Notes from Old Nanny

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Transcription - Page 1

He [??] was that
He had climbed a tree to look for an opossum.
He suddenly heard a whistle. He said
what's that? - He looked round but could
see nothing. It was repeated - he looked
round more carefully and on the opposite
side of the tree saw [the - crossed out] bones lying in a
hollow. He then knew what it meant -
he recognized his friend's whistle - which
he intended to call his attention to
the bones. He carefully collected them
and to this day believe they are those
of his dead comrade.

Old Nanny - the oldest woman now living among
the Kurnai - was a widow with grey hair when
Angus McMillan first discovered Gippsland.
She says that it was the universal custom
for a young man to obtain a wife by running off with
her. If a man wanted a second one it was
the same. If the first wife did not object she
would assist them- but if she thought "she was
going to be put outside the camp" she might
inform the parents of the intended second
wife. If her husband suspected - he would
probably not tell her anything but leave her behind
when he ran off. Very rarely if two [young- crossed out] men agreed
to exchange sisters it would not be necessary
to run off - if the girls had no fathers or if the fathers
consented. But she only remembered three
instances - one of which was her own case. She
was given away by her brother and her husband
was not therefore expected to fight.

One very fine
song brought back
by the Birra ark

yeerungaˈday nganduang woorlingita
yeerung I think before me

Nanny says the Briakolung always had to get wives some where
else - any where where Briakolung Kurni were - was too
near- they get wives from Dairgo - Wuk Wuk +c
Her father Bungil (mud) [got th- crossed out] was

Nanny's father was from Dairgo and got his three
wives from Bushy Park (Briakolung)

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Document Details

Letter From
Letter To
Author Howitt, Alfred William
Country Australia
Holding Institution Museums Victoria
Collection Name Alfred W. Howitt Collection
Registration Number XM 653
Medium Notes
Summary Content of the notes record marriage customs as related by 'Old Nancy' or 'Old Nanny' from the Gippsland region who is described as 'the oldest woman now living among the Kurni'- was a widow with grey hair when Angus McMillan first discovered Gippsland'. Paragraph sub-headed 'Briakolung': customs and legend related by Old Nancy/Old Nanny whose father was from Dairgo 'and got his three wives from Bushy Park (Briakolung)'. First paragraph of the notes however appears unrelated and describes a story of man who climbed a tree to look for an opossum, and heard a whistle.
Physical Description Notes, incomplete, handwritten in ink, undated. One foolscap sheet, one page. Sheet numbered page 2. Condition: foxing.