Howitt and Fison Papers


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The Kurnai have no class or subclass names andtherefore no social organisation as I use that termbut they have unmistakable indications that they[had totems and therefore - crossed out] must have had all atsome former time.

Each individual had a thūndung or elderbrother, [not only in their sex totem Yürung or, - crossed out][Djütgun but also in some - crossed out] being some marsupial animal, or bird, reptile or fish. It is the [They however have no influence upon marriage - crossed out][which is regulated by kinship and local exogamy- crossed out][and survive as the merely as the elder brother and - crossed out][and also as in so far the -crossed out] protector that in[some cases such as Kangaroos + birds- crossed out] it gave[notice of - crossed out] danger, and [also -crossed out] has also invokedsongs in cases of [??]

They [thundung - crossed out] are also spoken of as jiakor flesh as in other tribes.

The [jiak - crossed out] totem was told by a man to his son whenabout eight or nine years of age and by a womanto her daughters. [For instance a man might - crossed out]point out his totem to his son and say["see there that is your thundung; yu must - crossed out][not kill it!" - crossed out]

As these names are perpetuated from fathersto sons, the daughter having also the same, descentis clearly in the male line, and they would benecessarily prepetuated in the locality to whicha man belonged. A good instance is thatof the Bunjil-baul who lived in RaymondIsland in Lake King and whose jiak was [the Gluin - crossed out] a bird the Gluin, whence their nameof Gluin-Kong, the Glui's beak.

[The Australia - crossed out][These Thundung- crossed out][The totem and its human brother are - crossed out][These toems and their human "younger brother"- crossed out][which are younger - crossed out][brother - which are sill in the relative of- crossed out][protected + protector - they the form here the - crossed out][two classes with which we now I feel certain they- crossed out][have at one time I feel [??] [??] at where- crossed out][they preceeded - crossed out]

(1) I am much indebted to the Revd John Bulmerfurther investigating the Kurnai Thundungconfirming my own endeavours, by obtaining a[which - crossed out] of [the - crossed out] old people which abundantly exhibitedof male descent.

[written in left side margin]If I am correct in believing that these "thundung"were at one time[consistent with the two primary - crossed out][?? class divisions - crossed out]part of a two class system thenwe have here an instanceof the peculiar[??] of these coast tribes.The totem which [??]to my view preceeded the class agnate[??]exist, whileit has beenreplaced by rhelocal [?agnate?]

Last edit 3 months ago by ALourie

XM12_ICDMS_lowres Harry Aldridge notes




child is turned round if a man is walking towards it, should she not be looking & a man is coming to- wards the front of the boy, the man will stop & tell the woman pretty sharply "turn that boy" the woman at once turns the back of the boy to the coming man - this is to prevent illness, the man supposed to be able if he wishes to "put a "stoni?" into anyone he dislikes. A woman rubs her hand under his arm & then rubs her sons eyes with her hand - this is to give him good sight. A mother plaits a hair cord to put on her boy when about 3 years old it is put under each arm & round the neck being fastened together on the middle of the chest & between the shoulder blades - this is that the boy may develop muscle & strength in the back & chest & is generally kept on till he is made into a man viz about the age of puberty. On the chance of giving you too much of this I would like to tell of what I consider rather a good tale of the result of disobedience. Between Double Island Point & Inskip Point are two rocks called the [.....] rocks deep water close up to them, the natives say that a long time ago a camp of [.....] were close to the beach & all went out to hunt fish & leaving two boys in camp only with strict orders not

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this heralded some great trouble.So to prevent it to the cunning old men proposed exchanging wives. My own experience amongthe Blacks of the junction of the Darling Lower Murray was similar to this, they sometimes exchanged wives at Corroborietime, but always withinclass limits, they also exchanged wives to avert fancied troubleas for instance they heardthat a great sickness wastravelling down the Murray so they though their safety lay in exchanging wives. At other times they expectedtheir wives to be faithful. A woman was only supposed to take another man at the command of her husband which was very often as

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he was very liable to fancy someone else's wife. The only way to accomplish his object wasto give his own wife to the husband of the woman. I have known one instance when the menexchanged wives for a monththis was called BiamaI do not know if this often occurred but know it didoccur once, but they were always careful to keep within class limits. What I have written abovewill answer questions 1 & 2. No 3 Children were alwaysof the same class as their Mothers. On this point I am not confident in fact in the languages of the law I canswear to it as I was sofamiliar with the whole

Last edit 7 months ago by ALourie


Tharra wurka means simply the name of a placeTharra being name and wurka country or place. ---The translation of Terthangis the south for the Blksalways speak of man according to the point the compass they dwellin, it is Tathung---Bunjil wurruk Kanimeans simply an inhabitantof a particular place ora native of a place as distinguished from a stranger. Bunjil is a word used to express a manwho has a particular hobby

Last edit 8 months ago by ALourie




K + K here p 208 customs Regulating camp. Kurnai4In the camp [the- crossed out] custom regulates the position of the individual. The husband and wife wouldsleep [sic] on the leftside of the fire, the latter behind it, amd close behind her the children; nearest to her the little boy if any, next to him the little girl. In the event of the man's father and mother being with themfor a night, the grandfather would occupy the right hand-side, the grandmother behind him further back in the hutand the son's wife and children would move to a correspondng positionnear their own “house father”.

It would be a rule that the wife’s sister, although called‘wife’ by her brother in law, and also calling him “husband” would not sleep in his hut but somewhere near at hand. Other rules would apply to other members. A “brogan” visiting him that is a man who had been initiated at the same time as the abovementioned “husband” and who therfore addressed the wife as “spouse” and was so addressed by her would not stay at [the - crossed out] this camp but would go and stop in the young men’s camp.

Such rules also obtained among the Maneroo tribe.

Camping Rules 3Kurnaiquote fromK + K p208 Not only did custom regulate the distribution of cooked food among the members of the group in which it was common, but italso [strictly -crossed out] defined in the old times the positions which might be occupied by the various members [of the - crossed out] in the camp.

From the statement of the Kurnai [and - crossed out] from diagrams made by them on the ground + from observation of the position of the camps respectively in encapments - [I have - crossed out] I can say that the position of the respective members are wellunderstood and observed.

The following are the positions fixed by Kurnai when I had an imaginary encampment marked out tocomprise the several individuals mentioned below. Thestarting point is the camp of the son of the princicpal man of of [sic] the group, the Gweraeil Kurnai or Headman and his wife. The directions are given approximately by compassbearings and the distance by paces. The nature of the ground required that the encampment should extend in a particular direction and the situation was chosen with due respect to change and shelter.

Son and son's wife 5 paces northFather and mother 20 paces n. 30ᵒ E.

Last edit 10 days ago by J Gibson


KulinMen of the Woeworung people ? then camps. Crosse out a camp some in the following manner lately ? Berak's (Berak) wilaui (hut) as use starting point.

Diagram 2( (1) Beruk, (Berak) wife 1 died(2) Beruk ?(Berak)ditte(3) Beruk (Berak) father 2 mothers1( (4) Beruk (Berak) wife ? jail 2 weeks(5) Victoria for the Bunrung tribe(6) young men camp5( 6(

The camp to suppose to be in Beruk (Berak) country and at ? nearby each hut faces the east that of the percuily ? stuck wife to behind? a ? camps the heel of Berak father between people the Bunwrung ?camps side head of the country which is the northward.? Men who are young men were furthest from the main people.?

Last edit 7 months ago by Kurnai

XM235_ICDMS_lowres Typed notes



The Yuin are a coast tribe in southern New South Wales. Theyhave no classes or sub-classes, but totems which, together withlocality regulate marriage. They have individual marriage and descentin the male line.

The Kurnai inhabited almost the whole of Gippsland and wereorganised in exogamous local groups. Individual marriage was broughtabout by a system of elopement. Descent was in the male line.

The Chepara formed a considerable tribe in southern Queensland .Therewas not any organisation in classes ,subclasses, or totems, but thetribe was divided into local clans with male descent.

These tribes fairly represent those described by MessrsSpencer and Gillen and by me, covering some three fourths of eastern Australia.

Considering them as a whole we see that the Dieri and kindred-tribes, having group marriage (1) and descent in the female line, are themore backward standing, while the most advanced in one direction ofsocial progress, are tribes such as the Bingbinga with eight sub-classes and descent in the male line. Other tribes have advancedsocially in an other direction, from an organisation like that of theDieri to that of tribes, such as that of the Wathi Wathi who, withthe class organisation of the Dieri, have individual marriage and notgroup-marriage. This latter series terminates, for instance, in theKurnai, with an organisation altogether on locality, andwith descent is the male line.

The progressive rate of advance has not been the same, so thatno two tribes are, so to say, at exactly the same distance fromthe starting point. It is therefore necessary to take all the factorsinto account, before determining whether any particular tribe is,or is not, primitive, or more or less socially advance than another.

In this communication I have only considered the advance fromgroup-marriage to individual marriage.

I have already explained what the reation [sic] of noa is, andshall now go a step farther and show how the potential claim of aman to one or more of his female noas is given effect to.

I have described the several ways in which this done [sic] and neednow only summarise them, giving references to where, in any NativeTribes, they are to be found.

(1) [too faint to read]

[written in left margin]is this the starting point of my explanationsThe noa relationship and to make them as clear as possibleto my readers I shall [make use of a small diagram -crossed out]in the first place enumerate the several ways in whichthe potential claim of a Dieri man to one or more of his female noas is given effect to.

re write

Last edit about 2 months ago by ALourie

XM237_ICDMS_lowres A W Howitt Australian Group Relationships (paper)



Anthropological Institute3 Hanover SquareLondon, W.

Kindly set for Journal

Australian Group-relationshipsbyA.W. Howitt C.M.G., D.Sc.

[written in left side margin]Dr Rose

Mr Andrew Lang remarks at p. 55 of The Secret of the Totem, "If pirrauru were primitive, it might be looked for among these southern andeastern tribes .....but in these primitive South-east tribes pirrauru isno more found than subincision....".

I do not understand what Mr Lang means by "primitive tribes", because those of the south-east who have not got pirrauru, are, accordingto my classification, advanced, in so far that they have individual marriage.

I now propose to show what I take to be good reasons, for the beliefthat those tribes did at one time have a marriage of the type of thepirrauru of the Dieri, and if so, it is an answer to Mr Lang's objection.

The noa relationship is the starting point of my explanations and tomake them as clear as possible to my readers, I shall, in the first place,enumerate the several ways in which the potential claim of a Dieri manto one or more of his noas, is given effect to.

This may be by;(a) Betrothal, (Native Tribes of South-East Australia.p.p.177-8).(b) gift of the woman (p.p. 178-9)c/. (c) the kandri ceremony (p.p. 181-2); the performance of which may be inconsequence of;(d) an agreement between two brothers to become the pirraurus of theirrespective wives. In such a case they commonly lived together in a group marriage of four (p. 181).(e) consent of the husband (p. 181).(f) a man receiving the wife of his deceased brother (p. 181).(g) allocation by the elders (p. 182).

Under all these new marital conditions, the man and the woman remain noa to each other.

I have always found a difficulty in explaining the system of Dieripirraurus marriage, to those who have no actual knowledge of the conditions.In my earlier works I endeavoured to meet it by speaking of the [??] under(a) and (b) as noa marriages, but I abandoned this, because it was ratherindefinate [sic], in so far that all the unions are noa marriages. Inmy Native Tribes of South-East Australia

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No one says or thinks in the Dieri that, as Mr Lang puts it(op.cit.p.46), she the woman 6, "collaborated in giving birth to him"the man 9, any more than we should do so, as to a stepmother. The position[on -crossed out] of 6 as to her sister's children, follows from her position as thewife of her sister's husband. The Dieri no more thinks when he appliesthe term ngandri (mother) to two women, that they have collaboratedin the birth, than we do when we apply the term "grandmother" to twoseparate women, that they have collaborated in the birth of any oneindividual.

The term ngandri as applied to both 5 and 6 carries with it a strongfeeling of kinship, which may be estimated from my remark (op.cit.p184)that " in the event of a tippa-malku wife dying a pirrauru wife willtake care of her children and attend to them with affection.

The filial terms to be considered are (m), son, brother's son, wife's sister's son, and (f), son, sister's son and husband's brother'sson.

The man 9 is the son of 1, and 11 of 2, but 9 is also the son of 2,therefor [sic] the term son also includes (m) brother's son, and as 9 isson of the sister of 6, the wife of 2, this term also includes (m) wife'ssister's son.

Taking 5 as the example of (f) son, sister's son and husband's brother's son, the same line of argument will show that those relation--ships, as we reckon them, are all included in the one term "son".

There are in the Dieri language three fraternal terms, neyi, elder brother, kaku elder sister, and ngatata younger brother or sister.As one term will suffice, to illustrate the inter-relations of all,I shall select neyi.

The man 9 is the son of his joint fathers 1 and 2, so is 11 andhaving the same father they are brothers, one of them being the elder. (1)Similarly, as 11 is the son of his joint ngandri 5 and 6, who are alsothe mothers of 9, he and 11 are brothers. I must point out, however~ strange it may appear to us, that a man's younger brother may be older than himself, under the conditions I have explained.

How strong and real this fraternal bond may be, can be estimated by the case which I recorded (op.cit.p.237), where an elder brother sufferedthe death penalty stoically, at the hands of a pinya for a blood-feudincurred by evil magic, attributed to his ngatata or younger brother.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------(1) It is noteworthy in this respect that in the Bingbinga tribe pappa includes elder brother and also father's elder brother's son, while pappaia includes younger brother andalso father's younger brother's son. 111

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a system of marriage which supplies that evidence of fact, whichup to the present time, has been wanting. Group-marriage that is pirrauru is a fact,and the terms of relationship define it, as our terms defineour individual marriage and the family created by it.

But even if Mr Lang were correct in speaking of the [piarruru - crossed out] pirrauru -marriage as a "sport", it would not alter the fact that the relation--ships brought about, by what he admits is a recognised union (op. cit.p.p. 52-53), are those which the terms define. Moreover there [no - crossed out] are noothers, even as vestigiary survivals, to point to any earlierperiod of individual marriage.

On examining the table of marital terms at the end of this paper it will be seen thatthey [can - crossed out] may be arranged in two groups, one with a single term for all the relationships, the other with one term for husband and anotherfor wife, as I use those words.

[written in the left hand margin]Narrinyeri

The first includes the Dieri, Urabunna and Kurnandaburi who have group-marriage, and the Narrinyeri, Arunta and Wathi-wathi who have not. The sacond [sic]includes all the other tribes, who have individual marriage.

The Wathi-Wathi belong to a group of nations, whose north westerntribes are adjacent to the Dieri and Yantruwunta. It is significantthat the Wathi-Wathi who have advanced from group-marriage toindividual marriage, should retain a marital term nopui, which is apparentlythe same as the Dieri noa and the Urabunna nupa.

In summarising the conclusons [sic] which may be drawn from the facts statedthe principal point is that the original terms of relation-ship, such as noa, indicate marriage on a wide scale, although restrictedto a definite part of a tribe. We may conclude that there was previouslya still wider range, which the noa relationship restricted. A furtherlimitation then comes in by which only some of those who are noa to each--other are married by the Kandri ceremony.

By pirrauru also some of a man's brothers become actually theco-husbands of his wife or wives. A larger number are only nominally so, andthis may be considered as a vestigiary survival of what was a realitybefore the institution of the Kandri ceremony selected, so to say, only some of the noa brothers.

Later on with possible association of change of descent from thefemale to the male line, the pirrauru system was abandoned, the maritalrights, formerly exercised by the pirrauru, being now seen at the timewhen the woman is actually handed over to one certain man. (1)

(1) This summary was suggested to me by Professor Baldwin Spencer

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The handing over of a woman and the exercise of the formermarital rights, is what I have spoken of as the jus primae nootis [3 words underlined]and which Mr Lang disputes.

In the Kurnai tribe it is the fraternal group who exercise theright, that is, those who are the own or tribal brothers of the futurehusband, and belonging to his locality, any one of whom might haveeloped with the woman, if she had consented to accept him as her bra.The fraternal group having exercised the right has thereafter no furtherclaim over the woman who becomes the individual maian of the man sheeloped with.

This is not a solitary instance of the practice, and the Kuinmurburaare a good example. In that tribe it was the men who were inthe relation of durki to the woman who had access to her, and the relation of durki is the equivalent of noa.

This tribe has advanced to about the same point of social develop--ment as the Kamiliaroi, having individual marriage and an analogousclass organisation, yet it seems as if, in this pracitice, the old inborn right of the noa had been revived.

If we go further back, in the line of advance to the Kurnanda-buri, who have group marriage, as well as the equivalent of the Dieritippa-malku the same facts meet us. It is the fraternal group of menwho exercise a temporary right over the woman, all being abaija toher, which is, on the one side the equivalent of the dieri noa and on the other of the Kuinmurbura durki.

I think we may see in these cases a change in the direction ofindividual marriage in the Kurnandaburi, and a survival of ancientcustom in the Kuinmurbura and the Kurnai.

Last edit 3 months ago by ALourie


[written in pencil at the top of the page]Hart


To this may be added that the Dieri betrothal was an encroach-ment upon pirrauru, [as the latter was a restriction of the much wider- crossed out][range of group marriage, under the noa relationship - crossed out]

The practice of betrothal and that of giving a woman to a certainman, who had rendered some signal service to the kindred, for instanceby preventing blood revenge, or by holding the body at the burialceremony, must have tended towards a feeling of proprietory right inthe man, over the woman so given. The practices of betrothal and giftare therefore early stages in the social advance and must be takeninto account in considering the general advance in Australian tribes.

The accompaning [sic] table shows my evidence as to betrothal andalthough not so complete as I could wish, certain conclusions may bedrawn from it.

Taking the Dieri as the starting point, the advance has been fromthe power of the mother and her brothers, to dispose of her daugh-ter, to that of the mother and father; then to the father and in somecases to his elder brother. These social changes have, speaking broadly,led to the establishment of individual marriage, descent in the maleline and an organisation, in some tribes upon locality alone.

It must be added, that no two tribes are at the same levelin advance, but that one has reached a certain point, while anotheris either behind or beyond it. It is evident therefore, that neitherthe primitive nor the advanced position of any tribe can be deter--mined unless all the factors are considered. It is only justifiableto restrict the investigation, where it is intended to determine whether a tribe is or is not advanced further than another, for [instance - crossed out]instance as to marriage, ceremonies, or beliefs.

When writing my Native Tribes of South East Australia I consideredthe possibility of the system of pirrauru having resulted from thedevelopment of an advance, from an earlier form of promiscuity. 177

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13used by the tribes of the Eastern half of Australia, point to thisconclusion. The same argument may be reasonably extended to the whole of the continent.

The question then suggests itself, what may have been the origin of the pirrauru marriage of the Dieri? We find a starting point, inthis inquiry, in the two exogamous classes, whose action prevents the marriage of brother and sister. The next step onwards is their division into four sub-classes, thereby possibly preventing the marriage of parent with child, followed, in the northern central tribes, by a further division into eight sub-classes.

It is an accepted fact, that the numerous restrictions of marriage, in the Australian tribes, have been intentionally made, to prevent the union of those who are, considered to be, "too near flesh". I must point out here that there is no evidence whatever that the Australian tribes have any knowledge of any injurious effect produced by interbreeding.

If we reverse the method, and trace back the successive changes we shall find that the division into eight sub-classes is still proce-ding [sic] in the southern Arunta. There are apparently only four sub-classes, Panunga, Bulthara, Purula, and Kumara, but further inquiry reveals the fact that, for instance, a Panunga man is not allowed to marry any and every Purulawoman. The latter are all divided into two groups, the members of one of whom he may marry, whereas the others are strictly forbidden to him (1). The divisions are there, but have not yet [become - crossed out] received names.

We may concieve [that - crossed out] the original segmentation to have been brought about, not by revolutionary, but evolutionary means, within the Undivided Commune.

I picture the two segements as having group-marriage, controlled by a prohibition of brother anh [sic] sister marriage, and the unsegmented whole with group-marriage, including that of brother and sister.

Looking backwards into the unknown depths of time, farbeyond the conditions just postualted, we may suspect a period of general promiscuity between the sexes, and not that "sanctity of individual marriage", which if I am not in error, is Mr Lang’s theory.

(1). Messrs Spencer and Gillen. The Northern Tribes. p97.

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The Yuin are a coast tribe in SouthernNew South Wales. They have no classes orsubclasses but have totems whichwith locality [replicate?] individual marriage with maledescent.The Kurnai tribe inhabited almost the whole ofGippsland and was organised in localexogamous, intermarrying groups.There was individual marriage brought aboutby a system of elopement with descentcounted in the male line.The Chepara were a coast tribe in SouthernQueensland. There was no organisation in classesor sub-classes and there were no totems.The tribe was divided into local clans with maledescent and individual marriage.These tribes fairly represents those described byMessrs Spencer and Gillen, and by me is[.....] some three fourthsof the [Eastern?] half of Australia.Considering them as a whole we see that the mostbackward standing are the Dieri and [kindred?] tribewith the most advanced, in one direction of social [.......]are the northern tribes with eight subclasses and descent[reckoned?] in the male line. In another direction the tribeshave advanced from an organization like that of the Dieri[... .... .... .. .. .... .. ... ..... .... ..... ..... .....]have individual and not group marriage.Such coast tribes as the Kurnai who have become altogetherorganised on locality with male descent.The progressive rate of advance has not been thesame so that no two tribes stand at identicallythe same distance from the starting point. It is [therefore?] necessaryto take into [....] all the factors in the problem and [... ......] to saythat any one tribe is [.......] because its [ceremonies?]or its [social? ..... .. .......], or beliefs is anyother ["....."] have [remarkably?] more [......] featuresto this paper & only consider the [distance?] from groupmarriage to individual marriage.

Last edit 3 months ago by ALourie




{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 10 days ago by J Gibson





So far as my enquiries have gone I have not been able tofind out that the interference by a Ngurung-aeta, as spoken of by Buckleywould not be effective. The Kulin would not have refused to obeysuch an interference, uinless in a case (of such tribal moment) when publicopinion happened to be against him . Even in the case of the ceremonialexpiations as I shall have occasion to mention later on such interferenceby the headman of one side would be effective in staying the hands of hisown men,or (?) (?) (?) others.

Among the Kulin there was a headman in each local group, andsome one of them was recignised as the head of all. some weregreat fighting men, some great medicine men, others were orators, wasa renowned maker of songs and was considered the greatest ofall. (p -)

If a headman had a son who was respected by the tribespeoplehe also would become a Ngurung-aeta intime. But if he were, from thenative point of view, a bad man, or if people did not like him, theywould get someone else, and most likely the relative of some formerheadman, such as his brother or brothers son.

A Headman could order the young men of the camp to do things for him and they would obey him. The headman might, as I have heard it put, say "Now all you young men go out and get plenty of 'possums, and givethe m to the old people, not raw, but cooked". similarly the Ngurung-aeta'swife could order the young women about.

Each Headman had another man, "standing beside him", as they put it, to whom he gave "his words". This means that there was a second man of somewhat less authority, who was his comrade or henchman, who accompanied him when he went anywhere, who was his mouthpiece and delivered his orders to those whom it concerened.When the headman went out to hunt with his henchmen or perhaps withtwoof them, if he killed game, (?) a wallaby, he would give it to one of

Last edit 12 months ago by ALourie



The Kurnai tribe also affords good instances of the manner inwhich kindred avenged the killing of one of their members, and howtherby a blood feud, ramifying on all sides may arise, finally involving not only the whole tribe but also neighbouring ones.

Such a blood feud arose usually out of homicide eitherby violence or the supposed affects of eviul magic. I carefully traced outone case of this taking frim its commencement to its end in a battle betweeenthe Kurnai clans about the year 1856-7.

When the Gippsland and Omeo natives had come better aquaintencewith eachother through the white settler, and this had becomemore or less friendly to each other, one of the Theddora men named BillyBlew obtained a Braiaka woman for his wife. When on a visit to hiswifes people he illused her and in consequence her father Kaiung foughtwith and speared him. Billy Blew's kin in return came down from the moun-taines and killed Kaiung, together with a Braiaka, they were assistedin doing this by another Braiaka called Lohni, the brother of Budawal, mentioned elsewhere. (p ). In revenge for this a man of the Dairgo (?) of the (?) clan, the sisterson of Kaiungs wife killed a man called Johnny Flanner (p ). the brother of Gliun-kong (p ), he and other relations of Johnny, finding his skin hanging in a tree at Aitkin's Straits, at the Gippsland Lakes, followed Dairgo Johnnyand killed him at Brin vale on Merriman's Creek in South Gippsland.

At this point I take up the account given of this feud as toldby Bunda-wal, which continues this history to its end. I give his account asI toook it down during his narrative to me. "I had two wives, bothfrom Brt-britta (p ), One of these had been married to the man who killedmy brother Johnny at Aitkin's Straits. I then collected asll the men fromBruthen, Wy-yung. and from Binnijeri (p ), for all my own men had died orbeen killed, so that there were only boys left. But these others were likemy own people. We all sneaked round to Merriman's Creek where we found

Last edit about 2 months ago by ALourie



so. From that place we went round the country looking for our enemies.We sent out four spies in the day time, while the main body lay concelaedin the scrub and only travelled by night. Sometimes I was one of the spiessometimes Tankewillin (p ), was one of them. We went all over the countryeven down to the Tarra, but could not meet our enemies. At length we pre-tenede to be friends and returned to Mitchell River. We waited a whileand then sent to the Snowy River men who came to us. But the blackfellowsfrom Maneroond the Ovens returned home, and only a few of the Omeo menremained to help us.

While this was going on the Dairgo and Braiaka men had sentlewin to me saying that we would fight and then be friends. it was deci-ded by the Dairgo old men, that the fight should take place nearDeightonat aplace called Yau-un-dit. We met them and fought but no one was kill-ed. They were too strong for us and ran us back to the Mitchell River.We now waited again for some time till one of the Brataualung brought us amessage from the Headman at Dairgo that we should be friends. it was their custom to do this bysending a spear jagged with quartz asa token. The one he sent by Charley Buchanan was jagged with glass. We saidamong ourselves "we will pretend to be friends and wait till bye and bye.The spear was passed on by way of Bruthen, and sent up to Omeo and so round and back to Dairgo. Then we all gathered, but the Snowy River menwould not come, for they were frightened, two of their men had been spear-ed.

Bruthen-munji (p ), told us "we must send a message to theDairgo men where to meet us, but we must be quick and get to BushyPark"We had with us Omeo men, with their Headman Nukong. Our Headman wasBruthen-munji.

(I) A Brabralung native from the Wuk-Wuk division of that clan.(2) Sometimes one of the skin aprons worn by the men was sent round inthis manner as a token, hung at the point of the spear.

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6A[Table][Title]The Kurnai Tribe

Column 1 - Clans, row 1(i) Krauat-ŭn-galŭngfrom Kanat = east; galŭng= a possessive [postfix?] = of or belonging to the sea coast from near Cape Everard to the Snowy River, all that river with its tributaries up to about [Willis?]; the sea coast from the Snowy River to the Entrance to the Gippsland Lakes with all streams flowing into Ewings Marsh and [Ru?yers?] -

[Column 1, row 2](2) [Brabralung?] - from Bra-bra manly and (ga)lung = if or belonging to all the [crossed out - country waters of the] drainage areas of the Tambo, Mitchell, and Nicholson Rivers with the [?] tributaries to their extreme sources, also to the weir on the Mitchell River to Providence Ponds, with a corresponding frontage to the Gippsland Lakes.

[Column 1, row 3](3) Bra-yak-(g)alŭng = him Bra = man, yak = west - all the country west of Providence Ponds watered by the Avon, [crossed out - River]] Macalister [crossed out - and] Thompson and Latrobe Rivers down to the junction of these into [?] & thence [?] valley the eastern bank of the Latrobe to Lake Wellington thence - eastward by the [?] to [somewhere?] near [?], thence northward to Providence Ponds.

Column 2 Title - Lesser [?]Row 1 - a) Ben – Sydenham Inletb) Dūra – 12 miles up the Snowy River from the seac) Wūrnŭng-gattung – Lake Tyersd) Brt-bitta (= a hollow in the ground)– Jimmy’s Point – entrance to Gippsland Lakes

Row 2 - (e) Bruthen, in the Tambo River(f) Waiŭng = widgeon - near Bairnsdale in the Mitchell River(g) Wŭk-wŭk = Lindeman Flat. Mitchell River(h) Mŭnji = on the north shore of Lake Victoria= There! or "the place of" e.g. -?(i) Dairgo - on the Dargo River

Row 3(k) Kŭtbūn-baura from Kŭtbūn = to have or carry and baura = fire. The name also of a hill or the upper Avon River.(l) Bŭnjil Nŭlŭng - the country between the Avon River and the Eastern boundary of the clan, south of Stratford - Bŭnjil = personal appelates of the older men-Nŭlŭng = mud. Named after the Head man of the division at the time when Gippsland was settled by the whites -(m) Bunjil-clan - the country between the Avon and the Macalister Rivers. Dan = emu - the name of a Head man -(n) Bunjil-Kraura from Kraura = west wind [Northern?] country of the clan west of [north?] to them almost impenetrable forested scrub in west Gippsland from the name of the Headman.

Column 3 title Wives fromRow 1 a) wives from b c d and Mallagoota Inlet and Twofold Bayb) wives from c a t and [p. 13] Bina-jera (the long strip of sandy and swampy country lying between the Gippsland lakes and the sea as far as the Entrance to the Lakesc) Brüthen – on the Tambo River – Waiūng Widgeon – near Bairnsdale Mitchell River and Kŭbbūn laura – Upper Avon Riverd) b and Bina-jera (see b) or is it I = Būnjil Nŭlŭng – between Avon River and eastern boundary of clan south of the Stratford

wives toa) b c d k Twofold Bay Mallagoota Inletb) c e g t Bina-jerac) Bruthen Waiūng Widgeon Kŭbbūn laura and Bina-jerad) b or I and Bina-jera

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the boundaries of these subtribes were well defined and no one must pass beyond them in search of food.

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West of the Darling River and extending to the Barrier/Barrier Range and Grey/Grey Ranges Ranges in the west, the the Warrego River in the --- and having a frontage to the Darling RIver from about 50 miles north of the junction of the Warrego & Darling to about ---[not named in text] [?] [?] Wilcannia there were at least ten tribes which divided the country between them, being themselves divided up into still smaller groups (Hordes).

But in the other hand some of these ten tribes may be arranged in two larger groups to which the term "nation" is not inapplicable. The tribes 1. 2. & 4 constituted the [Itch-u-mundi? or itch-u-nundi? ] Nation and the tribe 9. and 10. were the [Kara-mundi?] Nation.

[Left margin] Itchunundi [with brackest to 1, 2, 4, 3]

1 - (1) Wilya, [underlined] occupying the country about the Grey Ranges and having its head quarters at Endeavour Lake. 2 - (2) Kongaita [underlined] - North and South of [?] Range and having its head quarters at Cobham Lake 4 - (3) [Boolali?] [underlined] occupying the Barrier Range Country and having its head Quarters at Poolamacca and Sturts meadow3 - (4) Tongarauka [underlined] occupying the country including Momba Tarella, Wonominta and Yandarlo, also the Daubeny Range and having its head Quarters at Momba and Tarella The name means a "hillside" or "under a hill".

[Left margin note] Karamundi [with brackets to 5, 6, 7, 8]

5 - (5) [Milpultho?]. [underlined] The Darling River frontage from Wilcannia down to ---- [no place written] 6 - [6&7 overwritten] - (6) Nanalko. [underlined] The Darling RIver frontage sfrom Wilcannia up to about 70 miles below Bourke. 7 - (7) [Gūerno?] Thence up the River to Bourke 8 - [arrow from 6 to here] (9) [Bŭrumbinya?] [underlined] From Bourke up to the Barwan River 9 - (9) Badjeri. [underlined] The tribe extends up the Warrego River from a point about 50 miles north of the junction of the Warrego/Warrego River with the Darling/Darling River and up the Warrego/Warrego River to ---- [no place recorded]

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The country of the Dieri tribe ends about Blanchewater [crossed out - where] where the Flinders Range of mountains and [crossed out - in the Freeling heights] [?] abruptly in the Freeling Heights. In these mountains were a series of tribes commencing with the [Murdilari?] or "Red people" in mountain areas, following the Kūyani --------- the country of the the latter ending [crossed out - west ? from Port Augusta] at Mt Eyre all these tribes were of the same great [st? ?ulients?]. had spread over the Lake eyre Basin having apparently migrated from [crossed out - the] N Eastern Australia following the course of the Barcoo natives and [?] those of the [?mantion?] also. At any rate I have traced the same organization and and class system on the Upper Barcoo at Mt Howitt in the [Rūnan dalrui?] tribe and the great ceremonies of the Dieri connected with the "mura mura" beliefs extend up to Birdsville and thus connect the tribes of the Everard/Everard River & Diamantina/Diamantina River with these as far south as the Dieri and [Murdula?] at the least.

The class system with the names Materi and Kararu not only extended from the Dieri to the most [crossed out - to Spencer Gul the surrounding ? extent of the tribes] [crossed out - But they also were in the [?] [Riveolin?] tribe.]tribes situated between [Piri?] and the Head of the Bight all of which had the classes Materi and Kararu in some dialectic form as for instance Mŭteri and kararu of the Witūrū and Hileri tribes at the head of the Bight. These class names cease for this [crossed out - any rate they did not extend beyond the boundaries] of the Mēning tribe settles about Eucla which [crossed out - must be ?] [crossed out - to be] is [?] of the West Australian State.

The class name Materi and Kararu as I have said extended down the western side of Spencers Gulf.

On the Eastern side: Yorke Peninsula separates Spencers Gulf from the Gulf of St Vincent. Here I may now [?] a long series of coast tribes which are remarkable as having in many [crossed out - ways] respects an organization which departs [crossed out - in] more or less strongly from the types which are found within the Australian continent.

The first of such tribes is that which occupied [?] and whose remnant state [?] therein.

[Left margin note]The [Augala?] tribe was [?] the Kūyani of Port Ausgusta. Thence in the extensive tract of whose bounds are approximately fixed by Pot Lincoln Head of the Australian Bight, Lake Gauwner & and the Gawler were two tribes whose common boundaries the coast at [Point Brom?]. The one east of the point Wilūrū and [the?] the west of the point the Hillerie tribe.

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In these tribes there appears to be a subsidiary or secondary clan [word crossed out] which divides the totems thus:

[Table 2 columns][Column headings]Mŭkolo - GnilpūrūBilyari - TirltāTŭrū - [Burkumia?]Wamba - KultapaX - KaruiX - YaranjeX - KurliX - KulthiX - BauanyalX - Wonjarū

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My informant was unable to explain this which appears most unusual and his blackfellows of this tribe could only tell him that every blackfellow is [either?] Mŭkolo or Gnilpūrū and that the latter is "[bein?] fellow" as the " by old men" long ago said.

Under this form of the two clans in [Iperi? or Iperū] tribes [crossed out - systemic descent] [crossed out - is [?]] marriage is as already described, that is between Mukuara and Kilpera and of any totem of the clan as among the Dieri. But in the following tribes of this group the law differs a little as to these totems. The clan [?] is from in [?] B.(5) the Milpulko, on the Darling River frontages from Wilcannia down to some fifty miles below Menindee, (6) The [Ni nalko?] from Wilcannia up to about 70 miles below Burke (7) The Gūerno thence up to Burke (8) the [Burum brūyah?] from Bourke up to the Barwan River - (9) the Badjeri extending up the Warrego River/Warrego from a point about 50 milenorth of the junction of the Warrego & Darling Rivers (10) Barūngi occupying the Waanaring district in the Paroo River and (11) the Kurlingali which is a back country tribe on the south side of the Darling River towards Cobar.

In these tribes the exogamic rule [crossed out - the marriage restriction relates] must only apply to the clan and all its totems, [crossed out - of the clans] but also to some of the totems of [?] of the clans [crossed out - with which marriage may take]. Thus while a man being Mukura-Tirlta may marry a woman being Kilpara-Kulthi [word crossed out] ([?]) (1) he may not marry a woman who is Kilpara-[?ileberi?]

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[crossed out - In] The Great dividing Range which to the westward of the [mountain?] of Melbourne [leaves?] until in Western Victoria it shows mainly by isolated mountain, in the Eastern side rises into a great chain [crossed out - of mountains] extending to te north East until at the boundary of the colony it rises into its greatest elevation in Mt Kosciusko to the height of 7386 feet above sea level.

The great streams from their mountains form valleys [crossed out - also] through which flow northwards round the River Murray to [southwards?] to Bass's [Straits?].

Tribes such as the Woewurrung claimed the river [crossed out - in which] flowing through their country as part of their territory grounds to its sources in the mountains [crossed out - where] by which in summer they [behove?] themselves to hunt. But [crossed out - ?] [crossed out - further than] beyond the sources of the Goulburn/Goulburn River and Yarra/Yarra River Rivers the [crossed out - in] Dividing Range/Great Dividing Range widens out into greater alpine plateas [palteaux] [crossed out - which] with tracts of grass and herbage and bordered or circled with still higher rugged mountains. At an elevation of about 5000 ft the timber ceases and the ultimate great downs and summits are clustered with an alpine vegetation glorious in summer time with flowers. [crossed out - So] Such alpine tablelands continue in succession and at [various?] altitudes from near Woods Point at the sources of the Goulburn/Goulburn River and Macalister/Macalister River River until they terminate in New South Wales in the [tablelands?] of Kiandra. [crossed out - They] The higher plateaux are in winter covered deeply with snow but the lower ones such as that of Omeo in Victoria and Maneroo in New South Wales are habitible all the year round.

[crossed out - In a] On such elevated plateaux were located certain tribes which to some extent formed a nation [which - crossed out] with a community of customs, of ceremonies while yet having some connection with the adjacent tribes of the lower lying [where - crossed out] country. In many these mountaineers occupied the upper valleys of this region also. [crossed out - upper valleys of the Rivers. Rest of line crossed out] about [crossed out - three lines that are difficult to read]They [mitūman?].lived in the Upper Ovens/Ovens River and Buffalo/Buffalo River Rivers and which was claimed by the Kulin as being Bunjil. In the Southward they intermarried with the small Dargo [Dursut?] of the Brabralūng clan of the Kurnai which inhabited a small trail of open country [crossed out - along the] about the junctions of the Dargo, Wonnangatta and Wentworth Rivers. To the Eastward they intermarried with the Ngarego tribe which inhabited part of the

[Left margin note]The [??] tribe which inhabited the Omeo tableland and the Upper Mitta Mitta & Tambo/Tambo River Rivers was [??] into the Omeo

Last edit 7 days ago by Christine




Tribal Government

When an Australian tribe is looked at from the stand point of an ordinary observer, the conclusion seems to be justified that there is in it no recognised form of government. That is to say there is not manifest any persons or group of persons who have the right to command under penalties for disobedience, and where commands are obeyed by the community. There seems to be no person to whom the whole community yield submissive aho has peculiar privileges which are patent to observation, or who are surrounded by more or less of savage pomp and ceremony. On a general, respectful view of our Australian tribe all that are seen, is that there is a number of families, which swarm over sertain tracts of country in search of food, and that while they appear to show considerable respect to the women, see the males enjoying so much liberty of action with each one may be considered to do that which seems best to himself.

A more intimate acquaintance with such a tribe shows however, that there must be some authority and restraint behind this seeming freedom. I note is found that there are well understood customs, or tribal laws which are binding upon the individuals, andwhich theresofre control him as well as regulate his actions toward others.

The statements which are given in the [words crossed out] preceeding chapters will have already shown that there are stringent laws which regulate the [intercourse?] of the sexes, which are connected with the secret ceremonies of the tribe, which [?] the [desire?] of food, and so on, and there laws or customs are enforced by several penalties, even death itself.

It is quite true that many such laws or customs are obeyed without it dread of phisical/physical punishmenr being

Last edit 7 months ago by Christine




Mission StationLake Tyers 29th?/3/04

A.W. Howitt Esq.

Dear Mr Howitt

On reading your letter justreceived in which you state that the origin of thetotem system is a moot point I would suggestthat it might have had its origin in the factthat the Aborigines attribute to various animalsattributes sections[?] being able to make orcreate. As the Bat Mukung[?] (or [?] togetherman and the Eagle & Crow being a sort ofsupreme deity, hence one would thinkthey were very apt to identify themselveswith the various animals, we[?] see thisis the power even now they attribute tothe Yelmire & Gleean in being able to curediseases. They seem to have had ananimal for the cure of every diseasefor headache they would use the teeth of theYelmire and in diseases of the limbs

Last edit 3 months ago by ALourie




Get something belonging the man - even if he spits in the ground you can c[?] the spit up and put it in the gulliwill well lind up with cloth and thing so at no shryth can go out. Put in [crossed out] Make a big fire and put the gulliwill in it and the heat gets [crossed out] man puts [?] and he gets more and more by and bye till he dreams.

Guliwill 1) Yullo = sharper bone black feller this legs[?] [?]

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with [?]view - to point at a man witchuri = feather the witchuri creep[?] 2) the flying yullo witharat a man and a [something crossed out] bring him out[?] of his camp it is invisible and he must go to the wijan who carried[?] him any for the fat[?] 3) yullo [?] carried trail used to be up a man. caught by a man C[?] an to put to sleep in his camp - snoring -

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XM226_ICDMS_lowres Howitt to Andrew Lang 1 September 1902




What I see in this evidence is that the rate at which the so-cial development of these tribes has gone on, has been very unequal, sothat while some have remined in the most primitive condition of allof them others have advanced severally to the stages I have noted.

The next point to note is that while in the Lake Eyre tribes,which according to my view have altered least, there is group marriagestrongly in evidence, in the tribes at the end of the series (e.g.G ) there is a strong form of individual marriage, with only avery rare reversion to group marriage. apparently to avert some threat-ened evil, e.g. where the Aur A (Nungan's fire) .

As regards the other line of social developments the pro-hibition of marriage within the class continued as long as the classexisted; when it ceased to be the prohibition passed over to thelocality.

But there have been and are other prohibitions as to mar-riage which are important in this connection. First I must note thatpractically the class divisions prevent the marriage of brothers and

Last edit 7 months ago by ALourie




point in the direction[hand?] - point to the [face? or nose?] or breath hard.

Heat of fire ['Heat of fire' underlined] - breath hard

[very?] [glad?] - pat the breastswith both hands

Hello! Tap in a [?] [?]

[?] [look?] [down?][sideways?] [Where? or when?] Water? [underlined sign for [Where? or when?] - [water?] lookArm to left side.

There a long [way?] [off?]!

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[wave?] hand and point at 45 O [45 degrees]"There - near" point at 45 O [45 degrees] & [horizon?] [when? or when?] --------------------------------------------------------A black fellow from the other side of Portland - between that and the Glenelg told methat his people when the buried a poor fellow put a [bush? or hut?] round the grave and put inbilly of tea and some bread there and that the Mūrŭp came and drank and ate it.

Last edit over 1 year ago by Christine


Sun. point to sun coursein the heavens.Moon. [keep?] on the [?] [?] a circle with hand in front. [2?] [They?] [?] [its?] [course?]

todaydown with a small movement then [?] arm [on?] [its?] course


[Tomorrow?] [Left?] => body3rd = large but round as body and with both [arm?].Sleep incline head[to?] hand [to?] shoulder



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child [sideways next to four words above] [Crow] point tocharcoal

coitus name [?] [did?] it at [forebrow?] & [?] [hand?] head for told peoplecome here

halt - project the right hand forward - palm [friends?] - finger [front?] [apart?] go on

sit down

Last edit over 1 year ago by Christine


Crow. = charcoal

Swan. = like emu only excluding [?] [?]________________________Where do you come from?(as before)& [sign is?] - you & what [both underlined]

I come from 3 days East [sign?] of I [underlined]- sign for far offsign for 3 = 3 fingers held up =sign for day = 3 sleepsHim long to you stop here?

Sign for what [underlined] Sign you [underlined] = [?] for groundSign sleep [underlined] = point for itI go back tomorrow! Sign me [underlined] sign 1 sleepsign for direction.

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name of people along coast [all underlined]

East = morn-motWest = [Būng-ong-Būng-ong?]North - Pŭr-gaiSouth - [Gūr-rin?]__________________________Enough - hold out handfingers spread = a lot then pat own [breast?] = [I?]shake head = no more no - shake head-------------------------------------------------Yes - nod head

---------------------------------------------no more - noneshake hand as a [?] and also head twice

Last edit over 1 year ago by Christine
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