witnessed and photographed Thuthu Walunkwa of An-pit-ing-arrie (water snake) and Thuthu Tchutia
(death adder) of Tchalirpa. While these ceremonies are being performed the old men beat boomerangs or fighting clubs together and shout Ya Yeo Ya Yeo Ya Yeo pena. Bar. 28.925. Aneroid 1000. A.T. 62.5. A.T. 60.5.
August, 3rd. Camp No. 39. Bar. 28.925. Aneroid 1000. A.T. 58. S.T. 61. A really delightful morning free from dust and just sufficiently warm to be pleasant; the first nice day since our arrival. Spent couple [of]hours printing and toning while Spencer enlarging them, rest of morning at blacks’ camp where we did some useful work. After dinner went to the corroboree ground and obtained photographs of Thuthu Walunkwa of Anpit-ing-arri. The two performers, men of the Walunkwa (Water Snake) totem, were decorated in white and black designs representing the ancestral snake and one of the performers carried
across his head a decorated crescent-shaped article which also represented the snake. We are now nearing the end of the Water Snake series and I shall be glad to see the last of it. On the preceding page I have portrayed a Warramunga boy (plate no. 56) wearing his hair in the manner peculiar to lads of his age. Here are two Warramunga kiddies (plate no. 57) bright, mischievous, little imps who frequently raid our lolly tin. There is something very attractive about black piccaninnies and I should much like to take one of these two down with me. Jim Field arrived from the south at 3 p.m. looking hale and hearty. On his arrival we rushed him for our letters over which we spent an enjoyable hour and then off again to the corroboree ground where we did some more talkie talkie with the darkies. The middle aged and elderly men of this tribe present
a shaven appearance on the cheeks and upper lip and this afternoon we had an opportunity of seeing how it was done. The noble savage here depicted (plate no. 58) laid down calmly smoking while another man plucked out the hairs one by one, a slow and one would think a painful process, but he assured me that it did not hurt, the hairs grow again in the course of a few weeks. This man’s name is Pillarrie-chunguna. All or nearly all the men and women have the two central upper incisors knocked out but there does not appear to be any special ceremony connected with the custom and, so far as we can learn, it is done with an idea that it improved the personal appearance. We are surprised to find that these people have no Churinga such as that so much in evidence amongst the Arunta, they however occasionally get some in exchange for other
articles from the Kaitish and Illiaura. The creek bed here is strewn with small jaspery looking, smooth, water-worn pebbles and these are believed to be eggs laid by the great ancestral black snake of Tchinquirokwirra. An old lubra brought me one today but was unable to make me understand what it was, so I enquired from the men who were very angry when they found that it had been given to me by a woman. I appeased their wrath as much as I could but I’m afraid the old dame will get at least a severe tongue-banging. Added to our collection 5 stone tomahawks, 3 stone knives and 1 fighting axe (Kulungu). It is not at all an easy matter to get hold of stone implements even here and in a few years stone tomahawks, especially, will be very valuable. Old knife blades, pieces of scrap iron, shear blades and even telegraph line wire are being used instead of stone by the natives, who also make use of glass bottles for manufacturing spear heads, they chip the glass beautifully but it is too brittle to be of much service. Spear heads of opaline
quartz are here and there met with but they are obtained by exchange with some of the northern tribes and are only used in very serious quarrels when it is intended to fatally injure. These implements are supposed to be endowed with evil magic and the slightest superficial scratch from one is said to be fatal. Here let me introduce Chee-cha-minya, one of the seven wives of my friend Marang-gung-una (plate no. 59), from which it will be seen that there is here no hard and fast fashion with regard to wearing the hair. All married women or rather all women for there is no such thing as a spinster in this tribe wear head-rings. Young girls go to the husbands to whom they have been allotted as soon as they attain marriageable age or, what amounts to the same thing, when they are old enough to dig out yams and the smaller animals. Their feelings are never consulted and, when as
often happens her affections are vested in another tribeman, trouble invariably follows and as with our own race the unfortunate woman is the greater sufferer. The head-rings worn by women play an important part as a curative agent in cases of internal pain or headache. Should a man be suffering from either of these complaints his wife rubs a mixture of charcoal and grease into his body and then placing the rings on the seat of pain she sings over them for some time and then throws the rings away and the pain is said to go with them. It is a common occurrence to see men wearing their wives head-rings to relieve headache. The above figure (plate no. 60) represents the principal performer in the Water Snake ceremony. The article he bears across his head represents a water snake, it is made of twigs wound round with human hair string and partly covered with vegetable
down which is stuck on with human blood. 9 p.m. Bar. 28.875. Aneroid 1050. A.T. 65. S.T. 56.
August, 4th. Camp No. 39. Bar. 28.875. An. 1050. A.T. 66. S.T. 65. The benevolent savage here depicted (plate no. 61) is one of our prime favourites, a grand old chap whose cranium is a great storehouse of Warramunga lore. Could I get inside his brain for one brief hour, many things that are now troubling us would be solved and the weary ethnologists would be made happy. His knowledge of the English language is confined to two words ‘thank you’ and ‘Bacca’, of the first he has but a hazy notion of its meaning, of the second he has a comprehensive grasp. His appetite for the soothing weed is insatiable, never before in his career has he been able to indulge his tastes in this direction to his heart’s content. He is the principal man of the Walunkwa or Water Snake totem which is perhaps the most important totem in this tribe. There is something peculiarly sacred
about this snake for on no account can it be eaten by members of the tribe, it is tabu to all classes, and numerous extraordinary stories are told of its great powers. To the blacks it is a living reality still, and they believe that if it came out from its hiding place at Turintura and stood on its tail, its head would penetrate the sky. The women here have a gruesome custom of mourning for the dead, a custom well known to exist in other parts of Australia but not previously noted in the Central area. Tree burial prevails here as with the Kaitish and women deliberately go and stand under the tree platform, on which a dead relative rests, and allow the exudations from the decaying body to drip upon them. They have an idea that the discomfort which they suffer from the foul smell is a sort of assurance to the spirit of the dead person that their sorrow is very deep and that the spirit is gratified accordingly. Later on I shall have something interesting to say
about tree burial and the final laying to rest of the indestructible spirit. Printing and toning until 11 a.m., then at blacks’ camp until dinner time. In the afternoon witnessed and photographed another Water Snake ceremony of Chung-amera, a native well where the great snake in his Alcheringa wanderings stood up. Bar. 28.800. Aneroid 1120. A.T. 68. S T. 66.
August, 5th. Camp No. 39. Bar. 28.850. Aneroid 1075. A.T 67. S.T. 71. Blacks roused us out before sunrise and we accompanied three of them to a spot about 1 1/2 miles from the Station where we came upon a tree grave. A skull was lying on the ground under the tree, also some odd bones; one of the men, who stood in the relationship of tribal son to the dead woman, ascended the tree and poked out with a stick the leg, arm and rib bones. He then came down from the tree and with the assistance of the other men gathered the bones and, setting the arm bone radius on one side, he placed the other bones in a bark Pitchi which had been cut for the purpose and smashed them up with a tomahawk - a whitefellow’s tomahawk too, much to Spencer’s annoyance -. The tribal son then started
off carrying the Pitchi full of broken bones until he came upon a large, somewhat flattened ant-hill in which he dug a shallow circular hole, into which he poured the bones and then filled in the hole. In this he was assisted by one of the two men, the other having gone off to a little distance taking with him the arm bone radius. These two men stood in the relationship of tribal (but not actual) sons-in-law, that is to say they were of the class who might legally take as wives the daughters of the dead woman. Having filled in the hole to their satisfaction the two men joined the third man who was squatting over a fire, waiting for them. The bone rested on a broad piece of paperbark by his side, it was taken up by the tribal son-in-law who assisted in the burial of the bones, wrapped up carefully in paperbark and wound round with human hair string, with a bunch of emu feathers stuck in one end; the bundle when completed looked
like a huge cigar. Had the bone been that of a man, an owl feather tuft would have been used. Having completed the swathing of the bone, the men carried it to a secluded spot, a short distance off, where they left it and then went off on a hunting expedition. When they return they will hand the product of the chase to the relatives of deceased. On our way out the father of the dead woman intercepted us and handed to one of the men a ball of fur string which was afterwards used for wrapping the bone. This is the first act in a series of ceremonies connected with the final laying to rest of the spirit of the dead woman who until now, in spirit form, has been fooling around, as is the curious wont of black spirits. The men, when removing the bones, used two sticks to handle them with and I noticed that they were especially careful not to touch the bones with their hands. We obtained a really fine series of pictures of this ceremony. Printing and toning all the morning, in the afternoon got pictures of Thuthu Utu of Wang-gur-nin-gurra performed by three men
of the totem. This is another act in the never ending series of ceremonies connected with the S.E. Wind totem. I discovered today that this tribe is divided into two moieties called Kingilli and Ulu-uru. In the southern tribes we have never been able to discover the original names of the two moieties, each of which is now divided into four classes. The Kingilli moiety consists of the Thakomara Chambein Chupilla and Thungalli classes and the Ulu-uru of the Thapanunga Chunguri Kabidgi and Thapungerta. This is an interesting discovery and we are quite at a loss to know how it is that the moiety names which are really the very beginning of the class system have been lost in the southern tribes. The young woman portrayed above (plate no. 62) deserves a place in these pages if only by way of recognition of the fact that she is the sole representative in this tribe of
the great lizard of the tablelands, Mangie-ritcha totem, a specimen of which was brought to us on the day of our arrival. Her name is Miang-un-tupu and at certain seasons of the year she sings native chants which bring about a large increase in the number of lizards. She may not, like the men, perform sacred ceremonies for this purpose but according to all accounts her chants are equally effective. Her father was a big lizard and from him she learnt the chants. This man Lo-an-be-mudji has in his time been a mighty warrior; his body is one network of scars, any one of which would have been considered serious in a whiteman, each of his thighs have been cut through to the bone on half a dozen occasions and the great scars, an inch and a half in width, make one wonder that he is alive; across the whole width of his back there is a scar which, when the wound was inflicted, must have narrowly escaped severing the backbone.
These people are certainly not as susceptible to pain as we are, for they smile at wounds that would cause us intense pain and suggest the making our wills. This ancient warrior, ‘Murramunti’ by name (plate no. 64), is another fine type of a sturdy race. He remembers seeing Stuart the Explorer passing here on two occasions and, although he will not admit it, I have no doubt he is one of the natives who successfully barred the great little Scotchman’s forward march. Writing our mail in the evening. Bar. 28.875. Aneroid 1150. A.T. 69. S.T. 65.
August, 6th. Camp No. 39. 9 a.m. Bar. 28.860. An. 1065. A.T. 67.5. S.T. 72. An exceedingly busy day. Printing and toning and working with the Warramunga all morning, in the afternoon we witnessed and photographed the 2nd phase of the Burumburu ceremony, the 1st act of which is described in the records of yesterday. About 2 p.m. we were attracted by the yelling of the women and I at once proceeded to their camp. The men and women always have
separate camps, common to all classes, at which they assemble for gossip, etc. The men and women never intrude upon each other’s camps and for a man to go anywhere close to the women’s camp would be considered very undignified. The camp or rather the common meeting place is called Maian and that of the women Milganada. I found the women shouting and hurriedly smearing their bodies with red ochre, some of the younger women were decorating their bodies with longitudinal lines, in yellow on a red ground, beastly bad colours for photography. While they were painting and shouting, 5 men came and sat down silently a short distance off. The bone which we saw swathed in paperbark yesterday is about to be brought in and these men were the relatives of deceased, 1 man was the actual father, 1 a man of the same class and therefore a tribal father, 1 actual uncle on the mother’s side, 1 tribal uncle of same class and 1 man (Thapanunga), a tribal father of the two Mura men who assisted
in removing the bones from the tree. When the women had finished painting themselves they came and stood, about 50 in number, behind the men, the actual and tribal mothers immediately behind, and the tribal sisters behind them. As soon as they had taken up their positions the three men who removed the bones yesterday came forward, walking in single file with bowed heads, shouting in muffled tones Wo Wo Wo and carrying in their arms, each a bundle of tree twigs. On arriving in front of the men, they paused for an instant and then marched round the group still muttering Wo Wo Wo until they came to the men. The elder tribal son-in -law then stooped rapidly and placed his heap of twigs, in which the swathed bone was concealed, on the actual father’s knee and the 2nd tribal son-in-law then placed his bundle which contained a number of cooked opossums and galahs in the same place. As soon as the men stooped, the women dropped down on their haunches and howled in a manner never to be forgotten. The old father hugged the bone which was still swathed in
paperbark and howled as loudly as any of them. After caressing the bone for some time, he placed it on the knees of the actual uncle who hugged it reverently for some time, and then passed it on to the actual mother who, after hugging it, passed it on to the tribal mothers who in turn handed it on to the tribal sisters. Finally it was handed back to the actual mother, a poor shriveled, tottering old creature, and she at once got up; the ceremony was over, the people dispersed and the old mother was led away (by a tribal sister of her husband’s) to her own camp where she deposited the bone or rather bundle containing the bone. This ends the second phase of the Burumburu of which we obtained a splendid series of pictures - The young woman ‘Murntuchu-ungalli’ whose picture is on the other side of preceding page (plate no. 65) is a tribal sister of the woman whose spirit is being put to rest, Writing during the evening after we had finished developing - great rush to get mail done. Bar. 28.800. Aneroid 1125. A .T. 71. S.T . 63.
August, 7th. Camp No. 39. 9 a.m. Bar. 28.875. Aneroid 1050. A.T. 65. S.T. 68. Cloudy overcast during morning but happily we had no rapid photography to do. This drawing (plate no. 66) represents a man wearing his wives’ head-rings as a remedy for headache. Squire left with mail at 10 a.m. Spencer was unable to finish his letters in time so we are going to dispatch a special messenger tomorrow to overtake Mr. Squire at Kelly Well. Spent the afternoon at corroboree ground where the natives performed Thuthu Lirpiritcha (large lizard commonly called Parinthie) of Limpi (2 performers) and Thuthu Echilpi (Ant of Unbiria). These two ceremonies have a locality association. In the Wingara, that is the Alcheringa, a Parinthie came out of the ground at Limpi where he spent most of his time performing sacred ceremonies. Close to his place of origin, which is now marked by a rock-hole, there lived a number of white cockatoos with whom he became friendly. By and by a white cockatoo (Muntikurra) came from a distant place called Lirri and induced the local cockies, the
Parinthie and also the little grubs (Lalkara) who lived in the same locality to go away with him. They all ascended into the sky, only descending at various places along the line of route, now marked by rock-holes, billabongs or other natural features, to perform ceremonies; finally they descended at a place called Leari where they made a great number of ceremonies and then died. Numbers of great stones at this place sprang up to represent them. Close to Limpi where the Parinthi originated, two women sprang out of the earth, they were called Lanchingally and Tchuungally, and the representative of the former is now living here. They fed upon the eggs of the ant (Echilpi), were friendly with the Parinthi and the white cockatoos and appear to have been very happy until they quarrelled about their class names. One suggested that they should both be Naralu, the other objected and said she intended to be Nungalli. The upshot of the little difference was that they fought until they died. They bled profusely from their wounds which were very numerous and the blood may be
seen at the present day in the form of some huge red stones at Unbiria where the fight took place. The ceremonies performed today were associated with these traditions. In the first performance one man represented the Cockatoo that came from Lirri and the second man represented the Parinthi. In the second performance the performer represented the ant women - They are called ant women because they fed upon the ant’s eggs - and the decorations on his body represented a number of ants surrounded by eggs. There is nothing remarkable about either of the performances. Fortunately a middle aged man of the Waagai - a very numerous eastern tribe - has turned up; he lives on the boundary of the Warramunga country and has been on friendly terms with this tribe for many years. We spent an hour with him today and through an interpreter we managed to extract some valuable information. This man is of the Menadji or Great Yam totem and every season he performs ceremonies which have the effect of making the yam crop abundant.
When he is about to perform these highly desirable ceremonies the men assemble at a certain spot in the Menadji country. A great stock of food and Undattha is got together and the decorations peculiar to the ceremonies are painted on his body - The painting of one of these decorations often takes from 2 to 3 hours the material being put on in little dabs. In the ceremony he uses a sacred stone called Irratitcha and after the first ceremony, he takes it to his place of origin and leaves it there for some days, he then brings it to the ceremonial ground where he uses it in a number of ceremonies, just as the Alcheringa ancestor did. The ceremonies concluded, he returns to his ordinary life of hunting, etc. until rain falls. Then the men of the other moiety of the tribe wait upon him saying: We are hungry, wise man, go and make the Menadji spring up for us: he then takes his sacred stone and wanders about over the yam grounds for two or three weeks, carrying the stone in his armpit and singing to the
Menadji to grow quickly. When he thinks it is fit to dig, he returns to the main camping grounds and says to the people of the opposite moiety: I have made the Menadji abundant. They at once proceed to gather some, one or two of the smallest yams are taken to him and he is requested to ‘make the yams sweet and good’. He takes one, places it in his mouth, chews it up and then blows it out in all directions and then says ‘go now and eat abundantly of the Menadji for I have made them sweet and good”. To him the yam is strictly tabu, he must not eat it for in doing so he would be eating part of himself. If a stranger goes into the Menadji country before partaking of the yam - which is really the most nutritious and highly valued of all vegetable foods - he must obtain permission from the head of the totem. This is our first little bit of Waagai lore. It is valuable in that it gives us a clear insight into their totemic system which at least one Queensland authority says does
not exist. We shall cultivate this Waagai gentleman whose name is Pillarrie-Chunguna and whose picture by the way adorns page marked A in the records for the 3rd Inst. (plate no. 58). Today we have had a general summing up of our work here and we are more than satisfied. The Warramunga totemic system which differs much from that of the more southern tribes is now made clear to us, a valuable and unique series of photographic records have been secured and a solid foundation has been laid upon which to build our ethnological structure. A great series of ceremonies is now in progress and before they are completed we shall be in possession of information relating to all the more important phases of tribal life and organization. Bar. 28.85. Aneroid 1040. A.T. 70. S.T. 67.
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Rights: State Library of South Australia
- Date Made
- Circa 1901
- Date Collected
- Language Groups
- State Library of South Australia