Letter from Shaw 23 November 1903

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Transcription - Page 1

23rd Nov. 1903

A.W. Howitt Esq.

Dear Sir,

Re the information you want about the totems, etc.
I am afraid I cannot get the information as you wish.
I am very sorry but it cannot be helped. I spent an
hour on Saturday morning with three or four men each
belonging to different tribes and I could not get the
information to my satisfaction. They not
only differ with one another but contradict themselves
and are not careful enough to say what is strictly
correct. When they are in a difficulty they will tell
me what they think and then it turns out some-
times that what they "think" [underlined] is wrong +c +c.
Old Dick Richards is now beginning to dote and
lose his memory like poor old Barak and
even old Major and the others are not thoroughly
reliable. In my talk with them on Saturday
I showed them and told them so.

With the above explanation I will now try to give
you what I gathered from them.
1) The word for totem in Old Major's language
"Ja-yan-rung" and Ned McLellan's language "Tatchalle"
(Wimmera district) is "Meeyour" pronounced Mee-your[underlined].
McLellan's totem is the black cockatoo and the

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Document Details

Date 23-Nov-03
Letter From Shaw, Joseph
Letter To Howitt, Alfred William
Country Australia
Colony/State Victoria
Holding Institution Museums Victoria
Collection Name Alfred W. Howitt Collection
Registration Number XM 301
Medium Letter
Region Port Phillip
Locality Coranderrk
Summary "J. Shaw's letter discusses the food restrictions associated with totems. Information provided to Shaw by a number of informants. Note that the word for totem in Old Major's language is ""Ja-jan-rung"" and Ned McLellan's language ""Tatchalle""."
Physical Description Letter, handwritten in ink. Two sheets, two pages. Condition: good.