Notes by Howitt on Kulin from Barak

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Transcription - Page 5

Sometimes a girl ran off with a man. Then the
married men would follow to fetch them both back.
If they were caught the man had to fight with her
relations. The fight was arranged. At it the girls
men first of all threw their boomerang at him
He being armed with Kūjerŭng (club) and Mŭlka (shield).

Then they fought him one at a time with Kūjerŭng
and shield. Most likely they would leave the
girl with him because if they took her away
she would probably run off again. But her
mother and sister if they got her back would be
sure to have a fight with her with the yam sticks.
Her brother most likely would spear her through the
leg [fo- crossed out] for running away.

As to elopement with a girl within the forbidden
degrees William made the following statement: -
“If I had run off with my cousin [underlined] my father would have
been very much ashamed, as would have been
her father. The young men belonging to both of us would
have hunted for us. The girl would have been
beaten with Kūjerŭngs. I do not think they
would have done much to me because it
would have been the fault of the woman to run
off. But I remember that [once - crossed out] there was an
old man who lived up where Ned Kelly's father
had a station. He had a grown up son and also
a girl from Wangaratta who was like his daughter.
The man's friends told him to get the girl married
because it was not right to have her living single
in the same camp with his son. He did not do this and
his son took the girl. Then the old man was very
angry. He said “I am ashamed, every one will
hear of this; why have you done this thing? I have
done with you altogether”. Then he speared his son
through the thigh and he soon died. I was a boy
without whiskers at that time.” (William is now
probably 50-55 years of age.

The old man's name was Mr King – his son's name
was Banjam.

I remember one man who had 3 wives,
one who had four wives and one who had
two wives but men had usually only one. ——
It was not uncommon for a man to lend his
wife to a friend or to a visitor from a distance.

[written in left side margin]

See Buckley
Her running away
deprived her brother
of his chance of
exchanging her.

The man was
a Waa


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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.