'The Aborigines of the Sydney District Before
1788' by Peter Turbet, Kangaroo Press, 2001, page 107

 

 

OTHER SPIRITS

Brief accounts of other supernatural beings are provided by Threlkeld and
Mathews, but details about them are sketchy and their role in the overall
mythology is clouded.

Malevolent bush spirits

Around Newcastle, and especially on the slopes of Mount Sugarloaf, the
forest was frequented by a fearful spirit named Puttikan. He was shaped like
a tall man and had a hairy body with a large mane. His feet were reversed so
that he could not be tracked and his skin was so tough that no spear could
pierce it.

Whenever Puttikan met a man in the bush he lifted the potential victim's
upper lip to see if he had undergone the tooth evulsion rite. If the incisor
was missing, the man was safe; if not, Puttikan bounded after him like a
kangaroo, making a loud sound each time he hit the ground. On capture the
man was eaten. Puttikan's cry was often heard in the mountains on summer
evenings.

Peter Cunningham, a Royal Navy surgeon who farmed land in the Hunter Valley,
says that this spirit was most active at night, was afraid of fire and
usually preyed upon children (who, of course, had not been initiated). Fear
of Puttikan was the reason that the Aborigines never travelled at night and
always slept close to a fire. Cunningham was told that Koen protected people
from Puttikan.

 

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Threkeld, 1892, 'An Australian Language'
Mathews - various publications listed in Turbets bibliography

 

 

 

 

 

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