Page:Native Tribes of South-East Australia.djvu/597

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INITIATION CEREMONIES, EASTERN TYPE

them for a moment, when the old men give a great shout. He is then taken away to a place some miles distant, still keeping his face to the ground, even when he is eating. Here a large camp is made, and the boy learns dances and songs, and is for the first time allowed to look up and see what is going on. He is kept here in this manner for about ten days, being placed by himself in lonely and secluded places, while at night the men make hideous noises at which he must not show the least sign of fear, on pain of death. After this time they take the boy to a large water-hole, where they all wash off the red paint, and on coming out are painted white.

When the men return to the new camp, the women are lying down by a large fire with their faces covered. The old men who took the boy away bring him back at a run towards the fire, the other men following clattering their boomerangs, but not speaking or shouting. The men form a ring round the fire, and one old man runs round inside the ring beating a shield (hiela-man). At this signal the boy's mother, or failing her, some other woman, comes out of the company of women, and taking the boy under the arm lifts him up, rubs her hands over him, and then goes away.

The fire has by this time burned down to red coals, and the men, including the novice, extinguish them by jumping on them with their feet. The boy now camps in sight of where the women are and is allowed to eat food which was before forbidden to him, such as kangaroo, snake, etc.

The bull-roarer is called by the Gringai Torikotti, and is used in these ceremonies.

The young man is not allowed to marry till three years after the ceremony.[1]

Another statement has been made to me which has a bearing on this ceremony, and may be added to it. At Port Stephens the blacks when making a Bumbat, that is, when initiating a boy, remove a tooth, by one of the old men placing his bottom tooth against the Bumbat's upper tooth, and by giving a sudden jerk snaps the boy's tooth off.[2]

An extraordinary mystery attaches to the large quartz

  1. K. W. Boydell, per Dr. J. Fraser.
  2. A. Hook.