Notes by Howitt on Kulin from Barak

Page 23 of 103

Transcription - Page 23

9 The corpse was tied up in his possum rug
and wore his full corroboree dress
apron – headband – necklace +c and his
nŭtba” (bag) of a Doctor. They gave him
his tomahawk but no other weapons
lest when his ghost walked about it
might hurt some one. The hands were crossed
on the breast and the knees drawn up so
that when the body was lowered with the
circular pose the deceased as it were
crouched in it. William remembered
one case where the dead man's "Mŭriwŭn
was stuck in the grave at his right hand
– W said the “old man from Dandenong
“give him a mŭriwŭn in his hand for
he never missed a Kangaroo”. The
deceased was William's father's brother.
The old man from Dandenong was
half ngūrŭng-gaeta + half wirirap

10 The Kūlin believed that a man’s ghost
wandered about the country and occasionally
returned to the grave. As William said
“Bye and bye that Mūrŭp coming back
to the grave looks down at it and says
– Hallo! that’s my possum rug down there
– there are also my old body and my old
bones” – then he goes away again.
Ghosts were supposed to be invisible to
everyone except the wizard to whom they
communicated information and
corroboree songs (gūnyūrū) —

The ghosts are supposed also to be able
to go up to Tharangalk (tharan = trees galk = wood)
which is in fact the sky. William said
the Kūlin believed there were many
“cherry trees” up there and [rivers - crossed out] streams and

[written sideways in left side margin]
William also said that he had
heard that in some parts of the country
dead bodies were rolled into a fire
and burned up.

[written in left side margin]
See further on

Page 23 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.