Page:Native Tribes of South-East Australia.djvu/726

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700
CH.
NATIVE TRIBES OF SOUTH-EAST AUSTRALIA

succession, all arrive in a body in the camp of the Headman who sent for them.

The spear-thrower is also used as a message-stick, but when so employed it is specially marked to indicate its purpose.

As an instance of the procedure of the tribes of the Kulin nation, I take that of the Wurunjerri.

It was the Headman who sent out messengers (Wirrigiri) to collect people for festive occasions, for ceremonial or expiatory fights, or for other matters concerning the tribe, and he did this after consulting with the other old men. The messenger was usually one of the younger men, and if possible one whose sister was married to some one in that place to which he was to go, for under such circumstances a man could go and return in safety, being protected by his friends and connections. Messengers were chosen who were not implicated in any blood-feud. People were always pleased to receive news, and no messenger known as such was ever injured.

The message-stick, called Mungu or Kalk (wood) or Barndana (that is, "mark it"), was made by the sender, and was retained by the recipient of the message as a reminder of what he had to do, perhaps to meet the sender at a certain time and place, or to meet and feast on fish or game. For friendly meetings, when there was no quarrel or danger, the messenger carried a man's belt (Branjep), and a woman's apron (Kaiung) hung upon a reed. For meetings to settle quarrels or grievances, such as a bodily injury inflicted, or the death of some one by evil magic, by a set combat, or to concert an attack on another tribe, the Branjep was hung upon a jag-spear made of ironbark wood,[1] and when calling a meeting for the initiation of boys (Talangun), the messenger carried also a bull-roarer and a man's kilt hung upon a reed. The bull-roarer was kept secret from the sight of women or children.

If the message was to call the people together for a corrobboree or for ball-playing, a ball made of opossum pelt, cut in strips and rolled up tightly, was sent. This was

  1. Eucalyptus sideroxylon.