Letter from Shaw 23 November 1903

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Transcription - Page 2

natives would kill and eat it when they
were hungry and could not get any other kind
of food.

Old Major's totem, as you know is poisoned
snake and he now says same as McLellan
that they would kill and eat it when they
could not get any other food, when I
reminded him that he told me the other
week they did not eat it, he said he meant
when it was poisoned. I also find that
when Old Major, Lanky Manton, and McLellan
were telling me about the totem of the the [sic]
other tribes you mentioned that they were
only guessing or saying what they thought hence
you will see they are not very reliable.

Old Dick says he has forgotten all about
the matter of the totems etc.

Lanky Manton belongs to the Bura-Bura
or as he seems to put it Buro-whyo tribe
but he can give me nothing reliable about
the totems. He has been too long among
the white people he says.

Apologising for not being able to
supply you with all the information
you wish

I remain
Yours truly
J. Shaw

[written sideways along left margin]
With regard to the word meal or Mee-al it was said
to belong to Lanky Manton's tribe Buro-Buro or
as he seems to put it Buro-whyo but I have now
reason to think he was only guessing and I would discard
his statement altogether. J.S.

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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.