Page:Native Tribes of South-East Australia.djvu/426

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400
CH.
NATIVE TRIBES OF SOUTH-EAST AUSTRALIA

country, where when the water is, at long intervals, exceptionally low, it causes a tree-stump to become visible. This is in the charge of a family, and it is the duty of one of the men to anoint it with grease and red ochre. The reason for this is that they believe that if it is not done the lake would dry up and the supply of fish be lessened. This duty is hereditary from father to son.

Near Dandenong there is a rock on which the Ngaruk-willam clansmen of the Wurunjerri tribe used to place leafy boughs when going out hunting kangaroos, to ensure a good catch.

A tribe at White Cliffs, Frazer's Island, on the coast of Queensland, held a ceremony for the purpose of ensuring plentiful supplies of fish and honey, in which both men and women took part, swinging bull-roarers.

Omens and Warnings

Omens and warnings are in some measure connected with magic, and may therefore follow the lesser magic. I have before mentioned the belief that kangaroos can give a warning of coming danger. A young man of the Yuin tribe who had served me as a messenger about initiation matters, had a bag of what he said were powerful charms (Joïa) which had been given to him by a Gommera, his relative, and which, by the way, on inspection I found to have among them the round part of a decanter-stopper. When I asked him in what manner they would serve him, he gave me the following explanation:—"If I were going along and I saw an old-man kangaroo hopping towards me, and looking at me, I should know that he was giving me warning that enemies were about. I should get my spear ready, and I should hold my Joïa bag in my hand, so that if a man were to throw something at me, I should be safe." The throwing of a Joïa is, in other words, the projection by some medicine-man of a magical substance, such as a quartz crystal, invisibly at the intended victim. When he said that he should get his spear ready, this was merely a figure of speech, for the Yuin have long ago abandoned the spear for