South East Queensland History

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Part 1. Chapter 3. - Page 19

Article Index
Part 1. Chapter 3.
Page 18
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one for the purpose of eating them. They were most certainly cannibals, however, as they never failed to eat any one killed in fight, and always ate a man note for his fighting qualities, or a "turrwan" (great man), no matter how old he was, or even if he died from consumption! It was very peculiar, but they said they did it out of pity and consideration for the body - they knew where he was then - "he won't stink!" the old tough gins had the best of it; no one troubled to eat them; their bodies weren't of any importance, and had no pity of consideration shown them! On the other hand, for the consumer's own benefit this time, a young, plump gin would always be eaten, or any one dying in good condition.

I do not mean to infer that the aborgines ate no human flesh during a bon-yi feast, for some one might die and be eaten at any time, and then, too, they always ended up with a big fight, and at least one combatant was sure to be killed. People speak of the great numbers killed in fight, but after all they were but few, though wounds, and big ones, too, were plentiful enough.

At night during the bon-yi season the blacks would have great corrobborees, the different tribes showing their special corrobboree (song and dance) to each other, so that they might all learn something fresh in that way. For instance, a Northern tribe would show theirs to a Southern one, and so on each night, till at last when they left to journey away again, they each had a fresh corrobboree to take with them, and this they passed on in turn to a distant tribe. So from tribe to tribe a corrobboree would go travelling for hundreds of miles both North and South, and this explains, I suppose, how it was that the aborigines would often sing songs the words of which they did not understand in the least, neither could they tell you where they had first come from.

When about to have a corrobboree, the women always got the fires ready, and the tribe wishing to show or teach their special corrobboree to the others, would rig themselves out in full dress. This meant they had their bodies painted in different ways, and they wore various adornments, which were not used every day. Men always had their noses...[continue Page 20]


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