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Subscriber: null; date: 15 November 2019


  • Margaret Gummow

Percussion idiophone of Australia, so called in the Bundjalung area and played by women throughout the southeast, as well as north along the Queensland coast and as far west as Adelaide in South Australia. It comprised apossum skin turned inside out, stuffed with feathers or rags, and struck with the hand or a stick. It was held on the lap and beaten constantly throughout a song. In some regions, such as the Murawari area of western New South Wales, the pillow was made of kangaroo skin and stuffed with possum fur, and several people beat it simultaneously with their hands. The skin pillow was still being used in the early 1990s; later, as it became difficult to obtain possum skins, substitutions such as a rolled-up blanket were made. In the Ngarrindjeri area near Adelaide, the pillow was still being used by women in 1951 on Hindmarsh Island during a re-enactment of the journeys of the explorer Charles Stuart.


  • D. Bell: Ngarrindjeri Wurruwarrin: a World that is, Was, and Will Be (Melbourne, 1998), 146.