Howitt and Fison Papers


XM521_ICDMS_lowres Legends of the Kulin, Kurnai, Wotjoballuk and Yuin



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 theformer 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 appear to be - crossed out] [few - crossed out], I am not aware of any beliefs or legends relating to theinitiation ceremonies of the Kulin, and the reason may be thatthose ceremonies [were merely the- crossed out] did not have the sand or secret characterof the Bora at the Kuringal. But with the Kurnai there wasone legend 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 classesof 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

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The Woeworung legend of Lohän is that he when he was [baking eels in- 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, where 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 into the country he had found (2)

Another legend relates to the [early - crossed out] wanderings of the [ancestors - crossed out]Kurnai predecessors. Bunjil Borŭn 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 Borŭn is the Pelican & Tūk the musk duck.

[Upside down] June (see over) 80 Days 1889

[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] Then the elder 'shaped' part of a tree into 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 17 days ago by ALourie

XM188_ICDMS_lowres Hagenauer to Howitt 1 May 1880



Ramahyuck May 1st 1880

Dear Mr. HowittI received your note of the 26thultimo in due time and called yesterdayat your office at Sale, but didnot find you,so I give you the information about the nameof the tribes mentioned, andhope when I seeyou to have a longer talk about it, for youseem not to have had any informationon the subject.

I Tarrawarracka Tribe, or news ofthe Tarra family.lived at Port Albert, Tarraville, Alberton;in 1862 I found 17 still alive, but now there isonly Jimmy Fetched and old Lamfrie's wife

Bellum Bellum - Woodside, Prospect and alongthe seacoast along Reeves Lake.Only alive now: Tommy Arnott and AlbertDarby others are all dead.This was the tribe or family of oldMorgan in 1862.

Woollum Wullum, Hilltop along the Latrobe asfar as Rosedale; still aliveColeman, Lily - was old King Jimmycountry.

Moona and Ngattbau - from Stratford downto Lake Victoria old Ngary's country.

Last edit 2 days ago by ALourie

hw0404 Notes on Kurnai 150 pages



16KurnaiBilly Wambat

Head menThe gwerael Kurnai were the old men.People always listened to an old manbut they would listen to any man whocould fight well and was strong and alsoif he could talk well.

Brūthen mŭnji was an old man and could talk well - Billy Tūlaba has histalk from him - Bruthen Mŭnji wasvery strong and could fight well. He usedto run after Brajerak and catch them withhis hands and then Bembinkel his brotherwould come up and knock them onthe head.

Bŭnbra at Swan Reach (King Fern)was much listened to but he wasquite a young man; he had not anywhite in his beard when he died.

Billy the Bull would be a Headmanand was much listended to years ago even-it was because he was so strong and could fight and talk.

I do not know abour Old Morganhe belonged to Port Albert.

In the olden time Lewin was sent by wordonly. The Baiaur carried the words butdid not carry any think [sic] like a stick.I think the Kurnai learned from the Brajerakto send Boomerangs and spears.When a Baiaur brought word that some one was deadhe would say when coming into the camp "Father, (as thecase might be) of that one (pointing to some mother) is"Tŭrde-gatū būlū lūndū. Tŭrdegatū = Deadbūlūt = above - lūndū= there or he might

[written in left side margin]an [?? - unable to read this section] might sit down nearthe camp tell his friend next to him - took him tohis camp and gave him food. Then all beingassembled the Baiain sometimes told his message to all - sometimes to persons to whomhe was sent who in a loud voice repeated it to all.

Billy Tūlebar

Last edit 15 days ago by ALourie


5 22the swamp hawk (ngarang) to go after themand get back the fire. The swamp hawkflew off about three miles and then soaredand swooped down at them. - he knockedsome fire out of their tree and set the grasson fire. Baukan then put it out. The Swamp Hawk soared up and while hewas rising to make another swoop, Baukanthrew up some Kangaroo sinew up to thesky and tried to climb up but it broke.They then threw up Emu sinew, [then - crossed out] but it brokethen the sinew of the little red wallaby. -Justthen down came the swamp hawk and knocked out the fire. - All the grass began toburn but Baukan climbed up into the sky with the burning He oak log.This was how the Kŭrnai nearly lost theirfire.

Brewin and the moonOnce the moon (narrŭn) was a young manHe went out hunting and found an Emuon the other side of a creek. When he wantedto cross over a log to get at his game Brewin twisted the loground so that Narrŭn fell into the water.Each time narrŭn tried to walk overBrewin turned him over. The Emu iswhat you call the Southern Cross.

The Kurnai ancestor.Old Morgan the Gwera-ale Kŭrnai(Gweraale = great) told me that long agothe old Kŭrnai walked across the Sale plainsto the Heart. He crossed the river there andwalked down to Port Albert. He carried acanoe on his head. As he walked alonghe heard a tapping on the canoe - helooked up at one side then at the otherbut could not see any one. The fact [one - crossed out]

[written in left side margin at bottom of page]and Someone put woman into the canoe

Last edit 17 days ago by ALourie


6 23

was some one had put a woman intothe canoe. When he got down to PortAlbert he found deep water - then heput his canoe down and lo - there was his wife in it. He was very pleasedindeed to get a wife. This old Kŭrnai'sname was Būnjil [Boron - crossed out] Bor-ŭn(Pelican) and his wife was Bŭn(musk duck)

How the Gippsland Lakes became full of waterOnce the Great [Bull - crossed out] frog (Tidde-lek)drank up all the water so that therewas none left. All the people were gettingvery dry - the sea birds had none either.They all collected round Tidde lekand tried to make him laugh but theycould not. By and Bye however theGang gang cockatoos (KaloKephaler galeatum)came and coroboreed before him. Theirread [sic] heads looked so funny that he burst out laughing and thewater all ran out. All the Lakesand all the sea got to be fullof water and the Yeerung andDjeetgŭn flew all about the country.

[wrtten in left side margin next to first paragraph]Old totems probably

Last edit 17 days ago by ALourie
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