Howitt and Fison Papers


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hw0404 Notes on Kurnai 150 pages




During the time Darby was marking it - anotherold man was talking to the messenger. Afterthat the young man walked up to the camp,without speaking to any one there, the stickwas passed from Darby to Morgan - afterthat Morgan gave the stick to the messenger([Bo- crossed out] Tarry Bobby) - who walked off with it.He held it at one end upright in front of himself as he went away. After he leftthe whole of the camp mingled togetherthe same as ever. I enquired where ehe wasgoing and how long he would be away. I wastold he would never stop or sleep till hehad reached the blacks to whom he wascarrying the message to. And also thatso long as he carried the stick in from ofhim the black fellows would not touch him,but they would kill him if they caught himasleep and the stick not in front of him.

Sometime after I saw Bobby after his returnand asked him where he had been to. Hetold me he had been to "[?Baul Baul?] Blackfellow".

Another time, I think before the abovementioned fight took place, some blacks werehere working for me at Tarraville. Darby and Tarra Bobby and Bingi, and Diamond.A strange blackfellow came past where theywere working in the paddock. He took no noticeof them nor they of him. I observed that hecarried a message stick in front of him in the usual position. He had a spear in theother hand pointing downwards and hepassed by the young men's camp. Darby said to

Last edit 10 months ago by ALourie

hw0139 John Fraser to Howitt 26/4/1882


7 the Police officer who was here waiting for him. He was taken to Maitland for trial and [was - crossed out] acquitted the man who brought the charge against him being severely reprimanded by the Judge - I mention this to show the confidence the poor black placed in me. Now in reply to your printed appendixI will try +answer the questions as fully as I can.

(1) Gosford a Post [?town?] - The Greengai tribe under a chief or "Nooragine" Boundaries Eccleston on the North. Paterson South Dungog East + Singleton West - (or there abouts)

(2.) For the most part Kumbo. Some of the Ipais amongst them

(3.) The woman about to be married makes a fire and a camp when the man is lead to the spot by his Father or any old man ofthe tribe, after camping together the ceremony is complete and considered final. The woman is chosen if possible from a neighbouring tribe - no relations are allowed to marry. Not even cousins

(4.) The descendants of the Royal family are always looked up to they are called Kumbo or Ipai according to their descent

(5.) Father "Beeungar" Mother "Kinger" Brother " "Bingi" Sister "Naneen"Uncle "Cowan" Aunt ["Cum?ing"] Cousin "Keeparrah".

(6.) The tribe is governed by a chief or king (who must be an aged man before he is thought much of) which office they hold by descent the govt. is not in the hands of Drs or wizards -

(7.) Consists of the oldest and (as a rule) [the - crossed out] most intelligent men of the tribe. I once came suddenly on a group of these old fellows sitting in a circle in deep deliberation and was told by one of them in a whisper not to tell the other Blacks what I had seen . Those men are thought a great deal of by the members of the tribe -

8. Any offence of a serious nature is punished thus or rather the offender. He is obliged to stand at a distance with a shield or Hulamanwhilst a certain number of spears (varying according to the enormity of the offence), are thrown at him - if he can defend himself well and good [??] he is either killed or seriously wounded - Individuals fight it out with any weapon present at hand -

9. There is a messenger attached to every tribe who is a sort of "flag of truce" and can go safely from one tribe to another The red net worn as a band round the forehead is used as an emblem for calling the tribe together. Nothing is known here so far as I can learn of message sticks. When a messenger appears in sight, a peculiar cooee is given when all in hearing assemble to hear what he has to say but not a word is spoken to the messenger till he thinks proper to unburden his message. and some times he sits quite silent for a long time - but when "the spirit moves him" his eloquence is wonderful and listened to with the greatest attention.

Last edit 6 months ago by ALourie


to enjoy himself for a time. He may now eat kangaroo, snake +c which before was not allowed. He is not supposed to take a wife for 3 years after this ceremony.

(13) The game taken whilst hunting usually divided equally. The king chooses the camping ground.

(14) I have heard of infanticide being practised but cannot give any information on the subject

(15) When my Father came here 50 years ago this tribe werecannibals - but not heard of since

(16) Signals by smoke were used and understood years agoand sticks stuck in the ground pointing in a certain direction indicated the course taken by the tribeto their friends.

(17) cannot find out

(18) Many amusing stories are told amongst them of oldentimes over which they laugh heartily but I have neverbeen able to get them translated to me.

(19) (1) Man "Cooree" 2. "Motongs" 3 "Walluck" 4 "Chutrick" 5 "Meecock"6 "inoorop" 7 "Bullung" 8 "[??]" 9 "Mudduba" 10 "Tungani"11 "Dinnal" 12 "Corrah" 13 "Geroong" 14 "[?Watt?] 15 "Beddoo"16 "Wingin" 17 "Keeroong" 18 "Bumabak" 19 "Gunush" 20 "Gree"21 "Bunakah Dinnah" 22 "Warckulboo" 23 "Pluraboo"24 "Pluroo Warckul (25) "Pluraboo Pluraboo" 26 Gian Gainoo"27 "Gian Gianboo Gian Gianboo" 28 Gian Gianboo repeatedfour times - 29 "Buanga" 30 "Kinga" 31 "Nungaroo"32 "Nungiwanba 33 "Bingi 34 "Nunecu" 35 "Geebanah"36 Cowan 37 Cumming"Never heard of blacks being "forbidden" to speak to theirwives, Fathers or Mothers"Knows nothing of "message sticks

I amDear SirYours faithfullyJames W Boydad

Last edit 6 months ago by ALourie
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