'Bone will be pointed' if dingo is culled

Aboriginal elder Aunty Mally Clarke.
Aboriginal elder Aunty Mally Clarke. Alistair Brightman

A BUTCHULLA elder has said the "bone will be pointed" at any ranger who destroys the dingo accused of attacking three children last month on Fraser Island.

But Ross Belcher of Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service said public safety was paramount and when the dingo was found it would be humanely destroyed.

Aunty Mally Clarke has spent a lot of time on the World Heritage-listed island and has watched the dingo, whom she calls Inky, grow up from the time he was a pup.

Now about two years old, she has seen the animal grow into a curious, playful creature that, while cautious, does like to be around people.

Along with Inky's brother, Winky, Mally has got a lot of enjoyment out of watching them grow.

Winky was destroyed recently after he was caught in a trap, which Mally said broke her heart.

Now she is hoping Inky can continue to elude the rangers that are charged with putting him down after his involvement in the recent attacks.

"The day they cull my Inky, the bone will be pointed," she said.

In Aboriginal tradition, pointing the bone is a ritual of vengeance or punishment.

Mally said the Butchulla elders, including Aunty Frances Gala, were united against the destruction of any dingo on Fraser Island.

"No other elders want the dogs dead," she said.

"He's not dangerous, he is a good dog.

"I've never seen him like that. He just wants to play. He has never attacked our people."

While she used to see dingoes on the beach regularly, Mally says she sees fewer and fewer of them now.

"I used to see them all the time," she said."

Now when people ask her where the dingoes are, she tells them: "they're probably dead".

Aunty Frances said she didn't like to hear of any dingo getting shot on the island.

"I don't like it at all," she said.

She said she didn't blame the rangers for their actions because they were under orders.

"They are told what to do. It's a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't," she said.

She described dingoes as "lovely, intelligent animals," and said she personally felt saddened about what might happen to Inky.

"Mally would be broken-hearted," she said.

"They are very special to us.

"It's a terrible situation."

Mr Belcher, Great Sandy regional manager, said the rangers would continue with their efforts to capture the dingo.

"This dingo hunted with its sibling which also showed aggressive and dangerous behaviour and has since been humanely destroyed," he said.

"It appears these dingoes had become habituated and lost their fear of people which is when these dangerous incidents can occur.

"Dingoes are wild dogs and must be treated as such."


Kurdaitcha (or kurdaitcha man) is a ritual "executioner" in Australian Aboriginal culture (specifically the term comes from the Arrernte people). 

Among traditional Indigenous Australians there is no such thing as a belief in natural death. All deaths are considered to be the result of evil spirits or spells, usually influenced by an enemy.

Often, a dying person will whisper the name of the person they think caused their death. If the identity of the guilty person is not known, a "magic man" will watch for a sign, such as an animal burrow leading from the grave showing the direction of the home of the guilty party.

This may take years but the identity is always eventually discovered. The elders of the mob that the deceased belonged to then hold a meeting to decide a suitable punishment.

A Kurdaitcha may or may not be arranged to avenge them. The practice of Kurdaitcha had died out completely in Southern Australia by the 20th century although it was still carried out infrequently in the North.[1] The practice, in regard to bone pointing by itself, does continue into modern times albeit very rarely. 

Source: Wikipedia

Should the pointing of the bone be treated like any other death threat?

This poll ended on 16 November 2012.

Yes. It's considered execution in Aboriginal culture - 47%

No. It's Aboriginal superstition and nothing more - 41%

Don't know. Depends on the context - 11%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.


Topics:  dingo attack fraser island qpws

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