Australian Aborigines: The Languages and Customs of Several by James Dawson

By James Dawson

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Extra info for Australian Aborigines: The Languages and Customs of Several Tribes of Aborigines in the Western District of Victoria, Australia (Legacy Reprint)

Sample text

So also are the salsuginous plant, the mesembryanthemum, or pig's face, and the sow thistle. The latter is eaten to produce sleep. A kind of bread is made of the root of the common fern, roasted in hot ashes, and beaten into paste with a stone. Mushrooms, and several kinds of fungi, are eaten raw; and a large underground fungus, about the size of an ordinary turnip, called native bread by white people, is eaten uncooked, and is very good. Large numbers of pupae, found in the ground at the foot of gum trees, are dug up in winter, and baked in hot ashes.

The husband remains at home. When she returns, the attendance of the brideman and bridemaid is dispensed with. Ever afterwards the bridemaid, and other female friends, may sleep under the same roof with the married people, but on the opposite side of the fire. After they have been married some months, they are visited by the parents of the bride. The bride's father can enter their wuurn, and converse with them as formerly; but the mother lives with her husband in a separate residence specially erected for them, and sees her daughter there.

A WOMAN near her confinement is called a ' mosegorm,' and must stay at home, in her husband's wuurn, as much as possible. When she has occasion to quit the wuurn, any person who meets her must leave the path, and keep away from her. During her confinement her husband lives elsewhere; the neighbouring wuurns are temporarily deserted; and everyone is sent away from the vicinity except two married women, who stay with her. Should she not have a mother to attend on her, a professional woman, ' gneein'—two of whom are generally attached to each tribe—is sent for, and compelled to nurse her and the baby till she is able to attend to it, and to resume the performance of her domestic duties.

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