Page:Aboriginesofvictoria02.djvu/361

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APPENDIX G.


NOTES ON THE LANGUAGE AND CUSTOMS OF THE TRIBE INHABITING THE COUNTRY KNOWN AS KOTOOPNA.

(By William Locke.)


Camplbellfield House, 5th December 1876. 

Dear Sir,—The following is a corrected copy of a letter of mine which appeared in the Argus some years ago on the above subject. If it is of any use to you in the compilation of your book, I shall be pleased.

I am, dear Sir, 

Yours faithfully, 

R. Brough Smyth, Esq.William Locke. 


When a very young man, I held a large tract of country, called in the native language Kotoopna (now wrongly spelled Kotupna), extending nearly across the angle formed by the Goulburn and Murray. This portion of country belonged to a small tribe of blacks called Pangorang, or Waning-otbun. The men were very fine specimens of the Aboriginal, many of them being considerably upwards of six feet in stature, and exceedingly active and warlike in appearance. At that time they subsisted principally upon fish and wild-fowl, which they procured in great abundance on the Lower Moira. The ducks were caught wholesale in the following manner:—A large net was stretched across a narrow neck of a lagoon, when a blackfellow would go some distance up or down the creek, and drive or frighten the ducks towards the net, when numbers in their flight would be caught in the meshes. I have also seen them catch ducks by diving underneath them, and suddenly laying hold of them by the legs.

In consequence of my being located, as it were, in the midst of these darkies, I, of necessity, became intimately acquainted with their manners and customs, and became a great favorite. I always treated them with great kindness, and they were only too glad to prove their gratitude at every opportunity. The fact of my being able to converse with them in their own tongue gave me considerable influence. They used to say—"No stupid, Mr. Locke; always yabba the same as blackfellow." On one occasion a gentleman made his appearance on the back portion of the run, intending to "sit down" there with a flock of sheep; but my sable friends would not have it at any