Notes by Howitt on Kulin from Barak

Page 51 of 103

Transcription - Page 51

36 32
The Birra ask instead of deriving his corroboree
[dan - crossed out] songs and dances from the “ghosts” of the ancestors
of his tribe or instead of calling them back to the
presence of the living in the dim evening, might
become the bard, the soothsayer, or as the prophet
delivers the oracle of the Gods.

It is not possible to surmise how long
a period of time might be requisite for a
tribe such as the Kurnai to slowly progress from
that point at which their primitive, social history terminates for
them as well as for us to an [al - crossed out] analogous position
to that in which our Aryan ancestors first become
visible to us in the dim and distant past.
But as regards any Australian aborigines I think it is
highly improbable that such a progress could ever have
been made. From the [status - crossed out] state of a tribe of hunters [in - crossed out]
[the - crossed out] having Pairing family to the [status - crossed out] state of a tribe of graziers and
agriculturalists having the Monogamian family the distance
is vast, and implies not only a potential of intellectual
progress which I neither admit nor deny for the Australian
aborigines but also those favourable surrounding
conditions which [made - crossed out] would make it alone possible [to bridge - crossed out]
for that change to take place. Whatever the sum of those
favourable conditions [may have been - crossed out] might be, this is certain
that [they - crossed out] it must have included as a necessary factor
the existence for food supply of indigenous animals capable
of domestication and of [seed bearing - crossed out] plants
capable of successful cultivation. As [Mr - crossed out] Dr Morgan
has shown it is thereupon that the passage from
Savagery to Barbarism depends x [and - crossed out] The
Australian continent has I think no indigenous
animal suitable for such domestication,
nor [so far as I know - crossed out] any plants which
could be to the Australian that which of the cereal

[written in left side margin]
See footnote

Page 51 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.