Howitt and Fison Papers





CannibalismKurnaiIt was only the flesh of enemies that is of blacks of othertribes that the Kurnai eat - Kurnai did not so far as Ihave even been able to learn eat Kurnai.

It was not the whole of the body that was eaten but themuscle of the arms and legs and the skin of the thighs andof the sides of the body.

An instance [which - crossed out] occurred long before the white men came into Gippsland was handed down in the tribes. A large number of the Brabrolung, Krauatalung and Tatungolung had gone up towards the Maneroo tableland in a war party. [At Gellingall, about - crossed out]On the Buchan River west of Gellingall they left theirwomen and following up the River to [Fann where - crossed out][Fanwick now is - crossed out] a place called Fanwicktheir spies surprised two Brajerak (see p._), an old man and his son. The former was killed, but the latter escaped. The skin of the slain man was eaten andhis legs cut off and carried to their camp, where the old men roasted the meat and shared the flesh among the boys, in order that “when the old men were dead, the boys might know what to do”.

Though the Kurnai Tankowillin + Blair where I have mentioned elsewhere were of these boys and they told me that the flesh was "verygood and much sweeter than Beef."

[On an - crossed out] When the Kurnai were on anotherexpedition under their Head man Bruthen munji to attack their Enemies the Omeo Theddoraon the Upper Tambo River, they surprised a camp thenkilled [some of the - crossed out] the men and some children, but kept [keeping -crossed out] thewomen. The skin of these Brajeraks was flayed from the thighs and from the sides and was roasted and eaten.

Women were not permitted to see this or to participatein the feast [??] of the spoils of the slain.

[In this instance- crossed out] Tankowillin the [?taster?] of the last mentioned was an actor[also - crossed out] in this [cannot] case and was one of the spies whodiscovered the two Brajeraks.

Last edit about 2 months ago by ALourie




He also considers it villainous- laughed [??] carefully? when Iasked whether the father the mother [??]the child. He said [completely?]no the "man works the child and he call girl his daughter for whom helikes." He said that hisfather was [born?] at theThelbuigunj Mtn at thesource of the Tumut Rvr. That his mother came fromthe Theddora of Omeoand that his won wife isfromgirls all given in marriageby their father and brotherand all promised beforehand.If such a betrothed girlwere to elope with some fellowthe betrothed man [??

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sit at home in his camp.The father and brothers wouldgo out in the pursuit. Ifthey caught the girl shewould be brought back.Her father would not do[???]sever scolding but hermother would [?] herwith a ram stick.She would be handedover to her betrothed husband.If a brother and sister were to elope the [??]ashamed and if [??]girl then back would[????] servre scalding ? her mother would beat with a yam stick. She would be given back ? over to her bethrothed husband. If her brother or sister were to elope the ? would be much ashamed and it

Last edit 8 months ago by ALourie

XM17_ICDMS_lowres Notes



LanguagesNgarego ‘The word ngarego is the name of the language spoken by this tribe – the district name of the tribes men being “Murring” = men.They called the language of the Theddora, Kŭ[n]dūng-orūr and that of Gippsland Kūng-ela.Wild blacks were called Bŭdara [crossed out]’

Yuina lie = Bŭrnam-ganŭp or ?Miraian?Smoke = tūnkū-miláMerriman

'Yuin1 = Mittŭng-ŭlla2 = blageralea3 = Balli-mŭrma4 = Karoungial5 = Yirkūr6 = Karŭng blageralla10 = Ngaru mangalCharley Buipin

Braidwood tribeThe language spoken in [?is] Tarawal. Ridley p. 94 says that the language at Pt Jackson is Turuwul- where tullung = Bermagui, Moruya and Bunilee [or Burilee or Durilee] the language is Wodi Wodi.Ridley says the language at Shoalhaven and Wollongong is wudi-wudi [?wadi wadi] - p. 111

MaryboroughThe Booral language is known to all the triblets referred toEach tribute varies slightly in its language (dialect)as you know a man's triplet [??] peculiar words he uses. H.E. Aldridge.

Last edit 4 days ago by J Gibson




{Tharan-galk-bek?] (1) or the Gumtree -country. It was described to me as a land where there were trees. The tribal legends also speak of it, as the place to which Bunjil ascended with his people in a whirlwind (p -).

With the Kurnai this place is called blinte-da-nurk or freely translated "bright sky of the cloud", also bring-a nurt or "bone-of-the-cloud".

[Left hand column](1) {Tharan-galk?] is Eucalyptus Viminalis -galk = wood or treebek = country

The Ngarigo called the sky Kūlŭmbi, and said that on the other side there was another country with trees and rivers. This belief was also held by the Theddora and Woigal. ( other [?] come in here).

$ The human [Kunacks?] spirit, ghosts &ct. [underlined]

[Left hand margin] Dieri here from p 9add [with?] [?] [say?]

It is thought by the Dieri that when anyone dies his spirit goes up to the [Pirri-wilping?], the sky, but also that it can roam about the earth invisibly. *If the deceased was a person of any influence food is placed for many days, and in winter months a fire is lighted, so that the ghost may warm himself at it. The ground round the grave is carefully swept, and they believe that on it they can see the footsteps of the deceased. The kind of inquest held on the deceased is described at p , also shows quite clearly that the spirit of the deceased is supposed to be present and able to point out the person who is guilty of his death by magic. Should the food at the grave not be touched, it is supposed that the deceased is not hun-gry.* They also think that the spirit can establish themselves in ancient trees and always [speak?] of [much?] with reverence, and are careful that they are not cut down or burned.

[Left hand margin - transpose ** to p 17a]

The [Warriayeri?} thought that the spirits of the dead went up to the sky, [Wai-irre-warra?].

The belief of the [Biandik? or Bakandi?] was [?] [?] are spirits in mankind,which they called [no-one?]. At [?] one went [downward?] into the sea, and would remain a whiteman (1). The other went into cloudland". They said that the [?] [?] go "up there" [ikan-marn? or ikan nuarn?], where everything is to [be?] [found?] [?] [?] [?] [?] [?] [fat?] kangaroo [?] [said?] [to?] be like a kangaroo of the clouds" (1) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------(2) The [Biandik? or is this Bakandi?] tribe of South Australian Aborigines by Mrs Jane Smith/Smith related in 1830.(1) She is ending a belief [integrated?] [?] which now - but see p. p .

Last edit 4 days ago by J Gibson




Taking the Tongeranka tribe as the example of those of theItchumundi nation (p ). the office of Headmanwas in one sensehereditary, to judge from the instance of the Headman who died in theyear 1884. He succeded his brother, whode son was passed over in hisfavor, for what reason I have not been able to ascertain, and it wasunderstood in the tribe that he would be succeded by his son, who hadalready some authority. This shows the succession to the headmanran in a cetain family butreally depended on the acquiescence ofthe old men, since it was distinctly stated that merit as a fightingman, orator or medicine man, had great weight in securing his power.

In the (?) tribe, a headman must have age, personal prowess,ability as a leader, andeloqence. The authority in the tribe waspractically in the hands ofthe old men.

The Theddora who lived on the sourcesof the Tambo, Ovens andMitta-mitta rivers were practically extinct by the year1860 and all thatI can say is that they had {{Headmen]] who were called turki, and whose author-ity was of much the same degree as that of the Gweraeil-kurnai of theKurnai tribe. I heard much from the few survivors of one Metoko who com-bined the office of Headman and medicine man and this was the analogueof the Gommera of the Coast Murring.

Some interesting particulars are given by Mr. Richard Helmsas to this tribe (I), which I quote in this connection.

"The oldest man of the tribe was recognised as a kind of chiefbut whenever an attack was planned on some enemy, the ablest warrior wasas a rule chosen to lead andhis advice then received the endorsement ofthe old men."

Some of these old men were known to meby repute, not onlyfrom the survivors of the tribe, but alsofrom the Kurnai, Wolgal and Ngarigo, with whom I had been acquainted and whohad known them

(I) Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales Vol. 10, p 3871895.

The principal one seems to have been the Metoko, before mentioned in the (?) who in his character of medicine man could blow a thread "like a spiders web" up to the sky andby it ascend. The principal fighting man was"Cobbon Johnny" that is Big Johnny, whose actual name I never heard. Other Headmen will be mentioned in speaking of the great bloodfeudof the Kurnai later on (p ).

Last edit 4 days ago by J Gibson
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