A spirit believed by the women of the Warramunga to be the voice of the bullroarer (which is a murtu-murtu, a tjurunga). He lived in the Wingara. His body was round like a marble, and his feet had only toes and heels. He had also only a tuft of hair on his head, which looked as if it had been shaved. He came out of the earth originally at Kalkara, and spent his time performing sacred ceremonies and making a noise like that of a murtu-murtu. Two wild dogs who lived at Alkanara, and were very big, and therefore called wuntilla, traveled down southwards, and as they did so heard the noise made by the man all day long. They decided to follow it up, and on the way formed deposits of red ocher where they voided their excreta. At Kitjaparitja and various spots they performed sacred ceremonies, leaving spirit children behind them. At Waiamaru they stopped and heard the noise very clearly, and so knew that they must be very near. They sneaked on quietly and saw Murtu-murtu, who was, as usual, making the noise with his mouth. One of the dogs went one way and the other another, and when close to they rushed up and attacked him, biting out pieces of flesh, which they threw about in all directions. As the flesh flew through the air it made a noise like that of a bullroarer, and wherever it fell on the ground there immediately sprang up a tree called Naiantha (Grevillea sp.). When the dogs had torn all of the man's body to pieces they looked around, and were astonished to see the trees arising in all directions. It made them very angry, and they ran round and round biting the trees, one after the other, in the hope that they would be able to destroy the spirit or munalgi of the man Murtu-murtu, which was evidently in the trees, but they could not do so, and now the Warramunga make the tjurunga called murtu-murtu out of the wood of these trees.



  • Spencer, Sir Baldwin. (1904). Northern Tribes of Central Australia. London: Macmillan, pp. 279, 500.

This article incorporates text from Northern Tribes of Central Australia (1904) by Sir Baldwin Spencer, which is in the public domain.