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took place about eight or ten years ago, at a place two miles and a half N. 13° W. from Cooloomgatta trigonometrical station, in the parish of Cooloomgatta, county of Camden, New South Wales. Last year I visited the būnăn ground with some aboriginal natives and found it in a tolerably good state of preservation. I took careful and complete sketches and measurements of all its surroundings, from which I have prepared accurate drawings, which will now be described.
The general camp (figure 1) was pitched on level land in a forest, near a small watercourse rising in the western side of the Moean range and flowing southwesterly into Broughton creek, a tributary of Shoalhaven river.
About six chains from the center of the camp was cleared a circular space, called the būnăn, measuring 34 feet 9 inches in one diameter and 32 feet 6 inches in another. The loose soil scraped off in making it smooth was used to form the boundary and was about a foot or more in height. A narrow pathway led from this circle to a smaller cleared space, whose diameters were 18 feet 6 inches and 16 feet 6 inches (figure 4). This circular
6 space, like the larger one, is bounded by a raised earth wall. In each of these circles there is an opening left as an entrance for the pathway, and the embankment is continued outward about 8 feet along each side of the pathway in both instances (figures 3 and 4). Standing at the larger circle the magnetic bearing therefrom to the smaller one is N. 50° E. and the distance from one to the other is 265 paces.
Starting from the larger ring and proceeding along the track, at the distance of 158 yards, on the left side, is a raised earthen figure of a human being 7 feet long and surrounded by an embankment similar to those used in defining the boundaries of the rings, but not so high (figure 5, 9).
At the distance of 236 yards from the starting point, or 29 yards from the smaller ring, on the same side of the track as the figure last described, was a heap of earth a foot high, having a basal diameter of about two feet. It was surrounded by a raised earthen wall, like the preceding figure, a space about a foot wide being left between the heap and the circular embankment, along which some of the old men danced, waving their arms to and fro (figures 1 and 6, h).
Inside the smaller ring (figure 4) was a horizontal representation of Dharamoolun, about 8 feet long, formed by heaping up the loose earth, the height of the earth at the man's breast being about a foot. During the ceremonies a quartz crystal is laid on the head of this figure.
At the time of my visit the foregoing were the only figures distinguishable on the turf, but my native guides stated that when the būnăn ground was freshly formed a number of nondescript patterns and devices were cut in the soil similar to those shown in the plates illustrating my papers describing the initiation ceremonies of the Kamilaroi and Wiradthuri tribes. My guides also pointed out some faint, indistinct forms of animals, also made by means of raised earth or by cutting a nick or groove into the surface of the soil along their outline. There were thus represented the porcupine, the kangaroo, fish, snakes, and others. In the raised figure of the porcupine the quills were represented by inserting numerous small sticks.
Around the small ring and for a distance of 130 yards near each side of the track toward the larger circle a number of trees were marked with the tomahawk, some of them close to the track and others at various distances. I counted 29 marked trees and copied the devices on nine of the most representative of them, which are shown in figure 8, a to i. All the figures and devices, whether raised or graven upon the ground or cut upon trees, are known by the native name of muttima.
Around each important figure on the ground a space was cleared on which the men could walk, and a similar space around each of the marked trees, the loose soil being scraped into heaps encircling the butts of the trees.
Gathering the tribes. - The headman of the tribe whose turn it is to call the community together sends messengers to the various tribes whom he wishes to be present at the ceremonies, and in this matter the totems are regarded—that is, the messengers are generally of the same totem as the sender of the message, though they may be chosen on account of their fitness for the duty, irrespective of totemic distinctions. It not unfrequently happens that a messenger is sent on his mission alone, but men are generally sent together, one of whom belongs to a different tribe to the headman who issues the message. The tribe to whom the
1 Journ. Anthrop. Inst., London, XXIV, pp. 411-427.
two messengers are sent pay more attention to them if one is from a remote part of the territory. The strange man merely
. accompanies the messenger, who is provided with a bullroarer (mooroonga or mudthi), a quartz crystal, and all the articles worn by a man when fully dressed. In some tribes
message stick is carried in addition to these emblems. He carries his own weapons with him and has yellow or white paint on his legs from the knees down and the same color on his forehead band. His companion is similarly decorated.
On the arrival of a messenger at a camp, usually in the afternoon or early in the morning-because at these times the men are at home-he sits down in sight of the camp of the single men. Some of the men go and speak to him, lighting a fire and offering him food and water. On learning that he has a message to deliver they go and inform the chief men, who come to where he is sitting. After some conversation the messenger opens his bag and produces the mooroonga, the crystals, and other articles, and delivers the message, stating who it is from and the time when and place where the būnăn is to be held. He then proceeds with the rest to the single men's quarters, and all the initiated men in the camp are called and informed of the message. All then run in a serpentine line through the women's camp, making a peculiar noise, by which the women know of the call for a meeting for the binăn, and there is general rejoicing. Having gone in this manner through the camp, the men form into a group in a clear space close by and dance round a few times, calling out the names of a few camping places, etc, after which they disperse to their own quarters. That evening, after dark, the messenger swings his bullroarer a short distance from the camp and the women commence singing the songs usual on such occasions.
The next day or perhaps in a few days' time the messenger leaves this camp and proceeds on his journey to deliver a like message to another tribe. He would thus proceed until he reaches the farthest tribe or section of a tribe whom he has been directed to summon. Sometimes, however, the messenger goes no farther than the first tribe, the headman of whom sends the message on by one of his own men, of the same totem as the original messenger, who carries the message to a man of the same totem in the tribe to whom he has been sent.
At the several places where the tribes camp at night by the way corroborees are generally held at night at the camp fires. When within a few days' journey of the būnăn ground a man is sent forward to inform the headmen there that the tribe will arrive about a certain day. Frequently no such notice is given, because the men at the main camp are expecting arrivals from different places and are always ready painted every afternoon. Moreover, it adds to the excitement of the meeting for these contingents to come without warning:
Arrival of contingents.—When a strange tribe arrives to within half a mile from the general encampment a halt is made while the men paint themselves with pipe-clay, drawing lines on their faces, chests, and limbs; they also put on all their articles of dress and arrange feathers in their hair.
When all is ready the messenger who has brought them sounds a bullroarer somewhere out of sight, and the men, about two feet apart in a single zigzag line, follow their headman. The women, children, and novices of the contingent follow in a group. Every man holds in each hand a green bough' about 18 inches long. At short intervals the leader pauses and, turning half round to the right, swings the bough in his right hand into the air, and this action is repeated by all the other men. Then he turns toward the left, and swings the bough in that hand into the air, which is also repeated by all the others. As they swing the boughs they give a shout. They thus go through the main camp, looking in at every hut or gunyah, after which they march toward the large circle, shouting and swaying their boughs. They are now joined by the men of the local tribe and other men who have arrived on previous occasions, and all approach the circle, the newcomers being in the lead. The women and novices are all standing in a group in the center of the ring, having come straight on while the men were going through the camp.
The men now enter the ring through the opening in its wall and form a cordon around the women (figure 2). If the tribe is a numerous one, there may be two or three circles of men. The men dance for a few minutes, and then close in around the women, in the center of whom the novices are standing, and raise their bushes into the air. Each man then walks outward to the boundary of the ring and lays his boughs outside of the embankment. As every man goes to the part of the wall nearest to him, the boughs are scattered all round it. After this the women and novices withdraw, and sit down outside of the wall on the side farthest from the pathway, with their backs toward the latter, and the women commence to sing and beat their rugs. The headman of the local tribe then calls out the names of a few of the chief camping grounds, water holes, or remarkable places in his country, and all the men present shout. The headmen of the other tribes follow in succession, each naming a few chief places in his country.
1 Sometimes the men have a boomerang or other small weapon in one hand and a bough in the other.
2 Infirm old men and women and small children would not go into the ring, but would sit down close by.
The headman of the local tribe now starts along the path way, followed by his own people; the headman of another tribe, accompanied by his people, follows, and thus all the men leave the ring. The women remain sitting, and continue to sing and beat their rugs, the novices remaining with them. The newly arrived men are shown the drawings on the ground and trees. At the chief figures the men stop and dance and shout, but some of the muttima are only looked at in passing, or a short halt is made in front of them. The wizards go through various forms of jugglery, pretending to bring different substances out of their bodies. On arrival at the small inclosure the old men enter it and dance round the figure of Dharamoolan (figure 4), the rest of the people going round outside the embankment. All the men then return along the track and go into the large circle and dauce round. The women now cease singing and get up and go away to the camp, the men shortly following. The men and women of the new arrivals, visiting tribes, erect their quarters on the side of the main camp nearest their own country.
That night the local tribe makes a corroboree for the benefit of those who arrived during the afternoon. On nearly every succeeding night a corroboree is held, the tribes taking their turns to provide this amusement in the order of their arrival.
Daily performances at the būnăn ground.-While waiting for the arrival of other tribes, the men and women already assembled daily go through preliminary performances similar to those just described, beginning a few hours before sunset.
After partaking of the evening meal the young men of the