Howitt and Fison Papers


XM690_ICDMS_lowres The organization of Australian tribes



The organisation of Australian tribes

I use the word tribe as meaning a number ofpeople who occupy a definite tract of countrywho recognize a common relationship [and - crossed out]who have a common speech or at least dialectsof the same. The tribes people recognize somecommon [bod - crossed out] bond which excludes otherneighbouring tribes. Usually this is a tribalname, which may either be the word in theirlanguage signifying man (that is an aborigine of Australia), as the Kurnai ofGippsland, or the Wotjo of the Wimmera River, in the case of the latter usually prefixed to theword "ballaiull" meaning "people". Or the name may be derived from the word in thelanguage signidying either "yes" or "no"but more frequently the former as the Woë-worung of the Yarra River, theprefix signifying "lips" or hence "speech".

But while the individual tribes thusdistinguish themselves from others there isusually a word, often that [wor- crossed out] for "man" -which is common to a [larger - crossed out] group of kindredtribes as for instance the word Kūlin = manwhich [marks - crossed out] extends over most of the Eastern halfof Victoria excepting Gippsland.

The distinction is drawn between [the - crossed out] atribe and [the - crossed out] alien tribes by some termsapplied to the latter either in contempt or fear. Thus while the Kurnai speak of themselves as men they give the name of Brajerak from Bra=male=man and Jirak=rage or anger or ferocity to their neighbours to the Eastward namely the Theddora of the Omeo Tableland, the

Last edit about 19 hours ago by Budja07

XM711_ICDMS_lowres Yuin



4the gesture sign by which in these tribes the nameof the great Supernatural Being Daramulun (1) is inducted - whichit is not lawful for the uninitiated to know nor for the initiatedto speak unless in the Kuringal ceremonies, which it is taught tofirst instituted and taught to the Murring ancestors.

After this ceremony the evening is spent in festive singingand dancing (known to us as the corroboree).

When all the contingents have arrived the old men in concertapart fix upon the day in which the [Kuringal -crossed out] great ceremonie [sic] shall be[crossed out - commenced] held. These commence by a stamping, winding processionof all the initiated men headed by the principal Gommera ([sketch which looks like a Z]) which as before collects all the women and children together on theopen space near to the camp. But now the women are not only crowdedbut crouch close together each boy who is to be initiated being besidehis mother, and these are placed in the front of the group.

The men having danced in a long line to and fro in front of the women now halt in front of them and directed by the principal oldmen closely cover them up with rugs. I was much interested in noting

Where an B earthen mound has been made [the women crouch- crossed out][in the behind - crossed out] it, each mother is in a camp immediately behind her son, who is in the moundundergoing the "fire ordeal"; the other women being still further back. TheWiradjuri follow much the same practice. In Victoria the Wotjoballan of the Wimmera River roasted their boys in a mound which in that way approach to the Bunan ceremonies of G'land. see pp.-

That a very old man of the Biduelli tribe which had no initiationceremonies was at the gathering. He was friends with all, and wasrelated by marriage to some of the contingent visitors. But never having been"made a man" - being one of the uninitiated he was driven crouching among thewomen and together with them was covered up by the rugs.One of the Kurnai - belonging to the Krauatun clan which wasthe neighbour of the Twofold Bay Murring - left before the ceremonies commenced,for he also was uninitiated his clan having no cermonies and not attending the Kurnai Jerail (3)

The women all this time, even when close covered up all droningthe "tooth song".

At a sign for the old man one of the principal gommeras who was the master of this ceremonie [sic]each Kabo says his particular charge by the arm and holding him tightdrags him from among the women and hastens away with him followedby the shouting crowd of men. (4)One old man remains behind to seethat the women behave themselves and do not indulge in any unlawfulfemale curiosity by following the men.

[in left side margin][next to first paragraph] (1) see p.p[next to second main paragraph] (2) see chapter "Headman +c"[next to third main paragraph] Foot note[next to line with (3)] (3) see p. p[line drawn from (4) to side margin] Two Kabos areassigned to each noviceand have been almostfrom that group which isin the relations to the novicesgroup of "sisters husband" and(future) "wife's brother". Thus each arm is held by one of the Kaboswho may for [??] being called "Guardians"

[at bottom of page](4) This shouting is to cover the noise made by the departing men and other noises.the women and children are supposed not to know what has become of themwhen the old men in charge uncover them. At the Bunan the departure of the novices and then guardians along the path for the earthen circle is maskedby the men who continue to run round the inside of the ring making a noise likep-r-r p-r-r and gradually stealing off one by one. During this the women have beenlying face down on the ground outside the earth mound on the side furthest from thepath leading to the lesser Bunan.

Last edit about 19 hours ago by Budja07

hw0404 Notes on Kurnai 150 pages



Wotjoballuk Tribe Wimmera River Victoria1[table]F Primary class subclasses TotemA Krokitch 1 2 3B Gamutch 4 5 6

These class divisions extend in slight dialect variaations from Mt Gambierto north of Lake Hindmarsh where they comein contact with the subjoined class divisions in which Krokitch= andGamutch =They are [??] in having 6 [?cut down?]

Tribe Darling River N.S.W.2[table]Primary classes TotemsF AB

These class divisions also in slight [?dialectic?]forms extend throughout the course of the Darling River; to the west of it to the Barrierand Grey Ranges; to the East about as faras the junction of the Murray + Murrumbidgeeand for some distance up the Lachan [sic] River;where it comes in contact with the [??]type of class division - that of the well known Kamilytribes. To the north the boundary of these two classes is probably about ?[?Gwydyr?] Rv [Warijeri - crossed out] 1 Tribe [Murrumbidgee River - crossed out]3F

A 1 2B 3 4

[written in left side column]1 quote report

The class [??]is as follows:-

2 quote in first

Last edit about 19 hours ago by Budja07

hw0421 Notes by Howitt on the Wotjobaluk



1The Wot- jo-ballŭk - tribeThis tribe inhabited a part of country lying between the Wimmera and Richardson Rivers.The tribal name is taken from Wotjo = man and ballŭk = people. It is also called Gūli bullaiak. (Guli = man).The boundaries are as follows : - starting from about a mile north of Dimboola on the eastern bank of the Wimmera River following that river to Lake Hindmarsh thence by the river to Lake Albacutya, thence by the river to its termination at the Pine Plains Lake.Thence eastward to Lake Coorong; thence by the Warracknabeal creek to Warracknabeal;thence west to the starting point.

The Wotjo ballŭk are divided into a number of local divisions of which the followingare the principal:

1. The Gromillŭk - Lake Hindmarsh2. The Yakkil - ballŭk - Lake Albacutya3. The Kreitch ballŭk - Dimboola4. The Weitch wŭndaiŭk - Warracknabeal5. The Yárik-killŭk - Lake CoorongA man of one of these places eg Gromillŭk would be called Gromillŭk or Gromillŭk Wotjo in describing himand so on with the others. The totem names which I shall now speak of are scattered all over the country in the different Local groups.

Note: the people who lived at Lake Hindmarsh were Kromillŭk - Dimboola and Horshamwere Jūraballŭk, Jŭngping were Yaram [balluk - crossed out] biŭk, at Longerong were Jó-in ballŭk, at Murtoa + Warranoke were Waitchwŭndaioke,and at Waracknabeal were Yarambiŭk, at Ledcourt [were - crosesd out] and Mŭkpilly were Wotojoballaiuk.Old Bob says that Johnny Connolly is of Ledcourt and is a Watagoli- one of the Wotjoballaiuk . That his mother was a black woman but that his father made him a halfcaste.

[written in left side margin]Wenjen = lie on itsMarong = pinetreeGitch = has beensee the legend of thepine tree that reached to the sky p.

The Doen bauraket (doen = planes) lived to the westThe Balŭk mernén (mernen = sandhills / [??] it"sand hill fellows"to the northwards: the [Wen-crossed out] Wengen marongitch to theEast and the Jūroballŭk to the south Jūro = plain

Last edit 16 days ago by ALourie


39Folklore 5of a light wood which stood fast, but the youngerwho got hold of a pinetree was blown away withit as far as [Wite - crossed out] a place called Wite-witekalk.[Now the - crossed out] Here he was very thirsty and went todrink at a [lagord - crossed out] lagoon in the evening butwas much frightened at a noise made bygau-wŭn (the Bittern). Then he wentaway far down the Wimmera River.

Mean while his elder brother felt veryuneasy about him and went for theirmother. She pressed her breast and the milk spurted out like a rainbow fallingat the place where her younger son therewas. It was very very far off. She andthe elder Brambramgal travelled allday and next day she squirted some milkwhich fell nearer and so on day afterday until it fell quite near. ThenBrambramgal said "wait here while I go and look for my brother." He [took - crossed out]looked about till he saw where hisbrother had been eating a duck and then getting a bough sneaked close tohim, but the younger Brambramgaldid not know [him - crossed out] his brother. The elderbrother took care of him for several daysuntil a snake bit him and he died.Then his brother was very sad and saidI wish that gum tree were my brother. Hecut it down and carried the figure ofa man out of it and continued saying"get up and be my brother" untilthe log got up and became a man

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