Notes by Howitt on Kulin from Barak

Page 7 of 103

Transcription - Page 7

Women were also stolen from one place
or another; when this happened the ngŭrŭngaeta
(headman) of the place would send a messenger
(wiri-giri) to call them to a fight. At this
the men on both sides, the men with the men
with wŭnkim (boomerang) spear and shield
and the women with the women with the yam sticks.

[I do not remember cases - crossed out]

William did not remember or rather did not
seem to have known of cases where the Kūlin
had made raids upon alien tribes for wives.
As to stealing of women by "Wild Blacks" from the Kūlin
he made the following statement: -

“I remember when the Gippsland Ber-bira
came over to where Mansfield now is and surrounded
a “mob” of Yeerŭng illum Kūlin very early in the
morning. The Berbira were round them in a
double row and rushed them together like a
lot of sheep. Three old men were killed. One
young man got away. The Berbira gathered
together all the children and chopped off their
heads which they put in a row on a log and left
there. They took the bodies away with them. They
also took away five women (showing one hand).
I do not know where these women were taken to
only that one Gippsland man Būnjil Laena
got one.”

I then said “I think I have heard of that affair
– one of the women was Tommy Hoddinot’s
mother”. William then said “No – his mother
was a woman that was taken away from

As to Cannibalism William made the following
statements. The Kūlin eat parts of any one they
killed whether he was Kūlin or Mey met or
Berbira. The Yerŭn illum Kulin and 3. 5. 7. 13
eat the arms and legs cut off at the shoulders and hips.
Nos 6. 9 eat the skin only of the legs and arms.
Nos 8 . 9 the legs arms & kidney fat and 2. 4. 12 eat not only the arms
and legs but also drank the blood.

[written in left side margin]
This woman would
have been crow [underlined]
if a native of Cranbourne
or Eagle hawk if
from elsewhere. Note
my remarks in K + K
re this woman
when speaking of
McLennan's theories.

Page 7 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.