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,
A salutary lesson
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
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
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.