Notes by Howitt on Kulin from Barak

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Transcription - Page 13

[The - crossed out] William received his name of Bair-ŭk
= a white grub found in trees from “another father of his fathers”
(paternal grandfather) when he was very small (a baby)
– who named him after a son of his.

When William's father died [the - crossed out] people all told him
Bairŭk you should go to your Grandfather”. This he did. The
old man was a Waa.

It had been customary for the Kūlin to make
“young men”; but by the time William was about
13 years of age, Melbourne was full of white people.
The old customs were being disregarded and
he was never formally initiated, nor was
as a consequence his tooth knocked out.
The only formality which he went through
was that at South Yarra some blackfellows,
Capt Turnbull, Billy Billary, Billy Lonsdale who were
all Ngŭrŭngaeta invested him with the Berbert
= ringtail possum strands round his biceps, the gornbert =
reed necklaces, the illijeri = nose peg, the mŭragalŭn =
Kaiung = waiststring, and the Brandyep = apron.
In fact he was invested with the insignia of manhood.
He gave a possum rug in return to Billy Billary.
The ceremony of initiation was called [tallŭngŭn - crossed out]
tállang–gŭn. It was formerly held [at - crossed out] where are now called Melbourne
Geelong, Bacchus Marsh and Mt Macedon.
The same ceremony was called at Echuka

The Tallangŭn was forbidden to eat certain food.
Such as Female opossum, emu, black duck, porcupine,
but was permitted to eat other animals such as the
ringtail possum and the male common possum.
After a lapse of time the youth is permitted to eat
of the forbidden animals. In the case of William
the restriction was relaxed after [some time - crossed out] about a year by Billy Lonsdale
handing a piece of a female opossum to him on the point
of a stick and saying "there - now you can can eat old woman possum” – At a still further period of time the man
– having then a wife and children is “made free” of the Emu
by going through a ceremony in which he lies naked in his camp
and is rubbed over with emu fat. He then is
a “Wa-gŭn-im-bēl”.

[written in left side margin]
Note that Billy Macleod
send permission by
an old man rubbing
some of the fat of female possum over
his face

Page 13 of 103

Document Details

Letter From
Letter To
Author Howitt, Alfred William
Country Australia
Colony/State Victoria
Holding Institution State Library of Victoria
Collection Name Alfred W. Howitt Collection
Registration Number MS9356/391
Medium Notes
Summary MS 9356 [Series] Correspondence and notes concerning aboriginal tribes - Aboriginal tribes of Victoria. [Sub Series] Kulin Nation [Item Title] Notes by Howitt titled 'The Kulin tribe. Informant 'Ber-uk' otherwise King William of the Yarra tribe'. [Summary note] 103 pages. Box 1053 [Folder] 2(b) & (c) [State Library Victoria record 2018]
Physical Description Handwritten notes, undated and numbered pages. Additional notations and annotations in the left hand margins; includes a newspaper article.