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Magic & Mystery in Central Australia

Magic & Mystery in Central Australia

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Published by draculavanhelsing
Adelaide Mail 1931 (Nov 21)
Adelaide Mail 1931 (Nov 21)

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Published by: draculavanhelsing on Feb 24, 2012
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12/18/2013

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The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 - 1954), Saturday 21 November 1931, page 3National Library of Australiahttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article61563125
HI
fcJT
mm
H8
M
HWL-r&L
B
.
^B^r
fil
9iS9B
^i^^^h
,
t|
OKthisthere
are
//
V#
?yl
a
numberoffac
II
ir^
I
tors
responsible,
\l/r
I
he
states.
Primary
/fi^-^^%
*|
causesare
thein
v^DnflnH
rrusionofthe
m\
Jl
jg
ill
white
man
into
their
his
'''
bringing
of
various
animals
intothelocality,and
his
waysandcustoms
clashing
with
thoseofthe
aborigines.
Thewhite
man
enters
the
new
country,takesthebestwaterholesfor
his
cattle,anddrivesthenativetothearidpartsoftheland.Air.
Tindale
explained
thatthedeathrate
was
cutting
off
the
tribes
to
an
alarming
extent.
The
old
mem
bers
ofthetribe
were
dying
beforetheir
time,
andthe
sickly
babies
rarely
lived
longer
than
a
fewyearsattheoutside.Some
time
agotheaverage
dying
ageofthe.
aborigine'
was
reckoned
at
28
years.
Butcivilisationhad
taken
so
bitter
a
tollthat
the
average
dying
age
was
now
about
17
or
18
years.
***
IXfEIRD
and
mysterious
are
the
customsof
these
strange
people.
ThePitchentaraand
Wongapitcha
men
live
by
theiruncannyrites,theirgruesome
ceremonies,
their
hunting,warfare,
andweapons.Their
heaviest
weapon
-is
the
10-ft.
war
spear,with
long
bladeof
sharpened
?tone,which
inflicts
a
grislywound.Their
stone
knife,
usedfor
surgical
operations
and
asa
dagger
induelling,has
a
long,
cruelbladeof
chippededge
thatinflicts
a
frightful
wound.Theblade
is
boundto
a
woodenTheblade
is
boundto
a
wooden
handlewithspinifex
gumandkangaroo
tendon.
A
sheath
ismadeof
teatreebark.These
are
theknivesusedin
the
terrible
Mikaoperation.
Every
lad
must
submit
to
this
operation
;
afterwhichhebecomes
eligible
for
a
wife.Shouldheflee
before
theceremoniestake
place,
heis
ruthlesslytrackeddown
and
speared
todeath
as
a
beast
might
be.
Months
before
theMika(the
final
operation)
the
initiates
intowarriorhood
are
sprawled
on
theirbacks
and
a
front
tooth
is
knockedoutwith
a
long,
pointed
stone.
Theinitiates
areunaware,
but
for
dayspreviously
a
hushedmystery
eeems
topossesstheolder
people
knowing
looks,
whispering
groups,
a
hushed
silence.
tf
::=:;:
*T*HEinitiates
are
decoyed
to
a
desolatelocalitysupposedly
brooded
upon
by
the
spiritsof
lonRdeadold
men.
The
nomadbands
generally
congregateforthe
cere
monies.Hencehundredsofwarriors
are
present
in
a
seethingmob,
Wild
men
suddenly
shriekinto
the
erowd,theirpipe-clayed
bodies
ghostly
withthedown
of
birds,
glued
on
with
blood.
In
a
crouching
dance
 
Savage
Tribes
Still
Livein
World
ofStone
Age
SorceryandBarbarism
.
Stone
Age
sorceryand
barbaric
rites
still
lingerin
thewilds
1gf$^fV
of
Central
Australia.
?
Such
was
theexperience
°f^$f^^
?ffl
Harold
BellLasseter,
whodiedtherewhile
in
search
^jfF%;
;-
'^JSttk
of
a
mineral
field.
J0^
'
^1111
Buttheaborigines
area
fast
vanishing
race.
Mr.N.B.Tindale,
(Ethnolo
ofthe.SouthAustralian
Museum)
estimatesthat
anotherdecade
will
see
the
tribes
thinned
^^
almost
to
extinction
^^^\^
if
not
wiped^n^^g
theypivot
to
the
centreofthe
crowd,
spinning
fromside
to
side
inthemaddestof
leaps,
pirouetting
round
the
fire,
hissingwith
the
concen
trated
venom
of
many
snakes.
The
initiatesstand
in
a
motionlessgroup,theirloweredheadsstarinj;at
the
fire,
from
which
theireyesmustnotfor
a
secondrise.
rpHERE
sounds
an
ominous
hum,
awayoutin
the
bushes;
it
ap
proacheswith
a
harsh
whirring
that
vibrates
through
the
air.
Thebull
roarers
are
coming!
The
crowdthrowup
a
thousand
arms
and
roar,
the
rhythm
offeet
breaksout
into
thunder.
Trembling
withhysterical
madness,painted
figures
sneakbehindthe
youths
and
drop
to
theirhands
and
knees.
A
thousand
eyes
glare
atthe
downcastyouths.
A
hush,
a
deep
sigh
asa
youth
is
suddenly
pushedback
and
trips
uponthe
livingtable
kneeling
behind.
Instantly
he
is
spreadeagled
behind.
Instantly
he
is
spreadeagled
as
they
surge
forward
and
roar.
Unprotesting,
heis
roughly
gagged,theirbestialfacesbreatheinto
his.Thecrowdsways
as
theybreak
a
lane
through
which
comesa
fear
some
being
under
brilliant
feathersand
tuftsof
dyed
grass.Hecarriesthedreaded
knife
inhis
hand.
***
?J^HESE
savages,
however,
have
learnedwonderful
things
fromXature,
secrets
that
our
wisest
men
haveinrecentyears
paid
hundreds
ofthousandsof
pounds
tolearn.Theflightoftheirvarious
boomerangs,
in
particular,
hasbeen
applied
totho
aeroplane
propeller.Their
war
boomerangs
havebeen
scientifically
fluted
and
shaped
to
en
sure
thegreatestspeed,
buoyancy,
distance,
andtruenessof
direction.The'Kaditehavshoes
area
modelof
cunning,
superstition,
andefficiency.
They
are
the
'avenger's
shoes,'slipperswith
a
thick
soleof
emu
feathersgluedtogether
by
blood,
sewn
with
animal-hairstring.
The
'uppers'
area
cleverlyknitted
workof
human-hairstring.
Theshoes
themselves
are
'shapeless.'Thus
the
wearer
cannotbetracked—
impassible
totell
whether
hehas
come
or
gone.
 
come
or
gone.Thetracksofthese
shoes,
visible
only
insoftestsand,
strike
panic
intothebeholder.Theshallow
imprint
is
a
symbol
ofevil,made
by
aman
of
j
superhuman
powers.
Heis'ofthe
I
earth,andyet
notof
theearth.'The
j
thick
soles.
whichhavebeen
'?
'charmed'
over,are
supposed
toseparatehimfromearth
life,
to
give
him
a.
power
acknowledged
only
totheevil
things
ofthe
night.
A
tribesmanentitled
to
wear
the
Kaditoha
shoesis
regarded
withdire
apprehension.
Whenactuallywearing
the
shoes
heisfled
from,
as
possess
ing
supernatural
powers.

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