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Transcription - Page 33


One of their men was spoken to by a whiteman about
a man who [crossed out - was la] had lately died. In doing so he mentioned
the name of the deceased. The Kurnai looking round
uneasily said "do not do that, he might hear you and
kill me".

This shows [crossed out - that] a belief in the existence after death
of the invisible human spirit, the Yambo, which
might be present - and taking offence [crossed out - at the unusual]
injure come one.

The ghosts, [crossed out - as a nt] and the other supernatural
beings in the country appear [word crossed out] to resemble [word crossed out]
the tribe on the earth with - "[munyan - njaur?]
as its head and such a [??] being as [Brewin?]
as its medicine man.

[Line across page]

The beliefs which are embodied in the teachings and
are legends [??] with the Initiation ceremonies of
those tribes are in some respects strongly [entrenched?] with
those of the ceremonies of the [Western?] type for instance of
the [crossed out - has] tribe of the Lake Eyre Basin.

Both in one sense are intended to make the
young men more competent [crossed out - to] members of the tribes.
But the former teach the existence of an [??] -
[??] being the originator of their society, [crossed out - and in order]
[Crossed out - These the ?? of the tribe] the source of all magical
[bones?] and perhaps in some since the [closure?] of and
[??] of the initiated man. It is his laws which the
initiated are bound to obey as handed down by their
father from the past.

The ceremonial legends of the Lake Eyre tribe record the
[crossed out - are of the] institution of practice which the ceremonies
[perpetuate?], and the [man?] during in the part of the one [??] and of those [practices?] for instance circumcision. The ceremonies also
[prepare?] by [crossed out - the means of magic] to procure a plentiful
increase of the food supply. [crossed out - they intend also] I am satisfied
that they intend also to make those who participate in them
more worthy as members of the tribes.

But there is no indication of any such central idea as that
of [crossed out - 3 words] the tribal ''all father". The
supernatural action in the legends [have?] [word crossed out] the [name?] [??]
either were the [??] of the [??] [??], the same physically
and [morally?] but each more [?ful?] in magic and supernatural
[form?] than that country race of medicine men [crossed out - ??] are [??] tribes.

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Document Details

Letter From
Letter To
Author Howitt, Mr Alfred William
Country Australia
Colony/State Victoria
Holding Institution Museums Victoria
Collection Name Alfred W. Howitt Collection
Registration Number XM 593
Medium Notes
Summary The content of the notes relate largely to the legends, religion, beliefs and customs for a number of groups in southeastern Australia. Beliefs and various legends including a number related to the earth and sky; and to Bunjil (Eaglehawk). A.W. Howitt also recounts a story by Berak [William Barak] who visited his sick son in Melbourne.
Physical Description Notes, incomplete, handwritten, undated. 25 foolscap sheets, 25 pages, some with slips of paper attached. Text 'struck through' with vertical pencilled lines. Condition: some pages with tattered edges.