Typed and handwritten notes about the Kurnai

Page 3 of 5

Transcription - Page 3

The Kurnai have no class or subclass names and
therefore no social organisation as I use that term
but they have unmistakable indications that they
[had totems and therefore - crossed out] must have had that at
some former time.

Each individual had a thūndung or elder
brother, [not only in their sex totem Yürung or, - crossed out]
[Djütgun but also in some - crossed out] being some marsupial animal,
or bird, reptile or fish. It is the
[They however have no influence upon marriage - crossed out]
[which is regulated by kinship and local exogamy- crossed out]
[and survive as the merely as the elder brother and - crossed out]
[and also as in so far the -crossed out] protector that in
[some cases such as Kangaroos + birds- crossed out] it gave
[notice of - crossed out] danger, and [also -crossed out] was also invoked
songs in cases of sickness x

These [thundung - crossed out] are also spoken of as jiak
or flesh as in other tribes.

The [jiak - crossed out] totem was told by a man to his son when
about eight or nine years of age and by a woman
to her daughters. [For instance a man might - crossed out]
point out his totem to his son and say
["see there that is your thundung; you must - crossed out]
[not kill it!" - crossed out]

As these names are perpetuated from fathers
to sons, the daughter having also the same, descent
is clearly in the male line, and they would be
necessarily perpetuated in the locality to which
a man belonged. A good instance is that
of the Bunjil-baul who lived on Raymond
in Lake King and whose jiak was
[the Gluin - crossed out] a bird the Gluin, whence their name
of Gluin-Kong, the Gluin's beak.

[The Australia - crossed out]
[These Thundung- crossed out]
[The totem and its human brother are - crossed out]
[These totems and their human "younger brother"- crossed out]
[which are younger - crossed out]
[brother - which are sill in the relative of- crossed out]
[protected + protector - they the form here the - crossed out]
[two classes with which we now I feel certain they- crossed out]
[have at one time I feel [??] [??] at where- crossed out]
[they preceeded - crossed out]

(1) I am much indebted to the Revd John Bulmer
further investigating the Kurnai Thundung
confirming my own endeavours, by obtaining a
[which - crossed out] of [the - crossed out] old people which abundantly established
of male descent.

[written in left side margin]
If I am correct in
believing that these "thundung"
were at one time
[consistent with the two primary - crossed out]
[class divisions - crossed out]
part of a two class system then
we have here an instance
of the peculiar
development of these coast tribes.
The [original - crossed out] totem which according
to my view [preexisted - crossed out]
preceeded the class agnate
[have ended through the] still
[changes - crossed out] exist, while
it has been
replaced by rhe
local organization.

Page 3 of 5

Document Details

Letter From
Letter To
Author Howitt, Alfred William
Country Australia
Colony/State Victoria
Holding Institution Museums Victoria
Collection Name Alfred W. Howitt Collection
Registration Number XM 524
Medium Notes
Region Gippsland
Summary A number of the stories and beliefs collected by Reverend Bulmer regarding totems, predominantly from identified members of the Kurnai. References also to other localities in eastern Victoria.
Physical Description Notes, typed and handwritten, undated. Handwritten sections include annotations and corrections throughout. Number 2 typed, top right of first page. No other page numbers marked. Five sheets, six pages. Condition: paper loss from bottom corner of one sheet; foxing.