15th January 1933 (cont.)- swimming and shooting duck before returning to the mission
We left after the heat of the day and started back, stopping at our first water hole for a swim and putting up a dozen duck, which are very common on the Finke. We then walked back in a pretty good sweat to the mission station just in time for tea.
16th January 1933 - wild tribe of Luritcha, planed trip to Mt Liebig, naming conventions
Today we found that a wild tribe of Luritcha had turned up during the weekend. So, (to get them to take part in the water metabolism tests) they were inveigled over to the house, shown the various instruments and given tobacco and pipes. We tried some of them with ice out of the refrigerator and also with cigarettes but the ice didn't go down too well and they blew rather than sucked at the fags.
Having set up the meterological station in the prescribed manner I found that the novelty of low humidity and high temperature was wearing off.
Today I decided to try to get out with Larnach and Murch on the camels for a trip to Mt Liebig about 100 miles away. We are going out with a black boy called Tetus who is returning to his tribe as a kind of black missionary. We are taking another black to bring us back.
I decided to try to convince Prof. Davies that the problem of finding suitable native subjects for the experiments might be best served by a first hand report of the tribes west of Hermannsburg by the least gifted member of the party. Especially as the time left for the experiments was bound to be inadequate and another attack on the problem would obviously be needed the next summer. I planned to catch him in a jovial, gin sodden mood that evening. Hugh and Maurice were willing to do the met readings, in return for my offer of sharing any booty in the way of churingas, artefacts etc that I managed to collect.
We find that the Arundta call anyone not of their tribe Loritcha or Luritcha and that these people who have come into the station are probably Pintaby and not true Loritcha. Loritcha may be the language that Arundta and Pintaby use when talking to each other.
The natives gave us all a name, mine was Catavelia (I gather a small active lizard) This enabled them to relate to us in some way as a part of the tribal grouping. So we had each a theoretical mother, father, brothers, sisters and, most importantly, aunt or aunts. The marriage taboos seemed to be based on an uncle - aunts relationship which dictated the totems.
As a result there were some of the tribe we could not even speak to, and some potential allies. This was complex and hard to live by in our ignorance. It made it possible to offend unintentionally. I suspect that it was bound up to a large degree with their sense of humour because they certainly seemed to get an inordinate amount of fun out of trying to explain the logical consequences. There was also a lot of laughter at our attempts to wrap our tongues about many of their words. Especially those that started with the 'ng' sound. All names I have written are purely phonetic attempts and the validity and proper understanding of many things doubtful.
For example, few of them could count beyond three. It was one two three, big mob. Big mob could be four or thousands, yet they seemed to be able to arrange corroborees and meetings, which took weeks of preparation, months ahead. I think some of this was done by moons but any explanation of anything beyond tomorrow was hard to obtain and almost impossible not to misunderstand. The stars had names, or at least some of them. The Plieades and Venus for certain but they immediately wandered off into dreamtime stories quite unconnected with any practical use of them which I suppose was natural when no crops or timing formed part of their life. They believed that the kangaroo was born in a pouch, but so do most country people, however white.