Op. Cit.


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When a man has been charged with an offense, he goes to the meeting armed with two war spears, a flat light shield, and a boomerang. If he is found guilty of a private wrong, he is painted white, and his brother, or near male relative, stands beside him as his second. The latter has a heavy shield, a liangle, and a boomerang, and the offender is placed opposite to the injured person and his friends, who sometimes number twenty warriors. These range themselves at a distance of fifty yards from him, and each individual throws four or five spears and two boomerangs at him simultaneously "like a shower." If he succeeds in warding them off his second hands him his heavy shield, and he is attacked singly by his enemies, who deliver each one a blow with a liangle. As blood must be spilt to satisfy the injured party, the trial ends when he is hit. . . .

The following account of one of these ordeals in expiation was given to me by Berak, who was present at it. So far as I am able to fix the time, it must have been about the year 1840, and the locality was the Merri Creek near Melbourne. It arose out of a belief by the Bunurong, who lived at Western Port, that a man from Echuca, on the Murray River, had found a piece of bone of an opossum which one of their tribe had been eating, and then thrown away. They were told that he, taking up this bone between two pieces of wood, had placed it aside until, having procured the leg bone of a kangaroo, he put the piece of opossum bone into its hollow and roasted it before his fire. He and others then sang the name of the Western Port man for a long time over it, until the spear thrower fell down into the fire and the magic was complete. This news was brought down to the Bunurong, and some time after the man died. His friends did not say anything but waited till a young man of the Echuca tribe came into the Western Port District, when they killed him. News of this was passed from one to the other till it reached his tribe, who sent down a messenger to the Bunurong tribe, saying that they would have to meet them near Melbourne. This was arranged, and the old men said to the man, "Now, don’t you run away; you must go and stand out, and we will see that they do not use you unfairly." This message had been given in the first instance by the Meymet to the Nirabaluk, who sent it on by the Wurunjerri to the Bunurong. It was sent in the winter to give plenty of time for the meeting, which took place on the Melbourne side of the Merri Creek. The people present were the Meymet, whose headman had not come with them, the Bunurong with their headman Benbu, the Mt. Macedon men with their headman Ningu-labul, the Werribee people with the headman of the Bunurong; finally there were the Wurunjerri with their headman Billi-billeri.

All these people except the Meymet and the Bunurong were onlookers, and each party camped on the side of the meeting ground nearest to their own country, and all the camps faced the morning sun.

When the meeting took place, the women were left in the camps, and the men went a little way off. The Bunurong man stood out in front of his people armed with a shield. Facing him were the kindred of the dead Meymet man, some nine or ten in number, who threw so many spears and boomerangs at him that you could not count them. At last a reed spear went through his side. Just then a headman of the Buthera-buluk, who had heard what was to take place, and had followed the Meymet down from the Goulburn River, came running up, and went in between the two parties, shouting, "Enough!" and turning to the Meymet said, "You should now go back to your own country." This stopped the spear throwing; they had had blood, and all were again friends. A great corroboree was held that night.1

1Howittn/an/an/an/an/an/a, , 336–340 (The Macmillan Company. By permission).


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Chicago: "Op. Cit.," Op. Cit. in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed December 4, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=YJAE7ES3E5L5DXN.

MLA: . "Op. Cit." Op. Cit., in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 4 Dec. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=YJAE7ES3E5L5DXN.

Harvard: , 'Op. Cit.' in Op. Cit.. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 4 December 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=YJAE7ES3E5L5DXN.