The Lore of the Kadaitcha is an ancient and respected Lore, one of the oldest faiths in the world but one denigrated in the past by historians who recorded Australia’s colonial times. The ignorance of these historians is only surpassed by the lack of depth within the westernised concept of spirituality when it comes to understanding an ancient culture and Lore. A Lore ten times older than Christianity or any other mainstream religion.
In the social media recently I came across the graphic image shown here and found it a remarkable image. To me it represented reality vs fiction or the Kadaitcha of Aussie Lore vs pop cartoon caricature. While I have also enjoyed the still popular vampire fad of the present day up to a point, I do recognise that they are fantasy as is Batman, Clark Kent and any other super hero you might like to name including Astro-boy. I could write reams on the physical impossibilities recounted or presented in popular paranormal or supernatural fiction. This however would not include the Kadaitcha or ‘clever men’ of the Australian traditional Lore who are very, very real and are recorded in our history and the social news-sheets of their day, as well as in legend and tales which recount a social history within an ancient culture which has no ancient literary text as reference.
For anyone who has ever encountered the elusive Kadaitcha Men, or truly studied their strengths recorded in history, such as Prof. A.P. Elkin who published a study of their Lore in ‘Aboriginal Men of High Degree’ which is available online, there is little doubt as to their commanding power. Amongst these people can be counted a number of historical figures who recognized their strengths with respect. The most notable record of historical accounts of brushes with the Kadaitcha was when Governor Phillip, Australia’s first Colonial Governor, first met the highly respected Kadaitcha Man, Pemulwuy in an incident where the Governor was speared in 1790. To his credit Governor Phillip ordered that there be no retaliation against Pemulwuy, as he believed he acted to defend his people over atrocities committed against them by one particular colonist. The renowned Kadaitcha Man was likely undertaking what is known as ‘payback’ for these same atrocities and reacting to the failure of the Governor to control his followers or those otherwise known as colonists and convicts of the early penal settlement. Pemulwuy was of the Kadaitcha Lore and a great leader amongst his people.
Pemulwuy is a fascinating and powerful character in colonial history, though the First Australians are largely ignored in the historical accounting of today, not so in the day that he lived. This fight for recognition for our First Australians continues today and you can join in this struggle with various groups such as ‘Recognize’.
Pemulwuy was a commanding figure standing well over 6 feet and a physically powerful and attractive man to the European eye. He was a man to contend with and while the early tribal clans of Sydney had no Chieftains they respected their men of Lore who lived as ordinary men amongst them, often leading their Mob’s or clans in times of adversity. They were fathers, lovers and brothers who followed moral codes and practices much stricter than their European contemporaries although these codes were very different in their structure and tenets as to be unrecognizable to the early anthropologists and historians.
Botany Bay, or Sydney as it is now known was wild bush in those days, which is why the Europeans of the new penal settlement assumed the land was largely uninhabited. There were no towns, cities or indeed no settlement structure they could recognize. Australia’s people of the First Nation, such as the Cadigal Mob of Sydney Cove lived lightly across the land. They largely left no mark as they lived as one with the land and its creatures. They in fact conducted themselves and their activities mostly in sympathy with the bush and country and the manner in which their world was ordered as they were a strongly spiritual people. As a kangaroo will pass over the land, feed, breed and live peacefully within its environment so did the tribal people. As they had done across Australia for 50,000 years or more and this long history on the land had led to some remarkable practices in natural husbandry and cultivation of foods developed in their ‘country’ as opposed to the often destructive practises of more progressively driven and commercially orientated cultures.
That in these very early days of the colony, the Aboriginal mobs were decimated all along the Eastern seaboard by what is now thought to be small pox along with other diseases, which had also wiped out much of the European population earlier, is a point of recorded history. The impact of this on Australia’s Aboriginal tribes is often overlooked or misinterpreted in fact by activists in favour of the more politically inflammable stance of genocide. Just as the reality of The Native Police Force is commonly ignored when speaking about massacres and the murderous mayhem of the Colonial times.
When I see the popular images of tribal Aboriginals in chains bartered around social media for the sake of impact, I am often spurred to point out that these tragic situations would never have likely come about without the cooperation of the Native Police Force which operated in the day, a group who were far greater in numbers than the Colonial Police force in Queensland and what is now the Northern Territory. The reality is that these dreadful and vivid images are more the consequence of cultural differences and the imposition of one Law over another more ancient Lore, which is why we now have Aboriginal advocates in our Legal system today. These images have little to do with evidence of early practices in cultural genocide, even though there is evidence that some elitist sectors, and other retaliatory groups as well as the vigilante’s such as the Frasers of Hornet Bank, Qld in the Colonial era of centuries past who did indulge in such atrocities. Atrocities which were committed in their origin by both racial groups.
The Kadaitcha were a very large part of the natural order of the native tribal people and were the law-keepers of their day. That their role as law-keepers was upsurped by European law is a point of history and should be recognized as such. The Kadaitcha were known by many names in different tribal languages, such as the Illapurinja (a name for the female Kadaitcha), the Karadji and the other like spiritual leaders and healers which generally were the ‘Clever Men & Women’ of Aboriginal society. These leaders kept order and they had many roles as can also be found elsewhere. As medical Doctors work in many fields, and as doctorates cover many studies and disciplines, the Clever Men also worked in many different ways. They acted as priests, clergymen, healers and sorcerers and they were known by many names. As did others who lived bound by the ancient Aboriginal Lore headed by the Kadaitcha Men, the Oruncha Men and their contemporaries.
Aboriginal Lore can be interpreted as a serpent Lore largely, in the same way that Christianity has within its stories the tales of the serpent in the garden of Eden, the guy who bought to Adam and Eve knowledge. The Rainbow Serpent or Aboriginal Lore is a term coined by anthropologist and is not a term tribal people used widely as a deity figure. My research has found that there were many serpents of this ancient Lore and each has its own character and role in Aboriginal spiritual culture and within the Dreamtime. Although there is a more ancient tenet of the ‘Sky People’ or those who came from the water as told in some legends, otherwise known as the Wandjina, who have more ancient custodial links with the Dreamtime.
Tribal faith or lore amongst the Aboriginal Australians was so strong, so powerful that the religious leaders and historians from the Western world fought hard to denigrate its following and the basis of its faith and to this day they continue to do so largely. They use degrading terms as witch-doctor, charlatan and so on, completely ignoring the evidence of the corruption and deceit that is conducted within the skirts of the churches and faiths of the Western worlds religious partisans’ and across all other societies but focusing instead on the oldest cultural society in the world, that of the Australian Aborigine.
In all this though, It cannot be denied that Pemulwuy led his people wisely and was capable of some extraordinary feats, those which come within the realm of spiritual, paranormal or supernatural. Least of which was his escape from capture while being in leg irons and severely wounded, this added to his reputation as a remarkable Kadaitcha.
Pemulwuy led his warriors and his people against the colonists in what is known as the Battle of Parramatta. His guerrilla tactics were renown and remarkable, he and his people did not simply allow the colonists to take his tribal lands as is largely portrayed by Australian history. He also was not so hot headed as to not recognize when what was needed to preserve his clan, his family, was to seek peace. He was an Australian to be accounted and that he is not recognized as such is a travesty of our historical account.
So what marks a Kadaitcha Man, what makes him such a powerful figure in time? This is something that is explored in my novels of The Dreaming Series. After many, many years of research, personal interest and my own personal experience of my land I have written of something that is so little understood. Each of the four books in the series is the story of an Australian Aboriginal Shaman, the Karadji, the Shaman, Banman and Kadaitcha, all being ‘Clever Men’ of an ancient Lore. The stories tell of their lives, which lead them into the many dimensions of what is their world today, one we share. Only one point in the tales have been invented by me, the rest can be found in historical account, in legend and in Lore. It is Lore that is unique in its vast age and deep integrity, as accounted amongst the many religions of the world today.
The complete series though is a story essentially about the Kadaitcha, and a young man’s development within the knowledge of his Lore. It is a story of Tom’s growth in discovering this Lore as it survives in the world today. It is he who is the primary character throughout the telling however his story is often recounted through the eyes of others around him but the story will give you an understanding of a very ancient culture how perhaps still surviving in a contemporary world.
Happy reading everyone!
To read more travel tales, or explore the world of the Australian Aboriginal Shaman told in a fictional tale and to discover other works on traveling around Aus. visit my web at http://janhawkins.com.au and check out the discounts in print books available for my readers and friends on ‘Where to find Jans Books’.
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- Aboriginal Culture of Australia (socyberty.com)
- Australian governments have got out of hand & constitutional reform is needed now (fredleftwich.com)
- Documentary on Colonial Australian History – 2:47 hrs – Pull up a chair, get a cuppa and watch a remarkable account of Aussie history unfold.