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23
Anthropological notes
by Richard Helms

Proceedings L.S. of NSW
second series
no x p. 387
1895.

Gathered by Mr Richard Helms from old settlers who in their early days frequently
came in contact with the aborigines inhabiting this pretty place.
Specially Mr John Barr Senr who settled in the [Moembar - crossed out] Mowamba River more than 40
years ago.

The Omeo Blacks
Tribe numbered 140 to 150 souls; were friendly with the
Buffalo tribe + the Monaro + Queenbeyan [sic] tribes. They
combined against their common enemies the Braidwood
Twofold Bay + Gippsland tribes + those on the Murray from
below Albury.

The oldest man of the tribe was recognised as a kind of
chief, but whenever an attack on some enemy was planned
the ablest warrior was as a rule chosen to lead and his
advice then received the endorsement of the old men.

Their fighter of single combats were regulated by the
onlookers who fervently interfered when one of the parties was
seen to get weak and unable to ward off the blows, with the
necessary dexterity. The first hit in the head would
end the fight as a rule - or it might be stopped
if one man was much older than the other.

They recognised the tribal rights to certain ground
and the boundaries were not always respected
during hunting [expeditions - crossed out] excursions

Two men were generally sent to convey messages
such as to summon warriors for a hostile invasion of the
territory of their common enemies. While one slept the
other kept watch to avoid being surprised.

There were two ceremonies:
At about 14-16 years the young man was made "Kurrurong"
by knocking out one of his upper front teeth. This removed him
from the care of his mother and the influence of [his - crossed out]
[mother - crossed out] the women + to [??] raised him from boyhood to youth.
At 18-20 when his beard had started to develop properly
he was made "Wahu". All the hair on his head was
singed off gradually - the women being excluded. When
hair removed three of the old men ran up and waved
green boughs over his head. After this the men would
run some distance away returning swinging the boughs with
a swishing sound in a certain [distance - crossed out] direction.

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