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Aboriginal Folklore (1905)

Aboriginal Folklore (1905)

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Published by draculavanhelsing
Sunday Times 1905 (Aug 27)
Sunday Times 1905 (Aug 27)

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Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), Sunday 27 August 1905, page 1National Library of Australiahttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article125859886
FURTHEREXTRACTSFROMMR.
R.
H.
MATTHEWS'
NEW
ETHNOLOGICAL
WORK
nsaralNintroducing
the
chapter
ofhis
g||
'Ethnological
Notes'
dealing
©
i
withthewonderstoriesofthe
M
I
Blacks,Mr.Mathewsremarks
:—
B»c&
Thefolkloreof
any
primitivepeople
is
alwaysvaluable,
as
showing
thebentofthehumanmind
inits
earliest
development,
inaccordancewiththedifferent
-surroundings
andconditions
of.
legend,
folklore,and
superstitious
belief,andcould
perhaps
be
classedunder
oneor
other
ofthese
designations..Throughout
theirfolklore
we
findevidences-ofthe
proclivity
of
the
nativemindtoaccountfor
any
specialtiesofanimalstructure
or
peculiar
habits,
as
well
as
theremarkableforms
of
lakes,rivers,trees,
hills,
andothernatural
phenomena.
In
perusing
all
thedifferentclassesoftales,
we
findourselves
revelling
in
anew
fieldof
wonderandbeauty
the
fairyland
of
Australian,
romance
and
poetry.
I
Mythologic
ancestorsandfabulous
mon
sters
a
classof
genii
form
a
conspicuous
element
in
their-
legends.
Someofthese
magicalbeings
resideinthe
mountains,
othersindensescrubs,
others
in
the
clouds.Somehavetheirabedein
deep
water-holes,otherslive
in
thetrees,ethers
again
havebodieswhich
glow
likeburn
ing
coals.Someof
themhave
the
powerof
altering
their
shape,
or
of
increasing
or
diminishing
theirsize,
at
pleasure.
Some
of
them
can
vanish
into
theair,
whilstothers
disappear
under
the
ground.
Allof
them,with
a
few
exceptions,
aremore
or
lessmaleficent.Whetherinhuman
?-
shape,
oras
monstrosities,these
creatures
of
aboriginal
fancy
or
exaggeration
were
possessed
of
supernatural
powers
;
and.
many-pf
theirhabits
were
different
from
thoseofthe
present
race.
Someofthemcould
formwatercourses
;
some
could
cleave
mountainsasunderandmakehills
from
thematerial
;
othershad
the
power'
of.
causing
.
springs
to
burstforth.Some
were
assisted
in
theirwork
by
means
of
magical
weapons
andwonderful
dogs.
ABORIGINALENCHANTMENTS.
,'
 
ABORIGINALENCHANTMENTS.
,'
Obscenity
is
a
prominent
characteristic,of
all
Australianforklore.It
is
perrls-:;
tentintheir
rockpictures;
intheirinitia
tion
andother
ceremonies,
as
well
as
in
their
dancesandsongs.Wheretheindecent
elementhas'beeneliminated
;
by
missionariesandothers,the
peculiar
man-,rers
and
character
of
the-
peoplehave,
lostmuchoftheirreal
personality.
Iftile
variousceremoniesoftheabori
gines/can
becalled,
a
religion,
it
amounts
to
nomere
than
a
mystery.
and
a
craft,inwhichtheold
sorcerers
andwarriors
are
thechiefpersonages.Sometimes
asorcererwas
supposed
to
intercept
thefleetingspiritof
a
dying
personand
sosave
his
life.
Others
professed
to
chase
away
supernatural
enemies
by
their
men-
j
aces
and
gramarye.
Others
pretended
|
they
could
ameliorate
the
cold
ofWinter
-
bycasting
hotcoalstowardscertain
stars.
Some
professed
to
be
ableto
cure
disease
by
enchantment.Others
again
claimed
to
havethe
powerof
bringing
rainand
causing
the
food
supply
to
increase
by
?
means
of
magic
arts.^
...-
??--..-,.»*?*—?
Storiessimilarincharactertothose
re-''
counted
are
foundin
every
tribe
through
outall
theAustralianStates.
Necessary
local
variations
are
introduced
indifferent
districts,
to
accord
with
divergent
prac
ticesandmodesofliving,buttheradicalelements
are
the
same.
Moreover,
the
animals
whichtook
part
inthesefolk
tales.,
everywhere
inAustralia'
had
the.
same
phratries,
sections,'clans,
&c,
as
the
people
ofthetribewherethetale
iscurrent.
'
Inevery
part
of
Australiawhich
I
havevisited,'
thebat
andthe
night-
jarhold
a
peculiarplace
inthe
superstitions
of.
the
people,
andfigure
largely
intheir
stories.
Theformer
isthefriendofall
the
men,
andthelatterof
all
the
women.
In
some
tribes
the
woodpecker(treecreeper)
is
substitutedforthesmall
night
jar.
/
.
,|
A
HEROOFMYTHOLOGY.
Alittle
better.than
half
a
mile
wes
terly
from
the
railway
stationat
Byrock,
on
theWestern
RailwayLine,
400
miles
from
Sydney,
townof
Byrock,
parish,
of
Bye,county
of
Cowper,
there
is
an
outcropof
granite,
about
an
acreormore
in
extent.Itis
irregular
in
shape,
and'
doesnot
project
more
than
a
few
fsetabovethe
surroundingcountry,
which
is
practically
level.The
aboriginal
name
of
thisgranitic,
outcrop
is
'Bai.'Onvarious
parts
of
the
exposed
surfaceoftherockthere
^are
a
numberof
patches
of
a
reddish-brown
color,,
.the
stainingbeing
due
to
oxides,ofironintroduced
by
?
natural.agencies.Thesestained
patches
vary
in
sizefrom
a
fewinches
to'
severalfeet.
They
are
ofdifferentforms,andthe
imagination
of
.
thenativeshasassumed'certain
ferruginous
outlines
'
to
'
representhunting
and'
fightingweapons,'
utensils,tracks
of
men;
and;
animals,
sacred
instruments,
andotherob
jects
connectedwiththeir
daily
.life.
I
made
a
rough
survey
by
compass,and
pac
ing
ofthe
positions
of
some
of
the
'most
.important
ofthese
delineations,
and
sub
mit
the
followingdescriptions
of.
them.
'?
'Near
thenorthern
extremity
oftherock
is
a
smallholein
whichwater
collectsinrainy
weather,
andalso
during
every
thunderstormwhich
falls,
andremainsfor
a
considerabletime.This,
little,
.'rocfe-
hole,'
called
inthe.
native
language'wug--
garbuggarnea,'
was
a'
greatcamping-place
ofthe
aborigines
whenthis
part
of-ihe
country
was
first
occupiedbyEuropean
I
settlers.
And
there
isstill
residing,inclose
proximity,
the
remnant
oftheold
Ngeumba
tribe,
accompaniedby
a
few
friendlyaborigines
from
the
surroundingcountry.
i.
Baiame,
the
principal
heroin
the
my
thology
ofthese
people,
is
said
to.have
hadhishome
.at
thisrock
in
the-
faraway
past.He
dug
thewater-holewith
his
stone
hatchet,
andevery
time-
it'
be
came
blunt
during
the
operation
he-
whet
:ted_J.t.x«ii.the.,sur.face
near
him.
-.The
pic
torialstains*
cn^-the
reck
are
believed
to
:
havebeencaused
by
Baiame
laying
down
his
magical
weaponsandother
articles,
of
his
equipment
at
different
placesupon'
it:,
the
 
impressions
of
which
cannot-be
effaced.
..
NATUREANDIMAGINATION.Abouthalf
a
chain
north-easterly
from
the
rock-holeis
a
natural
depression
in
which
sandand
drirted
soil
collect.
.
Thisis
supposed
tohavebeenthe
holein
which
Baiame
cooked
his
gameanrl
other
arti
clesof
diet.S.-lodeg.E.from
the
cook
ing-hole,
and
35linksdistant,
is
a
very
?good
figure
of
a
bullroarer
('niuutlhiga'),
ISinches
long
and0
inches
across
ths
?
widestpart.
Continuing
the
same
south
east
bearing
for
a
farther
distanceof
140
links
brings
us
tothe
imprint
of
a
prodigi
ous
fighting
club.61feet
in
lengthby
9in.
wide,called'dhurtubirra.'
Starting
frontthischib
and
going
south
for215links
wecome
.to
a
figure
which
missomere
semblance
to
a
monstrous
boomerang,
0.'
feet
longby
ISinches
in
width.
Again
 
feet
longby
ISinches
in
width.
Againstarling
fromthe'dhurli;birra'
or
club
ona
bearing
ofS.-tOdeg.W.
we
find
an
other
bocmerang-likeformation,
2
feet
0
inches
long
and
0
inqhes
wide.Close
torock-hole
wuggarbuggarnsa
is
a
narrow,colored
streak,
trending
in
a
wes
terlydirection
forseveral
yards,
which.,
is
said
to
be
one
ofBaiame's
spears.
On
a.
bearing
ofN.
2odeg.
W.
from
the
rock
hole,
at
a
distance
of25
links,
is
;t
'gululla,'
or-
native
bag
carried
by
tho
men..3
feetlong,with
a
string
attachedfor
swinging
it
over
theshoulder.
?
tolerablygoodrepresentation
of
a
human
footmark,
2
feet*long,and
9
inches
acres
i
the
widestpart,
itisthe
right
foot,
andhas
fivetoes,
the
great-teebeing-
about
twicethe
length
of
the
others.Hereand
there
atwide
intervals
on
therock
surface
are
grooves-
worn
by
theactual
grinding
or
sharpening
of.
stone
hatchets.These
grooves
havebeerimadobythe
present
and
past
generations
of
natives,
who'
have
livedand
hunted
-inthe
neighborhood.
A-
portable
stonecarried
by
thenatives
in
their
bags,
and
used
for
whetting
anyof
theirstone,
weapons,iscalled
'giwai.'
At
other
places
there
are
hollowsintherock'
where
Baiame
lis
believed
tohave
pounded
nutsand
groundgrass-seed^for
the.'purpose
of
making
cakes.
????
'
?..-?....-:,
?*
.?
:;
..-.;.'-.;;?
There
ds
a
long,
straight
Crack
?
in
-.the
?
rock,
varying.
-from2.to
.3
feet
in
width,
andaboutlj
f
eejt;d^ep;
commencing:
at.
the
rcckr&.ole
and
-
?Bearing?
'S.'-
25deg.
for
-
about
2'f
chain'stothesmaller
boomerang
above
described,
*and.'onwardfor
a
littlewayfar
ther.
Thisissaidto
bethe
trail;
alongwhich.
Baiame
.dragged
hisflrewcb'dand
larger
game.
?
Jtalsoservedthe
purpose
then,
as
at
present,
of
conducting
stormrwaterintothe
rock-hole.
Furtherima
ginaryportrayings
includetracksof
dogs
and
other
aiiiina'ls,
the
moon,-
stars,and'differentobjects,which
I
had
not'
time
to
examine.
.
;v
?';?..
;
 
.'
r
At.what
is
now
the
;
great'
copper
mines
:
at
uoDartnere
was
iormeny.a
cave
or,holeinthe
1
reck,which
was
one
of-.;
the;
camping-places
ofBaiame
in
the.days
of
long
ago..
-Thishole
sloped
inwards^andthere
was
red.ochre
on
its
sides.Kubbur
is
thenativeword
for
redochre,and'hasbeen
corrupted-
to
Cobar
by
thewhite
people.
Theold
aborigines
-told,
me
thacbeforethecoppermines
were
workedthere.
were
;
footmarks,bcomerangs,
bullr.oarers,.andotherdelineations
on
therocks..
-..--;.
jTho
 
parldnung
.
people
''.had
a
mythicmalevolent'
creature
.resembling/'.a/'
man-
.
whose
body
had
.
a'.-
red'
.
glo^^iUye,;
burning
:
ccals,;.whbhad
.
his'abode
':,'ii|^y3efcy.
places.
on
thesidesandtops;of
;mountaini..';'.Fa'.-v
on
tb
ers
?-.
used
to
:
warn.their:.'sons
,,.:.tp.?/
keep
;
away
from-
such
spots.
:;
His'
riame
:,
was
Ghiridaririg,
:
aridhis
image'..-;
'-was':
^marked':
upon
the
ground
-at.
their:/initiatipn--;cer fvmonies','
.
with-
;av
Vessel
.cpritainirig^huma'n;;blood/jaid'-uppnv,his:breast.,
..
;:-'-'Z-H
^,'^v.
..
^
^GURUNGATY'THE'bUNYIP:;;
,;/?,/;:
;Gu-ru-ngaty
;'is
/th'evname
of:
an
aquatic
'
monster
among.''the.Thurrawal
;
and-;Gun-
'
dungurra-
?'tribes.
;''
He-resides-.;
hi;
.
deep
;
water-holes,
,
arid';;:would
drown.
-V
-andeat:;
strange
blacks,'.but.-Avbuld
f
not
-
harmhis
own
people.
:
?
He
;
usuaily'.climbe'd
 
a
,
tree
near
thef
water,V
from
'
which
-he':''
kept
a
look-out.;/-If'he:
saw;a.
strangerapp.rpachr
iEg.~he'slid
dpwplf
and
.
diy'edv;into'
:,
the
.;
water^
;
withoutrnakinj:.
a
splash,-:
pr,'lea.v-:
ing
any
rippies;6n
-thesurface;
.i/JAs;soon.
as
theindividual
began
to
drink,
he
was
caughtby
Gurungatv.
Gurambugang
is
theThurrawal
name
of
a
small,
smooth-skinned,dark-colored
lizard
seen
among
rocksandaboutlogs.Women
andchildren
are
forbidden
to
in
jure
thisanimal.
If
aman
gets
a
piece
ofgrit,
an
insect,
or-
otherirritatingsubstanceiuhis
eyes,
hecatchesthe
lid
inhis
finger
andthumband
moves
it.
up
and
down,opening
and
shutting
the
eye,
re
peating
in
a
singing
tone
:
'''?
-':-
-'.
*:
Bindi;'..bihai'.';-guya'sa-l Uga?ig.-j;-;,;v:L---;-7v,.
Dill,
dill,'dill
;-\
,,:;:,
?:-.?/;''':
;
;
The
meaning
is
:?
'Wake
up,'wakeup,
gurambugang''—
'dill''
-being.merely
a
re
quest
totha
injured
'eye'to
,
opsn.
.The
'man
continues
to'
repeat:these
words
and
Movingthe
eyelid,
till
the
object
falls
out
ofthe
eye.
.
Ifchildrenthrow
sticks,stones,
cr
an-
missile'
at
a
'bat,
'Kubbugang;'
it
will'
cause'
theirthumbs
to
becomeshort.
If
theypoint
at
that
animal,
tbs&ow
its
location
toanyone,
they.must
point
with
tho
thumb,
andnot
withthefinger.
[Thur
rr.wal
tribe.]
.
LAWSFOR
W..0.MEX.Among
the
Ngeumba
tribe,
women
andchildren
ofboth
sexes
mustnot
lock
at
thebirds
known
as
swifts,
'pulluru,'
whichfly
high
in
the7
air,
oc
silliness
wouldbstheconsequence.
These
birds
are
bsiievsclto
bethe
harbingers,,
ofrain,
but
ifwomen
lock
upatthem
it
would
pro
Vent
the'
rain;coming-.
The
-
swift
is
a
kubbi,
and.
belongs
to
the
guaimundhun
caste.
.,''??
:
Inthe
legendaryperiod
it
was
unlawful
for
women
to
converse
with
dogs,
thecon--,sequence
being
somewhat-similar
to
the
examples
:
Amongthe
AVirraidyuri
tribes
thereis
a
storythat
onone
occasiondur
ing
the
-periodthe
youths
were
away'
in

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