Notes by Howitt on Kulin from Barak

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Transcription - Page 8

5 They acknowledge no particular chief as being superior to the rest;
but he who is most skilful and useful to the general community
is looked upon with the greatest esteem; and is considered to be entitled
to more wives than any of the others. p 66 Buckley
5 xx by my harmless and peacable [sic] manner among them, had
acquired great influence in settling their disputes. Numbers of murderous
fights I had prevented by my interferance [sic], which was received by them as
well meant; so much so that they would often allow me to go amongst
them previous to a battle and take away their spears and waddies & boomerangs.
My visits were always welcomed and they kindly and often supplied me with a
portion of the provisions they had – assuring me in their language of the interest
they took in my welfare — Buckley p 101
xx a messenger came from another tribe, saying we were to meet them some miles off.
Their method of describing time is by signs on the fingers –
one man of each party marking the days by chalking on the
arm, and then rubbing one off as each day passes
Buckley 35.

Before we left this place a Bihar (Bai-aur Gippsland) or messenger
came to us; he had his arms striped with red clay, to denote the
number of days it would take us to reach the tribe he came from;
Buckley p 49.

On going away, they marked their arms in the usual way with stripes, to denote
how many days they would be absent; and one man of ours, who remained
did the same; rubbing off one mark each day, to denote the lapse of time
p 61 ———

Insert contra 7:-
No wirrigirri was ever injured. People were always glad
to receive news and messages. A messenger was chosen also
who had friends or connections at the place to which he was sent.
Two or three messengers were sent together – young men who
could travel rapidly. The message stick “mūngū Kalk
make wood
or “barndana” was made by the sender and was sent
mark it
to the recipient of the message who kept it as a reminder
of what he had to do – as for instance to meet the sender
at some place at a certain time e.g. to eat eels. (see Buckley re eating eels). For friendly meetings
where there was no quarrel or danger the Brandyep (Kilt)
was sent hung on a reed; where people were summoned
to an arranged fight or for hostile purposes (to attack a common
enemy) the Brandyep was hung on the point of the great
jagged ironbark spear. For Initiations the reed & Brandyep
was sent.

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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.