Page:Native Tribes of South-East Australia.djvu/603

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IX
577
INITIATION CEREMONIES, EASTERN TYPE

from each tribe intending to be present; and these men, together with the leading men of the Port Macquarie natives, form a council by whose authority wars are proclaimed, boundaries are settled, and the tribes prevented from interfering with or encroaching on each other."

The author says that Corborn Comleroi are present at the meeting. This means that the Port Macquarie tribe and the Kamilaroi intermarried, and that therefore they met at the initiation ceremonies, just as the tribes enumerated by me met at the Kuringal. He further says that while the meeting lasted the tribes attending it were on the most friendly terms.

I have unfortunately no information farther north than Port Stephens. But that which I have been able to record of the tribal ceremonies so far north of the Yuin country confirms the statements of the old men of that tribe, that the Kuringal ceremonies extend "at least as far as Newcastle," that is, as far as the Hunter River, and the tribes of which the Geawe-gal is one. The evidence of Mr. W. Scott as to the tribe at Port Stephens makes it clear, to my mind, that what he saw was part of the initiation ceremonies exactly of the Bunan type. The figure described by Mr. Scott is the analogue of Daramulun; the division of the men present shows the two moieties of the intermarrying community, whether of the social or the local organisation I have no means of knowing. But since the Kamilaroi attended the Kabbarah at Port Macquarie, it may be that the "up-country blacks" mentioned by Mr. Scott were of that nation. If so, there must have been some common organisation which admitted of intermarriage.

The account which I have quoted from Lieutenant Breton is valuable, because it was written when the olden-time customs were still in full strength.

The statements as to the Gringai and other tribes of the Hunter River are evidently from native informants, who told all that it was lawful to tell to an uninitiated person. What Mr. Scott says is from observation of occurrences, parts of ceremonies which were of such a character that a blackfellow would not reveal them to an outsider. It is perhaps hardly