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XM106_ICDMS_lowres A L P Cameron to Howitt 4 July 1880
Cameron Mossgiel NSW July 4th 1880
A W Howitt Esq Sale Gipsland
Dear Sir Yours of the 11th July [crossed out] June isto hand some time sinceI regret that pressure of other business has pre-- vented my reply my former no's have [?] able to fill in and return your circular relationships, but will do so as soon as possible The Unghie tribe inhabitedthe tract of country lying,say, between the Maranoa and Warrego Rivers the
Queensland extendingSouthward to the BallonneRiver, embracing about10,000 square miles of countryI do not remember the English meaning for Unghibut it had nothing to doso far as I know with"yes" or "no" - in Unghie "yes" is"yo" and "no" "ardah"
2) Though present at a "Borali"I have since thought I was not permitted to see thesecret ceremony of initiation
3 but I know they used a wooden instrument to produce a humming noise, and that women or boys, were not allowed to see it.
4 The Unghie believed that the spirits of deceased friends hovered about the Earth and they also believed that charms against sickness werecommunicated in dreams but whether by spirits of relatives or not I cannot remember; they were great believers in sorcery.
Should I have an opportunity at anytime of seeing the young man whom [instructed?]at my last as havingsupplied informationand who in living somedistance from here, I will forward you as full an account ofthe Waradjery tribeas I can.
At present owing to
XM118_ICDMS_lowres A L P Cameron to Howitt 3 August 1882
into disuetude when it became no longer necessary. We do not however find that the prohibition is any stronger or any weaker among tribes dividedinto four classes. I cannot say whether it is less so among tribes having agnatic descent as I have not come in contact with any, but as you say the prohibition is universal throughout AustraliaIt is fair to conclude that it is not.
I find it impossible to obtain any reason for it from the natives. Our very intelligentfellow with whom I was conversing on the subjectsaid "You will never find it out because we don'tknow it ourselves" and added that he believed thelaw was handed down to them from the Būkūmŭruwho first inhabited the earth and were afterwardstransformed into animals.
I think very little of Mr McLennan's style of criticism which appears to be based upon a misconception if not ignorance of the Australian class laws. I would be much obliged by your forwarding me any papers on the subject when you are done with them.
I will try to get you the word for manamong the Darling River tribe. The Darling tribe about Pooncarie and I think nearby to Wilcannia is called Barkingi Did you get Taplin's book safely. I return manuscript by this post and thanking you verymuch for your kind offer to aid me. My dear SirYours sincerely Cameron|A L P Cameron
XM124_ICDMS_lowres Answers to questions relating to the Wonghi Tribe, Lachlan District, NSW
6th A parents consent was necessary before a girls marriage.7th It very rarely happens (I never knew a case) that a girl marries without her father's consent. I have never known a case of a girl eloping and am sure they would hardly ever occur.9th A woman was the property of her captor when she was not of a class forbidden to him. I don't think a blackfellow would persist in retaining a female captive of a forbidden class; indeed I feel sure he would not as he would incur the contempt of every member of his tribe but whether he would be killed or not I cannot say.8 Wives are almost always obtained by gift from the father, never so far as I can learn by exchange but often by capture.
The native name of the tribe to which the above questions refer is Wonghi (sometimes called Wonghibon) it has no English equivalent - that I can discover.The tribe is divided into four primary classes which governthe marriages and is sub-dividedinto various others such as Wajim - Crow, Murua - Kangaroo,Tulee - Iguanna. Curu - BandicootCurakai - Oppossim etc etcThe territory claimed by this tribe is or was not as large as some tribes I have known and is I think about 10,000 square miles and is situated to the north side of the Lachlan River commencingabout Whealbah, following
Toto-wara-wara was a great man in the muk-kurnai time and he always stops atYerick to take care of the Kurnai there. When Bundawāl was a boy old Morgan(Bunjil gwaran = thunder) and old Darby tookhim [??]. Being a stranger from another placehe had to speak their language (Nangai) and nothis own. But he could understand it because it was like his. He could only drink out of a bark bowl while one of the men stirred the waterwith a stick. This was to avoid the evil which would come in him otherwise he being a stranger to this country. He would have the Wia-wuk reallyis his lips and mouth would become [??] as also his teeth would come out. Wia-wuk really means "Bad-country" but it is applied to theeffects upon strangers who are not all protected by the [people Kurnai -crossed out] Brataualung who speak the Nangai languageTotawara-wara is known to all the blacks at Lake Tyers and the Snowy River.
The Bula-Kukun (1)
The men were out hunting Kangaroo andthe women were at the camp, having been outcollecting Dūra (2) and were cooking it to be readywhen the men returned.
Two old women the Bula-Kakun were doing thiswhen a young woman came and took some of their Dūra. They being enraged attacked herwith their Kunnin (digging stick) and she defendedherself with hers. Then she has knocked down[and - crossed out] but as she fell she propped herself on herKunnin which ran deep into the ground. Then they continued to fight till the Bula-Kukun againknocked her down. This time her Kurninwent so deep into the ground that the young woman went into the ground out of sight and the Bula Kunnu also fell in and were nomore seen having gone down to where thewater is. The women in trying to get out make the water come out as springs all round the country.One place is at Sarsfield and then at the hillwith her big rocks called Penta Gingata and anotherat Clifton's morass.They were never seen again but made water come up everywhere.
[written in left side margin](1) Kakunis the maternal grandmother.
(2) TyphaangustifoliaThe rhizomesand cooked in theashes and chewedto extraact the sweettasting starch?
I have seen men women & children eaten, certainlythe men & women have been killed, but not for thepurpose of eating them. They came to grief in a fightthe children have usually met with an accidentThe Mary River which runs into the Bunga countryhas fish, anteaters, wallaby & kangaroo in any quantity but when 1,000 natives walk over apatch of country they soon clean it out. Theysimply move on & do not kill their own people formeat. Large bodies of niggers do not go over thesame country for 3 or 4 years thus giving it everychance to recuperate its game &cI have seen 2,000 men & their women together& at the end of a week they broke for home in alldirections having eaten out the country for 25 milesround, but I never saw or even heard of killing theirown people for food.If I can give you any further information I shallbe most happy hoping you are wellI remainYours faithfullyHarry. E. Aldridge
Dear Mr HowittYour letter of the 25th October I duly received in reference to cannibalism at the Bunga feastfor fear of any mistake I wrote to Mr T. Petrie of theNorth Pine, I think about 40 miles north of Brisbane."his son?" replies for his father saying his father knewof no sacrifice among the natives, "either do I?" neitherof us ever heard of it, he writes "He agrees with you that it is "pure fiction" as far as his ex-perience goes." "flesh hunger" is absurd becauseat those feasts all sorts of game were eaten & also anyonekilled in a fight or anyone dying in good conditionand the guests had the same meals - was alwaystreated well." His expression of opinion of Mr.Petries exactly coincides with mine I have seen menwomen & children eaten but never knew of any beingkilled purposely for eating & cannot believe it. Mr. Petrieknew the Brisbane side of the Bunga & I knew the Mary Riverside. I think it impossible with our knowledge of theirlanguage & habits for them (the natives) to have practicedthese human sacrifices as described in the quotationsgiven. There was a book written about the habits &customs of the northern aboriginal by a person whosename was I believe "Lumbolt - a German?" - as I know
XM21_ICDMS_lowres Charles Barrett to Howitt 28 September 1907
Dear SirYours of Sept 16th to hand I am close to Police reports as to numbers of blacks in Wentworth + Pooncarie districts i.e numbers of blacks on the Lower Darling in the original state. Old Mrs McLean of Poliatold me she had seen them 1200 strong going down on their annual tour to Lake Victoria. The blacks died off from small pox. The blacks told me at that time they died so fast that the living were not able to bury the dead a great many died at another time from measles. The Blacks at the Rufus + Lake Victoria Ihave no idea but rumour says there was 700killed at the fight on the Rufus of which you no doubt know the particulars. I know a Black named Warra wonna who what [sic] in the fight. Question No. 3 you will see in the Police reports. The blacks have seen to have intermarried all round. There are orwas Lubras from Cobham Lake Mundi
Mungo Lake Victoria. I have three girls hereas house servants their father is a Darling Black from Polia + mother a Murray Black . I was much interested in your inauguraladdress. I have read about Babbage and WarburtonH. Brookes [sic] who with Coulthardt [sic] and Willie Scottwere exploring on the Bede Creek and Brooks+ Scott fell in with Babbage's party + got a pint of water from him + saved their lives Coulthardtperished Brooks was manager on Moorara foryears for my father. When I came on the Darling in '64 Burke + Wills were fresh in peoplesmemory and they did not speak well of Burke as a bushman. I knew Wright he did 18 monthsloaf at Culhero till he was or ordered off. Ofcourse you the story of Burke touchingGrey on the head with a revelover [sic]. William Maiden is the oldest resident of Menindeeand might give you some information yourequire. All the old Blacks are dead that resided about here. I am suffering from a bad attack of influenza which makes my writing a bit shaky. I am Yours faithfully Charles Barrett P.S Warrego is the local name for Eagle Hawk
XM23_ICDMS_lowres R F Beardsmore to Howitt 14 August 1907
20/7/07, I am very much obliged to you for the informationwhich [Mr W - crossed out] Mr Superintendent Webb has supplied. I regret to seem troublesome but some further information is necessary as the following queries willexplain. (1) What are the boundaries of the "Bourke District"? (2) What is the name of the tribe which on the Darling River for a distance of say 80 miles belowBourke and how many individuals are there of this tribe? I have been informed the name of that tribe is Kuruaand I wish to verify that statement?(1) I am informed that the Moorawaritribe at one time occupied the riverfrom Bourke upwards for say50 or 60 miles. If so how manyof that tribe are now living?I thoughtof writing directly toMr Webb but did onlydo so as it mightseem discourteous toyou. It would facilitatemy work and asthe Police have [??]and [??] with theremaining blacks theymight be ablebetter thanany one else to obtain[??]which you[??]
stretches from Bourke to Brendato the Culgoa river, taking insome of the surrounding placesas Tully, Milroy, WeilmoringleV Her reason for the tribe notbeing strict, now in their mar--riage laws. Is because theirown laws were harsher andthat if enforced now theyare afraid the police wouldinterfere. In olden timesif a blackfellow marriedthe wrong woman allher people & all his would followthem for hundreds of milesto catch them, and killthem both, then they would skin them and burn them.Now she says they can marry whom they like and not beafraid because the blacks are afraid of the whites
So as to have the exact date ifnecessary for your work, Iwill write to the head ofthe mission in Brewarrinaand ask if the AboriginalProtection Act was thenenforced.You say the upper Darling, Bourkewas first occupied by whitesin 1845. I asked the oldIpatha did she rememberwhen the first white menwent to Bourke. She says she remembers when therewere only three houses in Bourke.II Re the Moorawari beingdivided into subtribesI cannot find out. She saysno! they used to live oneither bank and she saysall over that part of thecountry as they used to walkabout a great deal.
It is quite correct that the river on both banks, in differentareas, was peopled with ageneral number of tribesand [underlined] as far as I can ascertainneither one tribe or the other, hadsupreme [??]She then gives names ofsome of the tribes she knowsof on the river (i.e.) "Burrun-hinya", "Goarnoo", "Yermhah""Merrah-therri" these beingall friendly tribes of the"Moorawari"I told her that you said theywere all classed underthe heading of BarkingiShe does not know the wordbut says it may be a word ofsome of the other tribes thatshe does not happen to know.
III You are perfectly in your
of the words for I find itawfully hard. I really hope you can understand them.
[written in left side margin]My letter of14th August
In answer to yours of the 14th ofAugustI The name Kurnu she calls Goormoo. She says they are atribe of blacks Wilcanniaside of the Darling.II She seems quite in a fog asregards the tribe being dividedinto two moieties. Mukkunggurra& Kilpungurra. The formershe is inclined to think is a word from the "Queambar"talk. The Queambar are atribe who live about the BoganKilpungurra. She does not profess to know anything aboutthe word, or tribe, as it may be.
[written in left side margin]Which are the equivalents? [get her to write - crossed out]Please write them:one under the otherIpaiMurrwuri
III She does not know these mar--riages but says Kulburri + the others you mention allbelong to the Burrumbinyatalk.
V The Goornoo tribe she knowsand their class names she does
I I have continued the Darlingto Wilcannia the country occupied by the Goormoo tribeII Ipatha's language is MoorawariIII "[?Malo-marl or Male-mare?] is the word used for ["betrothal" it has the samemeaning as fiancé. IV You are quite correct in yourstatement of the "Berothal" [sic]relationship, which, as you sayjustifies "Betrothal"I will repeat the tree, as itwill help me in my enlargement
[ Left Column]
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
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
and Malukra. She had been promised to him when hewas young and given to himon arriving at age. Malukrawas a member of the tribeliving at Tapio on the Darling + Nauithero belonged to the junction of the Darling. I dare say the Tapio peoplewere but a division of the same tribe. About marriage by captureI may state that should a man have taken a woman he would not be allowed to marry her unless the she was of the same class [sic]. A man would as soon think ofmarrying was his own sister as to take a woman of the same class.
I remember when I first wentamong the Murray blacks. Oneof the young men attached himselfto me, he said he we must be brothers as he has aMilparra man. I was of courseto be the same. I one daysaid to his wife I was John's brother you are my sister the idea to her was most ridiculous. With a laughshe said no you are myhusband, this shews how strict they were to keep upclass rules and also that they would never alloweven a captive maidento take a man of herown class.About the words you send, the first you gaveTarra wurka or
[Hand-drawn image of a map of the river system at the Queensland -NSW border.]
Paroo }Warrego } Darling tributariesWidgee }Nebine } TributariesNungalala } of Narran into narran lake + overflows perWallan } Culgoa Hospital creek into BokahraBirie runs out of Bokahara into CulgoaBokahara runs into Cabo Creek + billabong of Barwon
10 26/6/06Diagram showing marriage & descent ofblacks in the (Māo’rawar’i) tribeCulgoa River N.S. Wales.The Diagram1M 2F 3F 4M 5F 6M 7M 8F 9M 10F 11M 12F 13M 14F 15M 16F17 F 18m 19f 20m 21f 22m 23f 24 m
1 calls 5 Nū’hat [tick] 2 “ 11 Gūn’diel [squiggle] 1 “ 2 Bubba [tick] 2 “ 13 Gūn’diel [squiggle]1 “ 3 Quēa’kaa [tick] 2 “ 14 Dūn’ghi [squiggle]1 “ 4 Māoru [tick]1 “ 5 Nū’hat [tick]1 “ 6 Geëring [tick] 3 calls 1 Bo’ing [squiggle] 1 “ 7 Geëring [tick] 3 “ 2 Būbba’ [squiggle]1 “ 8 Nū’har [tick] 3 Gig’gaō gämha1 “ 9 Bŭthang [tick] 3 “ 4 Māaru [tick]1 “ 10 Bŭthang [tick] 3 “ 5 Nū’har [tick]1 “ 11 Gundill [tick] 3 “ 6 Geëring [tick] 1 “ 12 Dungh-i [tick] 3 “ 7 Geëring [tick] 1 “ 13 Gundill [tick] 3 “ 8 Nū’har [~ tick] 1 “ 14Dung’h- i [tick] 3 “ 10 Mao’gee - Mao’gee [tick] 1 “ 15 Gundill [tick] 3 “ 12 Dungh - i [tick] 1 “ 16 Dung’h - i [tick] 3 “ 14 Dungh - i [tick] 3 “ 16 Mao’gee - Mao’gee [tick]2 Calls 1 Bō’ - ing [tick] 4 Calls 1 Bō - ing [tick]2 “ 3 Quēah’ra’ [tick] 4 “ 2 Būh’ha [tick]2 “ 4 Māoru [tick] 4 “ 3 Q ue’ah’ra’ [squiggle] 2 “ 5 Nū’har’ [tick] 4 “ 5 Nū’har [tick] 2 “ 6 Geëring [tick] 4 “ 6 Geëring [tick]2 “ 7 Geëring [tick] 4 “ 7 Geëring [tick] 2 “ 8 Nū’har [tick] 4 “ 8 Nū’har [tick] 2 “ 9 Gün’dill [tick] 4 “ 9 Būthang
3413Baiamai used to live at the Cūajellūgūnglake on this side of the Lachlan RiverA tree there is called his canoe - itis as if it were bottom up and anothertree beside it is his "canoe stick"He went away from there and upto his home because there were too many ants there.
If you roat Emu, possum +c on the fire and the fat comes out and frizzles, Daramūlŭn comes downwith a noise like thunder, youcan see him sometimes coming down like a star falling.
"I remember once when I was out backfrom the river with several otheryoung men we pulled an Iguanaout of a hole under a tree and roasted him. He burst in the fireand the oil frizzled up. Then weheard Daramūlŭn give threecracks like thunder:
[written in left side margin]Murri-kangaroosays
It was not the whole of the body that was eaten but themuscle of the arms and legs and the skin of the thighs andof the sides of the body.
An instance [which - crossed out] occurred long before the white men came into Gippsland was handed down in the tribes. A large number of the Brabrolung, Krauatalung and Tatungolung had gone up towards the Maneroo tableland in a war party. [At Gellingall, about - crossed out]On the Buchan River west of Gellingall they left theirwomen and following up the River to [Fann where - crossed out][Fanwick now is - crossed out] a place called Fanwicktheir spies surprised two Brajerak (see p._), an old man and his son. The former was killed, but the latter escaped. The skin of the slain man was eaten andhis legs cut off and carried to their camp, where the old men roasted the meat and shared the flesh among the boys, in order that “when the old men were dead, the boys might know what to do”.
[On an - crossed out] When the Kurnai were on anotherexpedition under their Head man Bruthen munji to attack their Enemies the Omeo Theddoraon the Upper Tambo River, they surprised a camp thenkilled [some of the - crossed out] the men and some children, but kept [keeping -crossed out] thewomen. The skin of these Brajeraks was flayed from the thighs and from the sides and was roasted and eaten.
Women were not permitted to see this or to participatein the feast [??] of the spoils of the slain.
[In this instance- crossed out] Tankowillin the [?taster?] of the last mentioned was an actor[also - crossed out] in this [cannot] case and was one of the spies whodiscovered the two Brajeraks.
MarauraWhen a woman was about to be confined she withdrew from the married camp a couple of hundred yards accompanied by afemale friend or two who are as competent as a modern"Howdie" to perform their duties. For a week or ten daysafter delivery a woman is not allowed to bathe or to goto the river for a drink, the latter being brought to her byher friends in attendance. Generally after the child isseparated from the mother it is rubbed with finely powderedcharcoal + fat until it shines like a polished boot.I never saw a [??] during my residence there and Ithink it was destroyed.Dr MacKenzie
[Yuin - crossed out]CheparaThe umbilicus is tied with Kangaroo sinew andthen cut.The child is believed to derive its existence fromboth parents - and it belongsto the class of the father. Jas Gibson ?
ChildbirthA woman was not removed from the maincamp during the child birth but was attended by theother women. The umbilicus was tied with sinewand cut by a musselshell.
to express Blacks as opposed to Loorn white man. (bye the byeit would be difficult to determinehow the idea of a white man came amongst them.) I thinkwhen a Black wanted to express his own people he would say Wraktun Kani. Men of this country, or even Mac Kanithe real Blacks. [added note, perhaps by Howitt: Kurnai means man not Blackfellow]King Charley tells me they did not consider the Twofold Bay Blacks as Brajerackbut as Kroatungolong. TheSnowy River + Bem men seemto have had intercourse withthem.Charley tells me they gotwives from Maneroo both bystealth + as free giftsthere was no law against them having wives from that quarter
only when true love? existedbetween a couple + they couldnot get the consent of parentsor guardians. They alwayscontinued to elope and marrythemselves. I believe the elopement business was the most common form of marriageas it was always a most difficult thing to get theconsent of the friends of the woman. There was generally some hitch in the arrangementsso they simplified matters matters [sic] in that wayBilly Tuleba you will seeby the Table got his from the Lakes Entrance among theBul ButtaWith kind regards to Mrs Howitt + your family in which Mrs Bulmerjoins. I remainfaithfully yoursJohn Bulmer
of course a challenge to fight.When the stick was sent itwas an invitation to acorroboree. Some poet [?] hadmade a 'big fellow' anotherand the stick was indeedpart of it. That is it wasto be used at the dance.
Many years ago when Iwas on the Murray a stick about 3 feet long wassent to the tribe at Yeltait was marked with theirusual marks, and wasan object of great interest tothe tribe. I was held inthe hand of the time keeperat the [... .. ...] andwas struck with a boughof a tree at intervals. Theburden of the song wasas follows. Wilpon tho
Wilpon me gra. At thegra the stick was struckall the time held stick intheir hands, but only the one who taught the songheld the stick which hadtravelled, the Blacks saida very long way indeedit must have travelledfar for I found the samesong was quite familiarto the Kurnai here so thatit must have been knownall along the [??] ofthe River Murray andup the Darling andthrough Gippsland indeedthan no doubt it was knownin the greatest part of N.S.W.But it was not alwaysa stick that was sent asan invitation to corroboree
Lake Tyers [Ap?] 30th 1880
My dear Mr Howitt
I find I have looked over one part of your letter about the position brothers occupied with their wives. I do not think among the Lower Murray (junction of Darling tribe) who called themselves Waimbio that there was really anything more than the family if having a deceased brothers wife that is I do not think they regularly cohabitate but from what I remember of the people they were
I have still a vivid recollectionof the Blacks of the Darling and I dare say when I knowthe line of enquiry youwish to follow I may beable to help you and Iam sure I will do so tothe utmost of my abilityboth as to the Murray Omeo& Brabelong.With kind regards to Mrs HowittI remain& with [...... ....]John Bulmer