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Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, Commanded By the Late Captain Owen Stanley, R.N., F.R.S. Etc. During the Years 1846-1850. eBook

John MacGillivray
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 302 pages of information about Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, Commanded By the Late Captain Owen Stanley, R.N., F.R.S. Etc. During the Years 1846-1850..

There are at least five distinct tribes of natives inhabiting the neighbourhood of Cape York.  The Gudang people possess the immediate vicinity of the Cape:  the Yagulles* stretch along the coast to the southward and eastward beyond Escape River:  the Katchialaigas and Induyamos (or Yarudolaigas as the latter are sometimes called) inhabit the country behind Cape York, but I am not acquainted with the precise localities:  lastly, the Gomokudins are located on the South-West shores of Endeavour Strait, and extend a short distance down the Gulf of Carpentaria.  These all belong to the Australian race as unquestionably as the aborigines of Western or South Australia, or the South-East coast of New South Wales; they exhibit precisely the same physical characteristics which have been elsewhere so often described as to render further repetition unnecessary.

(Footnote.  This is the tribe concerned in the murder of the unfortunate Kennedy.  The circumstances were related by some of the Yagulles to an old woman at Cape York of the name of Baki, who, when questioned upon the subject through Giaom, partially corroborated the statement of Jackey-Jackey.  She further stated that a few years ago a Yagulle woman and child had been shot by some white men in a small vessel near Albany Island, and that the tribe were anxious to revenge their death.  Whether this was a story got up as a palliative for the murder, or not, I cannot say.)

On the other hand, the tribes inhabiting the islands of Torres Strait differ from those of the mainland in belonging (with the exception of the first) to the Papuan or frizzled-haired race.  Besides, probably, a few others of which I cannot speak with certainty, these tribes are distributed in the following manner.  The Kowraregas inhabit the Prince of Wales group:  the Muralegas and Italegas divide between them Banks Island:  the Badulegas possess Mulgrave Island, and the Gumulegas the islands between the last and New Guinea:  the Kulkalegas have Mount Ernest and the Three Sisters:  The Massilegas* reside on the York Isles and others adjacent:  and the Miriam** tribe hold the north-easternmost islands of Torres Strait, including Murray and Darnley Islands.

(Footnote.  I do not know what name is given to the tribe or tribes inhabiting the space between the Miriam and the Kulkalaig.  Dzum (a Darnley islander) told me of a tribe called Gamle inhabiting Owrid, Uta, Zogarid, Sirreb, Mekek, and Wurber; at all events the natives of Massid belong to a distinct tribe, judging from their language, and are known as the Massilegas by the Kowraregas.  They occasionally (as in 1848) come down to Cape York on a visit to the Australians there, often extending their voyage far to the southward, visiting the various sandy islets in search of turtle and remaining away for a month or more.)

(**Footnote.  Is so named from a place in Murray Island.  The possessions of this tribe are Mer, Dowar, Wayer, Errub, Ugar, Zapker, and Edugor, all, except the two last, permanently inhabited.

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