Page:Native Tribes of South-East Australia.djvu/693

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INITIATION CEREMONIES, WESTERN TYPE

It is thought that if any one but a medicine-man touches a Meru, it will cause great sickness to the young man on whom the flint was used. In such a case, if the young man became ill, the offender would have to go away and live by himself for a time. But if the young man died, the offender would be killed.

There is in this tribe a rite similar to the Wilpadrina of the Dieri, accompanied by an operation by a medicine-man. Three men of the relation of father to the girl are allotted to her, who provide her with food till her wound is healed.[1]

The tribe at Fowler's Bay adjoins the Mining, and at certain times of the year the two tribes have a ceremonial meeting. Boys are circumcised at the age of about fourteen, and subsequently subincised. The medicine-man who operates swallows the prepuce, with some water. He never speaks to the boy or his parents, does not go to their camp fire, excepting in very cold weather, nor accept any food from them unless it were sent by some other person.[2]

These tribes east of the Mining adjoin the Parnkalla, who lived at Port Lincoln, whose northern extent includes the Beltana country, which is mentioned in the legend of the Yuri-ulu already given. The Parnkalla therefore bring us into the region of the Lake Eyre ceremonies. I find an account of the initiation ceremonies of this tribe in a work by C. W. Schürmann,[3] from which I shall quote, for comparison with the accounts already given.

The names of the ceremonies which form the several parts of initiation in this tribe supersede the ordinary names of the youths during the time which intervenes between the ceremonies, or immediately follows them.

The three ceremonies are the Warrara, when a boy is about the age of fifteen; the Pardnappa, at the age of sixteen or seventeen; and the Wilyalkinyi, when about eighteen.

The Warrara Ceremony

Mr. Schürmann gives a description of these ceremonies at length, which is briefly as follows.

  1. H. Williams.
  2. F. Gaskell.
  3. Op. cit. pp. 226, 234.