Page:Native Tribes of South-East Australia.djvu/566

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
540
NATIVE TRIBES OF SOUTH-EAST AUSTRALIA

messenger was sent to sound it on the mound of rocks overlooking our camp. The Kabos soon appeared, carefully leading their charges over the rocks and among the fallen trees, and down the cattle-track. The boys were ordered to keep their eyes fixed on their feet, and could therefore only proceed slowly, each one being guided by a Kabo. The remainder of the men who had remained at the camp followed them.

When the novices reached the cleared ground, still with bent heads and downcast eyes, each was placed with his feet in one pair of holes. Then they were told to raise their eyes and look, and the sight of the ten disguised figures must have been startling to them, but I could not see the slightest trace of emotion on the face of either of them.

At this time the scene was striking. Some of the men were standing at the east side of the cleared space, some on
FIG. 31.—THE FIGURE OF DARAMULUN.
Cut on a tree.
the west side, the boys and their Kabos being on the north, almost at the foot of the tree on which the figure, about three feet in length, of Daramulun was cut. In front of them were these motionless disguised figures. The Gommera Brupin was at a little distance almost hidden in some scrub, and old Gunjerung, the head Gommera, stood apart from all as was his custom, leaning on his staff, waiting for the moment when all being ready, he would give the signal for the ceremony to commence.[1]

At length Gunjerung raised his staff, and the kneeling man nearest to the sea, that is at the east end of the row, raised his strip of bark and brought it down on the earthen mound before him with a sound like the muffled report of a gun. Then he and all the other men

  1. The principal men in these ceremonies, such for instance as this Gunjerung, always stand apart from the others. See the plate in Collins' work, where the Koradjis (Gommeras) are standing apart just as Gunjerung did.