Chapter V Tribal Governments

Page 7 of 9

Transcription - Page 54

27 [29 crossed out]

[Left margin note]
Kulin [underlined]

The following account of one of the ordeals in expiation of
homicide which occurred in the Kulin tribes was given me
by Berak who was present. It was so far as I am
able to fix the time [between crossed out] about 1840 [and 1850 crossed out] and the locality
of the meeting was [w crossed out] the Merri creek, near Melbourne [about where crossed out]

It arose out of [the - crossed out] a belief by the Western port tribe (Būn=
) (1) that a man from the Murray River (Echuca) had
found a piece of opossum bone which one of their Mey met tribe tribe had been

[Left margin note - p.p. -underlined]

eating & then thrown away. Taking this bone up between two
pieces of stick the Echuca man carefully placed it aside until
having procured [procuring - crossed out] the legbone of a Kangaroo, he put the piece of opossum
bone into its hollow and tieing [crossed out - his] it to the end of his [crossed out - throw]
spear thrower set this up in the ground and roasted it in front of his fire. He and others then
sang the name of the Bunworrung man for a long time over it,
until the spear thrower fell down into the fire when the magic
was complete. Some one brought this news down to the Būnworung
and shortly after the man died. His friends did not say any thing,
but waited until it happened that a young man from the Echuca
tribe came down with a white man into the Westernport
district when they killed him. News of this passed [crossed out - went] from one to
another until it reached the Echuca tribe who sent down
a message to the Bunworung that they would have to meet them
at a place near Melbourne. This was arranged and
the old men said to the man who had killed the Echuca man
"Now do not you run away, you must go and stand out and
we will see that they do not use you [crossed out - badly] [brackets crossed out] unfairly."

[Left margin note]
(1) Kilmore
see p .

This message had been given by the Mey met to the
Nira ballŭk (1) who send it on by the Woëworung to the
Bunworung. It was sent in the winter time so as to give
plenty of time for the meeting, which took place on the
Melbourne side of the Merri Creek. The people present
were the Mey met whose Head man had not come with them from Echuca, the Būnworŭng with their
Headman; [Benbow - crossed out] the Mt Macedon men [crossed out - we] with their Headman
[crossed out - Captain Turnbull ], the Werribee people with the [crossed out -their] Headman [crossed out - Benbow]
and the Urunjeri [crossed out - cla] a clan of the Woëworung) and of that and ridge people (2) withe [sic] their Headman
Bili-bill-eri. All these were to look on and each lot camped
at the side of the meeting ground nearest to their own country and

[Left margin notes]
(2) see p -
(3) see p .

Page 7 of 9

Document Details

Letter From
Letter To
Author Howitt, Mr Alfred William
Country Australia
Holding Institution Museums Victoria
Collection Name Alfred W. Howitt Collection
Registration Number XM 692
Medium Notes
Summary Draft for sections of text in Howitt's publication 'The Native Tribes of South-East Australia'. Includes sketches of weapons.
Physical Description Draft notes, handwritten in ink, undated. Envelope/cover sheet and 52 foolscap sheet, 57 pages. Handwritten annotations and corrections throughout. Condition: envelope is tattered, marked and stained.