XM270 Muirhead to Howitt 19/3/1908



Elgin Downs Mar 19th 1908

A.W. Howitt Esq Eastwood Bairnsdale Victoria

Dear Sir, Miss M.E.B. Howitt has written to me on your behalf re: Laws and Customs of Aborigines. I am sorry indeed to read that you are so ill and I sincerely trust that before this, that you are in good health and strength again.

Re Aborigines: Wakelburra and other tribes in the years gone by and in the days of their strength the tribes that I have written about, adhered ridgily to their laws re wives - but since the aboriginal became civilised they got careless and lazy, in fact debased loafers - all tribal laws and customs were [??] and there was not any ristrictions [sic] as to obtaining wives I first became acquaint [sic] with the Wakelburra and tribes near the Belyando + Suttor + Burdekin Rivers about 1874. Wakelburra at that time numbered about 250 to 300 people now only about 50 wrecks remain. Chiefly Result of Opium and contact with debased whites + Chinamen. Cowan or Owanburra tribe numbered in 1874 about 100 to 170 souls - to-day only

Last edit 6 days ago by ALourie


2 about 20 remain. Of those Aborigines taken to Islands by Government, not more than five or six belong to Wakelburra or Cowan burra - of the natives taken from Central districts to Reserves, the most were Terraburra - Yengaburra - the undermention [sic] tribes (members) are all gone = Mutheraburra - once about 100 strong Wandilla Burra (extinct) once about 80 strong To your question = do you know [of - crossed out] any cases where a fresh law, was made to suit such circumstances meaning to allow a Kurgilla man to take others than a bao woman. Answer No = At any time if I can help you in your work I shall only be too pleased to do so Though we only know one another by corresponding Yet, your labours are not unknown to me though the nearest we ever were to one another was on the day the remains of the "ill fated Burke + Wills" were being buried when you brought them in from Coopers Creek = and your father's work "Exploreation [sic] of Australia" are among my valued books. Hoping to soon hear that you are strong and hale again, with good wishes I Remain Yours faithfully J.C. Muirhead

Last edit 5 days ago by ALourie
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