Letter from John Bulmer 10 October 1878

Page 5 of 6

Transcription - Page 5

[left hand column]
rogue who was able to work upon
the credulity of his fellows: one
in fact who was in advance of
his time. However they tell most
astonishing stories of their powers
and what wonderful things they
saw. They were able always to
transmit their powers to others
The medicine men were the same
but I believe they were regularly
initiated into the mysteries of the
craft though there was seldom many
at one time who practised the art.
They had some slight idea of the
virtues of certain herbs which were
mostly used as lotions, but they
generally trusted to their powers of
enchantment to put away disease.
The theory seems to have been that
disease was merely a bad
spirit taking up its abode in
the sick hence they had to
turn him out. This they seemed
to think could be done by making
hideous noises.

[right hand column]
I see Mr Smyth has fallen into an error
in his book by stating that a Black
could not get a wife in his own tribe.
That is a mistake as I have known
many such marriages however
I will send you the list you need
and then you will be able to see that
it is so.

A writer signing himself Cameron
has stated I see in the Australian
that the caste of the Black was
not taken from the Mother
Now among the Murray tribes.
That was universally so. A
Macquarra could only marry
a Kilparra all the children
would be Kilparras and so on
the other side. I dare say he
is right with respect to the
Blacks of Queensland but
Mr Smyth was writing of the
Victorian Blacks. I had some

Page 5 of 6

Document Details

Date 10 Oct 1878
Letter From Bulmer, Reverend John
Letter To Howitt, Alfred William
Country Australia
Holding Institution Museums Victoria
Collection Name Alfred W. Howitt Collection
Registration Number XM 78
Medium Letter
Region Gippsland
Locality Lake Tyers
Summary Letter provides information on groups of the Gippsland District, regarding marriage rules and elopement, medicine, illness, and some language translations.
Physical Description Letter, handwritten, ink. Two sheets, eight pages. Condition: Fair; slight tear on main fold at bottom; centre crease fragile.