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Australian Aboriginal initiation

This isn’t hazing, but it is interesting to see how initiations span all or most cultures.

Link here to story.

Quote from story: ” The first initiation many young Aboriginal adolescents go through is Thilkill and the second is Murrawan.

“Thilkill takes the silliness out of adolescents. They are not an adult until they go through this,” Mr Morris [Scone Department of Environment and Conservation worker Glen Morris] said.

“At the age of 13 or 14 you are silly and have your own mind and no respect.

“This takes away the disrespect and gives you respect for yourself and others.”

He explained the second initiation taught about traditional laws, ceremonies, relationships and the pecking order.

There are three following these two stages: Woolongurra, Grundah and Nullungurra.

Mr Morris would have to go through these last three initiations to become an elder.

“An elder is a decision maker in the tribal group,” he said.

The last full traditional initiation in the Maclean Valley area took place in 1935 with two other tribes, Gumbanga (Nambucca, Grafton, Bellingen area) and Bunjalung (Grafton Maclean areas).

Mr Morris was put through after this.

“They still do it. They put young blokes back on track,” he said.

“When our traditional laws stopped, discipline and respect stopped.”

The Gungutti tribe members know the songs and dances to initiate men and women in the first two stages but, after that, they have to go to the Kimberley’s, Northern Territory to be initialised through the last three stages.”

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily--http://realalaskadaily.com and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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