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

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1 Omeo Tribe John Buntine Esq J P Tongatha

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

Medicine Men To this part of the whole tribe belonged Metoko the Head wizard and Doctor. "Old cockey" who was a Doctor and "Cobbon Johnny" who was then Head fighting man. Metoko was supposed to be able to blow something like cobwebs out of his mouth up to the sky and then to climb up to Drŭm-ŭ-lŭn. I remember when about a hundred blacks, men, women and children went down to Gippsland under the protection of the whites and camped at Heyfield (McFarlane's) that when one of the men was sick Old Cockey went into the hut to cure him. The cook was sent by us to watch proceedings through the openings between the slats at the back of the Hut. He reported that Cockey turned down the blankets from the sick man. That he then sucked his stomach about the navel and then ran to the door - blew out a great puff of wind, jabbered some words clapping his hands together at the same time and ran back after shutting the door to repeat the performance.

Bull roarer Once when in the blacks' camp at Omeo station Old Cockey being there alone he shewed me a wooden instrument a few inches long - with notched edge, and tied by its pointed end to a string at the end of which was a short stick handle.

Last edit 2 months ago by ALourie
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2 He told me that it [that it - crossed out] was used by the Blacks but must not under any circumstances be shown to women or children. He then put it back into his bag and went to the fire. I then took it out and began to swing it about. I [sic] instantly snatched it from me and put it back. He seemed angry and said that if women or children saw it something dreadful would happen.

I remember hearing of a great fight which occurred near Nimlamungie. It was a little higher up the river than the crossing above the old station. The Omeo men sneaked the Bruthen blacks who were camped there. This was at break of day and I think but am not sure that “Cobbon Johnny led them. The Omeo men were victorious. Theddora Johnny who was present told me that the Omeo men having killed several young men of the enemy cut them in two at the waist and hung up the lower half in their camp for food. He also added that blackfellow was better food than whitefellow as the latter was salty. The attack was made in retaliation for a surprise some time before by the Bruthen blacks upon the Omeo men. The Omeo men believed that the Bruthen men had had the advantage before because their Wizards could turn themselves into crows and thus fly about and watch the motions of the Omeo people. This was how the Omeo people accounted for the Gippsland blacks coming upon them unawares.

The Omeo men used when making their waddies to grease them and put them out in the sun. I remember that once [whe - crossed out] I was going to take hold of a waddy being thus treated when the owner (Ingebaira) ran to me and said that if I touched it I should get a very bad hand. He was quite angry with me.

The Omeo men used to take out the kidney fat of slain enemies and rub themselves with it when they went out to fight.

Last edit 2 months ago by ALourie
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Omeo graves p 3, 6 Bulmer’s letters Helms

Omeo Tribe (Including notes by Mr Bulmer on various tribes)

The Theddora +c 1,5-, 10- Medicine men 1 4 Bullroarer 1 Fight with Kurnai 2 Kidney fat 2 Magic weapon 2, Burial 3 Number of tribe in 1844 22- (4) Items 5 marriage 5 Headmen 5 Initiation 5 – Sky 5 The Aurora – exchange of wives 6 10 Elopement 10-22 Per Richard Helms Headman 22 – Set fights 22 – Tribal boundaries 22Messengers 22 – Initiation 23 24 Sexual license of “Wahu” 24 Betrothal to marriage 24 – polygamy 24 exchange of sisters 24 25 Loan of wife to brother 25 wifes mother 25 punishment for illegal intercourse 25 Burning hair of girl 25 Bogong moths 26 Kidney fat 26 Death 26 Burial 26 ghosts leaving grave +c 27

Mr Bulmer says Jenny Cooper re elopement 13 re [?? ??], 13 overleaf Eloping – punishment from in Maneroo 14 A (per “Old Steele?) Re Murray Jack – [?inside horn?] to escape from enemies 18 Re Birararks 19 Mrarts – dreams – Old Mary’s dreams 20 - Murray Blacks dreams 20 "Old Jamieson" Banget Baru 20 ghosts walking Old Candle King Tom (Snowy River) Kurlip Tom p. 21 Old Gingers ghost at Lake Tyers 21A ghosts found 21 A Mararts of animals 21A (search Kurnai file)

Note Bulmer re Wembaio tribe p 6 marriage 6 Elopement 6 Betrothal of infant girl 7 Elopement 7 capture of woman 7 plurality of wives 7 Reason for plurality of wives 7 Exchange of wives 7 9 also travel calamities 7

Last edit 8 days ago by ALourie
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[this page does not need to be transcribed]

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3 Omeo Buntine (2)

Burial In the Omeo tribe a grave was made by digging a round hole just large enough to let the body down and about 8-10 ft deep. An excavation was then made at one side and the body pushed in – wood was then rammed down tight into the grave so as to block up the excavation in which the body was. The earth was then put in and stamped tight. This they said was to prevent the dead person coming out and following them.

[The - crossed out] A dead man whom I saw thus buried at Heyfield while the Omeo Blacks were down then under McFarlane's protection, had on his head band, his nosepeg and his waistbelt and skin apron of Kangaroo rat skin but I cannot remember whether he was in his opossum rug or had or had not any weapons.

Last edit 2 months ago by ALourie
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