Howitt to Fison 20/9/1878

Page 2 of 8

Transcription - Page 2

the aggregate of divisions (the clan) the aggregate of
clans (the tribe). I got some of my aboriginal friends
to give me a rehearsal of the ceremonies of intitiation and
I may now say that I am a "Kurni" (name applied to
all Gippsland blacks = man). I think I can shew
this:- 1. exogamy as regards the division
2. endogamy as regards the tribe
3 descent of boys through the father Yeerung
4 [ditto] [ditto] girls [ditto] [ditto] mother Djeetgun
5 All men are Yeerung, all women Djeetgun
6 The initiation to manhood is a ceremony turning
on the Eponymous ancestors Yeerung and
7 The Divisions are only named from localities
e.g. Brabrolung clan - 3 divisions Bruthen Brabrolung
[?Wyqung?] Brabrolung, [Wuk - crossed out] Bullumwarl Brabrolung
8 There are five clans - four have two divisions
one has three divisions; all these clans
form the tribe Kurni = men
9 The [?Bond?] is common descent of all Kurni from
the two Eponymous ancestors (as above), community
of [food - crossed out] language and communuty of country which is
coextensive with the language.
10 [Yeerung (superb warbler) (male) - crossed out]
[malurus cyaneu- crossed out]
Yeerung (Emu wren) male, Djeetgun (Superb warbler)
(Stipiturus malachurus) (malurua cyabeus)
female are probably the [class - crossed out] totem names of the first group
of men and women who faced the natural barrier
of Gippsland and founded a colony. They are
the [classes - crossed out] totems [??], or are they still existing in N.S.W.?

I have now written the first draft of my contribution
-when completed it will I think amount to 50pp.
flscap of say 250 words each. I hope it will do when
finished. I propose to myself to write what I might

Page 2 of 8

Document Details

Date 20 September 1878
Letter From Howitt, Alfred William
Letter To Fison, Reverend Lorimer
Country Australia
Holding Institution St Mark's National Theological Centre
Collection Name Alan Tippett/Lorimer Fison Collection
Registration Number tip70-10-33-18
Medium Letter
Region Gippsland
Locality Sale
Summary Lengthy discussion regarding their theories, customs and practices mainly of the Gippsland groups, and their forthcoming joint publication, Kamilaroi and Kurnai. Howitt has completed his first draft of about 50 foolscap pages.
Physical Description Handwritten in ink, signed and dated.