Howitt and Fison Papers

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runs thus: -mula-mule Kuruitba tariararaGuialtura nanga ebermeranga.

Note Mula-mule - platypus, Kuruitba - large rock, tariarara-bend of river.

The singer said that the words spoke of a platypus sitting on arock in the river, and that the song came to his tribe from the[Richmond River - crossed out]. Whether this statement is well-founded I cannotsay, but the man spoke with certainty and apparent candour.With some songs there are pantomimic gestures or rhythmicalmovements, which are passed on from performer to performer, as thesong is carried from tribe to tribe.

[Such - crossed out] Another instance is a song which was accompanied by a carved stick painted red which was held by the chief singer. This traveleddown the Murray River from some unknown source.

[(note)- crossed out] The Rev John Bulmer tells me that he saw this perform-ance in the Wiimbaio tribe at the junction of the Darling and Murray Rivers in 18-The same song, accompanied by such a stick , [also came -crossed out] was brought into Gipps-land many years ago from Melbourne, and may even have been theabove-mentioned one on its return.

IN the tribes with which I have acquaintance I find it to be a commonbelief that the songs, using that word in its widest meaning,as including all kinds of aboriginal poetry, areobtained by the bards from the spirits of the deceased, usua-lly their relatives, during sleep in dreams. Thus as I have before said the Biraark [of - crossed out][the Kurnai- crossed out] professed to recieve [sic] [their- crossed out] his poetic inspirations [from- crossed out][the gosts mrarts (mrarts)- crossed out], as well as the accompanying dances, which they were supposedto have first seen performed in ghostland. I here found An interesting exampleof [such - crossed out] an "inspired song" [is found among the Woiworung- crossed out] among the Wurunjeri. Accord-ing to [my informant- crossed out], Berak, who sang it to me, it was composed by Wenberi (p -) [the headman of that- crossed out][section of the Woiworung tribe which was located about Mount- crossed out] the headman of the Ngurungaeta Bebejan. [who according to- crossed out][Robert Thomas was shot and where who belonged to a family in- crossed out][Macedon, and in the males of whose family, from one generation to- crossed out]

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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

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

Immediately adjoining the Wurrunjeri country on the [North crossed out] Westside, was that of the Kurunjang-Wilam (2) who are also Woewurrung , whose Headman was one [Ningulabul], known to thewhitemen as Captain Turnbull.. Ningulabul was a great maker of songs,which as Berak said "made people glad when they heard them". But whenhe sang one of them [?} [?} it had the contraryeffect, for it made him shed tears. Ningulabul came of a family of giftedsingers for his father and grandfather before him had been renowned [?]and this, as well as his own poetical powers, was the cause of his greatauthority as a Ngurung-aeta, not only his own tribe but also in thoseadjoining. the case of Ningulabul shows how headmanship was hereditaryin a family whosemembers were gifted beyond their fellows.

On the north side of Mount Macedon were the Gal-gal-balluk, part ofthe 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 tobring people from further north he sent "his word" to "Bobby" who againsent his "word" on bythe next headman. to the westwardof Ningulabulwas [?] the Headman of the [?]????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Most of those Headmen were related to eachother, by marriage, andthus, where as in a family such as that of Ningulabul, there wastendancy for authority to become hereditary, there was thegerm of a practice which under favorable circumstamces might have

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established a priviledged family, such as some of my correspondents have spoken of. (p) Berak, the son of Bebejern, certainly has inherited some authority, which I have never seen disputed by the few survivorsof Kulin tribes.

In tracing out these connections between the several Headmenit became clear to me that they exercised much influence in makingNgurung-aeta. Thus it was Ningulabul the Ngurung-aeta whose influence madeBebejern and Bili-billeri Headman. Bili-billeri and other old men madeBungerim a Ngurung-aeta.

The right to hunt and procure food in any particular area of country belonged to the group of people born there, and could not be in-fringed by others without their permission. But there were placeswhich such related groups claimed as theirs, to the exclusionof others and ?????????????. Such an instance is that ofthe quarry at Mt William nearLancefield, and from which the stone used for the heads of tomahawkswas procured.

At the time whenMelbourne was established the head of thefamily which claimed this quarry was Bili-billeri whose wife was thesister of Ningulabul, who was the brother of Berak's maternal grand-mother, (crossed out - in other words according to the aboriginal system of relation-ships his (tribal), paternal grandfather)The family propriatorship in this quarry included [???] and had wide ramific-ations. On the one side it included the husband of [Bili-billeri]'s sisterone of the [Headmen] of the [Kurning-ilun] who lived at [Bacchus Marsh],named [Nurrum-nurrum-biin] or "moss growing on decayed wood". On another sideit included Ningulabul, and again in another direction it included Bebejernthe son of another heiress of rights in the quarry, and through heran interest came to Berak by his father Bebejern. But it was Bili-billerithe head of the family, whose food country included the quarry who livedon it and took care of it for the whole of the Wurunjeri.When he went away his place was taken by the son of his sister, the wifeNurrum-nurrum-biin, who came to the quarry to take charge. I do not know??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

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word chier, because it inevitablr suggests by its associations the hered-ditary chieftinships with which we are familiar in some of the Polynesiantribes. but it certainly is erronius as certain authors state that there are no men who have controlling powers, and that each man may do thatwhich is right in his own eyes, without regard to other considerationsthan retaliation by the individual who may suffer by his action, or by his kindred.

I have chosen the term Headman as being less likely to bemisunderstood than that of chief, which as I have before said has associ-ations in our minds which are not appicableto the Australian Savages,but if the word chief implies a person having power to direct the peopleof his clans or tribe and that his directions or orders are obeyed by themthen I say that the Pinaru, Gweraeil-kurnai, the Ngurungaeta and theGommera are chiefs. For although when compared with those of well knowntribes on other parts of the world, their power is limited, yet it is anactual power of command, coupled with a certain measure of ability tocompel obedience.

I have constantly observed in those tribes with which I have hadpersonal acquaintance that the old men met at some place, apart from thecamp and discussed matters of importance, much as arrangements to bemade for hunting, or for festive or ceremonial meetings or indeed anymatter of moment to tribe. having made up their minds, one of them wouldannounce the matter at another meeting at whcich all the men in camp wouldbe pre-sent, sitting or standing round, while younger men remained at theoutside. St such a general meeting the younger the man the less he would have to say, indeed I never knew a young man who had only been latelyinitiated, to presume to say anything to join in the discussion.

In the Dieri tribe such meetings were composed of the heads

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words used by Berak who was present at the meeting which probably tookplace in the late forties.

It having been found out that a man had taken stone withoutpermission his Ngurungaeta Bili-bileri sent a messenger

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(12) Native name of: Ningūlabŭlor nūng-qua-la-vol?meaning?

Capt. Turnbull? [line drawn to Ningūlabŭl? above]which were the boundaries of theKūrnŭng willum tribe? of which hewas the head man. were they woewurŭng?see (19): native name of Benbow native name of De Viliers-? meaning of "Yalūkūt"-wilum

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(13) What was the tribe calledat [coast or at St Kilda - the Yalūkūt-wilum - were they Būnoorong?"yes sea ante-about [??]

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(14) Were the gal-gal-ballukpart of the Jajauwurung?

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(15) what was the native nameof their ngŭrŭngaetaKing Bobbby?Native name of Malcolm of theKri-balluk - Mr [Blackland?]

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(16) Do they know the Bangerang or Daujerang?half Kulin - Bunjil and Waang

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(17) Have & [???][???] from Echucado if [??]?

(18) Who was Bilibilery's fatherwho was of buried [??] of being buried??] - why?

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(19) If Turnbull was Kūrnŭng willŭm and which Woeworung - [??] did he come to have charge of the many [??] for all the Woeworung?- Did he speak Woeworung?see

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(22) Bilibileri was the husbandof Berak's father's mother's sister - therefore the (tribal) husbandsof Berak's father mother, therefore Berak's paternal grandfather.

Father's, mother's sister - malandja[crossed out - husb]Fath. moth's husband - [breng?]-Kūrūng, see (20)Is this so?

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(23) Names of Balmain chiefs Jagajaga - ( Jacky Jacky) Cooloolock Bungarie Yan yan [crossed out - Jnow] Moo-whip Mommamalar

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(24) what is the meaning of the name ngŭrŭng geeta?

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(25) Headman in the tribes known to Captain

[neuibais?] - Tatali - muthū muthū - wothe wothe, Kiramui

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(26) What do they call the man "beside" the [ngurnjate?] like "mate" - or "partners" ?

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(27) What did it call [Bebejans?] part of the [Wūrŭijeri?] clan - and what did they call Billibileri's part - both being Boi-berrit-[?]-willam?

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hw0404 Notes on Kurnai 150 pages

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68Krauatun KurnaiThe Krauatun speak a languagevery near to the mŭk-thāngThe Braiaka, Brataua and Tatungspeak Nūlart.The Cabbage tree tabbár andthe flag root – dūrūk were usedfor food, baked and eaten; King Charleysays that the tabbár was very likethe head of the ferntree- gárūk-i.e. of that one which has smallhooklets on the under side of themidrib of the frond.The root of the “convolvulus sepium”- ngūrŭng – was eaten.

King Charley says that the [?Oluade?] were called“Laúeri” = the women but that theother stars only were “Brīl” = stars.

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hw0391 Notes by Howitt on Kulin from Barak

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4Women were also stolen from one place or another; when this happened the ngŭrŭngaeta (headman) of the place would send a messenger (wiri-giri) to call them to a fight. At this the men on both sides, the men with the men with wŭnkim (boomerang) spear and shield and the women with the women with the yam sticks.

[I do not remember cases - crossed out]

William did not remember or rather did not seem to have known of cases where the Kūlin had made raids upon alien tribes for wives. As to stealing of women by "Wild Blacks" from the Kūlin he made the following statement: -

“I remember when the Gippsland Ber-biracame over to where Mansfield now is and surrounded a “mob” of Yeerŭng illum Kūlin very early in themorning. The Berbira were round them in a double row and rushed them together like a lot of sheep. Three old men were killed. One young man got away. The Berbira gathered together all the children and chopped off their heads which they put in a row on a log and left there. They took the bodies away with them. They also took away five women (showing one hand). I do not know where these women were taken to only that one Gippsland man Būnjil Laena got one.”

I then said “I think I have heard of that affair– one of the women was Tommy Hoddinot’smother”. William then said “No – his mother was a woman that was taken away from Cranbourne.”

4As to Cannibalism William made the following statements. The Kūlin eat parts of any one theykilled whether he was Kūlin or Mey met or Berbira. The Yerŭn illum Kulin and 3. 5. 7. 13 eat the arms and legs cut off at the shoulders and hips. Nos 6. 9 eat the skin only of the legs and arms.Nos 8 . 9 the legs arms & kidney fat and 2. 4. 12 eat not only the arms and legs but also drank the blood.

[written in left side margin]This woman would have been crow if a native of Cranbourneor Eagle hawk if from elsewhere. Note my remarks in K + Kre this woman when speaking of McLennan's theories.

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6also carried as intimating the [foll - crossed out] intended Corroboreea Brandjep = the man's apron made of a Kangaroo rat skin cut into strands; a Kaiŭng = woman's apron of strings 2 pendant 1 and djir-rŭn = reed which was used in some parts of the corroboree. Williamfurther said “the Wirigiri in giving these things to the Ngŭrŭngaeta would give my Paiara and say “Kūlin send these to you to be good friends and not to grumble any more but have joy and gladness”. ———

When the message related to the calling together of the tribe for the ceremonial purposes of “making young men”. [then - crossed out] the emblem carried was a thin piece of wood – from the description like a large knittting needle. It was called Kalk = wood.

Where the message was to call an assemblyfor war, or for the arranged fight to expiate the shedding of blood or the death of an individual through magical arts the emblem carried was the great jagged wooden war spear [with jags on one - crossed out][side - crossed out]. This spear was called “gō yŭn” —

The place of assembly being indicated by name in the message which the Wirigiri carried in his mouth, it would be necessary further toindicate the [time - crossed out] day upon which the meeting would assemble. This was done in an ingenious manner by counting the stages to be made in proceeding from it – commencing at the little finger and then up the arm, over the head, and down the other arm to the little finger x The [pl - crossed out] parts of the [human - crossed out] individual used as “stages” werethe followingLittle finger Būbūpi mŭrnongyi = child of the handRing finger Būlūto ravel = a little [bigger - crossed out] largerMiddle finger Būlūto = largerFore finger Ūrnūng mellŭk = Ūrnūng = directionMellŭk = a large grub found in gum trees —Thumb Babŭng-yi = mother of hand.Mŭring-yiWrist joint Kra- wel[Ngŭrŭmbūl - crossed out]Divergence of radial tendons = Ngŭrŭmbūl = fork e.g.The Forefinger & middle finger when separated V shape are Ngŭrŭmbūl.

[written in left side margin]Note the "spear bearing a Bridda Bridda (man's apron) which came with Gippsland blacks from Omeo on occasion of the last battle of the clans.

x Note the old gentleman atTower Hill who similarly described to me stage & directionup his own arms

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8[The - crossed out] William received his name of Bair-ŭk= a white grub found in trees from “another father of his fathers” (paternal grandfather) when he was very small (a baby) – who named him after a son of his.

When William's father died [the - crossed out] people all told him Bairŭk you should go to your Grandfather”. This he did. The old man was a Waa.

It had been customary for the Kūlin to make “young men”; but by the time William was about 13 years of age, Melbourne was full of white people. The old customs were being disregarded and he was never formally initiated, nor was as a consequence his tooth knocked out. The only formality which he went through was that at South Yarra some blackfellows, Capt Turnbull, Billy Billary, Billy Lonsdale who wereall Ngŭrŭngaeta invested him with the Berbert = ringtail possum strands round his biceps, the gornbert = reed necklaces, the illijeri = nose peg, the mŭragalŭn = Kaiung = waiststring, and the Brandyep = apron.In fact he was invested with the insignia of manhood. He gave a possum rug in return to Billy Billary.The ceremony of initiation was called [tallŭngŭn - crossed out]tállang–gŭn. It was formerly held [at - crossed out] where are now called MelbourneGeelong, Bacchus Marsh and Mt Macedon. The same ceremony was called at Echuka Wang-Kūm.

The Tallangŭn was forbidden to eat certain food. Such as Female opossum, emu, black duck, porcupine, but was permitted to eat other animals such as the ringtail possum and the male common possum. After a lapse of time the youth is permitted to eat of the forbidden animals. In the case of Williamthe restriction was relaxed after [some time - crossed out] about a year by Billy Lonsdalehanding a piece of a female opossum to him on the point of a stick and saying "there - now you can can eat old woman possum” – At a still further period of time the man – having then a wife and children is “made free” of the Emu by going through a ceremony in which he lies naked in his camp and is rubbed over with emu fat. He then is a “Wa-gŭn-im-bēl”.

[written in left side margin]Note that Billy [??] send permission byan old man rubbing some of the fat of female possum crosshis face

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149 The corpse was tied up in his possum rug and wore his full corroboree dress apron – headband – necklace +c and his “nŭtba” (bag) of a Doctor. They gave him his tomahawk but no other weapons lest when his ghost walked about it might hurt some one. The hands were crossed on the breast and the knees drawn up so that when the body was lowered with the circular pose the deceased as it were crouched in it. William remembered one case where the dead man's "Mŭriwŭnwas stuck in the grave at his right hand– [?W?] said the “old man from Dandenong“give him a mŭriwŭn in his hand for he never missed a Kangaroo”. Thedeceased was William's father's brother.The old man from Dandenong was half ngūrŭng-gaeta + half wirirap —

10 The Kūlin believed that a man’s ghost wandered about the country and occasionally returned to the grave. As William said “Bye and bye that Mūrŭp coming back to the grave looks down at it and says – Hallo! that’s my possum rug down there – there are also my old body and my old bones” – then he goes away again. Ghosts were supposed to be invisible to everyone except the wizard to whom they communicated information and corroboree songs (gūnyūrū) —

The ghosts are supposed also to be able to go up to Tharangalk (tharan = trees galk = wood) which is in fact the sky. William said the Kūlin believed there were many “cherry trees” up there and [rivers - crossed out] streams and rivers.

[written sideways in left side margin]William also said that he had heard that in some parts of the country dead bodies were rolled into a fire and burned up.

[written in left side margin]See further on

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The Headmen The greatest man of all the country was the Ngurungeit of the Kūrnŭng willum tribe at Gisborne called bythe whites Capt. Turnbull. He was a great singer and maker of songs which made people very glad and happy when they heard them. His grandfather before him and His father before him was also a great singer. Both were equallygreat. It was this that made these men such great Ngurungeits.

[Besides Capt Turnbull there were- crossed out]There were three [two other - crossed out] Headmen of the Ūrŭndjeritribe. My father Bebejern in the country about the Plenty River and the Yarra Rv [and - crossed out] Billbillary at Mt Macedon & Melbourne (? the stone place)BingerimMt Macedon. These were the Headmen of the Ūrŭnjeri. The other tribes had also headmen. For instance Benbow was the Ngurungeit of the Yallūkit- willŭm at Sandridge and St Kilda.Mr De Villiers of the Ngarū willum Būlūk willum [about the South and west side of the Dandenong Mt round by Berwick and - crossed out] about Cranbourne and Westernport Bay +c +c (fill in this)

Of all these Capt. Turnbull was the greatest. He could [tell - crossed out] say to my father “You go up into the mountains and make 'possum rugs and by and bye come back with them”. Some of the men would go with my father and others would stay behind. Captain Turnbull made my father and Billbillary Ngurungaets. [My fa- crossed out] Bill Billary made Bingarim ngurungeitā and I am Ngurunjeitā from my father. When I go I shall leave the word that my sister's son shall be Ngurungaet with with him two others

[written in left side margin]

look up theirlocalities

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34Beside each of the Ngurungeit there was the man to whom he gave “his words”.Beside Capt Turnbull was my father's brother Jack WotherlyBeside my father his uncle Winberi, beside Billbillary was Bingerin – Beside me are Robert Wandin, Tom Mansfield who gets “the word” from me and Tom Donnelly.

If a Ngurungeit had a son who was all right and who did good to the people he would be Ngurungeit. If he was a bad man or people did not like him they would get some one else - some relative of the old Ngurungaet – his [uncle - crossed out] brother's son; [or sisters son - crossed out].

[written in left side margin]Whom?

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P 111 Mŭrrung = tomahawkmŭrrnig - ái - gálko – handle of tomahawk Geelong word = Kalatung = tomahawk___________________________________________________________________________The Ūrŭndjeri - the country belonging to them – William's father's country.Up East side of Deep Creek - to Yan Yean- Kangaroo ground - up to the Head of the Yarra at Baw Baw- all the natives of Yarra down to Richmond. From Father to son. They would not quarrel with friendly tribes country to hunt there. ___________________________________________________________________________p. 49 very common to exchange food - to please each other and as a friendly act . The sea coast men took fish – those inland sent possums +c The Ngurungaeta would say to the young men “now all you young fellows you go out and get plenty of possums and give them to those people – don’t give themraw ones but roast them p 49

Kangaroo killed by William I being presentTake out inside – not skinned unless want skin. Then roast him. William & his wife & children – one fore quarter.To me - a leg or if I like a fore quarterWilliam father & mother, arm & head.Wife father & mother – leg and back, sent by the wife.Tail to any one there.

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