Waranga News

The primary weapon


One of the implements always carried by Ngurai-illum Wurrung men in the local area was the spear. When travelling across country, each man would usually carry a handful of spears. This was the principal weapon used for hunting larger marsupials, particularly kangaroos.

A salutary lesson


A salutary lesson image

Writing about Aboriginal history is fraught, for many reasons. Not least of these is the fact that much of this history has been passed down in an oral tradition, while academic historians generally rely on documented material to verify facts and tell their stories. It is much harder to access information from oral sources, especially where the impact of colonisation has fragmented this information and there are few remaining descendants to approach.

Making a stone axe


Making a stone axe image

The most important Aboriginal tools in pre-colonisation times were stone axes. Recent stories have talked about the use of greenstone in producing the axe heads. Locally, the stone was quarried on the Mt Camel range. Quarried axe-heads were then chipped on one side to make a sharp edge. They could then be traded as a blank or transported to a suitable outcrop of sandstone, where the blade could be honed to make it sharp enough to be a useful tool.

Death And Grieving


The previous Waranga Dreaming story cited William Thomas, a former Assistant Protector of Aborigines, providing details of what he thought were standard practices after the death of an Aboriginal person. It is worth noting that practices varied widely across Australia prior to European colonisation – perhaps even within Ngurai-illum Wurrung country - and included both burial and cremation.

Burial Rites


Recent Waranga Dreaming stories have focussed on three local Aboriginal people who are buried in the Murchison cemetery – “King Charles” Tattambo, his second wife “Queen Mary” and his son by his first marriage, known as “Captain John”. All three were born before European colonisation of the Waranga area and were deeply imbued with Aboriginal spirituality and culture. In view of that, it is somewhat surprising they all chose to be buried according to European, rather than Aboriginal, customs.