Letter from John Bulmer 15 April 1880

Page 2 of 4

Transcription - Page 2

[left side of page]

of course a challenge to fight.
When a stick was sent it
was an invitation to a
corroborie [sic]. Some poet had
made a 'big fellow' corroboree
and the stick was indeed
part of it. That is it was
to be used at the dance.

Many years ago when I
was on the Murray a
stick about 3 feet long was
sent to the tribe at Yelta
it was marked with their
usual marks, and was
an object of great interest to
the tribe. I [sic] was held in
the hand of the time keeper
at the corroborie [sic] and
was struck with a bough
of a tree at intervals. The
burden of the song was
as follows. Wilpon tho

[right side of page]

Wilpon me gra. At the
gra the stick was struck
all the men held sticks in
their hands, but only the
one who taught the song
held the stick which had
travelled, the Blacks said
a very long way. Indeed
it must have travelled
far for I found the same
song was quite familiar
to the Kurnai here so that
it must have been known
all along the arms of
the River Murray and
up the Darling and
through Gippsland indeed
I have no doubt it was known
in the greatest part of N.S.W.

But it was not always
a stick that was sent as
an invitation to corroboree

Page 2 of 4

Document Details

Date 15 Apr 1880
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 81
Medium Letter
Region Gippsland
Locality Lake Tyers
Summary "Although this letter from Rev. J. Bulmer appears incomplete with the first page missing, A.W. Howitt has annotated the top of first page with ""Bulmer re messages April 15th 1880"". Discussion regarding communication - invitations and challenges - between groups in the Murray-Darling and in the Gippsland region. Includes notes on the issuing of a challenge to the Boul Boul men to fight; carrying a spear and Maruwan; sending a spear and shield to another group as 'an act of defiance'; and a reference to a stick sent to the Yelta group. In addition discusses how many Aborigines living near the Lake Tyers Mission went away to pick hops."
Physical Description Letter, possibly incomplete, handwritten in ink. Signed and with an associated date in A W Howitt's handwriting top of first page. One sheet, three pages. Good condition.