Howitt and Fison Papers





To the eastward of the Wotjo there was another nation which I have called the Kulin from their word for man. They occupied almost the whole of north eastern Victoria, and extended as far westward as a line drawn from between Geelong and Colac to the Avoca River....

Last edit 4 months ago by ALourie




[In the left hand margin](1) On the Kulin tribes division of food

W. Thomas-Latrobe Papers p65They seldom travel more than a six miles a day. In their migratory movements all are employed. Children are getting gum, knocking down birds +c,women are digging up roots,killing bandicoots, getting grubs +c; the men hunting kangaroos +cscaling trees for opossum + +. They mostly are at the encampment about an hour before sundown, (crossout) the women first, who get fire and water by the time their spouses arrive.

They hold that bush and all it contains are men's general property; that private property is only what utensils are carried in their bag and this extends even to the success of the day; hence at the close, those who have been successful divide with those who have not been so. None lacketh while others have itnor is the gift considered as a favor, but as right brought to the needy and thrown down at his feet. (1)

[Written in the left hand margin] WoewrungGame Woeworung

If a Woeworung man when out hunting killed a Kangaroo it was divided in accordance with tribal rules as with[food obtained - crossed out] assuming that the man had a comrade with him, they would take out the Entrails and unless the skin were required for some purpose, roast the kangaroo whole [??] [??] would be [??] One forequarter was kept by the man for himself, his wife and children. A leg or [a fore- crossed out] the other forequarter to his comrade. The head and an arm sent to the man's father and mother. And a leg andthe loins [were - crossed out] went to his wife’s father + mother care ofhis wife. The tail went to someone else.

In these tribes as in [the - crossed out] those of Gippsland a [the - crossed out] man was obliged to [provide - crossed out] give a certain amount of the game presented by him to his wife’s father. In instance if hecaught five opossoums, he kept one, two went to his wife's father. and two to her brothers. This appears like a perpetual purchase of the [woman - crossed out] wife. The woman also divided the food which she collectedwhich was mainly vegetables.

But if a man only killed enough game or procured enough ofother food for himself his wife & children then he need not divide it with others. But if he found that his father had no - food, he must give him what he had procured and go out and look for more. Similarly, if his wife’s father had no food - and no son to provide [some - crossed out] for him, he would give him food if he had it and seek more for himself. On the other hand if he had noneand his wife’s father had a supply he would send some by his daughter to her husband.

The old people used to say to the younger that people should divide their food with others and particularly with the old people and children. They said that Bunji was pleased where he saw the old people.

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As a comparison with the [Legend- crossed out] beliefs in the Mura-mura[of the Lake Eyre tribe - crossed out]. I know of no better example than thoseof the [Kurnai - crossed out] Kulin and Kurnai tribes of Victoria.A numbers legends [sic] have been published by different authors takenfrom their folk lore (1) [and of the - crossed out] of which I note [versions which - crossed out] several different versions (1)[I collected myself and which have been from - crossed out] from Woeworung + Kurnai narrators collected originally myselfAs the Kurnai were an offshoot from the Kulin stock, theexplanation which I am able to suggest as to the legends of the

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former may be applied to the analagous legends of the latter.

[I have - crossed out] legends [relating to- crossed out] [I have not been able to learn of the ceremonies suppose to be - crossed out] [few - crossed out], I am [??] of any beliefs or legends relating to theinitiation ceremonies of the Kulin, and the reason may be thatthose ceremonies [were many that- crossed out] did not have the sand or [??] characterof the Bora at the Kuringal. But with the Kurnai there wasan legend [sic] relating to the Jeraeil. As to [the number - crossed out] legends recording[the - crossed out] wanderings they also are few, those relating to the sky-countryare more numerous, but in most of these [relate to the actions - crossed out]the actors are [anoth - crossed out] beings who combine the human andthe animal element.

A few instances will illustrate these several classes.of which I have quoted from the work of my daughter in the Folkloreand legends of some Victorian Tribes (1) - [The other instances are - crossed out]The Wotjoballuk legend - see reverse ofThe Kurnai legend relating to the [Init- crossed out] Jeraeil ceremony is the

(quote here)

The Woeworung legend of Lohän is that he when he was [baking eels- crossed out] cooking eelsat the Yarra River a Swan's feather was carried by the south [wind - crossed out] breezeand fell on his breast. Walking in that direction he at length reached[the sea the - crossed out] Westernport Bay where the Swan [was - crossed out] lived. There he remained until they migrated Eastward, when he followed them, and at last came to Corner Inletwhere he made his home in the mountains of Wilsons promontory, watching overthe welfare of the people who followed him south to the country he had found (2)Another legend relates to the [early - crossed out] wanderings of the [ancestors - crossed out]Kurnai predecessors. Bunjil Borun the first Kurnai marched acrossapproched from the north west until he reached the sea at the Inletswhere Port Albert now is. On his head he carried his canoe in which washis wife Tūk. Bunjil Borun is the Pelican & Tūk the musk duck.

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[written at top of page]and the Alcharinga ancestorsof the Arunta

[written in left margin]1. ThomasBrough SmythDawsonLangloh Parker

A legend of the Wotjo tribe gives an account of the wanderings of the two Brambramgals [who were the - crossed out] in search of their sister's son Doän(the flying squirrel) who had been killed and eaten by Wembulin (tarantula); [afterwards they - crossed out] and [went - crossed out] afterwards further meeting with various adventures and naming these places where theyoccurred, until the younger of the brothers died. [The elder brother + their mother sought for him - crossed out] Theere was elder 'shaped' part of a tree [??] the form of a man and by his magic it became alive + called him elder brother United once more the Brambramgals travelled far to the west where they lived in a cavern, but no one knows where they have gone (p. )

Last edit 5 days ago by ALourie


2Other legends relate to [supernatural?]beings and their dealings with in Kulin andthe Kurnai (3)

[Any?] a number which relateto Bunjil [?] [?] [?] which was [Whispering?]mountain. Bunjil after living in the earth and teachingthe Kulin [?] arts of [peace?] and war and giving themtheir laws, gathered his wives, [sons?] and [women? or new men?] round himand told Bellin Bellin the [musk?] crow to letthe ]?] [one?] of his bag. [He? or the?] [?] Bunjil at all[?] people were causing a whirlwind [?] [?]into the [Tharaugall-ben?] a beautiful landwhere they look down upon the world as stars (4).

There are no Kurnai legends known relatingto [Munjan-nyaur?] the analogue of Bunjil but thelegend of [Baunau?] relates an [?] [?] the land.

I [was?] of the old timeKurnai having left their camp to go huntingand gathering [fort? sic fought] the [supematural?] being [Bullum banthan?]came there and stole their fire. When the peoplereturned they found their fire gone and [Ngarigah?] the[?] lived [?] [?] [?] it. Ngarang theswamp [turkey?] who was also there [flew?] after[Bulumbanthan?] and swooping down knocked off partof the fire they were carrying, which fallingon [?} ground ?] caught and [presented?] [?] [Tut-brug? or Tut-bruy?]the [?]. Meanwhile [Mullum- banthan?] had[?] up [?] [?] [flew?] up [to?] the sky where itheld fast, and up [?] she climbed with the remainder of thestolen fire. (5).

The Kulin legend of Bunjil and [Kinburri?], the[?bear] tells how the Kulin being away from their camp,[Kinburri?] came by and taking all their wooden bowls of waterplaced them in thetop of a young gum tree which hecaused by his magic to growbigger than any of the trees about.

The Kulin finding their water gone complained toBunjil who with his two young men [Tadjeri?](the???) and [Turuy?] (the ? man)who killed [Kinburri?] andreturned the bowls of water to the Kulin.

Last edit about 1 month ago by ALourie




Another tribe [Dieri?] the sun came up out of a hole too see (2).


There was connected with the Kulin belief in a flat earth, of limited extent, another belief . They thought that when the sun disappeared in the west, it went into place which they called [Ngámt?], which has been described to me as like a hole out of which a large tree has been burned by a bushfire.

A legend in one of the tribes near Maryborough in Queens-land also tells of a hole into which the sun retired at night. It says that when [Biral?] (p -) had placed the blackfellows on the primitive earth " which was like a great sandbank", they asked him where they should get warmth in the day, and fire in the night. He said that if they went in a certain direction they would find the sun, and by knocking a piece off it they could get fire. Going far in that direction they found that the sun came out of a hole in the morn-ing and went into another at night. Then rushing after the sun they knocked a piece off it and thus obtained fire.

Beyond the sky there is another country, which for shortness I call the sky-country. This is indicated in one of the Dieri legends. It tells how warm the [Māra-māra?] [ankūritchya?] listened with his ear upturnd to the sky, [Anawotya?] "who lives in the sky" let down a long [hair-?] and by it drew up to himself all those who were with kin down below. (p ).

The [Wotjoballuk?] had a legend of a pine tree (1), which extended up through the sky, [?] [wŭrrn-nŭr?], to the palce beyond which is the [abode?] of "[morn-gorak?]" (2). The people of that time [ser?nded?] by the tree went to gather manna (3) , which implies [that?] [strips ?] [?] [?] such as the Eucalypt which in the [?]-ballak country [?] the [acquired?] manna.

The [Womarun?] [?] [?] sky-country, which they called --------------------------------------------------------------------------(I) Callitris [?] R. Br.(2). [Cannot read line] [some [?] rare](3).

{left hand margin notes]{{Dieri]] & [Tererk?] and their [?] (p -)accounting for the fossil -----found at ------ and counts them [?] [?] and tell tht the only [?] in them put Buckley's/William Buckley [?] down which [?] [?] climber for the [?] [?] 9[?])to the earth

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