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Tradition of Imberombera, a woman, and Wuraka, a man.--Imberombera travels over the country making everything and leaving spirit children behind her.--She sends out spirit children to different parts of the country telling them to talk different languages.--Four groups of mythical ancestors In the Kakadu tribe.--Lists of children born to the pairs of men and women sent out by Imberombera.--Origin of the marriage system of the Kakadu tribe.--List of intermarriages in one of the local groups.--Tradition concerning Numereji, a great snake, in the Kakadu tribe.--Two traditions concerning Numereji and the medicine men.--The making of medicine men.--Tradition of two Numereji men, one of whom became the Numereji of the southern Kakadu people and the other the Numereji of the Geimbio people.--Tradition of Eribinjori the crocodile.--Women making fire and cooking.--The two crocodile men kill the women.--Tradition of Ungulla Robunbun.--She kills Kakadu men and throws parts of herself and her belongings away, some for the women, some for the men.--She makes mosquitoes.--The men she killed become transformed into birds.

THE Kakadu and allied tribes have traditions which relate to two great ancestors, one a woman named Imberombera, and the other a man named Wuraka. Of these two, Imberombera is much the more important, and a legend concerning her is met with in all of the

{p. 276}

tribes now occupying the Coburg Peninsula and the country drained by the Alligator rivers.

Wuraka came from the west, walking through the sea. His feet were on the bottom but he was so tall that his head was well above the surface of the water. He landed at a place called Allukaladi, between what are now known as Mts. Bidwell and Roe, both of which he made. His first sleeping place, after coming out on to land, was at Woralia. He then came on to Umurunguk and so to Adjerakuk and Aruwurkwain, at each of which he slept one night.

The woman, Imberombera, also walked through the sea and landed at what is now known as Malay Bay, the native name being Wungaran. She met Wuraka at Arakwurkwain. Imberombera said to him, "Where are you going?" He said, "I am going straight through the bush to the rising sun." The first language they spoke was Iwaidja, that s, the language of the people of Port Essington. Wuraka carried his penis, or parla, over his shoulder. He said to Imberombera, ngainma parla nungeroboama, my penis is too heavy; ngainma wilalu jirongadda, my camp is close by; ngeinyimma ngoro breikul, you go a long way.

At that time there were no black-fellows. Imberombera wanted Wuraka to come with her, but he was too tired and his penis was too heavy, so he sat down where he was, and a great rock, called by the natives Wuraka, and by the white men Tor Rock, arose to mark the spot, Imberombera had a huge stomach in which she carried many children, and on her head she wore a bamboo ring from which hung down numbers of dilly bags full of yams. She also carried a very large stick or wairbi.

At a place called Marpur, close to where she and Wuraka met, she left boy and girl spirit children and

{p. 277}

told them to speak Iwaidja. She also planted many yams there and said to the children whom she left behind, ungatidda jam, these are good to eat.

She went on to Muruni, leaving yams and spirit children, and told them also to speak Iwaidja. From Muruni she went on, by way of Kumara, to Areidjut, close to Mamul, on what is now called Cooper's Creek, which runs into the sea to the north of the mouth of the East Alligator River. At Mamul she left children, one boy being called Kominuuru, and told them to speak the Umoriu language. The only food supply she left here was Murarowa--a Cyprus bulb. She crossed the creek and went on to Yiralka but left no children there. This was close to the East Alligator River which she crossed and then came, in succession, to Jeri, Kumboyu, Munguruburaira and Uramaijino, where she opened up her dilly bags and scattered yams broadcast. She went on to Jaiyipali, where again she left food supplies. She searched around for a good camping place and, first of all, sat down in a water pool but the leeches came in numbers and fastened themselves on her, so she came out of the water and decided to camp on dry land, saying that she would go into the bush. Accordingly, she did so and camped at Inbinjairi. Here she threw the seeds of the bamboo, Koulu, in all directions and also left children, one of whom was a boy named Kalangeit Nuana.

As she travelled along, Imberombera sent out various spirit children to different parts of the country, telling them to speak different languages. She sent them to ten places, in each case instructing them as follows

(1) Gnaruk ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoyo Koranger.
(2) Watta ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoro Kurnboyu.
(3) Kakadu ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoro Munganillida.
(4) Witji ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoro Miortu.
(5) Puneitja ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoro Jaijipali. {p. 278}
(6) Koarnbut ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoro Kapalgo.
(7) Ngornbur ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoro Illari.
(8) Umbugwalur ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoro Owe.
(9) Djowei ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoro Nauillanja.
(10) Geimbio ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoro Waimbi.

The first word in each of these is the name of language which the children were to speak; ngeinyimma means you or yours; tjikaru is talk or language; gnoro is go, and the last word is the name of the place to which she sent them. Each of these places is regarded as the central camping ground of their respective tribes.

Imberombera is thus supposed to have been the founder of the ten tribes above named, all of whom, at the present day, inhabit the Coburg Peninsula and the country east and west of this, for some distance, along the coast line, as well as the inland parts drained by the East, South, and West Alligator Rivers.

It is most extraordinary how detailed are the traditions in regard to her and the individuals, some of whom she left in, or sent to, certain local centres and others of whom she sent out from her last camping place. In what follows I give details in regard to certain of these individuals. They were told us by a native called Araiya whose memory was wonderful. He is recognised as a great authority on these matters and, after checking the lists and also comparing them with information supplied in regard to other traditions, concerning the old ancestors, I think that the information may be regarded as accurate. It will be seen that he knew not only the principal people sent out by Imberombera from her last camping place at Inbinjairi, but also the names of the individuals in all the different local groups; he knew also whom they respectively married and the totemic group to which each of them belonged. It is, of course, quite possible that one or other of

{p. 279}

these local groups comprised more individuals than those whose names he gave us.

So far as the Kakadu and allied tribes are concerned there appear to be four groups of mythical ancestors:--

(A) Imberombera.
(B) Pairs of men and women sent out by Imberombera from Inbinjairi.
(C) Pairs of men and women sent out, at a subsequent time, by these (B).
(D) Individuals who had been left behind by Imberombera, or sent out by her, in the form of spirit children, or Iwaiyus, to different places when she travelled across the country.

It must be remembered that Imberombera is regarded as the original great ancestor from whom all the others emanated. It was she who originally walked over the country, making creeks, hills, animals, and plants, and though, at a later period, others amongst the early ancestors took part in the production and distribution of natives and different objects associated with them, and took part, also, in such matters as the distribution of totems, yet they one and all derived their powers, in the first instance, from Imberombera and were supposed to be acting under her instructions in everything that they did.

I have already dealt with Imberombera and will now deal with the other groups; but, before doing this in detail, one point in connection with the fourth and last (D) may be referred to. They form the original ten groups of spirit children, all of whom emanated from Imberombera and, at a later period, went inside the women sent out to various parts. They have, ever since, been undergoing a series of reincarnations, each one retaining, throughout, his or her original name. The men and women included in C are really a special number of those in D, who were incarnated at an earlier stage than the rest. The whole system, as elaborated by the {p. 280} Kakadu, gives us the most complete development of the reincarnation theory with which I am acquainted amongst these tribes. Some idea of the definiteness of the traditions may be gathered from the following account, given to us by three leading Kakadu men, one of whom especially, as already said, is noted for his superior knowledge in regard to these matters.

(B). Pairs of men and women sent out by Imberombera from Inbinjairi, her final camping ground. There were five of these, as follows, the letter m. indicating the man and f. the woman:--

(1) Kroaran (m.) and Munjerimala (f.), sent to Unbaringadamba.
(2) Nuinadalulk (m.) and Pulamoki (f.), sent to Jaijipala.
(3) Kuloma (m.) and Munganepa (f.) sent to Ingitpu.
(4) Kormi (m.) and Mumaraerk (f.), sent to Karal.
(5) Nowarna (m.) and Kumanangaira (f.), sent to Imbunijairi.

Each of these pairs had children, who again were sent out in pairs--five also, just as in the first instance--and told to go to various parts of the country to form what may be called local centres or groups. They were sent to places already prepared by Imberombera for their reception, and at which she had, during her travels, left, or to which she had sent, spirit children. It will be seen that there is a fundamental resemblance between this belief and that of the Arunta and other Central tribes, such as the Warramunga, for example, but that, at the same time, the traditions, which must once have had a common origin, have become both more highly developed and, at the same time, more sharply defined in the Kakadu and northern coastal tribes. The Arunta believe that the old ancestors wandered over the country in groups, kangaroo men and women in one, emu people in another, and so on, depositing spirit children in various local centres. The Warramunga belief is that each

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totemic group had one great ancestor who followed a definite and well known track as he wandered over the country. These ancestors made all the country as they passed along and, at certain places, left spirit children behind them. In the Kakadu there is, originally, just one great ancestor--Imberombera--who, in the beginning, was really responsible for everything. Possibly the myth concerning Wuraka may be the vestige of older traditions which, as in the Warramunga, were concerned with many wandering ancestors. In the Arunta and Warramunga tribes, each ancestor, or group of ancestors, was, so to speak, responsible for one totemic group, but in the Kakadu, Imberombera was responsible for all and she it was who distributed everything to the first five pairs whom she sent out. They, in their turn, acting always under instructions received from Imberombera, sent out other individuals to other parts. Imberombera herself was responsible for all the spirit children.

(C). Each of the five pairs sent out first by Imberombera, the names of whom are given above, had children. The names of all of these are carefully preserved, but it will suffice to give those of the supposed offspring of one pair, Munjerimala and Kroaran. They were as follows:--

(a) Pundamunga (m.) and Maramma (f.), sent to Koreingin.
(b) Miniorko (m.) and Japo (f.), sent to Kubarnbi.
(c) Narapalo (m.) and Kolabiljailpinja (f.), sent to Munmileri.
(d) Prienbi (m.) and Kurinuwalla (f.) sent to Kulapari.
(e) Muraupu (m.) and Juluuperi (f.), sent to Kupperi.

(D). Each one of these pairs formed a local centre, where spirit children of different totemic groups are mixed together, there being no such local segregation of totemic groups as are met with in the Arunta. These are the spirit children who were deposited, or sent out, in

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the first instance by Imberombera. Entering into the women of these various pairs, they were born in human form. The term Murumbudui is applied to these local centres. The same word also is used by a native when he speaks of any place as "my country" and to the special spot where his Iwaiyu and Yalmuru are supposed to live.

The following lists give the complete series of children born to the different pairs of men and women sent out by Imberombera from Inbinjairi, together with their totems.

(a). The children of Pundamunga and Maramma. The letter m. indicates a man and f. a woman:--




Mukalakki, m.

Ulloa (a fish).

Kumaraua, f.

Kintjilbara (a snake).

Mindarpul, m.

Tjameru (a fish).

Mangul, m.

Narenma (a snake).

Munmona, m.

Mormo (sugar-bag).

Yukari, f.

Kimberikara (Barramunda fish).

Nungorpi, m.

Kurnembo (goose).

Jerobolu, f.

Jailba (sugar-bag).

Kulingepu, m.

Moain (a fish).

Nabidopoama, f.

Kudbauu (a fish).

Muppulbara, m.

Murno (opossum).

Madingeya, f.

Mormo (sugar-bag).

Nabanja, m.

Kadigbaku (a yam).

Ukairi, f.

Jailba (sugar-bag).

Chillingogo, m.

Narenma (a snake).

Ngulloa, f.

Ngulloa (a fish).

Naroma, m.

Tjinara (a large yam).

Purnonga, f.

Kudjalinga (turtle).

Noornmill, m.

Kunaitja (cat-fish).

Elenbremer, f.

Tiradjuno (water-snake).

Elimojako, m.

Karakera (spur-winged plover).

Kunbarikara, f.

Pitjordu (goanna).

Ningemo, m.

Eribinjori (crocodile).

Elmukarango, f.

Tjameru (a fish).

Ungorpu, m.

Mormo (sugar-bag).

Kudbauu, f.

Kudbauu, (a fish),


{p. 283}




Mundanga, m.

Putamunga (water-lizard).

Kundori, f.

Kintjilbara (a snake).

Kunmaku, m.

Kudjalinga (turtle).

Kurakinumba, f.

Puneri (a lizard).

Nurrakorda, m.

Narenma (a snake).

Mudjerelil, f.

Kunaitja (mullet).

Mundelpi, m.

Jimmidauappa (a small fish).

Korarura, f.

Tjilaka (Jew fish).

Araiya, m.

Mormo (sugar-bag).

Nullwoiyu, m.

Kudjalinga (turtle).

Murawillawill, m.

Eribinjori (crocodile).

Nungori, m.

Jimmidauappa (a. small fish).

Kunamullajumbo, m.

Kimberikara (Barramunda fish).

Munamillamijaka, m.

Tjameru (a fish).


(b). The children of Miniorko and Japo.


Opeik, m.

Mormo (sugar-bag).

Maringanja, f.

Tjameru (a small fish).

Munialli, m.

Kintjilbara (a snake).

Mukulora, f.

Jailba (sugar-bag).

Mungerei, m.

Kunbaritja (a fish).

Murrakaka, f.

Pitjordu (a lizard).

Minjeramak, f.

Kunaitja (mullet).

Umalenji, m.

Tjunara (a yam).

Kengir, m.

Kintjilbara (a snake).

Niori, f.

Jimmidauappa (a small fish).

Kunawalla, m.

Narenma (a snake).

Mumateki, f.

Tjilaka (Jew fish).

Unuwara, m.

Jailba (sugar-bag).

Norogorain, f.

Mormo (sugar-bag).

Illmandi, m.

Tjameru (a small fish).

Adungariri, f.

Mormo (sugar-bag).

Murumoiyu, m.

Kulekuli (cat-fish).

Nadbeyu, f.

Kunaitja (mullet).

Eringbaiya, m.

Karakera (spur-winged plover).

Miminan, f.

Kintjilbara (a snake).

Mudjuboidbu, m.

Kimberikara (Barramunda fish).

Jerikanjamera, f.

Kulekuli (cat-fish).

Murrujung, m.

Jailba (sugar-bag).

Morlun, f.

Tjilaka (Jew fish).

Mitjereuppa, f.

Jailba (sugar-bag).

Kunuworla, m.

Mormo (sugar-bag).

Mitjunga, f.

Kurnembo (goose).


{p. 284}

(c). The children of Nurapalo and Kolabiljailpinja.




Mungaropanyan, m.

Brutpenniweir (jabiru).

Momadingum, f.

Kurnembo (goose).

Kuluweya, m.

Pitjordu (a lizard).

Ulparana, f.

Narenma (a snake).

Unbarangil, m.

Kudjalinga, (turtle).

Kularanna, f.

Karakera (spur-winged plover).

Kurangadermo, m.

Eribinjori (crocodile).

Tanjil, m.

Kimberikara (Barramunda fish).

Kuroeiri, f.

Narenma (a snake).

Numungara, f.

Murno (opossum).

Wardalberra, m.

Kunaitja (mullet).

Mumberangi, f.

Murno (opossum).

Murraburra, m.

Unari (a lizard).

Munguraberara, f.

Narenma (a snake).

Nullarki, m.

Mormo (sugar bag).

Kutjukaitja, f.

Eribinjori (crocodile).


(a). The children of Prienbi and Kurinuwalla.


Injilubari, m.

Kunbaritja (a small fish).

Munaupu, f.

Kulekuli (cat-fish).

Durdabrienapora, m.

Moain (a fish).

Uluongi, f.

Karakera (black shag).

Tjilari, m.

Mormo (sugar-bag).

Unmunmunorku, m.

Kimberikara (Baramunda fish).

Inbortcha, m.

Tjilaka (Jew fish).

Nanjil, f.

Tjailba (sugar-bag).

Kopernga, m.

Kudjalinga (turtle).

Allarma, f.

Mormo (sugar-bag).

Mukamur, m.

Tjiradjino (water-snake).

Muroko, f.

Kunbaritcha (a small fish).

Umaraigwin, m.

Kudjalinga (turtle).

Wureia, f.

Tjameru (a small fish).

Wadinma, m.

Kimberikara (Barramunda fish).

Irrapurari, f.

Jimmidauappa (a small fish).

Tjuranaidjo, m.

Ulloa (a fish).

Kullorkullwa, f.

Kimberikara (Barramunda fish).

Maringmowa, m.

Tjunara (a yam).

Kopounda, f.

Kintjilbara (a snake).


{p. 285}


(e). The children of Muraupu and Juluuperei.




Murali, m.

Kalerungeni (flying-fox).

Narilala, f.

Jailba (sugar-bag).

Momainba, m.

Tjameru (a small fish). .

Palmo, f.

Kurnembo (goose).

Munamira, m.

Kudjalinja (turtle).

Pukawa, f.

Wiridjonga (lily seed).

Mungordua, m.

Tjilaka (Jew fish).

Mikoroli, f.

Nuppadaitba (a fish).

Undoru, m.

Tjunara (a yam).

Narraboalmerri, f.

Wiridjonga (lily seed).

Nullinjai, m.

Tjunara (a yam).

Geirwana, f.

Kimberikara (Barramunda fish).

Murumbari, m.

Tjameru (a fish).

Merringjama, f.

Mornu (opossum).

Mumulunguru, m.

Boirimun (a rat).

Mumulagi, f.

Kurnembo (goose).

Mungurauu, m.

Jailba (sugar-bag).

Murumbaiya, f.

Karakera (spur-winged plover).

Marauwill, m.

Kudjalinga (turtle).

Narapalabilla, f.

Kunbaritja (small fish).

Tjilangbir, m.

Jailba (sugar-bag).

Mikerni, f.

Nguloa (a fish).

Mundenbi, m.

Mornu (opossum).

Kutjibunba, f.

Kurnembo (goose).


It must be remembered that Imberombera is supposed to have given instructions to the first series of pairs whom she sent out (Kroaran and Minjerimala, etc.) telling them to go to certain places and there eat the food supplies, yams, lilies, sugar-bag, etc., that she had made and left behind for them. She also told them all about the Jereipunga, or totems, and instructed them to give these names to the different spirit children. They in their turn handed on the instructions to the pairs of men and women whom they sent out.

At first the ancestors of the Kakadu group of tribes had no definite marriage system, and at the present day they have no classificatory system governing marriage

{p. 286}

such as is characteristic of what may be regarded as typical Australian tribes. In this respect they stand in strong contrast to tribes such as the Yungman, Warri, and others with whom they come into contact on the south and west of their own country. Of the tribes on their eastern boundaries we know nothing as yet. The Kakadu seem to differ in this respect from neighbouring tribes as profoundly as they do in their initiation rites. The only organisation that they appear to have is a local one based upon the groups referred to above. Tradition says that the head men of the groups talked the matter over amongst themselves and decided to institute an exchange of lubras between their respective groups. Pundamunga and Miniorko, for example, agreed upon this, so one day Miniorko set out from his camp at Kubarnbi, taking with him Opeik, a man, and Maringjanga, a woman. He walked between them as they journeyed along to Pundamunga's camp at Koreingin, where he found the former seated on the ground with Mukalakki, a man, on one side, and Kudbau, a lubra, on the other. In both cases, of course, the man and woman, that is, respectively, Opeik and Maringjanja, Mukalakki and Kudbau, were supposed to be brother and sister. The three from the Kubarnbi camp sat down immediately opposite the other three. The two women, Maringjanga and Kudbau, had each of them a norkun, that is, a goose wing, which is commonly used as a fan to keep flies off, in front of their faces so as to prevent them from seeing their brothers, or from being seen by them. Pundamunga said to Kudbau, Yapo Opeik, ngomukali ngeinyimma, breikul baranga, go to Opeik, (he is) your ngomukali (husband), far away from your elder brother. She accordingly went and sat behind him. In the same way, Maringjanga was told by Miniorko to go and sit behind Mukalakki, who was her proper husband. {p. 287} Maringjanga stayed with Mukalakki in his camp at Koreingin, and Kudbau returned with Opeik to Kubarnbi.

When this little ceremony was over, Pundamunga went over to where Miniorko was sitting, and said to him: Nygeinyimma nungordua umbali, have you got plenty of women? Miniorko said, ngainma ungornberri munna wilalu ngainma umbali, I have plenty of daughters there in my camp. Pundamunga said, kormilda mureyida, to-morrow we will all go. Accordingly, next day he set out, taking with him one lubra, named Maringeya, and four men, Munmona, Kulungepa, Mupulbara, and Mudanga. When they reached Kubarnbi they found Miniorko seated by himself with the gerewin and umulakirri, that is, the men and women's camps, a short distance behind him, far enough away for him not to be heard unless he spoke loudly. The old man Pundamunga went and sat down beside Miniorko; the four men he had brought with him squatted on the ground in such a position that the two old men were between them and the camps. Madingeya was by herself, a little to one side, with a norkun in front of her face. Miniorko called a man named Muniali out of the men's camp, and he came and sat down. Then Pundamunga, told Madingeya to go and sit behind Miniali, because he was her proper husband, which she did. The mother of Miniali said to him, maba jamo jauo, ngeinyimma nungordua, which means, literally, son food you eat, your lubra; in other words, she meant that the lubra would now provide him with food. The elder brother, Opeik, who had already been provided with a wife, said to Miniali, illaberri, preya wilalu mungari jirongadda, younger brother, come and camp close by here. Pundamunga then called Monmuna up, and he sat down. Miniorko called a lubra named {p. 288} Mukulora out of the women's camp and told her to go and sit behind Monmuna, because he was her proper husband. Then these two went some little distance away from Opeik and Muniali, who did not invite them to come close to their camp because the woman was Opeik's sister.

When this was over, Pundamunga, accompanied by Monmuna and Mukalora, together with Kulingepu, Mupulbara and Mudanga, returned to Koreingin. In this way, sooner or later, all the members of the local groups were provided, respectively, with wives or husbands. The old leaders of the local groups, who had received instructions, emanating originally from Imberombera, finally determined the man or woman whom each individual was to marry. At the present day the only organisation controlling marriage in these tribes, so far as I could discover, is based on the existence of these local groups. A man of any one local group takes his wife, from the same local group from which the old ancestor, of whom he is the reincarnation, originally derived his.

In the following table a complete list of the intermarriages of the various men and women comprised in the Pundamunga-Naramma group is given.

The information was given to Mr. Cahill and myself by the same man who gave us that which is included in the foregoing lists, and whose memory and knowledge in regard to these matters was most extraordinary.

(1) Wives of the men of Pundamunga's group.









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(2) Husbands of the women of Pundamunga's group.









The localities in the first of these two lists are those of the wives, and in the second those of the husbands. At the present time the man must take as wife a woman belonging to the same locality as that in which the man of whom he is the reincarnation and whose name he bears originally secured his.

{p. 290}


Numereji is the name of a great snake that figures largely in the traditions of the Kakadu tribe. It appeared first at a place, called Kumbulmorma, which lies on a wide, open plain between the East Alligator River and Cooper's Creek. Not far away, at Yiringira, a large number of natives were camped and, amongst them, was a baby, crying. The snake came along with his head high in the air and said: Waji bialilla, yana waji bialilla--there is a child crying, where is the child crying? It turned its head round from side to side and went down into the ground, then it came up again and circled round and round the camp. The child was still crying and one native was blowing a trumpet. The snake then put his head up close to the child and sucked it in. The natives were terribly frightened and all started to run away, but Numereji folded his tongue round each one in turn and licked them in, until he had devoured them all save one old lubra, named Kominiyamana, who had climbed up into a tree and kept quite quiet for a long time. Most unfortunately, the mosquitoes were so thick that she could not help smacking herself, every now and then, to kill them. Numereji listened and said, Hallo! there is someone there, on top, He lifted up his head and sucked her in with his long tongue. His stomach was now simply full of black fellows.

He travelled along on the top of the ground to a place called Maipolk on the East Alligator River, arched his head up, put it down on the other side, so that his body made a great bow across the river and then, leaning on his head, swung his tail across. As he travelled along,

{p. 291}

saw some more natives but, though he went along, lying flat in the ground and making as little noise as possible, he frightened a mob of white cranes and cockatoos that rose, screaming, from the trees. The natives of course saw them and knew that something must have disturbed them. They went to see, saying, What is the matter, what has frightened them? One native went ahead and shouted out Kuwi! Kuwi![1] Come here, come here. He had caught sight of Numereji and said to the others when they came up, Look, what is the name of this big fellow? Numereji was lying down resting, gorged with black fellows. A very large number of natives came up. They all called out, Ameina! Ameina! What is it? What is it? Those in front said to those behind, come up close and look at the Morpiu.[2]

Its belly was sunk deep in mud, but its back projected high in the air. Numereji was so tired that he had gone to sleep. They all came close up and one old man who had heard of him and what he was like, said, This is Numereji. Ah! Ah! they said, is it? is it? This is the first time we have seen him. The old man talked to the snake and said, What have you been eating that your belly is so big? but the snake made no reply. Then the old man accused him of having eaten the black fellows, saying, Urawalla jereini jau--It is the Urawulla men that you have eaten. Then Numereji awoke, lifted himself up, put down his head and vomited forth the bones of all the men and women he had eaten. The bones have remained there to this day in the form of stones.

Numereji then went on to a place called Mungeruauera, where he went into the ground and there he remained.

[1. This is pronounced in almost exactly the same way as the characteristic Australian call, spelt, usually, Cooee.

2. Morpiu is a general name for animals of any kind.]

{p. 292}



There were four men, Joemin, an elder brother, and Numuraupu his younger brother. Joemin had a son, called Mukurlul, and Numuraupu had one, called Kardimenjil. Joemin had stolen a small Numereji snake which he cut in two. The front half grew a new short tail, the hinder half died. Joemin carried the front half under his arm. The old Numereji snake remained in the creek at Mungeruauera, in fact, he is there still. The medicine man can see him but the ordinary natives do not drink there because they are afraid that, if they were to do so, Numereji would draw them in and eat them.

When Joemin cut the little snake in two, he drank some of the blood that flowed out, drained the rest into a shell, and then carried the latter and the snake along with him. He came to a place called Mulipaji and there he left some of the snake's blood, and made thereby a kumali wilalu, that is a kumali or sacred camp. The natives call this part of the country wilalu manungel, or blood country, and only medicine men go there, the others are too frightened. If they were to go near to it their fingers would break.

Joemin went to Mulipaji by himself and then returned to the others, bringing the snake with him. His young brother, Numuraupu, said to him, Baranga brau morpiu koregora, Brother, give me the snake to look at. Before coming into the camp, Joemin had hidden the snake a little distance away. First of all he rubbed his younger

{p. 293}

brother's eyes, or else the latter would not have been able to look at the snake, and then went away and returned with the snake. When Numuraupu looked at it, the snake opened his mouth and rattled his teeth. Joemin said to Numuraupu, Koregora pierda, look hard. Numereji's eyes were very large and bright. Joemin said, do not be frightened, look at it hard and your eyes will be an right. Numuraupu felt the snake with his fingers and said, it is very slippery. Joemin said, Illaberi, karu pierda kala, kularu kangu, that is, young brother, hold it firmly lift it up high. Numuraupu did as he was told and lifted the snake with his arm underneath it. Numuraupu was very frightened and trembled all over. Joemin said Koyada kumari, kara pierda kala, do not be frightened, hold it firmly. Numereji's mouth was opened and his teeth were rattling. The snake looked at the camp and was very angry or, as the natives call it, he was, Tjiritjeriyu widjeru, the latter word means "very," the former is a word applied to any man or animal that is always what the natives term "growling." Joemin said to his younger brother, hold it hard, Kara pierda kala, balera naigeri kuileila, if you do not your fingers will break. Joemin gave the snake to Numuraupu, saying Illaberi, ngeinyimma, ngai ningeri, young brother (that is) yours, I (will get) a new one. The snake lifted its body up with its head pointing forwards. It had a long snout and long jaws. The two men carrying it went towards the camp. When they came close up they put the snake down on the ground and, after covering It over with leaves and grass, left it and went on to the camp. It was now midnight and Numuraupu, instead of staying ill camp, returned once more to where the Numereji was secreted, leaving Joemin in camp. He uncovered the snake and, picking it up, carried it away

{p. 294}

and placed it by Joemin's side. Both Joemin and Numuraupu had a ranken kobonja, that is a wurley or bush shade made of paper-bark. Numereji said, Clck, Clck, Clck, and this woke up the natives, who said, Ameina, munanji? What is it, what is the matter? The snake went on, Clck, Clck, Clck, while Joemin lay still, pretending to be asleep. Numuraupu kept very quiet, pretending also to be asleep, but, in reality, he was listening. One of the men came up to Joemin and awoke him, calling him Murabulbu--that is, old man. Joemin said, Oeka, kala, tjikora oronga--go back, all right, lie down and sleep; so he went back. Then Numuraupu went into Joemin's camp, lifted the snake up and took it away to where it had been hidden before, and covered it with leaves. He said to it, Tjikora oronga, ngainma japu morpiu, madida auworkai wilalu kari; Lie down and sleep, I go (to get) food, to-night I come back to the camp and take you.

Two days later a child, about five or six years old, died and, as usual, the body was put on a stage of boughs in a tree. Joemin said to Numuraupu, ngainma areya numureji ningeri; I am going (to get) a new Numereji. Before starting, he went to the tree grave, cut open the child's body so as to get the fat (paloma) especially the "kidney fat," and cut off both heels for the same purpose. He wrapped the fat up in leaves and then put it in a shell (nambi), after which he carne back to where Numuraupu was seated in camp. Joemin carrying the fat and Numuraupu carrying the Numereji, set out from camp. A long way off they came to a big ant hill, a Mupungalu. Joemin told Numuraupu to go little distance away with his Numereji and hold it hard, Then he collected dry, stringy bark, and, twirling one stick on another, made a fire at the foot of the ant hill. Then

{p. 295}

he took some of the dead child's fat and put it on the fire, where it soon began to sizzle. There were several Numereji under the ant hill, and they smelt the burning fat. Joemin went a little way off from the fire and then carne back again and put some more fat on, and again it sizzled. This time a Numereji came out and Joemin captured it. Numuraupu, holding his snake hard, brought it up to where Joemin had the new one. The latter licked the old snake. Joemin's was a small one, and he placed it on the ground by the side of the other, which was much bigger. They measured the two on the ground side by side. Joemin had a stone knife, Tjumaiin, and, holding this firmly in his left hand, he cut the hind end off Numuraupu's snake so as to make them both the same length (Fig. 66). Neither of the snakes growled. Then they lifted the two up and rubbed and cleaned them. In this way Joemin got a new Numereji.


In the Kakadu tribe there is a close association between Numereji and the medicine men. They alone are supposed not only to be able to see him, but to have eyes that can withstand his glance; other natives are unable to do this.

At the present time new medicine men are initiated by the old ones. In the early days Joemin was the first medicine man, and he made others, and showed them what had to be done. At first Joemin's eyes were like those of other men, and he could not see Numereji. One day he went to a water hole and, looking over the edge, he saw his shadow, or iwaiyu.[1] He looked all about.

[1. This same term iwaiyu is applied both to a man's spirit part and to his shadow.]

{p. 296} Then he put his head under water and opened his eyes. Day after day he did this, which is called Karareyu poro, washing eyes. Gradually they became very bright and piercing, Tjiralala poro, very good eyes, so that he could see at any distance, and could look right through men, trees, and rocks. He looked and looked all round, but could not see Numereji. Then he travelled on and came to Kunyembulul, where Numereji had eaten a lot of black-fellows, and there he found him quietly resting. Ah, he said, Numereji yori, Numereji lying down. Numereji was a great size. Joemin said to him, ngeinya jereini yana yau, where are the men you have eaten? Numereji said nothing, but just yawned. Joemin spoke to him again and said, ura wilalu jau jereini, you have eaten another camp of men. After this, Numereji vomited up an enormous mass of bones, the size of a great hill.

The old Numereji carried young ones twisted round it and feeding at the snake's breast. Joemin said, ilauila ngainma, I will have the little one; koyada ngainma jeri, do not growl at me; jereini jau bali, you have eaten plenty of men. Numereji just shut his eyes. Joemin caught a little snake, while the old Numereji laid down and took no notice of him. Joemin had provided himself with a large shell, and, after securing the snake, he cut it in two and let some of the blood flow into the shell, which, together with the snake, he carried on with him to Mulipaji, as already described. Joemin had a son called Mukurlul. When he grew old he said to the latter, balera ngaiya[1] wariji, later on I die; balera ngeinyimma unkoregora Numereji, later on you look out Numereji, which meant that the son was

[1. The word for I is either ngainma or ngaiya--for me the word ngainma is used.]

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to take his place as a medicine man. Accordingly, accompanied by Mukurlul, he went close to the Munangel wilalu, or blood camp, at Mulipaji. Each of them, Joemin and Mukurlul, had left all their armlets, necklets, wristlets, and hair belts at the home camp. Joemin took his small Numereji with him, and, while Mukurlul bathed and washed himself clean, the former took the snake to the blood camp. Then he said to his son, mareyimma unkoregora Numereji, we two go and see Numereji. Joemin brought out the shell that he had previously left, full of blood, at the camp and showed it to Mukurlul, saying, koregora munangel, koregora pierda, which means, look at the blood, look at it hard. Then he took a leaf (marlil), put some blood on it, and rubbed it over Mukurlul's head, arms, and shoulders, saying, pierda murongada, strong back; pierda korto, strong arms; pierda waira, strong sinews; tjiralala poro, good eyes; kapena poro, keen-sighted eyes. Then, taking some more blood, he said, munangel jau; he made him open his mouth wide (maiinya) and gave him some to cat, saying, munangel jau, eat the blood, araji kala, right down koyada nanjil umberdaroitba, don't let your tongue taste it; kulijidbo kumali, kulijidbo (a yam) is kumali; balera koyada jau kulijidbo, mapolo mornda murawarda, later on don't eat kulijidbo, your stomach will be very bad or swollen, meaning that the kulijidbo will grow and swell inside him. Certain kinds of yams, such as Kulijidbo, Mornun, and Gunumaramila, are kumali to a man who is being made into a doctor. They all belong to what are called "hot" yams, which must be specially treated before being eaten, or else they cause much irritation in the mouth. The idea that medicine men must not eat "hot" things seems to be widely prevalent. In the Arunta tribe the same belief holds. A medicine man has been

{p. 298}

known suddenly to lose his powers after drinking hot tea given to him by a white man.

When all was over, Joemin went, got the Numereji, and, bringing it back, said to Mukurlul, Ngoornberri koregora kala, son, look, all right. The boy was silent. Joemin said, morpiu koregora, Numereji koregora, look at the snake, look at Numereji. Numereji licked his mouth and rattled his teeth. Then Joemin, handing the snake to Mukurlul, said, kara pierda, hold it hard. Koregora pierda, balera, poro mornda, look hard (or) afterwards your eyes will be bad. Then he put the snake under Mukurlul's arm, saying, the snake is yours; kara pierda, wainyan korto, hold it firmly (under your) left arm. Then Joemin said, ngeinyimma Marunga, you are Marunga,[1] that is, medicine man. Mukurlul replied, ngaiya Marunga, I am Marunga. Joemin said, mareyimma wilalu, we two go back to camp; pierda gneinyimma kutera, gnai pari, you go well in front, I behind. They went towards the camp, Mukurlul carrying the Numereji and Joemin a special large warbi, or fighting club. When they came near to the camp Joemin said, Ngoornberri, ngeinyimma pari, son, you stay behind. Joemin left his warbi and went on alone. In camp he told the lubras to go out and gather paper bark. They did so, brought it into camp, and built with it a new wurley, or bough shade. Meanwhile, Joemin made his camp between that of the men and the spot where Mukurlul was hidden with the Numereji, which he still held firmly. Later on, under cover of darkness, Mukurlul came into the new wurley, bringing the snake with him.

The natives in camp said; nigeri Marunga, kumali, a new Marunga, he is kumali. Mukurlul rubbed himself

[1. This word is pronounced in at least three different ways as if it were spelt Mari, Marunga, or Maringa.]

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over with burnt grass. For four days he remained in the wurley, food being taken to him by his father, to whom it was given by his mother. No lubra was allowed to go near the wurley, which was kumali and no track out of camp passed near it. When the four days were over he came into camp. The Numereji he still kept, but no one could see it save medicine men.


Two brothers, both of whom were called Naberayingamna, came to the Kakadu country, walking above ground, from a place close to what is now called Burundi. They had very long beards and were much the same as black fellows except for the fact that they were very much bigger men. They had one old and one new chipoiyu or fishing net. Travelling on, they came to a place called Ingertpu, a camp on the East Alligator River, just at the end of the tidal part. Here they threw their nets into the water and drew them out full of cat-fish. They determined to make a fire, cook and eat the fish, which, accordingly, they did. When this was over they took their nets and journeyed on to a place close to the stone which now marks the spot at which Imberombera died. They saw a snake in the grass and the younger said to the elder brother, ameina narenma, what is the snake, or, what kind of snake is that? The elder replied, It is Kintjilbara, that is, a large venomous snake, we will eat him. They caught the snake, broke its head, cut it off and threw it away. First of all they made a fire in the earth with paper bark and heated stones on it. Then they passed the snake's body through the fire so that they could easily rub the scales off. After this

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they took a stone knife and made two cuts right along the body, one on either side of the backbone and, with the same flake, they broke the latter, at intervals, along its length. When the stones were hot enough, the body of the snake was coiled round and round them, the tall end being pushed into the cut, front end; paper bark was placed above it and then the earth was filled in. When the cooking was over, a part of the under body-wall was cut off, great care being taken not to spill any of the juice in the body-cavity, because this is regarded as a great delicacy, called juri. The native telling us the tradition showed us exactly how the elder brother lifted up the snake by each end with his arms extended so that the body formed a loop from which the juri streamed into the man's mouth. The fat was cut out and eaten first, the body was then broken in pieces and the meat eaten; finally the bones were broken. When this had been done the older man took the fragments in his mouth and spat them out in all directions saying, now all men may eat Kintjilbara, bones and all.

After eating the Kintjilbara they resumed their travels and caught sight of some natives journeying to the northeast. The younger brother said to the elder, I can see a black-fellow. The elder said, Yes that is Mimonau, we will go to him. They did so and found him eating something. They said to him, ameina jau, what are you eating? He replied, ngai Kintjilbara jau, I am eating Kintjilbara. The older brother said, gnai juro, I do the same, ngai pumana noorkudua, I have eaten one. He asked the old man where his camp was and Mimonau said, Here, and asked them, ngeinyaminna wilalu, where is your camp? The elder brother replied, areyiminna breikul, we go a long way.

The two brothers then left Mimonau and, travelling

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on, came to a big blood-wood tree on which many bees were feeding on the honey in the gum-tree flowers. The younger brother said, hearing the buzzing, What is it, is it bees? Ha! Mormo! The elder brother was carrying a keerli, or stone tomahawk, which he handed to the younger man telling him to go and cut a forked stick. He himself gathered a leaf with a spider cocoon on it, which he shredded out, and, having done this, climbed the tree by means of the forked stick which was placed slanting against the trunk. He put a little bit of the web on each bee that he could reach, singing out to them to go home, and at the same time telling his brother to watch which way they went. They followed them up and put leaves into the holes they entered so that they would know, later on, where the honey-bags were. Some of the bees, on which he put web, he sent away to distant parts to make honey bags for the natives there. One he sent to Muborarari, a place between the two Alligator Rivers. When he had done this the old man went to the first honey-bag, cut it out with his stone axe and ate it. The two brothers then went back to the river, where they had left their nets in the water, took them out and brought them on with them. They came to a creek running into the East Alligator River where they found a number of natives living in bark wurleys. The men said, We can hear the black fellows' bamboo (i.e., their bamboo trumpets), we will go and look at them. They came close up to the camp and a heavy rain fell. The younger man said, I am cold, brother. When they came near they met an old man, named Pundamunga, who was out looking for sugar-bags. He was very frightened when he saw them and said, ameina, ameina, who are you, who are you? They said to him, ameina kumeri, why are you frightened? Kowe breyu,

{p. 302}.

koyada kumeri, come here, do not be frightened. Before this they had hidden their nets.

Each of the two brothers had the skin of a Numereji snake and a separate head, like a snake. They were men, but could change themselves into snakes when they wanted to and then back again into men. As the natives say, they were Numereji men. Before coming near the camp they had put their snake skins on, but now they took them off and hid them. Pundamunga was still very frightened. They said to him, We are black-fellows, do not be frightened, where is your camp? The two men then said, gnoro kutjali, nungortji, go and light a fire, we are cold. Pundamunga accordingly went and brought a fire-stick. It went out and he brought another. This also went out. Go again, they said. He did so, a third and forth time, but it always went out. The rain meanwhile was coming down in torrents. After a fifth unsuccessful attempt, the men told him to go to his camp and stay there. He did so and slept by his fire. The other men in camp were making a corrobboree and striking sticks together. The two brothers said, We will put on our Numereji skins and eat the men. Then they went to where their skins were hidden, blew them up, took their own black-fellow skins off and went into the Numereji ones. They had heads and teeth just like a Numereji and were of huge size. After moving about for some time they went underground until they came to the camp where the natives were corrobboreeing. The natives, except Pundamunga who was asleep, knew nothing about their presence, and the two snake men first of all came out and looked at the men in camp and then, going down again, suddenly arose under the camp, smashed it into bits and then devoured everything, men, women, children, weapons, in fact the whole

{p. 303}

camp and all that it contained. After that they went to sleep. The hole that they made when they came out is still to be seen at Jipaiumba and also two depressions in the ground where they slept. When they awoke they travelled on and, at a place called Purluwa, vomited up the bones, which turned into stone. At Purluwa also they shed their skins and changed themselves into black-fellows, putting their Numereji skins into bags. Then they came on to Kulapari, where there is a water pool, in which they put one of their nets. During the night this changed into a Numereji which came out and went on to the plains bordering the river and then back into the latter by way of a small creek.

The elder brother woke up early next morning and went to the river to see if there were any fish in the net, but it was not there. He called out to his younger brother, chipoiyu kaio, the net is not here. Of their two nets one was an old one, the other new, and it was the latter that had gone. They put their two snake skins in the one net and then followed up the tracks of the snake that they could clearly see going across the plain. The tracks led them across the latter and then back to the mangroves, where they went into the creek. Here they decided to leave the tracks and go round and try to head the Numereji. They ran quickly and caught sight of him, shouting, Here he is. They came up and tried to pull him out, but the snake said, I will stop here, this is my home. The brothers said, We will leave him, and went back to Tjironguda, close to Imorji, two places on the East Alligator River. They travelled on and came to a spot where they made a hill, called Tjaruma. They crossed the plains, at Mijela, where there is much sand, so that the place is called Mijela wilalu--the sand

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camp. They looked up and saw a hill, called Injoanbeli and the younger man said, Brother, there are stones there. He was carrying the net with the skins in and it was very heavy. However, the older man said, We will not stop here, we will go on further. They went on to Murakamiaiji, a billabong close to the range of hills that skirts the plains, and halted beside the water, saying quialu nanjil meja, we are hungry, we will fish. The young man made a fishing line out of shredded bark and they caught and cooked some fish.

Here they left the Kakadu country and came into that of the Geimbio. The older man said to the younger, Give me a string. He only replied, um, um. They baited the line with meat and the old man caught a cat-fish. He talked to his younger brother in Kakadu, but he would not answer and only said, um, um, and nodded his head. When they tried, later on, to pull the line out they found that there was something very heavy on it. The two men pulled hard, swaying about from side to side, but could not draw it out. The older man said to the other, Go and get a strong stick and we will tie the string on and hold hard. It was all of no use and the older man, who was nearest to the water, was pulled in, though his brother held on hard, but could not keep him out. The water was very clear and the younger brother could see right down to the bottom. He said, Where is my brother? At last he threw his net in and all that he had and dived down in search of his brother. He found him, and the old man told the younger to go back to the Geimbio country and talk Geimbio; I, he said, will go down the river and talk Kakadu. The elder brother then went into his Numereji skin and slept. He has remained there ever since, and there are still old met' alive who have seen him. Later on, the salt water came

{p. 305}

up and mixed with the fresh, hurting his eyes, so that he went down under ground, where he can still be seen by the medicine men.

The elder brother is now the Numereji of the southern division of the Kakadu tribe. The net that changed into a snake is the Numereji of the northern division. It is supposed to live at a place called Mungaddabremner on the East Alligator River, and no native, except medicine men, go there, because they are afraid that he would pull them into the water and eat them. The younger brother is now the Numereji of the Geimbio people.


Two black-fellows, who were the sons of different women, each of whom, however, was called Nimbiamananogo, went out hunting with the two women, their mothers. The men caught ducks and Karakera (spur-winged plover) on the plains, while the women got plenty of Wurijonga, that is, lily-roots and seeds, in the water pools.

At this time the men had no fire and did not know how to make it, but the women did. The latter cooked their food while the men were away in the bush and ate it by themselves. When they were just finishing they saw the men returning, away in the distance. As they did not want them to know about the fire, they quickly gathered up the ashes, which were still alight, and put them up their vulvas, so that the men should not see them. When the men came close up they said, yaninga kutjali? where or which way is the fire? The women replied, kaio kutjali, there is no kutjali; and then there was a great dispute and much noise. Finally the lubras gave the men some of their cooked Wurijonga or lily

{p. 306}

cake. When they had eaten a great deal of meat and Wurijonga they all went to sleep for a long time. Once more, when they awoke, the men went out hunting and the women cooked their food. The weather was very hot and the remnant of the first lot of birds that the men had brought in and had not eaten had gone bad. The men brought in a fresh supply, and again, ever, when they were a long way off, they saw the fire burning brightly in the women's camp. A spur-winged plover flew up and gave warning to the women that the men were coming back. Once more, they hid the fire and ashes, in the same way as before, and, again, the men asked where the fire was; the women were positive that they had none at all. The men said, We saw it. The women replied, No, you are gammoning, we have no fire. The men said, We saw a big fire; if you have no fire, which way do you cook your food? has the sun cooked it? If the sun cooks your lilies, why does it not cook our ducks and stop them from going bad. There was no reply to this. They all went to sleep, and when they woke up the men left the women and dug up the root of an iron-wood tree and got resin (kapei) from it.

Then they each took two sticks and found that they could make fire by rubbing them on one another. They said, That is all right. They had a long talk and decided to transform themselves into Eribinjori, or large crocodiles. Up to that time there were no such creatures, and they discussed what they were to be like. First of all they took a large lump of iron-wood resin, or kapei. They made a framework for their heads out of a very tough wood, called Umbarndil, using a flat stone for the top of the head. The rest of it they modelled out of kapei. Then they gathered some of the stiff stalks

{p. 307}

of all everlasting plant, called Benagra-benagra, and pierced holes for the nose. This done, they went to the jungle and cut Winbegi, or cane, to make a slit for the mouth. They made two of these frameworks, one for each man, and then put the whole thing over their heads. Then in order, so the natives told us, to enable them to breathe under water, they pierced their lungs from the outside, on each side of the body, with Winbegi knives and filled them with air through the openings thus made. One man pierced his first, and as he was successful, the other did the same. Then, with his crocodile head on, one of them dived into the water and swam away under the surface for a quarter of a mile or more. When he came to the surface he sang out, I am here now. Then the second man dived in, followed after the first and found him. They said, We are here together. Then they began playing about and had a race in the water, travelling at a great pace and ending up level.

The making of the heads had taken a long time, so that they had now been away two days, and, after discussing the matter, they decided to return to camp. Before doing so, however, they laid their crocodile heads on one side, hiding them from view, so that the women could not see them. As they went back, they once more saw the lubras making fire, and, again, the plover rose and gave the women warning. They wanted to know why the men had been away so long, where they had gone to, and what they had been doing, but the men said nothing at all.

Late in the afternoon, the women took their chipoiyu, or fishing nets, and set them in the water, where they left them all night. The next morning they went early to take them out. As they went along, one said to the

{p. 308}

other, I wonder if we shall find any fish in them. They had no clothing on, but daubed themselves over with mud. When they reached the water pool they went in, Meanwhile, however, the men had gone ahead of them, by a roundabout track. They fixed their crocodile heads on and dived into the water, so that, when the women came up and began to try to pull their nets out, they had no idea that the men had left their camp, much less that, in the form of crocodiles, they were hanging on to, and making the nets so heavy that the women could not move them. At last the lubras put their hands into the nets to find out what was the matter. The crocodiles bit them, dragged them under water and killed them, as the natives say, wariji ge, dead altogether.

When all was over, the Eribinjori men brought the bodies out on to the bank of the water pool and said to them, Get up, go. Why did you tell us lies about the fire? But there was no reply from the women; they were completely dead.

The two men kept their crocodile heads on, but they still had black-fellow legs and arms. They stood up, stretched themselves, and shouted out that they were going to cease from being black-fellows and would always be crocodiles. They threw away their sticks and spears, in fact everything that they had, changed their bodies, arms, and legs, and then, having made themselves completely into crocodiles, dived into the water in which they have lived ever since.


A woman, named Ungulla Robunbun, came from placed called Palientoi, which lies between two rivers that are now known as the McKinlay and the Mary. She

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spoke the language of the Noenmil "people" and had many children. She started off to walk to Kraigpa, a place at the head of the Wildman Creek. Some of her children she carried on her shoulders, others on her hips, and one or two of them walked. At Kraigpan she left one boy and one girl and told them to speak the Quiratari (or Quiradari) language. Then she walked on to Koarnbo Creek, near the salt water at Murungaraiyu, where she left a boy and a girl and told them to speak Koarnbut. Travelling on to Kupalu, she left the Koarnbut language behind her and crossed over what is now called the East Alligator River, to its west side. She came on to Nimbaku and left a boy and a girl there and told them to speak the Wijirk language. From here she journeyed on across the plains stretching between the Alligator rivers to Koreingen, the place to which Imberombera had previously sent out two individuals named Pundamunga and Maramma. Ungulla Robunbun saw them and said to her children, There are black fellows here; they are talking Kakadu; that is very good talk; this is Kakadu country that we are now in.

Ungulla went on until she came near enough for them to hear her speaking. She said, I am Kakadu like you; I will belong to this country; you and I will talk the same language. Ungulla then told them to come close up, which they did, and then she saw that the young woman was quite naked. Ungalla herself was completely clothed in sheets of ranken, or paper bark, and she took one off, folded it up, and showed the lubra how to make an apron such as the Kakadu women always wear now. She told the lubra that she did not wish to see her going about naked. Then they all sat down. Ungulla said, Are you a lubra, and she replied, Yes, I am ungordiwa. Then Ungulla said, I have seen Koreingen a long way off; I am going there. Where is your camp? The

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Kakadu woman said, I shall go back to my camp if you go to Munganillida. Ungulla then rose and walked on with her children. On the road some of them began to cry and she said, Bialilla waji kobali, many children are crying; ameina waji kobali, why are many children crying? She was angry and killed two of them, a boy and a girl, and left them behind. Going on, she came near to Koreingung and saw a number of men and women in camp and made her own camp some little distance from theirs. She then walked on to Koreingung and said, Here is a black-fellow's camp; I will make mine here also.

She set to work to make a shelter, saying, Kunjerogabi ngoinbu kobonji, I build a grass shelter; mornia balgi, there is a big mob of mosquitoes. As yet the natives had not seen Ungulla or her children. There were plenty of fires in the natives' camps but no mosquitoes. They did not have any of these before Ungulla came, bringing them with her. She went into her shelter with her children and slept. After a time she came out again and then the other natives caught sight of her. Some of the younger Numulakirri determined to go to her camp. When she saw them coming she went into her kobonji and armed herself with a strong stick. She was Markogo, that is, elder sister, to the men, and, as they came up, she shouted out from her bush wurley, saying, What are you all coming for, you are my illaberri (younger brothers)? I am kumali to you. They said nothing but came on with their hands behind their backs. As soon as they were close to the entrance to her shelter she suddenly jumped up, scattering the grass and boughs in all directions. She yelled loudly and, with her great stick, hit them all on their private parts. She was so powerful that she killed them all and their bodies tumbled into the water hole close by. Then she went to the camp where the women

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and children had remained behind and drove them ahead of her into the water. The bones of all these natives are still there in the form of stones with which also their spirit parts are associated. When all was over the woman stood in her camp. First of all she pulled out her kumara (vagina) and threw it away, saying, This belongs to the lubras. Then she threw her breasts away and a wairbi, or woman's fighting stick, saying that they all belonged to the lubras. From her dilly bag she took a paliarti, or flat spear-thrower {Atlatl?--jbh}, and a light reed spear, called kunjolio, and, throwing them away, shouted out, These are for the men.

She then took a sharp-pointed blade of grass called Karani, caught a mosquito (mornia) and fixed it on to his head (reri), so that it could "bite" and said, Your name is mornia. She also gave him instructions, saying, yapo mapolio, jirongadda mitjerijoro, go to the plains, close to the mangroves; manungel jereini jauo, eat men's blood; kumanga kaio mornia, (in) the bush no mosquitoes. That is why mosquitoes are always so abundant amongst the mangroves. When she had done this Ungalla gathered her remaining children together and, with them, went into the water hole.

There were a great many natives, and, after they were dead, their skins became transformed into different kinds of birds. Some of them changed into small owls, called Irre-idill, which catch fish. When they hear the bird calling out at night they say dodo, which means wait, or, later on; to-morrow morning we will put a net in and catch some fish for you. Others turned into Kurra-liji-liji, a bird that keeps a look out to see if any strange natives are about. If a man wants to find out if any strangers are coming he says to the bird, umbordera jereini einji? are men coming to-day? If they are, the bird answers, pitjit, pitjit. Others changed into Jidikera-jidikera,

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or willy wagtails, which keep a look out for buffaloes and crocodiles. Others, again, changed into dark-coloured kites, called Daigonora, which keep a look out to see if any hostile natives are coming up to "growl." A man will say to one of these, Daigonora, if he sees it in a tree, Breikul jereini jeri, that is, far away, are there men coming to growl? If the bird replies to him he knows that they are coming, but if it makes no sound, then he knows there are no strangers about. Others changed into Moaka, or crows, that show natives where geese are to be found; others into Tidji-tidji, a little bird that shows them where the sugar-bags may be secured; others into Mundoro, a bird that warns them when natives are coming up to steal a lubra. Some, again, changed into Murara, the "mopoke," which warns them if enemies are coming up in strong numbers. They ask the bird, and if it answers with a loud "mopoke" they know that there are none about and that they have no need to be anxious, but if it answers with a low call, then they know that hostile natives are somewhere in the neighbourhood, and a man will remain on watch all night. Some of the women changed into laughing jackasses.

All these birds are supposed to understand what the black-fellows say, though they cannot themselves speak. While the men were explaining matters to us they spoke to two or three wagtails that came close up and twittered. The men said that the birds wanted to know what we were talking about, but they told them that they must go away and not listen, which they did.

Before finally going into the water hole Ungulla called out the names of the natives to whom she said the country belonged. They were all the children of Pundamunga and Maramma.

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Next: Chapter X: Various Traditions, Customs and Beliefs