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11

The Wurrunjeri will serve me for an eample
of the practice of the tribes which formed the Kulin Nation.

The old men governed the tribe, and amon ghtem there were
men called Ngurun-gaeta (1) . If a man was sensible
and, as Berak put it, "spoke straight" and did harm to none, people would
listen to him and obey him. Such a man would certainly becpme Ngurun-gaeta
if his father had been one before him. It was he who called the
people together for the great tribal meeetings, sent out messengers, and
according to his amount of authority, gave orders which were obeyed. Such
a man was always of mature age, and possessedcsome eminent qualities, for
which he was respected.

At the expiatory fights, he could put an end to it if he
thought that enough had been done. There is a passage in the life of
Buckley which bears on the powers of the Ngurun-gaeta. he says "I had
seen a race of children grow up into women and men, and many of the bold
people die away, and by my harmless and peaceable manner amongst them,
had acquired great influence in settling their disputes. Numbers of
murderous fights I had prevented by my interference which was received
by them as well meant, so much so that they would often allow me to go
among them previous to a battle, and take away their spears and waddies
and boomerangs. (2) Thus it is seen that Buckley had, by reason of age and
consideration, grown into the position of a Ngurun-gaeta, or Headman.

(2) Morgans life of Buckley PP4I. 68.

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