Howitt and Fison Papers


Pages That Mention Mt Macedon

XM689 Chapter VI Tribal Governments




carry, if he killed another it would be given to the second one, and it was only when he obtained a heavy load that he carried anything himself. when I speak of these Headman in connection with the tribal (?) I shall again refer to the henchmen.

The account given of these Headman given by Mr William Thomas who was the protector of the Blacks in the years (?) , falls into line with the particulars which have given. I have condensed his state ment as follows! (1)

"Each tribe had a chief who directs all its movements, and who wherever he may be, knows well where all the members of the community are. The chief with the aged men makes arrangements, for the route each party is to take, when the tribe after one of its periodical meetings again separates.

Besides the chiefs they have other eminent men, as warriors counsellors, doctors, dreamers who are also interpreters, charmers a who are supposed to be able to bring or to drive rain away, and also to bring or send away plagues as occasion may require."

Such are Mr. Thomas's statements. He had great opportunities of pbtaining information, for as he says he was out with them for months"; but it is much to be regretted that he did not more fully avail himself of his opportunities, or if he did, he failed to record the results withthat detail which would have been now invaluable.

The Wurrunjeri clan of the Woeworung is a good example of the lesser tribal divisions, andof their Headmen. In order to make what I shall say as to it more clear, it is (?) (?) (?) that (?) (?) (?) (?) (?) (?) (?) it was divided into three parts. One called Kuraje-barring, was subdivied into those who occupied the country from the Darebin Creek to the sources of the Plenty River, under their Headman Bebejern, and those who lived on the east side of the saltwater river up to Mount Macedon (1) under the Headman Bilibellary. (8). the second division

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+ Mujulabul means a sound such as is produced by two stones struck together, as was given to him for the reason that he spent much time in splitting & fracturing stones at the quary for tomahawks.


was [?] under Jakke-jakke (1) living about the Yarra flats and on the northern slopes of the Dandenong mountains,The third were the "real" Wurrunjeri. who lived on the western side of the Saltwater river , ]under their Headman Bungerin, and extended as far as Mount Macedon.

Immediately adjoining the Wurrunjeri country on the [North crossed out] West side, was that of the Kurunjang-Wilam (2) who are also Woewurrung ,whose Headman was one ^Ningulabul, known to the whitemen as Captain Turnbull.. Ningulabul was a great maker of songs, which as Berak said "made people glad when they heard them". But when he sang one of them to me (see p -) ,it had the contrary effect ,for it made him shed tears.Ningulabul came of a family of gifted singers for his father and grandfather before him had been renowned ['singers' crossed out] songmakers and this ,as well as his own poetical powers ,was the cause of his great authority as a Ngurung-aeta ,not only his own tribe but also in those adjoining . The case of Ningulabul shows how headmanship was hereditary in a family whose members were gifted beyond their fellows.

On the north side of Mount Macedon were the Gal-gal-balluk, part of the Jajau'rung tribe, whose headman was known to the whitemen as "King Bobby" and who was the "partner" (3) of Ningulabul.If the latter wished to bring people from further north he sent "his word" to "Bobby" who again sent his "word" on by the next headman. To the westward of Ningulabul was ^Malkom the Headman of the Kriballuk , ['known as "Malcolm",who was' crossed out] a renowned medicineman ,['mentioned at' crossed out] ( p ).

To the south of the Wurmperi was a clan of the Bunwurng tribe, called the Valukit-Willam Headman was called Benbu (2)

Most of these Headmen were related to eachother by marriage,and thus , where as in a family such as that of Ningulabul ,there was tendancy for authority to become hereditary ,there was the germ of a practice which under favorable circumstances might have

(I) [?] was ^one of some men whose names appear as dagajaga one of the [?] in [?] celebrated and, My [? ?] and [?] informant [? ? ?] [? the ?[ appended by them ^to the [?] any meaning, beyond that of [? ? ?] [? ? ? ? ?] showed them (2) According to [? ?] means "creek" and "illam" is [? ? ?]

[Left margin:] (3) I have forgotten the [name?] applied [to such?] a man. the term "[?]" or "[?]" was its [? ?] [? ?] English [?] [?].

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for a long time over it, until the spear thrower fell down into the fire and the majic complete. Some one brought this news down to the Bun(w)urung and some time after the man died. His friends did not say anything, but waited till a young man of the Echuca tribe came down to the Western Port district and they then killed him. News of this passed from one to the other till it reached his tribe, who sent down a message to the Bun(w)urung saying that they would have to meet them at a place near Melbourne. This was arranged and the old men said to the men who had killed the Echuca man, "Now don't you run away, you must go and stand out and we will see that they do notuse you unfairly." This message had been given by the Meymet (1), to the Nira-balluk (2), who sent it on by the Wurrunjeri to the Bunwurung. It was sent in the interim, so as to give plenty of time for the meeting, which took place on the Melbourne side of Merri Creek. The people present were the Meymet, whose headman had not come down with them, The Bunwurung, with their Headman Benbra, the Mount Macedon men with their Headman Ningulabul, the Werribee people, with the Headman of the Bunwurung (of the coast Benbow) (crossed out), finally, there were the Wurunjeri with their Headman Bili-bileri.

All these people except the Meymet and the Bunwurung, were onlookers, and each lot camped on the side of the meeting ground nearest to their own country, and all the camps as was usual looked towards the morning sun.

When the meeting took place the women left in the camps and the men went a little way off. The Bunwurung man stood out in front of his people armed with a shield. Facing him were the kindred of the dead Meymet man, some nine or ten in number, who threw so many spears and boomerangs at him that you could not count them. At last a reed spear went through his side. Just then a Headman

(1) the Woeworung called the natives by the Murray River about the junction of the Goulburn Campaspe into the Murray Meymet, as they called the Gippsland natives Berbira, thus distinguishing both from the Kulin tribes who were their friends. (2) The Nira-balluk were the tribe about Kilmore. Nira = a deep gully, balik = people, and south of and probably adjoining the Pinpandoor tribe at Echuca.

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of the Buthera-balluk (1), whoheard what was to take place, and had followed the Meymet down from the Goulburn River, came running up and went in between the two parites shouting "Enough! Enough! ", and turning to the Meymet said, "You should now go back to your own country". This stopped the spear throwing, they had had blood, and all were now again friends, and a great corrobbory was held that night.

Buckley gives an account of a somewhat similar case which happened in his tribe, the Wudthurung, and which is worth quoting in this connection (2).

In speaking of an elopmenet he says, of the ordeal which followed it "at length this young man advanced towards us, and challenged our men to fught, and offer whcih was aceptedpractically by a boomerang being thrown at him and which grazed his leg. A spear was then thrown but he warded it off cleverly with his shield. He made no return to this until one of our men advanced very near to him, with only a shield adn waddy (3), and then the two went to work in good earnest, until the first had his shield split, so that he had nothing to defend himself with but his waddy. His opponent took advantage of this and struck him a tremendous blow on one side of the head, and knocked him down; but instantly on his legs aagain, the blood however flowing very freely over his back and shoulders. His friends then cried out "enough" and threatened general hostilities if another blow was struck. This having the desired effect they all, soon after separated quietly.

As a good instance of the manner in which trespasses by one of one tribe on the country of another tribe was dealt with, I take the case of a man of the Wudthurung, tribe who unlawfully took, infact stole stone from the tribal quarry at Mt.Macedon. I give it in almost the

(1) The Buthera-balluk lived about Seymour, and were Kulin. (3} this word waddy does not belong to the Woeworung language, nor to the Wudthurung so far as I have been able to learn, but it is a word from one of the dilects near Sydney, and its in Buckley's book by Morgan shows how quickly such words are carried from one place to another by the whitemen andtheir blackboys, to the confusion of philologists

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XM690 The organization of Australian tribes




their occurrence in other more backward standing tribes over a vast extent of Central Australia, but also from the numerous references to certain animals as the "sons of Bunjil" which play a great part in the myths of this tribe (1).

[Left margin note - (1) quote old tales from new lands &c-]

The Woeworung was on of a large related group, or "nation" tribes which occupied the greater part of Central Victoria - from the Sea [crossed out - to] nearly to the banks of the River Murray. [Crossed out - The Woeworung tribe was divided into certain] [crossed out - clans as follows: - the people] The Woeworung language was spoken over the Yarra River watershed, and as far South inland as [crossed out - Dandenong] Cranbourne - western Werribee River and northwards to Mt Macedon: But these people did not form all one tribe being divided locally as follows:- giving the names of the Headman [crossed out - who] at the time of settlement of Victoria.


[Title] Wŭrunjeri (Wŭrun = white gum tree) [Column 1] (3) The Real Wurunjeri [underlined] The Upper Yarra [crossed out - from] including Yarra Flats - Northern slope of Dandenong Mtns. Southern [Mackay?]

[Column 2] (a) [Kurnage-belung?] [underlined] Yarra R from Yarra Flat down - the Plenty R (b) Bebejan [underlined] Saltwater River up to Mt Macedon [Billibilleri?] [underlined]

[Column 3] Boiberit [underlined] west of Sunbury and Werribee. Bŭng-erim

All the Wurunijeri spoke the Woeworung language excepting the Berberits who spoke a dialect called [thŭri-wurung?] - But all were of the Waang class (crow).

The clan law which which required them as waang crows to obtain wives from people who were Bunjil (Eaglehawk), the segregation of the two class names severally into localities [crossed out - also] [?] about a law which was local in its application.

Thus [crossed out - taking] the men of that subdivision of the [crossed out - tribes] Wurunjeri [crossed out - also] [crossed out - of the Woeworung for speaking people] who lived in the Yarra about where Kew and the eastern the suburbs now are, [crossed out - the] were being crow [underlined] obliged to take wives from the Ngarūk Willŭm living about Dandenong who although also speaking Woeworūng were Eaglehawk [underlined], from the Gūnŭng [crossed out - willum] Ballŭk who were Eaglehawk lived near Mt Macedon but spoke Būnwurung language, from the Būthera balluk who were Eaglehawk lived near Seymour on the Goulburn River [crossed out - and spoke ?] from the Waring (cave) illŭm ballŭk who were Eaglehawk and lived on the Yea River, from the BalŭungKara Muttŭng who were

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