A.W. Howitt Esqre
Dear Mr Howitt
I have made enquiry about the Jaak of the blacks and find Billy the Bull is very obscure on the subject. I would certainly advise you not to alter your first impression as I feel sure Billy as he tells me did not tell you the exact state of affairs Matter of fact he now tells me that Yelmire was not his father's Jaak but the reason he was called by that name was because he once dreamed about a Yelmire and made a song about it. I think many of these songs were the result of dreams. I remember once an old man on the Murray made such a song, it was Thoopu Nappu Karo Kara Murla Rintee
That is I was carried to another country on
the other side other Murray. So I expect Yelmire's connection with the Shark arose from the same cause. With regard to the men having a Jaak they say some of them have birds which give notice when the person is coming. For instance if the Gleean were to make a noise they would say so + so is coming, and at the Jerail they would only be intimate with those who had the same bird, and at play of Dilk (the pouch of the old man Kangaroo made into a ball) Then they would only throw to the person of the same Jaak. Mr Colin Hood though he was a Jallan would also have a bird to announce his coming At the same time Billy tells me they have only the Yarang + Djeetgang all the men are Yarang + the women the opposite. I had a talk with Harry he tells me something quite opposite to this. I give you the result of my enquiry.
[left hand column] Kerlip Tom Glean | Wife Tambun | Daughter Glean [?marries a Lewin?] Eagle hawk.
[middle column] Timothy Bunjil Barlijan | Wife Kine (bream) | Daughter Barlijan |
[right hand column] Old Dan Bunjil Tambun | Marran kind of Perch | Child Tambun
[left hand colum]
King Charley | Burra eel | Wife Waljan (opossum) | child Burra
[right hand column]
Nurranbah | Noyang Eel | wife Billing Salmon | Noyang
I give these instances just as Harry gave them at the same time the rest say they acknowledge nothing but Yarang & Djeetgang. Do you think this Y & D are the two divisions having other divisions as the Macquara + Kilparra even the animals are divided into totems and a man though he was a Macquara could be a [Kangaro - crossed out] Kawellarru or a Kilparra could be a Kangaroo rat. I should be inclined to think so. Of course Billy the Bull really does not know much about these matters. though he does insist there is only the two divisions and that all men are Yarang and all women Djeetgang. I had a long talk with Colin Hood as to idea of a Supreme Being and he tells me his name of their God is Bingyal and that they call him Father & Brother
Maamee Father Wahwee Brother. They also look upon Bingyal as possessing all things Thus the sun is Whyepook Bingyallu Gods sun. I have tried to get this from the Lake Tyers' men but they have no idea of the fatherhood of the Gnulambiu (the first) I dare say with them the Gnulambiu is a big Kurnai Of course that may be the idea of most of the blacks as they have not got so focus to understand that God was Spirit. I wish you could have had a talk with Colin Hood that day. I was sorry we could not question him because he can give very intelligent accounts of the folk lore of his peoples. I hope you will be able to read my scrappy letter if I have failed in giving you what you require it is not from want of will but from inability to get out of these fellows what is needed. With the kindest regards to Miss Howitt & yourself I remain faithfully yours John Bulmer