The Customs and Traditions of the Aboriginal Natives of North Western Australia
John G. Withnell
Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 22
Publication Date: 1901
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A very short booklet you could read on your lunch hour, about the life and ways of the Aboriginal Natives Of North Western Australia. Topics include Amusements, Battle, Infancy, Their Belief, The Procuring Of Food, Marriage Laws, and Death.
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IT is a strange revelation to find that the natives believe in a common Creator, and that their race sprang from one man and woman. There is no mistake that this it; their belief. Their Creator's name is GNURKER. They allow that he has a wife, who gave birth to the first couple sent to populate the earth. When their God saw that this earth was tit for man. and that all animal life and fishes were plentiful, He caused an immense whirlwind, which reached from Heaven to earth, and sent down him son and daughter with full instructions in all manner of ceremonies. They were to name their children by four tribal names--Banaka, Boorung, Paljarri, Kymera--and thus observe the marriage laws. They were to strictly follow out His commands, and when they died, their and their children's spirits would be received into heaven.
They were given control over the fishes of the waters, the birds of the air, all animals, insects, and every living thing--that by a ceremony of will they could cause them to multiply and increase, they and their children for ever; and they were to set apart a hallowed spot called Tarlow for this purpose. Their God gave the men spears, throwing stick, and shields for protection and purposes of hunting; to the women he gave wooden scoops and paper bark from the Cajeput tree for the gathering of seeds and other uses. They were given power even over rain, and provision was made that every food they possessed should be held for the common good. As a covenant of God's promises they were to circumcise their young men at the age of fourteen years, and if they failed to carry out these laws He would be angry with them, and cause their children to fight against each other; whilst for breaking the marriage laws they should be killed by their own kindred. But their God would never forsake them, and would receive their spirit. It thus appears from their showing that they are the direct children of the Creator, who is all merciful to them, and that for any evil doing they are punished on earth alone. It must not be thought that their worship in any way resembles ours. On the contrary, all their modes are wild and barbaric, and so far as I can gather they do not worship Him in the same sense as we do.
They have only to carry out the commands given by God to His children, and since they do not hold that their first parents sinned against Him in any way, they do not pray for forgiveness; for their wrong doings they are punished by their elders alone, and if they choose to overlook them they are forgiven. They know nothing of any Fall such as the eating of the forbidden fruit. At the same time although they do not at present have any direct form of worshipping Him, it is quite possible in ages past they had, and have fallen away in this respect; the tarlow ceremony (dealt with elsewhere), the marriage laws, the circumcision, and others seem to indicate that they had. They do not worship the moon, stars, sun, or any images. So since they still, through tradition handed down from generations, hold that they are the Creator's own children and will return to Him in spirit, they must hold Him in respect though they do riot fear Him. Although at times they are cruel to each other, yet they are in general equally as kind as are we. The name of an angel is Mulgarra--dwelling both on earth and heaven. They define heaven as space. They have strong belief in the spirit world both for good and evil. When the spirit has departed from the body it is called "Coodoo," and the body is called "Coudo." Although strange, some of their magicians maintain that they are able to leave their bodies in a trance, and in spirit visit other lands and converse with long-departed spirits.
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