Howitt and Fison Papers

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XM593_ICDMS_lowres Beliefs



These beliefs in the customs of the human's [crossed out - self concsious, as we should put it the human] spirit after death I have found to be very wide spread, [?] [?] [??], among the Australian native tribes. The

Yambo, Murup - or Bulabong - -or whatever we may choose to term it, clearly represents during life the self consciousness of the individual. The apparent ability of this self consciousness to leave the body during sleep for a time, leads up naturally to a further belief that death is merely its permanent separation from the body. Moreover as during dreams the "ghosts" of others who were dead were apparently perceived the belief is natural that the individual still exists after death, although generally invisible to the living. This was brought out very clearly to me by the argument of one of the Kurnai, whom I asked whether he really thought his Yambo could " go out" during sleep. He said "This must be so, for when I sleep I go to distant places, I see distant people; I even see and speak with those that are dead."

[Crossed out - such beliefs as these explain]

[Faint text] Out of the southern parts they speak of the tribe to [crossed out - must be] speak of the dead but the [??] of the [??] there being individual might be [??] to [??]


Out of this arises the belief in ghosts, [crossed out - in] where [crossed out - such] abiding place may be in the earth so [crossed out - legend the] in the sky country.

There [crossed out - into] [??] appear to live a life much as do the [dead?] below in time of peace are [crossed out - which] hunting, feasting and festive gatherings. This would necessary require the presence of the elders and any therefore of ones who are these tribe in earth would be the "great one" - "or guest man" [crossed out - that in the] the Biambau of the [word crossed out] tribe (p).

Such a one is evidently [crossed out - the Mungsn] pictured in all the series from [Nurete?] to Baiame.

Last edit about 1 month ago by ALourie



The feelings of the [??] towards the being is one of deep awe and reverance. I have stressed more than once of the [crossed out - reverance with] manner in which his secret name has been spoken when he has [??] these questions, with a low tone of voice and all the [express?] of [??] depicting mental [care?] and reverance,

This was so with Kurnai, [Nyarip?], Wolgal and coast [Murray?] and [Dirast?] area [?] the [??] the name of though had reason to gestures indicating an old man up above

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From which I have personally to each of the beliefs covering [Nurite?], Bunjil, [Munjau-njaur?], [Daramubau?] and Briame I am quite clear that they all under different names represent that same supernatural [anthpo?]. being. In all cases [3 inserted words cannot read] be it represented as having at no time lived upon the earth where he [ascending?] home [??] made the "trees & ?. All [crossed out - the] agree that he taught the then living people the arts so [for?a?] they know them, from this time the making of [new fires?] & implements but I have never heard that he made mankind or even animals. [crossed out - at] Although he may be said to be [??] and [??], this in the same taht heis so magically, [word crossed out] having the same [??] but in a [crossed out - completely] a greater degree to the medicine men claimed [two words crossed out] [crossed out - have received from Bunjil] and the [??] [??] to have seemed from him. [crossed out - Combining this with the only]

[Left margin note] With his two wives of the ganawana totem his son and sons wife, his brother and his wife and as in the case of Bunjil his [??] [??] it to be sons [??]is the [groups? or young?] selected [??] who only stay his [??].

Having lived for a time in the he left [??] and as indeed to the sky where he is believed to be. Combining those teachings of the Initiation with the tribal legends." I see on the [embodied?] dead [crossed out - and] old venerable King Head man of the tribe. [??] of tribal [??] [crossed out - a finished] all [??] in magic but with the same [??] failing and [person?] [crossed out - and] that attracts to those [about?] [be tani?] In both [??] and [??] [??] by [??] large he is a "magic [??] man" of them but of the type of [??] [??] [??] [??] and in no [text too faint to read]

Last edit 5 months ago by Christine



People were always frightened lest the Mūrang or Būragal (ghosts) should come out of the ground after them. Imre (Berin- to die and gula belonging to ?) [crossed out - Ienbin] Merriman

Yūin It is mans shadow Mūrang which after death goes up to Darumulun, who takes care of him - Merriman said his old men (fathers +c) were now with Daramulun waiting for him to come, and that they amused themselves with singing.

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[Left margin] [Gringai?] It was firmly believed that ghosts haunted the graves for some time. No [??]

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Ghosts [underlined]

[Left margin] Port Stevens [underlined] Mr Scott Muirie was spirit and ghost. I am aware that in Eastern Australia it has the meaning of man - but at Port Stevens under the former meaning - man was at Port Stevens. "Coo-rees" -

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[Left margin} Ghosts [underlined] {{Wiradjuri]] 18. When a man [crossed out - was] is alive he has in him the [same as above a man is alive] which can go away when he sleeps. When he dies he is a {Jīr?] (ghost). The [Jirs?] live in the larger trees. The Doctors can see them but other people cannot see them. The Doctors can bring the[ Jirs?] down to the camps and I have heard of them bringing a lot then so that the people in the camp could see them walking round this camp - carrying a lot of lights. (follow with 8D here)

{left margin note] Thankful to [??] more eg [??]

Last edit about 1 month ago by ALourie



The belief in a land on the oher side of the sky where the immaterial part of man has a home after death is as I have shown common to all the tribes in South Eastern Australia from the Murray Mouth to as far as the Bunan/Bunnan ceremonies reach.

This limit is fixed as I have shown to the Hunter River on the coast (1) and to the northern and western boundaries of the ~ [crossed out - are] Burbung ceremony of the Wiradjuri and the Bora ceremony of the Kamilaroi tribe. But there is some evidence that also included Chepara. [crossed out - and] The beliefs of the tribes about Maryborough that the dead went to an island to the northward many pointed to another [image?] of beliefs and which I have little information.

[Left margin note] Attributes - where did the dead go to ?

Connected with the belief refered to above there is also that in existence of Supernatural beings who either had their abode in the sky country permanently [underlined] 2 or occassionally.

As to the former the Kurnai offer a good example. I have referred to the Mrarts as ghosts. - [crossed out - There are these about] Next is a being called Brewin [crossed out - He is ??] The [word- crossed out] belief in him represents what may be [chanted?] as the [combining?] most of evil myths, and yet he is anthropomorphic for he takes [??] and even if he [does?] [unite?] [?people?] at the [Gūnyerui?] (1) of the [Mirarti?]. [crossed out - He] [Tabulated?] find the time chart which I have given shows that he is credited with what we know as [??]. He is described as "being able to go any where like the wind."

[Left margin notes] (1) Festive [??] & dancing [Comparison?] of a [corraborre?]

Search K&K

These then are [Baus?] are a [Bullumtul?].

I have here all [??] [??] [??] both the [??] [??] and the legends [denotes?] as more that they are expected anthropomorphic [??] [word crossed out - ?] mother & son who in the

Last edit about 1 month ago by ALourie



part ascended to the sky by means of a end of [??] [smir?] [father?] in the sky - where [he?] still remains without infleuncing the black fellow for good or evil.

Altogether apart from these is the great supernatural anthropomorpic being in whom all these tribes believe in [??] different names -

In speaking of the [??] in ceremoines I have referred to this being and shall now record what I have heard [?spective?] him as relates to the several tribes dealt with by me.

[Crossed out - I [??] in his work in] for completeness I [??] by [??] [me? or until?] [Jap?] says in his name in the Narrinyeri tribe. [Murrundiri?] is said to have made all things on the earth and to have given to men the weapons of war and hunting. He instituted all the rites and ceremonies which are practised by the aborigines, whether connected with life or death as on enqiring [crossed out Why?] why these [and?] here to say certain the reply is, because Murrunderi commanded

it. p55. [Crossed out - another legend [??]] Murrunderi [crossed out - lives] now lives in Wyirri - warre, and this is the sky pp 55.57. [Line across page]

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Last edit 3 months ago by ALourie


Chapter 8 [underlined] Beliefs [underlined]

Eaach point below underlined]

(1) The Physical universe - Flat earth. sky - [??] [??] (2) The trans celestial country - (3) The human Murup &ce (4) [Crossed out - The] Ghost land

[??] &ce - The [??] men [Bunarth?] [Brewin?], [Danthan?] &ce - Bunjil, [underlined] [under Bunjil and underlined] [Merri-ngala?]

(a) Flat earth (b) - sky (c) - "Sky land" (d) - [crossed out - " human spirit" in Inurup and buln] "[Njarnst?]" - (e) - [Nuorup?] - &ce = ghosts - white men = "ghosts" - (f) (g) other supernatural [??] of "sky land" (h) [crossed out - Bunjil] [Junili?] - Bunjil - &ce (i) Sky land [separates?] [??] a respected "tribe" - head man &ce Hunting - feasting - dancing - with all [??] Bunjil = Head man - Bunjil - from kne at [Ramby?] [bracketed with] or [??] [family?]

[Text is very light and difficult to read]

(j) from [??] [??][??] [??] to [??] [??] [??]. (k) [??] [??] these exceptions [cannot read rest of line and page]

Last edit 5 months ago by Christine


Beliefs [underlined]

(1) The earth [??] surface was the sky had a solid vault

(2) The sun, moon, stars, [word crossed out] milky way, shooting stars, comets, aurora, &ce

(3) The sky land.

(4) The human spirit - can have body in life - dreams &ce - murup = [bilabery?] = [??] = jir &ce = ghost.

(5) [Crossed out - Skyland the abode of the murup = ghost] Descent to [ngaruit?] - as went to sky land lingers about the old haunts - evil ghosts - communicates with the living in dreams.

(6) The white man a ghost.

(7) The [??] of the skyland - (a) ghosts, [crossed out - rest of line] (b) Supernatural beings - [Brewui?], [Baukin?], [Bulumtul?] (c) Bunjil - &ce - common name is " our father". -

(8) These beliefs originate. Here [exertual?] belief white men cause. [Bunjil?] = star, these beliefsare integral and, sent part often mutations.

(9) Summary & conclusions

Last edit 5 months ago by Christine


Chapter 8 [underlined] Beliefs [underlined]

It appears the widespread if not universal belief that the earth is a flat surface surmounted by the solid vault of the sky.

The [crossed out - tribe were] Lake [??] tribe held this [crossed out - the] belief

as is shown by me of the Wonkanguru tribal legends (p -) which relate how the Yuri-ulu after the holding of the Wilyaru [crossed out - by] ceremony went in their wanderings and finally "beyond the normal way" passed through "hard darkness" with an other country whence looking back they [crossed out - saw] surprized which they had passed through on the edge of the [crossed out lake] shore.

{Left margin note] at p 3 +

The Jalathi [crossed out - tribe] about [Mirilamine?] said that a medicine man once climbed up to the sky and was let through it by a ghost (gŭmatch). [Crossed out - In Porpum?] A Wotjoballuk legend says that at first the sky rested in the earth [crossed out - but] and prevented the sun from moving , but that [crossed out - the ?] [Goroke?] (the magpie -?) propped up the sky by poles and thus [crossed out - set the sun] freed the sun [which?] make on its travells.

The idea of the sky being propped up was [crossed out - come out] also the belief of the Kulin tribe. The Woëworung said that it was propped up by poles which were inserted in the mountain in the north east. Berak remembered that before the white men came to Melbourne a message came down through the tribe that these poles were becoming rotten and that [??] tomahawks were sent up at once [??] [??] the sky would fall and burst and all people would be the drowned.

This same belief was spoken of by Buckley but was a differed form namely that the earth was [supported?] by people which were in the "charge of a man who lived at the furthest end of the earth ? (1).

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The [Pujauibuk?] [??] [crossed out - but the] had the belief that a [crossed out - several words??] [??] earth & a solid [??] of some of these [??] [??] [??] is careful of [??] (1) whether he had [is an?] "[??] to [??] end of the earth when the sky [touched?] the grounds".

[Left margin note] The Kurnai belief in sky being a hard substance comes out in the belief in the account of the [Sun arch?] (p.-) in camping with the [??] ghost to the -----: when it [crawled?] through a hole.

The [Njarya?] & [??] also believed [crossed out - in the] that legend [??] sky ([Kūtŭmbi?] then was " and the country like the [west?] [crossed out - here] [??] and tree".-

[Left margin note] (1) Op. [??] p 57 [??] tribe was [??] Wűntherung see p.-

[left margin note} (1) Mr Parker

Last edit 26 days ago by ALourie



connected with the belief in a flat earth of limited extent is [crossed out - the] a Kulin belief. The sun when passing out of sight in the west was thought to go down into a place called by them Ngámat which has been described to mean being like a great hole [inserted above - this can describe] what [crossed out - centre of which] "a tree has been burned out". The reflection from Ngámat, that is the upward streaming rays of the setting sun, is said to be the path by which the [crossed out - ghost] mūrŭp, the disembodied human being, [crossed out - the ghost] went up to the [Tharan-galk-bek?].

A legend [crossed out - of the] from the tribe about Maryborough in Queensland also brings out the idea of a hole with [crossed out - whic and] which the sun retired at night. It says that where Biral had placed the blackfellows in the primitive earth "which was like a huge sandbank" he told them when they asked where "they could [crossed out - should] get [crossed out - fire from" in the] warmth in the

day time and fire at night". [All?] if they went in a direction he pointed out they would find the sun and could get fire by [Kurubuy?] a piece of the [going?] far in the direction they found as the sun came up out of [one?] hole in the morning and [??] with another at night. [crossed out - and then] Rushing after the sun they [Kunned?] a piece off and [??] obtained fire.

[crossed out - then the [semi?] belief] It [??] therefore that the belief in another country beyond the sky extended at least over that part of Australia definedd by the [??] given - about a [??] of its aim, and in all such beliefs extended over the whole.

This [crossed out - country [trans?] country (sky country)] sky country in [?induted?] in the Dieri legend which tell [??] where the mara mara and Kuritcha listened with by law turmed (p - ). [crossed out - maukana [??] is a prime] [crossed out - where the] [crossed out - Maukara-waka-ya-pira] [inserted above - to the sky] the [crossed out - where] [Arawobya?] "who lives in the sky" let down along [crossed out - cord] han [casts?] and drew up him at all [??] times with tribes to himself". [crossed out - all their tribes tell these]

The [Newbang?] legend the [Nureli?] are [??]] (1) the sky, [crossed out - that] [crossed out - of the] the Wotjoballuk legend is for [??] which [extended?] up through to the sky. [First Left mrgin note in here] [crossed out - and up which] and the people of tht time [??] [??] of the trees to gather manna (2) [crossed out - in the event] which maybe that [word crossed out] [crossed out - manna bring] tree such without individual their manna is found in the Eucalyptus country [??] [??] there.

[Left margin note] (wurra-wurra) [two words crossed out] to the places [two words crossed out] beyond which [mamen gornath?] [path-?] lives (see medicine men - p -.

[Left margin note] a legend relating to [Aumun?]

[Left margin notes] (1) cellular - ? (2) manna is [??] ?

Last edit 3 months ago by ALourie



The notes of [ballery?] heard of heard of their sky country from their medicine men who professed to ascend to it and then communicate with

The Wȍeworung believed [crossed out - that Bunjil also in a country beyond the sky and called it the Tharan-galk-bek (1) which [??] [??] freely translates as "Gum tree country", to which country to the legend the medicine men in olden times ascended [crossed out heavenward] [crossed out - Brought who ?] and brought back Bunjil and man as [to?] [marriage?].

[Left margin note] Tharan-galk-[?forest?] bek - [??] tract.

Legend of Bunjil ascent to [?ward?] much here A to 5

The Kurnai belief in a sky country is shown by a number of cases. [crossed out - The medicine men were A.] The medicine men went there to learn [crossed out - see the ghosts (mrar-p -). They dance and sing of the ghosts (mrurt - p) when [initiated?] it.

[crossed out - the legend] The land beyond told to the [novices?] at initiation is that there abides [Munyara-ngaur?] and his son [Tindun? or Jindun?] (p-) and the common legend tell him [Auilum-baukan?] and their ] - son [Buthun-tūt?] ascendto it by means of cords of the sinew of the red [?] (-?) [crossed out - fact of the sky.] thrown up and pushed to [??].

[Paragraph of 8 lines crossed out ]

[Left margin note] The Ngarego called the sky Kūlŭmbi and said that on the other side there was another country like theirs with rivers and trees. The beliefs of the neighbouring tribe to the Ngarego, namely the Theddora, [crossed out - only] and Wolgal maybe taken on the same.

[Left margin note] Wotjoballuk A mans spirit - [Gŭlkūro-gŭthkaro?], can only leave his body during life when it visits the body of a victim killed by him. Dreams are only thinking.

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[Left margin note] [Adjadura?] Each person is believed to have a spirit, which can leave the body during sleep and communicate with the spirit of others, or of the dead. These spirits - ghosts - wander for a time after death, in the bush, and can consume food and warm themselves at fires when left lighted.

[Line across page] [ crossed out - care] comparing cases [??] I have [??] in [??]. Further, [crossed out - their] they sing of [winters?] (p) them that the [??] bear [??] [??] by [??] a "[??]" to a spirit.

Last edit 26 days ago by ALourie
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