Notes about Camping and Food Division

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Transcription - Page 16

[In the left hand margin]
(1) On the Kulin tribes
division of food

W. Thomas-Latrobe Papers p65
They seldom travel more than a six miles a day. In their
migratory movements all are employed. Children are getting
gum, knocking down birds +c, women are digging up roots,
killing bandicoots, getting grubs +c; the men hunting kangaroos +c
scaling trees for opossums + +. They mostly are at the encampment
about an hour before sundown, [crossout] the women first, who get fire
and water by the time their spouses arrive.

They hold that the bush and all it contains are men's
general property; that private property is only what utensils are carried in
their bag and this extends even to the success of the day; hence
at the close, those who have been successful divide with those
who have not been so. None lacketh while others have it
nor is the gift considered as a favor, but as right brought to
the needy and thrown down at his feet. (1)

[Written in the left hand margin]

If a Woeworung man when out hunting killed a Kangaroo
it was divided in accordance with tribal rules as with
[food obtained - crossed out] assuming that the man had a comrade with
him, they would take out the Entrails and unless the skin were
required for some purpose, roast the kangaroo whole. The division would be that one forequarter
was kept by the man for himself, his wife and children. A leg
or [a fore- crossed out] the other forequarter to his comrade. The head and an
arm sent to the man's father and mother. And a leg and
the loins [were - crossed out] went to his wife’s father + mother care of
his wife. The tail went to someone else.

In these tribes as in [the - crossed out] those of Gippsland
a [the - crossed out] man was obliged to [provide - crossed out] give a certain amount of
the game presented by him to his wife’s father. In instance if he
caught five opossoums, he kept one, two went to his wife's father.
and two to her brothers. This appears like
a perpetual purchase of the [woman - crossed out] wife.
The woman also divided the food which she collected
which was mainly vegetables.

But if a man only killed enough game or procured enough of
other food for himself his wife & children then he need not
divide it with others. But if he found that his father had no -
food, he must give him what he had procured and go out and
look for more. Similarly, if his wife’s father had no food -
and no son to provide [some - crossed out] for him, he would give him food if he had
it and seek more for himself. On the other hand if he had none
and his wife’s father had a supply he would send some by his
daughter to her husband.

The old people used to say to the younger that people should
divide their food with others and particularly with the old people and children.
They said that Bunjil was pleased where he saw the old people.

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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 702
Medium Notes
Summary Draft notes related to sections of text in Chapter XII of Howitt's 'The Native Tribes of South-East Australia', 1904; see pp.756-770, and 773-777. Notes contain content regarding regulations relating to camps, and to food division of a large number of groups. Some annotations in the left hand margins, record the group name and the source of the information.
Physical Description Draft notes, handwritten in ink, undated. Annotations and subheadings, throughout. Vertical line through almost all the pages. 13 sheets, 14 pages. Condition: foxing; some pages with tattered edges.