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Riverina Superstitions

Riverina Superstitions

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Published by draculavanhelsing
Australasian Sketcher 1886 (Jan 13)
Australasian Sketcher 1886 (Jan 13)

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Published by: draculavanhelsing on Apr 14, 2012
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The Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil (Melbourne, Vic. : 1873 - 1889), Wednesday 13 January 1886National Library of Australiahttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article60621021
BLAOKFELLOWSSUPERSTITIONS.
A
contmbutoii
to
The
Atutralaxian,writing
underthe
now.
de
plume,oi
'Myall,'
relates
some
interesting
legends
that
were
toldhim
by
the
aborigines
ofItiverinaintheearly
days
:
Thirty
years
ago
ormore
I
was
travelling-down
the
Darling
RiverfromFort
Bourke,
when
nn
old
blackfellow
belonging
tothe
-station
paid
a
visit
to
mycamp.He
hadwithhim
an
old
one
eyed
gin.The
old
men
and
womenare
thedepositariesofthe
legends
ofthe
tribe.At
their
camp
the
young
peoplebecome,
accustomedto
hearinglegendary
lore,
andhanddownthestories
to
the
next
generation.
Blackshavesingularlyretentive
memo
ries
;
they
are
very
superstitious.
.
The
Moulgiewauke
is
the
name
givenby
thenatives
on
the
Lower
Darling
and
Murrayrivers
to
the
spirit
ofthe
waters.
This
spiritis
supposed
to
dwell
at
thebottomof
some
deep
holes.
Itshaunts
are
well
known,
and
especiallyavoided.Noblack
enn
beinduced
toenter
or
drinkthe
water
;
and
it
.is
the
popular
beliefthat
ifone
goesin
incautiously
or
accidentally
he
nevercomes
out
again.Theseholes
are
creditedwith
beingbottomless,
and
they
emit
'mysterious
sounds
at
night.'Somefew
mi|es
below
thestationthere
was
a
reachintherivercalledthe
.
'
Long
Waterhole.'It
was
the
scene
ofthe
legend
told
me
by
theoldblackfellow.
Long
ago
a
numerous
tribehadtheirtowri,
or
hunting-ground,
at
thiswaterhole.
They
were
the
most
powerful
and
warlike
body
ofblacks
on
the
river.
Thecorroborees
were
held
atfulluioun,and
two
ormore
neighbouring
tribes
were
invited
to
attend.A
corroboree
onan
'unusual
scale
was
prepared
for
this'
occasion.On
the
uiteruo'oii
of
the.
great
duy
the
visitingtribes
eunie
trooping
intocampin
single
lite.
The
men
had
tlieirhairadornedwith
thefeathers
of
the
white
crane.
Bunches
ofgreenleaves
were
fastened
abovetheir
ankles,
and
theirdark
skin
was
made
still
blacker
with
charcoaland
grease,
fancifuldevicesinwhite
pipeclaybeing
nicked
out
on
this
ebonyground.'Big
fellow
tuck-out,'
said
uiyjvisitor.As
the
moon
rose
thecorroboree
commenced.
While
they
were
goingthrough
the
performance
or
a
mimic
light
a
young
black,just
madeinto
aman
by
the
knocking
out
of
a
trout
tooth,
mysteriouslydisappeared.
This
was
not
thought
much
of
atthetime.
Attheendofthe
next
dunceanother
vanished.
It
was
supposed
that
they
werecon
triving
some
surprisefortheir
triensis.
Aftereach
dance,
however,
a
young
mun
went,
untilsix
in
all
had
disappeared.
Fear
came
uponthecamp,the
gins
ceased
beating
their
drums,
thewarriorsformed
groups,and
the
oldmen,thesagesof
the
tribes,
held
a
council.Inthe
midst
of
theirdeliberations
a
white
mist,
or
wraith,
rose
fromthe
water,
itassumedthe
shape
of
amun
andadvancednoiselesslytowards
the
earn
p.
The
blacks
were
seized
withterror,
andhid
in
their
lairs.
They
dare
notlook
on
thespectre,
amiwhat
became
of
it,or
how
it
moved,they
didnot
observe.When
daylight
brokethe
tracks
ofthe
missing
iiienwere
'run
into'the
waterhole,
but
no
returningfootsteps
could
be
found,
audit
was
assumedthat
Moulgiewauke
had
takenthesixyoung
men
to
his
gunyah
at
the
bottom
of
the
water.The
locality
was
deserted.
At
the
period
I
am
writing
abouthauntedwaterholes
were
numerous
on
the
Darling,
Murrum
bidgee,
Bogan,
and
Murray.
Each
hadits
separatehistory.
A
curiousstory
was
once
told
me
by
an
old
man
belonging
to
a
tribe
on
theVVaakool
liiver,
near
the
Moulamein,
intheDenili
quin
district.
He
musthave
been
at
least
70
years
of
age.iiis
skin
was
deeply
pitted,
as
if
byamall-pox.
'
When
I
was
young,
plentysick
all
about,'
he
said,
to
the
on
his
 
plentysick
all
about,'
he
said,
pointing
to
the
pock-marks
on
his
iacj
and
arms
;
'
Blackfellow
get
mad,
run
about
bush,
anddrown
himself
;
long
ariver
greht
rnniiy
blacks
die.
By
and
by,
when
getailright,
bluckfellow
from
next
tribe,
Mpulamein,
wanted
my
sisterlor
gin,
-andtook
her.
Idid
not
see
her
lor
xyry
long
time.Une
day
they
came
tomy
campwithtwo
picaiiinnies
;
theymade
a
campclose
to
mine.
Inthe
night
one
picumuuygotsick,lather
an-i
mothertook
himdown
to
river,
nuuie
a
lire,
and
put
on
plenty
green
«um
leaves,big-fellowsmoke,thenhold
picaninny
in
it
good
many
times.Kollhimup
in
'possum
rugand
take
hi
in
to
camp.Inthemorninghe
die
;
bury
himin
sand-hill
near
bigwater-hole.Next
night
other
picuuinuy
get
sick
;
make
tire,
hold
him
in
smoke
that
one
die
too
;
buryhimin
same
grave.
Mother
plenty
cry.
Next
night
lather
hitil
mother
hear
picaninny
cry
come
from
-water-hole.
Then
see
bit?
whitesmoke
come.
up
out
ofwater;
the
i
hear
'
Wukooi
!
Wukool
!
Waakool
!'
come
frombottomof
river.All
blacksplenty
1
Tightened.
Mentnkespearsandwnmmeras,heiiini
?us,
and
nulla
nullas.
(Jo
to
river,hear
big-lellpw
laugh
othersine,-and
'
Wakool
!
Wukool!Waakool!'Then
they
knew
*
Muulgiewauke
'
liveat
bottom
of
river
in
bigwater-hole
;
nil
biacKsleavethe
place,
never
camp
there
any
more.
.No
blackbathe,
or
tish,
or
drink
out
of
hole
;
Moulgiewiiuke
take
him
if
hedo.
'
Juiehtribe
ot
blackshas
a
doctor
or
divinity
man
(gene
rally
an
oldvillain),who
is
lookedupon
by
the
tribe
asu
gobetweeii-theinselves
and
the
spirit
world.
He
is
alwaysworking
miraculouscures,
and
takes
cure
to
have
no
witnesses
to
hisincantations.
1remember
one*-i-
these
physiciansoperating
upon
a
sick
blackteltow,
and
showing
me
and
thetribequite
a
miscellaneous
assortmeiitot
articles
hehailtaken
outotJ.is
side.Sure
enoughhehad
made
a
long
luishinhis
patient,
but
iio.t
much
more
thanskin
deep,
but
hehad
pieces
ot
glass
bottle,
un
old
pipe,brass
matchbox,
and
an
emptyllolloway's
pill
box,
besidesotherarticles,
wlilch
itmust
havebeen
a
decided
relict'to
his
patient
to
getrid
of.
There
is
a
singulardisease
to
which
the
blacks
ure
subject,
though
instances
are
very
rare,
indeed,
which
is
attributed
to
the
malign
influenceof
an
evil
.spirit.
I
liavi*
.si'on
stout,able-bodied
men
inthe
very
prime
of
lite,
andotherwise
in
jmrfecr.health,with
one
ley
completely*
wastedaway
irom
the
'knee
downwards;nothing
butthe
dry
skinstretchedtightly
over
the
bone
andsinews.Abovethekneethe
leg
was
full
Ueshed
and
perfectly
sound.
They
sutler
no
pain,
norare
they
born
so.
Suddenly,
while
asleep
m
theircamp
at
night,
they
are
strickenwith
a
numbness
inthe
leg,
whichdeties
ail
theskill
andincantations
oftheir
doctors,
who
are
forced
to
acknowledge
that
Moulgiewauke
is
too
many
forthem.When
any
membersof
a
camp
are
sick(seriously)
four
wands,
each
with
a
bunchof
dry
grass
tied
at
thetop,
are
stuck
at
each
corner
ofhis
camp
to
warn
evilspiritsaway.
No
spirit,
however
powerful,
can
enter
thecharmedenclosure.Theblacks
in
theirnatural
state
are
great
at
weatherforecasts.
I
haveseldomknownthem
to
make
mistakes.Inall
theKiverineandCentral
Australian
districts
ifyou
ask
a
blackfellow
whatthe
morrow
willbe,
he
immediately
looks
to
thewest;
to
no
other
point
will
liecast
a
glance
and
if
the
sky
be
calm
andbright
in
thatdirection,hepredicts
a
line
morrow
;
but
if
a
haze,however
taint,appearsuponthe
horizon,he
tellsyouyoumaybe
sure
ofrain,
moreor
less,
within
twenty-four
hours.
1
alwaysplaced
implicitreliance
on
theforecastofthe
blacks,andseldomknewthem
tofail.
1suppose
constant
observance
all
their
lives
and
study
ofthe
sky
made
them
adepts.
An
extraordinary
instanceofsuchprescience,
if
1may
so
termit,
occurred
on
the
Macquarie
liiver,
about
140
milesabove
Fore
Bourke.Therehadbeenrather
asevere
drought
for15
months,
andwhen
we
wereat
our
last
extremity
for
water
1
asked
tiiedoctorof
thetribe
I
when
wo
were
going
to
yet'wnlleu'
(rain).His
reply
was,
'Byandb}'.
Me
put
in
'gibber'
(stone)'long
a
creek.'lie
of

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