Page:Native Tribes of South-East Australia.djvu/358

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332
CH.
NATIVE TRIBES OF SOUTH-EAST AUSTRALIA

I returned from the expedition, I learned that he had been killed by an armed party from his own tribe, who chased him for some nine miles before he was overtaken and killed. The reason given for this, was that he had been too familiar with the white men, and served them as guide. This I have mentioned elsewhere.

In the Tongaranka tribe offences against the marriage laws and class rules were punished by death, and the whole tribe took the matter in hand. Individual offences, such as theft, were dealt with by the individual wronged, by spear or other weapon.[1]

In the southern Kamilaroi disputes about hunting-grounds, and trespasses on them, occasioned numerous parleys, which sometimes settled the matter. At one such meeting, some fifty years ago, there were two white men with guns in the camp of the weaker party, who boasted that with their assistance they would kill all their opponents. These declared that they did not care, but would fight. The friends of the white men then advised them to go home, because if any disaster happened in the fight, their lives would be certainly taken for it. They left, and a messenger was sent to tell their adversaries that the white men had gone. It was then decided that an equal number from each side should fight the next day. But after all, this dispute was settled by single combat.[2]

In the Wiradjuri tribes there is an assembly of the initiated men, at which the Headmen discuss matters and decide what is to be done. Such matters are, for instance, disputes with other tribes, dealing with tribal offences, and similar circumstances. In cases of abduction of women, adultery, or murder, and where the offender has escaped to his own local division, or to a neighbouring tribe, the course is as follows. If the Headman decide that he is to be killed, the people with whom he has taken refuge are required by messenger to give him up. If they refuse to do so, there is a fight between them. If in this the offender's tribe is routed, no more is done, but the offender is always in danger of being killed, if possible.

  1. J. W. Boultbee.
  2. C. Naseby.