Howitt and Fison Papers


Search for Thed-dora*





It might however be correct to consider the [hanelbura?] as a sub tribe of a much larger tribe, [?] spread over a wide extent of country lying in the head waters of the Belyando River, the Thompson River and of some [confluents?[ of the Mackenzie River Rivers. The [component?] tribes or/are subtribes or of Hordes which compare the larger aggregate adjoining the Wakelbura and speak dialects of the same language, intermarry with it and have generally friendly relations with it and with each other. The group maybe [crossed out - this given] [?], in addition to the Wakelbura tribes:

1 Kŭmbŭkabura [underlined] from Kŭmbŭka the broad leaved Ironbark tree. From the Belyando River westward across the sources of the Thompson River.

2 [Wian bura?] [underlined] from [Owan?] = a young Emu, - on the Upper Belyando River

3 Dora-bura [underlined] from Doro = the roots of a tree. About the junction of the Belyando and Sutter River Rivers.

4. Mūtherabura [underlined] from Wūthera = a grub formed in the Brigalow tree (1)

[Left hand margin note](1) Acacia harpophylla[Fn m.][underline]A. [?] [?] A. aneuraall [?] except T.& W.G.A. glaucescens [Will?]mountain Brigalow.V. or [w?] Q


In the years 1883-1886 this tribe changed its name to Waralabura from waral = boat. The change was made because the owners of the Run put a ferrie boat on a large lagoon near the Homestead and they called itself after this boat. It sems therefore that any unusual circumstance may cause a change in the tribal name.

5 Mŭngki bura [underlined] from mungki the word used by them for "sheep" .[2 words crossed out] Natal Downs and about the Cape River

Adjoining these there are other tribes related to them. The Mūtobura adjoining the Kumbukabura on the [crossed out - best] sources of the Thompson River to the west. The Tilbabura, who became extinct about ten years [crossed out - ago] or more ago adjoined the [?Waubura?] to the South west, and between the Tilbabura and the [Mūtabura?] were the [Terrabura]] who is now also extinct.

6 The Bithel bura once adjoined the the Wakelbura and [Owaubura?] to the East but have long been extinct, and the [Owaubura?] have taken up their country. Beyond the [Mungkebura?] are the [Braubura?] who are again adjoining the [Bringabura?] at the junction of the Belyando and Burdekin River Rivers.

Last edit 8 months ago by Christine



Eaglehawk and lived in the Ovens River near Wangaratta and from the Wŭdthau-worŭng speaking people who lived at Geelong. While [crossed out - they] women camefrom these places as wives, their sisters went to their places as wives also.

[left margin note - Faira? Creek]

(or tabulated-thus)Table showing the intermarriage of the [Kulin] clans and tribes

Name of the tribe - (1) Urŭnjeri Ballŭk Locality - KewClass - WaangLanguage - Woë-wor-ŭng

Name of the tribe - (2) Būllŭk-wilŭmLocality - CranbourneClass - WaangLanguage - Woë-wor-ŭng

Name of the tribe - (3) Nira BallŭkLocality - Kilmore, BendigoClass - WaangLanguage - thagŭng-wor-ung

Name of the tribe - (4) Kūr-ŭng-jang BallŭkLocality - WerribeeClass - WaangLanguage - Woë-wor-ŭng

Name of the tribe - (5) Yau-ŭng-ilŭm BallŭkLocality - Between Mt Macedon, Kilmore, HeathcoteClass - WaangLanguage - thagŭng-wor-ung

Name of the tribe - (6) Būn-worŭng BallŭkLocality - Cape SchankClass - WaangLanguage - Būn-wor-ung

Name of the tribe - (7) Ngarūk-ilumLocality - DandenongClass - BunjilLanguage - Woë-wor-ŭng

Name of the tribe - (8) Būn-worŭng Locality - MordiallocClass - BunjilLanguage - Būn-wor-ŭng

Name of the tribe - (9) Gūnŭng illum balluk Locality - Mt MacedonClass - BunjilLanguage - Woë-wor-ŭng

Name of the tribe - (10) Būthera balluk Locality - SeymourClass - BunjilLanguage - thagŭng-wor-ung

Name of the tribe - (11) Waring ilum balluk Locality - Yea RiverClass - BunjilLanguage - thagŭng-wor-ung

Name of the tribe - (12) Yiran-ilum-balluk Locality - Goulburn River, Seymour to BenallaClass - BunjilLanguage - thagŭng-wor-ung

Name of the tribe - (13) Ngūr-ai-ilum-balluk Locality - MurchisonClass - BunjilLanguage - ngurai-wor-ung

Name of the tribe - (14) Ben-ben-dora-balluk Locality - MorupnaClass - BunjilLanguage - ?

Name of the tribe - (15) Wŭdtha-wurŭng-balluk Locality - GeelongClass - BunjilLanguage - Wudtha-wor-ung

[14 insert here]

Column 5 - Remarks - Urŭn = white gum treeballuk = people a number ofWoë = noWillŭm or ilum = campNira = cave or hole in a bankthagun = noyan-ŭng = stone būn = nongarūk = stones

A My informants stated that the people were either bunjil and waaug as far as the Avoca River [crossed out - where] beyond which the people were [Ganulih?] and [Krokitch?]. To the north eastward along the flanks of the mountains and up the rivers as far as the Buffalo River Bunjil and Waaug also extended. [Similar?] they extended to [crossed out - about] near Colac.

To this I may add that [Gamuch?] & [Krokitch?] extended over the extreme north west of of Victoria [?] Mt [Gambier?] (1) On the upper Ovens, the Kiewa, the Mitta Mitta Rivers I have found that the classes were [Matiau?] (Eaglehawk) and Yuthembrŭk (crow) thus [?] in [law?] confirming the statements of my Kulin informants.

Last edit 4 months ago by Stephen Morey




The impression made on my mind by theaccount of the Dora is that either the tribe has imper--fect ceremonies, or that your informant has notbeen admitted to the inner mysteries.

p. 12. This is not war upon aliens surely. It wouldbe well to inquire what sort of grievances led tothese set fights. They could scarcely be got up merelyto educate the boys, or for the mere fun of the thing.The amicable corroboree afterwards seems to showthat it is not a case of actual war.

p. 13. Can you get at the meaning of dawa inTundundawa?When the Tundundawa was sounded, wasyour informant permitted to be with the men "in thethick scrub", or had he to stay with the women? Thiswill be a good test question as to his admission to thereal mysteries.

p. 14. The white body under the outer skin. Thisis good confirmation of my conjecture in a footnoteto K& K - was it K & K?

p. 15. "Either dodge the spears, or evade them". Shouldnot this be "either ward off, or evade"?

p. 16. I don't like his expression, "flash about ashunters. There are several other instances of similarexpressions. But I suppose, when you come to writea completed memoir, you will use your own phraseology.

p. 17. (a) "Three fires". Any regulation as to their positionwith regard to the stage?(b). Dead blacks going under the sea to an island.This is valuable as pointing to the time of migration.In Fiji the path of the dead is invariably backagain along the line of migration. The dead go tothe old ancestral home. This is the true explanationof the Polynesian Avaiki, though it doesn't settle whereAvaiki is.

Last edit 7 months ago by ALourie




Buffalo Tribe1) What were t[he]y called2) Where did he see them3) When - Ya-it-mathangThed-dora-Wolgal

Kallakallap - fromBunjilMogullum-bitch tribeHas seen Theddora speakingblacks at - Merri ckbefore the [??]landed [many?]were Theddora mulley[?]

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[torn off page, untranscribed]

name for junction of wattle tree Rd with DandenongyRoad[crossed out - Kurnan]Kurnanga rising groundKoornang -

Last edit 21 days ago by ALourie




4his message to him at Bega and returing [sic]to me in Gippsland he journeyed on foot over some of the most mountainous country of South Eastern Australiaa distance of about four hundred miles. A second timehe made the journey before the arrangements were finallysettled, which were that Brūpin would send his messenger carrying my "Mudthi"to the Principal Gommera of the Kurial who livednear Shoalhaven and ask him to bring his peopleto a Kuringal in the Hilly country in the northernsideof the Bega River not far from the sea coast. Brūpinwas then to send me word when the Murringwere assembling.[crossed out - Then at the Kuringal when I attended] As being in the position of aGommera of the KurnaiI was to bring to the Kuringal acontingent of my men, and as I arranged it they were toleave the Snowy River mouth under the guidance of "King Charley". [crossed out - Thus when I attended at the KuringalI was in] It is now the place to mention that the general termKuringal includes two [crossed out - slightly] different forms of the same ceremonies, which are resepctively called from the characterof the ceremonie [sic] Būnan (1) and Kadja-walūng (2). Thedifferences between these two ceremonies and their identitieswill be seen from the following statements. Here it willsuffice to say that broadly speaking the Bunan is distinguishedfrom the Kadja-walūng ceremony by the former having a circularmound within with the preliminary ceremonies take place, anda small sacred enclosure at a distance connected with theBunan by a path. This form connects the Kuringalwith the Būrbŭng of the Wiradjuri [crossed out - and] the Bora of theKamilaroi and the Dora of [?some?] Queensland tribes.The Kadja-walūng ceremonies disperse with the circularmound and the small sacred enclosure is represented

[footnotes at the bottom of the page](1) from [?probably?] Bŭning = to knock or strike, having reference to theknocking out of the tooth. (2) Raw, or not roasted havingreference to the absence of the [crossed out - Roasting] Fire ceremony whichis part of the Būnan.

Last edit 21 days ago by ALourie

hw0164 Notes on the Maneroo and Ngarigo



Ngarego Tribe

The boundaries of this tribe are well defined bythe limits of the Maneroo tableland; being bounded to the West by the Thed-dora of Omeoabout the Cobboras; the Kurnai aboutGelantipy; to the South West by the Biduelliat the Coast Range, and by the same range to the south from the Coast tribes(Murring). To the East they are boundedabout Bong Bong by [othe- crossed out] some tribe.To the North their neighbours were the Wolgal.

The word Ngarego is the name of thelanguage they spoke - the distinctive nameof this tribe being Murring = men. Thisword however includes the Coast tribesand the Wolgal.

While this [Ngarego was- crossed out] tribe called theirlanguage "Ngarego", they called the languageof the Theddora, Kŭndūng-orūr and thatof Gippsland Kūngela. Wild blackswere called Bŭdara and white menmūgan.

The names of the tribes bordering the Ngarego wereNgai-mŭthc-mittăng at Queenbeyan [sic]; Waral-mittang at Bega; Bondi mittŭng at Bondi;Biduell-mittang at Bendoc; Woradjeri mittūngat the Tumut River; the men along the coast were called Katŭng-gal and thosefurther up than Bega - Kŭrial. TheNgarego-mittang were as far as Cooma.The open plains country is calledBimŭng.

[in left side margin at top of page, next to title]yes = yeyono = mūrū

Last edit 21 days ago by ALourie

hw0436 Notes by Howitt on Omeo 'tribe' and letter from Bulmer



1Omeo TribeJohn Buntine Esq J P Tongatha

TribesI was about 14 to 15 when I went to Omeo with Mr McFarlane.Tha Blacks or any of them who are left will know me wellby the name of "McFarlane's Johnny!"The Omeo Blacks were divided into two tribes.The Thed-dora who inhabited the country up the LivingstoneCreek from the Township, the Jim + Jack and Butcher'sCountry = the Victoria Plains. These people knewof Dargo where they used to go to kill the Dargo Blacks.A young fellow known as Theddora Johnny was my principal informant. It was he that wentdown with McFarlane to Gippsland. The Blackfellowthat went with McMillan was named Friday.The Omeo tribe lived about the Plains, the Mitta Mittaand over eastward where they joined on tothe Maneroo tribes. They also extended down Bindi to Tungeobut not as far as Numlamungie.

Medicine MenTo this part of the whole tribe belonged Metokothe Head wizard and Doctor. "Old cockey"who was a Doctor and "Cobbon Johnny" whowas then Head fighting man.Metoko was supposed to be able to blow something likecobwebs out of his mouth up to the sky and then toclimb up to Drŭm-ŭ-lŭn.I remember when about a hundred blacks, men, womenand children went down to Gippsland underthe protection of the whites and camped at Heyfield(McFarlane's) that when one of the men was sickOld Cockey went into the hut to cure him. The cookwas sent by us to watch proceedings through the openingsbetween the slats at the back of the Hut. He reportedthat Cockey turned down the blankets from the sick man. That he then sucked his stomachabout the navel and then ran to the door- blew out a great puff of wind, jabberedsome words clapping his hands together at the same time and ran back after shutting the door to repeat the performance.

Bull roarerOnce when in the blacks' camp at Omeo stationOld Cockey being there alone he shewed mea wooden instrument a few inches long - withnotched edge, and tied by its pointed end to a stringat the end of which was a short stick handle.

Last edit 4 months ago by ALourie

hw0146 Howitt notes of the Gringai



4 13 Written in the left hand margin towards the bottom of the page: I think there is some reference here to a custom stated by [?Brouch?] Smythe or another that the name of the deceased is never mentioned and that any relatives who bear his name change it. J.F.

aloft to the sky which is over a large part of Southern Australia one of the wizardssupposed powers. In fact all that can be gathered on this subject will have exceptional value for comparison with the pretensions of the “medicine men”.

In connection with this the question alsoarises - do the Gringai regard the sky as a silid vault? If so what is there beyond. [sic] The usual belief is that the sky issolid; that “ghostland” is beyond it where lives the great spirit, Baiamai, Kven, Bunjil, whatever his name Maybe together with the ghost; to whomascends the Wizard [sic] through a holeor door. ——-

J is written and circled in blue What is supposed to become of the spirit of the dead man or woman?It seems that the spirit is supposed fora time at least to remain near, e.g. during the burila when the body is questionedNote which Mr Dawson says about “changing names” on the death of a father. This statement is entirely new to me.

K is written and circled in blueIs it possible to find out as to the Bira:for instance ask any particular Dora,the last one held for instance.(1) who ordered it to be held(2) who attended it - i.e. from which localities.(3) who prepared the Bora ground(4) were there not some “magical ceremonies”performed by the Koradjis after the women were sent away and before the tooth was knocked out? Such for instance as the apparent bringing (crossout) up,out of the wizardsstomach of bones, stones etc. (5) what became of the tooth?(6) what was the punishment where boys eat forbidden food. [sic]

Last edit 9 months ago by Margaret T. Newman

hw0185 Howitt notes on the Wolgal



[left column]Murray Jack - Malian- Yibaiwas born at Thalbungun a mountainat Head of Tumut River famous for WambatsJack Johnny MragulaMan - murrinewoman - Kowamba - BallanHead - Kudagong Hair YerungEye - GoondoveNose - NoorTongue TallangHand MannamaninThumb Nadjan - dittoFoot - Mai-dowaSun - MammaitMoon - GoondawangFire WattaWater Najūngmine indigithy - ngaimbahis - ngaim ba junmaind-wa indigi1 = mitambo2= blŭlla3- blŭ-mittŭng4- bai ūlanga number= yabŭng

The name of the fallsin the [??] Riveris Langeri-yan-yura

[right column]Johnny Mragula is WalgalWalgal LanguageNganain = yesWan-a-gain = No

Boundaries of the Walgal countryCowombut - down River to Tom Grogginto Wheelers - Cudgewa - as far[as far - crossed out] as Walariganya River joining theMurray - at Albury on WūrajeriMitta Mitta all Thed-doraOvens River all Kūlinto Tumberumba - AdelongKilmore Ck to TumutDown Tumut to GundagaiGoloot - Cullinbong - Lambing Flatto Yass - Queenbeyan [sic] - MicalagoCooma - Kiandra - Lobs Hole- Thelbingūng Mountain - thenaccross to Cowombut

Wolgal class system + totemsMeroongEaglehawkBellet Bellet - Lyre BirdNadjinajan - BatBullemba - Flying SquirrelMundarung - little Dittonamung - Bk snakemoolau or munjea - FishBut the wark - mopokeCownga - Bk opossumWa-at Red Wallaby

YukembruckCrowBraagur - Small HawkTchuteba - Rabbit ratBow-wur Squirrelnext in size toBullembaBurroo KangarooBeribang EmuBud-da-luk IguanaKooioor Nt CompanionCorr-on Porcupineo-loon-ban Sleeping Lizard

Last edit 21 days ago by ALourie

tip70-10-34-12 Howitt to Fison 29 July 1880



When old King [?] was present the mourners thought they sawthe body move when put in the case - in this case a [?grave] putdirect on the bank of the [?] River - they all "fell back fromthe hole and the [?dead] man went up - he said - "What do you dothat for - we make you quite comfortable - why didn't you stopquick?" Then the hole was filled up with stones & soil.

I have sent out a circular on the subject of ghosts [?] [?]which replies are now coming in confirmatory of oldKing Williams statements as to the ghost leaving the bodyin sleep, the burial is to prevent the returtn of the dead, or thecarrying round of the dead to his old haunts, and alsothe offering of food to the [?manner] of the deceased! This willbe a most important piece of evidence. The worst of it isthat the evidence comes in but slowly - If I could only [?]myself into the [?] field I could garner in to somepurpose. However as I cannot I must do the next best - namely stir up my fifty two correspondents and addto their number. Our correspondent Mr A.L.P. Cameron isworking with a will - he has a decided turn for theseenquiries and has taken inhand a group of tribesabout the junction of the Murrumbidgie & Murray andacross to the Lachlan. I have got him well posted upand in my last letter from him he says "my informant'sa very intelligent old fellow has promised to try and get me[add-crossed out] admitted to a Dora they are going to hold and if I succeed I shall try to get initiated - even at the risk of losinga tooth." No other progress much to record except that I havegreatly excited the curiosity of the Black Queensland trackersstationed at [?Derrallen], by my questiobns. My police constablecorrespondent says in last letter " they are much pleasedand say how can a white fellow know all this. "I maybe able

Last edit 6 months ago by HelenB




7Kamilaroi System in cases of marriagebetweeen the forbidden classes, we see to beprecisely the Kurni usage in all casesExcepting in the rare instances notedby Mr Howitt where the girl's father's consent could beobtained, (together with the case of the deceased brother'swidow, + that of wife's younger sister, both9 of which are in accordance wiht ancient rule)marriage among the Kurni was invariably by elopement. Secrecy is indispensable. As Mr Howitttells us, "it is essential to success that the parentsof the girl should be utterly ignorant of what is about to take place." When the elopementoccurred the friends of the girl were furious. If therunaways were caught, the man had to stand asa target for the spears + boomerangs + kulluks [underlined]of her near kinsmen, while the poor girl was"speared, or beaten within an inch of herlife by her father, mother, + brothers". Comparethis account with that given by Mr Reeve by Doraof the Herbert River tribe,of how her brother slashed "under the left breast & overthe back", the woman whom he found in the bushwith her lover who was of a forbidden class. (See Chap iii)

Again, my correspondents agree instating that, among tribes which have the Kamilaroi organization, if the eloping couple can elude pursuit for atime, their offence may be condoned; + this alsois in accordance with the usage of the Kurni, ofwhom Mr Howitt tells us that, "if the couple can remain away until the girl is with child, it issaid that they will be forgiven." Very significant too is the Kurni's defence of their usage in theground that "it was not intended as cruelty, butsimply to follow an ancestral custom". [underlined]It is manifest that both the elopement of the young people, + the cruely of their kinsfolk were

Last edit 2 days ago by ALourie
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