Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/356

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Notes on the Aborigines of Roebuck Bay,

abreast, but a few paces behind each other. There is the perpetual pipe amongst them, which after one has had a whiff or two is passed along to another; men, women, and children smoking alike. They go to catch birds, animals, or food generally; or perhaps to bring the cattle or horses in for the station, for the latter are sent adrift to feed themselves, and should the horses be wanted a native is sent out to track and bring them in. As a rule the cows do not need tracking, as the calves are kept penned up and the mothers return to feed them. I can, from where I am sitting, see a civilised aboriginal home; it is made with a tree as primary support, with two props a few feet out, no sides, but a thatch of scrub bush; a wooden box placed on end, makes it an aboriginal mansion. The day before yesterday my husband came to me and took me into the nigger camp to see a man making a kylie; and with the most primitive of tools, scrape, scrape, scraping away, he had been for hours, apparently making no impression on the wood yet very gradually shaping it. Jack[1] saw it in the morning, I in the evening, and then it was far from finished. Next day we went again; it was done, and embellished with the decoration of that man's tribe and given to me, "him good pfeller boomerang." The man had been trying it. They throw them on the wind to cause them to turn again to near where they were thrown.

The boomerangs used for fishing are concave on both sides; those for catching birds, on one side only; those used in warfare are different. Yesterday I saw them making a spear, just a pointed stick, but the point is sharp; the other part of the stick was in its rough state, but has to be smoothed down, which is done by scraping with glass after it has been straightened and toughened by fire. It is subsequently finished by being polished.

The natives here when on the march rub a white pigment in circles or lines over their faces and bodies. The bodies

  1. Mr. J. A. Peggs.