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Aboriginal History Volume 33

Dhudhuroa and Yaithmathang languages and social groups in north-east Victoria – a reconstruction

Ian D Clark

The determination of Aboriginal languages in north-east Victoria has been acknowledged by a number of authors as one of the most problematical areas in the reconstruction of Victorian Aboriginal languages and dialects at the time of first contact.1 Of particular interest is the Omeo district and resolution of the labels ‘Jaithmathang’ and ‘Gundungerre’. This article will provide a systematic analysis of primary sources relative to language, dialect and social group names. It also provides an overview of lexicostatistical analyses of vocabulary from the study area and undertakes a preliminary analysis of vocabulary from the Omeo district to determine its similarity with neighbouring languages. Finally it analyses previous research into constituent social groups.

Dhudhuroa – the language

The etymology of the language name ‘Dhudhuroa’ has been explained by Blake and Reid as follows:

Dhudhuroa appears to consist of the first syllable of the word for ‘no’ reduplicated. The word for ‘no’ is dhubalga. It is common in southeastern Australia to base language names on the word for ‘no’. The remainder of the name is likely to be wurru, which means ‘mouth’ or ‘language’ in a number of Victorian languages.2

Variant spellings

The earliest recording of the name ‘Do.dor.dee’ is found in the papers of GA Robinson, and dated 1840. Other variants include ‘Dodora’; ‘Dodoro’; ‘Toutourrite’; ‘Theddora-mittung’; ‘Dhuthuro’wa’; ‘Dhoo-dhoo-ro’wa’; ‘Dhudhuroa’; and ‘Duduroa’. Theddora-mittung is sourced from Howitt,3 and Blake and Reid are of the view that Theddora is sufficiently similar to Dhudhuroa ‘for us to be able to equate them, assuming stress on the first syllable as in most Australian languages. The location Howitt ascribes to Theddora tends to confirm this’.4 Variant spellings contained in quoted sources are retained in this article.

Lexicostatistical analysis of Dhudhuroa

Lexicostatistical analysis of the Dhudhuroa language is shown in Table 1, which gives percentages of common vocabulary between the languages that are listed. Blake and Reid’s analysis is that these figures are quite low and do not suggest a close relationship between Dhudhuroa and any neighbouring language.5

Table 1: Dhudhuroa: percentages of common vocabulary

 

Pallangan middang (Waywurru)

Ngarigu

Daung wurrung

Yortayorta

Ganai

Wiradjuri

Dhudhuroa

11%

3-19%

13%

11%

10-13%

15-16%

 

Source: Percentages are from Blake and Reid 2002: 183.

Dixon made the following observations on this language:

Although this language seems to have been spoken in a limited area, almost certainly by a single tribe, it is markedly different from its neighbours. In vocabulary, T11 [Dhudhuroa] scores less (mostly, much less) than 25% with T9 [Yorta Yorta] and T10 [Yabala Yabala] to the west, Wiradhuri to the N and T8 [Wuywurrung] to the south-west. Grammatically, it differs most strongly from T8 – Wuywurrung. T9 shows only some minor pronominal similarities; T10 repeats these and also shows similarities in case inflections. Wiradhuri pronouns are very close (but in a negative way – T11 and Wiradhuri simply both follow the normal Australian pattern; they are similar only in neither showing much idiosyncratic divergence). Wiradhuri verbs (and maybe nouns) on the limited data available show some points of similarity to T11 – more than to T8 and T9 but (especially noun morphology) less than to T10. All-in-all there is no basis for positing genetic relationship between T11 and any of its neighbours. All similarities are general Australian features/areal trends.6

Sources of Dhudhuroa vocabulary

Sources of Dhudhuroa vocabulary are confined to GA Robinson’s vocabulary papers,7 RH Mathews, and JFH Mitchell’s ‘Barwidgee vocabulary’.8 Robinson’s vocabulary papers from 1844 include two words he identified as belonging to the ‘Mitta Mitta language’: ‘Bogong fly: bung.ung.bar’9 and ‘Black Man: jar.ber’.10 Robinson’s source is not identified. Analysis of these two words against Blake and Reid’s study confirms that they are Dhudhuroa words.11

Mathews’ article is the paper he published from his Dhudhuroa notes itemised below.12 Blake and Reid’s analysis of this article is that it ‘contains only a small proportion of the material in his notes. It does contain vocabulary not in the notes’.13 Mathews’ Notebook 6 contains grammatical information and some stories in English.14 Page 40 is headed ‘Neddy Wheeler, Dyinningmiddha or -buttha Tribe, native of Mitta Mitta River. Dhuthuro’-wa- Pronouns’. It contains the following note: ‘Neddy Wheeler is a native of Mitta Mitta River, where his father also belonged – His tribe was Dyinning middhang [the -ng is underlined and followed by a question mark] Ned’s mother belonged to the Walgalu tribe and Language, about Walaragang junction of Tooma River or Tamberamba Creek up the Murray’. Other pages are headed ‘Dhuhuroa’. Notebook 7 contains grammatical information and some vocabulary. Page 40 is headed ‘Neddy Wheeler of Jinningmiddha tribe, native of Mitta Mitta – his father belonged to there – his mother belonged to Walgaloo tribe Walaragang. Dhoo’-dhoo-ro’wa Language’. In terms of drafts, Folder/document L contains ‘The Dhudhuroa language’ (5 pages). This is headed ‘The Dhudhuroa Language/ This language is spoken on the Mitta Mitta and J[?]ooma rivers and Upper Murray river into which they flow/ Minyambuta dialect of the D was spoken on the Ovens, King, ??, Buffalo and Broken Rivers’. Finally, Folder/document AJ, contains ‘The Dhudhuroa language’ (4 pages).15

Mitchell also collected some vocabulary which he entitled ‘Barwidgee’, after a pastoral property north-east of Myrtleford. One short version was published by John Mathew.16 Mitchell’s vocabulary shares 62 per cent (54.5/88) with Dhudhuroa and 30 per cent (25/84) with Pallanganmiddang (Waywurru). Blake and Reid’s analysis of this vocabulary is that

almost all the words that are not Dhudhuroa are Pallanganmiddang or are words that were spread by Europeans. … On the figures and allowing for the intrusion of non-local words one could assume Barwidgee was a dialect spoken by the Dyinningmiddang, probably a western dialect bordering the territory of the Pallanganmiddang.17

Status of Robinson’s and Bulmer’s ‘Omeo’ vocabularies

In his collection of vocabularies from south-east Australia, Robinson included three lists of some ‘Omeo’ vocabulary. The first list was entitled ‘Vocabulary of language spoken by the Omeo, & Cape How & Twofold Bay Tribes of Aboriginal Natives, August 1844’.18 Robinson does not source this vocabulary, and other than ‘August 1844’, it is undated. Analysis of Robinson’s journal for August 1844 reveals that during this month he spent time at Cann and Mallacoota in far east Victoria, before returning to Twofold Bay. Analysis of the ‘Omeo’ vocabulary by both Blake and Reid and Dixon failed to include it in Dhudhuroa.19 Dixon’s analysis is that it belongs with the Ngarigu language.20 A second list of five ‘Omeo’ words appears in Robinson’s journal.21 Once again, these words do not correlate with the Dhudhuroa vocabulary supplied by Neddy Wheeler (which is the basis of Blake’s and Reid’s 2002 reconstruction). A third list appears in a comparative table of words taken from ten areas, including ‘Omeo’.22 This list is unsourced and undated, and Dixon’s tentative analysis suggests it too belongs with Ngarigu, as it includes such words as ‘Yin’ for ‘Black Man’ and ‘Goengaller’ for ‘Wild Black’.23 Finally, Joseph Bulmer provided EM Curr with an ‘Omeo’ list.24

The correlation between these ‘Omeo’ vocabularies and the Mitta Mitta and Dhudhuroa vocabularies provided to RH Mathews is problematical. The ethnographic evidence provided by Howitt (see below) attests to a common unity between the Yaithmathang from Omeo and the Theddora-mittung from the Mitta Mitta. If the vocabulary entitled ‘Omeo’ does in fact come from Yaithmathang people then this unity would not appear to be linguistic, and a separation between the two may be appropriate (a view supported by Koch).25 This is clearly the view of Wesson who separates ‘Yaithmathang’ from ‘Theddora’. Though, as will be seen below, Wesson complicates the matter by distinguishing two more languages, an ‘unnamed language’ north of ‘Theddora’, along the Mitta Mitta River, and the ‘Gundungerre’ language between ‘Yaithmathang’ and ‘Ngarego’.26

In the absence of a clear source of Robinson’s ‘Omeo’ words, any analysis can only be tentative, and conclusions speculative. Wesson has suggested the source of the vocabulary is Bit.to.cort.27 On 22 June 1844, Bittocort, aka Billy Blue, a ‘Yaymittong’ man from Omeo, agreed to accompany Robinson’s entourage to the east, however, owing to too much snow, Robinson’s attempt to travel eastward was aborted, and they returned to Omeo on 26 June 1844.28 Another possible Yaithmathang source was a man named ‘Charley’. Robinson does refer to obtaining a census of the ‘Yaymittong’ on 22 June 1844, and this list does appear in his vocabulary volume, so it is possible that Robinson obtained the ‘Omeo’ vocabulary at this time. Robinson was accompanied from WO Raymond’s ‘Stratford’ station on the Avon River on 5 June 1844 by an ‘Omeo native’ named Charley who had agreed to accompany Robinson to his country. Charley provided Robinson on that day with the names of the ‘chiefs’ of the ‘Dodoro’, ‘Mokalumbeet’, ‘Omeo’ and ‘Menero’. Whilst it would be tempting to suggest this listing supports a distinction between ‘Dodoro’ and ‘Omeo’, it may well be nothing more than a distinction at the local group level, and not the larger ‘tribal’ level. Charley, on 14 June 1844, informed Robinson that the Omeo word for the Bogong moth was ‘olleong’. On 22 June 1844 at Omeo, Robinson reported that he succeeded in obtaining upward of ‘200 words of language, anatomical names, numerals, and census’. It is possible that any one or a collection of the ‘Yaymittong’ provided Robinson with this information.

Robinson’s journal for the period from 29 June to 3 July 1844 has been water damaged and large portions of text are either missing, or illegible. Nevertheless, one scrap was transcribeable, it read ‘Omeo belonged I think to the Maneroo Blacks’. On 7 July 1844, Robinson was at Richard Brooks’ ‘Gejedric’ station near Jindabyne, where he met seven Maneroo men, women and a young girl. He noted ‘The language is the same as the Omeo Blacks’. These people were identified as the Bim.me.mittong or Maneroo tribe,29 and included the ‘chief’ Nal.loke, ‘Old Tom’. Koch has shown that Bimme mittong is a term that means ‘plains people’.30 These scraps of evidence from Robinson and the ‘Omeo’ vocabularies he and Bulmer provide suggest that the country from Omeo north-east into New South Wales is part of an Ngarigu linguistic continuum – this is discussed in more detail later in the paper.

Table 2 lists a sample of ‘Omeo’ words sourced by Robinson in 1844, and compares them against three other wordlists: Bulmer’s ‘Omeo’ vocabulary; Bulmer’s ‘Moneroo’ vocabulary which he informed Curr was ‘Ngarigo’, and Hercus’s ‘Southern Ngarigu’ dialect collected in the 1960s.

Table 2 Comparison of ‘Omeo’ and Ngarigu vocabularies

English

Robinson’s Omeo vocabulary*

Bulmer’s Omeo vocabulary**

Bulmer’s Moneroo vocabulary (Ngarigu)***

Southern Ngarigu****

Black Man

Yin

Yune

Marrin

 

Fire

wotter

watha

watha

wada

Water

myermyal

miamial

ngagung

bubul

Sleep

kubberki

 

kappuga

gabug

Bad

pooreni

kiaro

mado

dalang

Good

goengower

koingowa

jamogang

yalaganj

White man

moomergong

moomogung

mumogang

wadjbala

Hut

gunje

 

 

gundji

Sun

munumel

mamat

mamat

djaua

Moon

kuberaong

kabatang

jingai

buriga

Possum

whyjun

wadthan

wajan

wadjan

Fish

munje

manja

manjar

mandja

Wind

goro

koorokmang

yerrung

 

You

inde

nginda

nindega

 

Me

uller

 

 

 

One

workoaer

bore

boor

 

Two

korunerger

warkolala

wajala, blala

 

Child

meeral

 

 

wanj

Wild Black

goengaller

 

 

 

Father

beung

papang

papang

bubang

Mother

mung

najan

najan

ngadjan

Canoe

worokong

worbang

 

 

Boomerang

kolin

kallin

warranin

 

Leangile

bunde

 

 

 

Dog

warregul

worregal

merrigang

mirigan

Mountain

buller

 

boolo

 

Koala

tundyal

 

 

dandial

A road

pyal

bial/jinnang

jennum

 

Horse

yaereman

 

 

yaramin

Snow

konermar

 

 

gunama

Cold

curreet

karritt

katata

 

Hot

weenu

 

 

ngulma

Ground

tyerr

thia

thairra

dinadj

Emu

noroin

ngurrun

ngooroon

 

Big kangaroo

joeoitbar

joatba

bandara

 

Stomach

Binde

 

 

 

Blood

korobar

 

kooroban

 

Grass

nulloke

boon

nallook

nalug

 

* In Clark 2000c.

** Curr 1887 III: 558–559.

*** Curr 1887 III: 432–433.

**** Hercus 1986.

In the sample of words used here for comparative purposes, there is a similarity of 72 per cent (18/25) between Robinson’s and Bulmer’s Omeo wordlists, 44 percent (12/27) between Robinson’s ‘Omeo’ and Bulmer’s Moneroo ‘Ngarigo’ wordlist, and 33 per cent (7/21) with Hercus’s ‘Southern Ngarigu’ wordlist. There is a score of 40 per cent (6/15) between Bulmer’s Moneroo wordlist and Hercus’s list. Koch’s research has uncovered slippage in Bulmer’s Moneroo and Omeo vocabularies which has resulted in the publication of incorrect terms for a number of concepts.31 ‘From a comparison of terminology with other wordlists for the same and related languages, it can be concluded that some of the words in the Bulmer lists in Curr should be attached to the meaning of the next word in the list’.32 Once this slippage is corrected, the effect is that it increases the sharing between the Omeo and Ngarigu lists. Indeed, Koch has found 80 per cent shared vocabulary between the Omeo and Ngarigu wordlists from combined sources.33 Of Bulmer’s ‘Ngarago’ vocabulary, Curr noted:

The language this gentleman [Bulmer] informs me, is called Ngarago, and it will be seen that it has many words found but little altered in the dialects of Queanbeyan, Moruya, and Omeo. Whether this was always so, or is the result of the mixture of tribes, consequent on our occupation, is now impossible to determine.34

Curr’s observation confirms that the Omeo word list provided by Bulmer is part of an Ngarigu continuum. Given that he was unaware of the Robinson word list, his rejoinder that this similarity may be a post-contact phenomenon may be dismissed. Robinson’s and Hercus’s lists scored the lowest degree of correlation. As there is almost a 120 years time differential between when these wordlists were recorded their low correlation is to be expected. Hercus explained the status of knowledge of Ngarigu in the 1960s when she undertook her linguistic fieldwork:

Little was known of this language apart from a brief vocabulary by Mathews (1908), a very short list by John Bulmer (Curr 1886:3/430) and manuscript notes by Howitt (1904). An examination of these scanty published materials makes it quite clear that Ngarigu was closely related to Ngunawal, which was spoken slightly further north, in the Tumut, Canberra and Yass districts, and which was described in a grammatical sketch by R.H. Mathews (1904). Ngarigu therefore seems to belong to the so-called ‘Inland Yuin’ group of languages of the Monaro. This older evidence was confirmed by our investigations.35

Table 3 lists a sample of 50 ‘Omeo’ words sourced by Robinson in 1844, and compares them with Dhudhuroa, and Pallanganmiddang wordlists. This list clearly shows that the ‘Omeo’ words Robinson obtained from Jaithmathang people from Omeo are neither Dhudhuroa nor Pallanganmiddang.

Table 3 Comparative analysis of Robinson’s 1844 Omeo vocabulary

English

Robinson’s 1844 Omeo vocabulary*

Dhudhuroa**

Pallanganmiddang (Waywurru)***

Black Man

Yin

Djaba

Djerri

Young woman

bundergolan

 

nawagada

Fire

wotter

ngiyambanba

karra

Water

myermyal

 

warra

Run

munni

binila

ponade

Sleep

kubberki

nyiminye

ngurrangurra

Bad

pooreni

geberri

purranda

Good

goengower

gundja

kayangi

White man

moomergong

 

warrantha

Hut

gunje

ngudjuwa

warri

Sun

munumel

nhawayu

winbinbi

Moon

kuberaong

wurrayu

yuwarra

Possum

whyjun

djawa

barra

Fish

munje

yambo

karrewa

Wind

goro

 

karri

You

inde

 

(ng)ina

Me

uller

 

nyinde

One

workoaer

 

godi

Two

korunerger

 

pulido

Child

meeral

bandjina

yuwarru

Wild Black

goengaller

 

norrandja

Father

beung

mema

mama

Mother

mung

baba

bab

Sky

minjeke

 

tetha

Swim

bulmy

banggayi

yakathi

Canoe

worokong

mawudha

matha

Boomerang

kolin

wan.gewa

wan.ga

Leangile

bunde

gudjerru

 

Dog

warregul

wingga

bawa

Mountain

buller

dalga

buburra

Koala

tundyal

bawiyaga

norroga

A road

pyal

garriga

bandju

Horse

yaereman

yarraman

 

Stringybark

poreongareer

dhadha

dhadha

Gum tree

gewer

gumbarro

piarrerra

Box tree

tilmarer

 

dharringgu

Snow

konermar

 

binarru

Ice

joyerdong

 

woloda

Cold

curreet

garrgudang

bawatha

Hot

weenu

 

 

Ground

tyerr

gurratba

merri

Dance

wokki

nganyarri

pada

Sing

yungermille

ngatjbayi

kado

Talk

byi, or, by

dhurrg(u)wayi

yawati

Emu

noroin

marriyawa

marra

Big kangaroo

joeoitbar

 

marrawirra

Stomach

binde

bandharra

murrang(g)a

Blood

korobar

 

kurru

Grass

nulloke

murru

kambarru

 

* Clark 2000c.

**Blake and Reid 2002.

*** Blake and Reid 1999.

This preliminary linguistic comparison and survey of the literature lends weight to the view that the Omeo Aboriginal people did not speak Dhudhuroa, and either spoke Ngarigu, or a dialect of Ngarigu. Their ‘Ngarigu-ness’ is confirmed by the lexicostatistical analysis and by their use of gungala, the Ngarigu word for ‘wild blackfellow’ and Yin, the Ngarigu word for ‘man’. Given the distinctiveness of the Omeo language from its northern neighbours, Dhudhuroa and Pallanganmiddang, the issue of whether it was named Ngarigu or had a separate name must now be discussed.

In the literature there is support for both ‘Jaithmathang’36 and ‘Kandangora mittung’37 as possible language names for the people of the Omeo plains. The issue, then, is what to make of these names? Are they both local group names of a language, the name of which is unknown, or is one of these names both a local group name and a language name, a situation not uncommon elsewhere in Victoria, although in those cases they have the suffix denoting a group name added to the language name, for example Boonwurrung baluk, Ngurai-illum wurrung baluk, Wathawurrung baluk, or Theddora-mittung? Mittung (midhang in Blake and Reid’s (1999) orthography) is the equivalent of -baluk in the Kulin languages of central Victoria.38 Another complication is that -midhang may have an etymological association with ‘speech’/’tongue’. This has support from Heather Bowe39 who considers that -midhang could be an equivalent of -wurrung, which also means ‘mouth’ or ‘tongue’ and occurs as a suffix in the names of many Victorian languages. ‘However, in the languages of the Alpine region of Victoria and southern New South Wales, such as Pallangandmiddang, Dhudhuroa, Birrdhawal, Gaanay, and Ngarigu, the suffix -midhang clearly seems to be used in the formation of ethnonyms’40 (see Appendix One).

In regards to Yaithmathang, Howitt argued that the first part of the name was derived from ya-yau ‘yes’.41 Wafer and Lissarrague have argued that ‘Yait(h)mathang/Yaymittong was, in all likelihood, the name of the language spoken by the people of the Omeo plain, which is a variety of the South-east NSW language’.42 This is supported by Koch who ‘believes that Yaithmathang is likely to be the name of the most southerly language of the South-east NSW (“Yuin”) group, spoken by Howitt’s “Omeo Tribe”’.43 However, Wafer and Lissarrague opt for ‘the cautious approach of calling it “the Omeo language” with “Yaithmathang” only as a possible alternative name (or perhaps variety)’.44

There is some support in the primary sources, admittedly scanty, for ‘Kandangora-mittung’ as a language name in that Howitt’s Ngarigu informant, Mickey, states the ‘Manero people called the language of the Theddora Kundung-orur’. If the southern extremity of the Ngarigu or Yuin continuum is called Kandangora-mittung, it means that it is very similar to the language at the northern extremity, Gandangara. One possible reading of Mickey’s reference is that he is saying the Omeo language is the same as the Gandangara, thus it is part of a Gandangara language continuum or cluster, thus he is not speaking of a dialect name for the Omeo people, but the supra-language entity that it belongs to. This latter view is clearly taken by Jackson-Nakano, who in her history of the Kamberri peoples of Canberra and Queanbeyan, has read Robinson’s 1844 references as referring to the ‘Gundungurra’ language spoken around Goulburn in New South Wales. Indeed, Jackson-Nakano argues in favour of a language continuum, linking the ‘Gundungurra’ in the north, with ‘Ngunnawal’, ‘Walgalu’, and ‘Ngarigo’.45

The view that the name Gandangara ‘may have had a much broader applicability among the inland Yuin’ finds some support from Koch, who notes

I suspect that the name Gandangara may have been widely used among the inland Yuin either as an ethnonym or as a language term – Robinson has a remark that seems to apply it also to people around Tumut. … Various terms that appear to be cognate with ‘Gandangara’ are also given by ILDB as alternative names for ‘Yaithmathang’. These include ‘Gundanara’, ‘Gundanora’, ‘Jandangara’ and ‘Kandangoramittung’. In other words if, as we suggest here, ‘Yaithmathang’ is actually a name for the Omeo language then ‘Gandangara’ appears to have been used for inland Yuin languages extending from the most northern (the variety here called ‘Gandangara’) to the most southern (the variety here called ‘the Omeo language). One interpretation that could be placed on these data is that ‘Gandangara’ may have been a superordinate language name applied to the inland Yuin languages.46

A re-analysis of Robinson’s references in the light of this superordinate reading is that it is possible that some do refer to the Goulburn speaking ‘Gandangara’; however the reference to the ‘Gundungerro’ being Gippsland natives would surely be referring to the ‘Kandangora-mittung’ at Omeo. Robinson’s references to ‘Gundungerre’ are as follows:

- ‘The Gundungerer on the Tumut mountain’,47

- ‘Gun.dung.er.rer. (query): Yass tribe: towards the Tumut mountains’,48

- ‘Gun.dung.er.ro; G. Land natives’.49

Conclusions about the language continuum that may explain the use of the name Gandangara in both the Omeo district and the Southern Highlands of New South Wales need to be reconsidered in the light of the latest findings by Koch who claims a discontinuity between the southern inland lects (Omeo, Ngarigu, Walgalu and the Canberra language) and the northern inland Yuin lects (Ngunawal and Gandangara).50 Koch has found that ‘unique items of vocabulary combine with the distinctive pronoun forms to support the idea that [Ngarigu, the Canberra language, Wolgal, and the Omeo language] were dialects of the same language, whereas Ngunawal was in a dialect relation with Gundungurra from the southern highlands’.51

Until further research is undertaken, the label ‘Yaithmathang’ will be used to refer to the Omeo language area, although ‘Kandangora-mittung’ may be an equally valid alternative.

Language area and local group information

Primary information on the Dhudhuroa and Yaithmathang language areas is found in the journals and papers of protectorate official William Thomas, and in the ethnographic records of Smyth, Howitt, Curr, and Mathews.52 Table 4 shows the primary sources that refer to Dhudhuroa and Yaithmathang local groups.

In a list of ‘tribes’ in the north-east of Victoria, Thomas records the following names: ‘Moogollumbeek – east of Devils R [illegible] [illegible]; Toutourrite – east of Moogollumbeek; Kinninmetum – ditto of Toutourite; Yamberdin – on other side of range of E Kinninmetum; Worgorrometum, E of Yamberdin; one more tribe then 2 FoldBay’.53 Comparison of these names with other recorded variants suggests the following analysis: Toutourrite/Toutourite is cognate with Theddora/Dhudhuroa; Kinninmetum correlates with Robinson’s Keninmitum; Yamberdin is possibly a poor hearing of Yaithmathang; Worgorrometum is cognate with the Ngarigu group Wararerer mittong, identified by Robinson as one of three tribes east of the Mokalumbeet ‘next along the Dividing Ranges are the Yattemittong, Tinnemittong, Worarerer mittong and other tribes eastward’.

Smyth noted that he had been unable to ascertain the names of the tribes from the Indi or Limestone River. He listed the following group names for the north-east region: Gundanora: high plains of Omeo (informant AC Wills, former police magistrate and warden at Omeo); Ginning-matong: Tallangatta Creek (James Wilson); Pallanganmiddah: lower Kiewa (Thomas Mitchell, Tangambalanga); Thara-mirttong: river Kiewa (HB Lane, police magistrate and warden).54 Smyth does not record the name ‘Dhudhuroa’. Curr’s informants in the study area included Reverend J Bulmer (Moneroo, Gippsland, Omeo, Snowy River), Reverend Hagenauer (Gippsland), and Thomas Mitchell (Upper Murray).55

Howitt refers to the ‘Theddora of Omeo, and the Mitta-Mitta River’ in a list of tribes in his article.56 Howitt published the following regarding ‘tribal organisation’ in north-east Victoria:

The Ya-itma-thang, commonly called the Omeo tribe, was divided into two sections – (a) the Theddora-mittung, occupying the sources of the Mitta-Mitta River and its tributaries down to about the Gibbo Mountain, thus being the neighbours of the Mogullum-bitch, the furthest out of the Kulin tribes. – (b) The Kandangora-mittung, who lived on the Omeo plains, the Limestone River down to the junction with the Indi River, and the Tambo River to Tongiomungie. On the latter river they were in contact with the Kurnai. … The first mentioned, the now extinct Ya-itma-thang, occupied the mountain country in which rise the rivers Mitta-Mitta and Tambo, and some of the sources of the Ovens, and extended north at least as far as the Upper Yackandandah River, called by them Yakonda. I have been able to learn but little of the local organization of the Theddora. … The eastern boundary of the Ya-itma-thang was about the Cobbora Mountains, and thence down the Indi River to Tom Groggins’s Run, their neighbours on that side being the Wolgal and Ngarigo tribes.57

Mathews published two papers that are relevant to this study. In the first he noted: ‘Adjoining the Ngarrugu on part of the west was the Walgalu and westerley again of the latter was the Dhudhuroa’.58 In his second paper, Mathews addressed Dhudhuroa territorial limits, delineating their country as follows:

The Dhudhuroa was spoken by the Dyinningmiddang tribe on the Mitta Mitta and Kiewa rivers, and along the Murray valley from Albury to Jingellic. Minyambuta, a dialect of the Dhudhuroa, was the speech of the tribes occupying the Buffalo, King, Ovens, and Broken rivers, with the tributaries of all these streams. From Jingellic eastward was the country of the Walgalu tribe, whose speech resembled partly the Dhudhuroa and partly the Dyirringan, a tongue spoken from about Nimmitabel to Bega.59

Modern reconstructions

During the twentieth century, Tindale, Fesl, Clark, and Wesson conducted research into Aboriginal language area delineation in the study area.60 Tindale’s delineation of Dhudhuroa location is as follows: ‘Mitta Mitta and Kiewa rivers; at Tallangatta, and along the Murray Valley from Jingellic and Tintaldra to Albury’.61 Dixon’s analysis of Tindale’s reconstruction is that it is poor, copying Howitt whereas examination of lexicostatistical materials would show that there were several different languages including (T11) Dhudhuroa, and (T12) Pallanganmiddang, and almost certainly different ‘tribes’ even if they all named themselves with the same suffix -mathang.62

Eve Fesl, in her Masters dissertation on Gippsland languages, presented the following analysis:

The JAITMATHANG were commonly called OMEO (Howitt 1904). They occupied the elevated plateaux in the North-west corner of the Dividing Range and along with the Brabralung people, also claimed the valley of the Tambo River. Their neighbours included the Mogullum-bitch, the most southerly of the Kulin tribes (Howitt 1904). In the East the boundary extended from the Cobbera Mountains down the Indi River to Groggins Run, their neighbours being the Wolgal and Ngarigu tribes. Westward their territory extended to the Bogong Range via the Mitta Mitta and Gibbo Rivers.63

In terms of north-east Victoria, Wesson postulated five language areas: Theddora; Yaithmathang; Gundungerre; Ngarego, Unnamed Wolgal, and an ‘Unknown language’ centred on the Mitta Mitta River drainage basin. Wesson alludes to the ‘complete loss’ of two languages – Gundungerre and the ‘Unknown’ Mitta Mitta River language. Wesson dismantles the linguistic information provided by Neddy Wheeler, Mathews’ Dhudhuroa informant. Although Mathews is very clear that he is a member of the Dyinningmiddhang, and that his language was Dhudhuroa, Wesson argues that Mathews is wrong, and attempts to unravel the information he presents.

The Theddora, like the Gundungerre, were eventually considered to be a sub-group of the Yaithmathang (Howitt 1904: 77) and the Theddora were described as belonging to a country which included Mogullumbidj territory (Howitt 1054/2a). But this does not explain why Neddy Wheeler, Mathews’ language informant, a Kiewa River and Barwidgee man (who grew up at Wheeler’s Nariel station on Corryong Creek) spoke Theddora and why he claimed that the country of the lower Mitta Mitta and Murray Valley was Theddora language country (if this is in fact what he told Mathews). One possible explanation is that Neddy was taught to speak Theddora language by a Nariel Aboriginal employee and that Mathews made some inappropriate assumptions about Theddora language territory. Neddy’s list of 277 words is the only available evidence of this language.64

Neddy Wheeler is not the only source of Dhudhuroa vocabulary, Wesson has overlooked Mitchell’s ‘Barwidgee’ vocabulary,65 and the two words recorded by Robinson in 1844 of a language he calls ‘Mitta Mitta language’.

Table 4 Dhudhuroa and Yaithmathang local groups: primary sources

Dhudhuroa local group name according to reconstructions

GA Robinson 1844*

Howitt

Other sources

Boengar mittong

GAR 1844

 

 

Djilamatang

 

 

Reid 1860; Andrews 1920; Tindale 1974; Mitchell 1981

Ginning matong

GAR 1844

 

Smyth 1878; Wilson in Victoria 1858-59; Mathews 1909

Theddora mittung

GAR 1844

Howitt Papers, 1904

 

Yaithmathang local group name according to reconstructions

 

 

 

Kandangora mittung

GAR 1844

Howitt Papers, 1904

Lhotsky 1835 in Andrews 1979; Wills in Victoria 1858-59; Smyth 1878

Yatte mittong

GAR 1844

Fison and Howitt 1880; Howitt 1904

Bulmer 1881 in Wesson 2000

 

* In Clark 2000c.

Local groups in the study area

In the study area, four researchers have attempted to reconstruct local groups.66 Fairweather in a history of mining at Omeo devoted a chapter to the Aboriginal people of that district in which he reconstructed two ‘divisions’ of the Theddora or Ya-itma-thang tribe, however it is clear that Howitt67 is his primary source. Fairweather noted that the Ovens and Murray Advertiser of 8 October 1857 referred to some members of the Warrajabaree tribe at Omeo, but Fairweather was unable to recognise this name.68 Presumably Warrajabaree is a reference to Wiradjuri. Fesl delineated four ‘divisions’ of the ‘Omeo/Jaitmathang’ language (see Table 5).69 A summary of Clark’s 1993 delineation of Dhudhuroa and Jaithmathang local groups is presented in Table 5.70 In 1996, Clark was commissioned to produce an atlas of Victorian local groups for Aboriginal Affairs Victoria. In this reconstruction, Clark collapsed Jaithmathang, Djilamathang and Dhudhuroa into one language area, which he named Dhudhuroa. Accordingly, seven local groups were delineated (see Table 5).71 Wesson failed to delineate any Dhudhuroa local groups. She considered Theddora-mittung, Yaithmathang and Kandangora-mittung to be language names only, and not local group names.72

Table 5 surveys modern reconstructions of Dhudhuroa and Yaithmathang local groups and shows the judgement of this study.

Table 5 Dhudhuroa and Yaithmathang local groups: reconstructions

Local group name

Fesl 1985

Clark 1993

Clark 1996b

Wesson 2000, 2002

This study

Boengar mittong

 

 

Dhudhuroa

Unknown language

Dhudhuroa

Djilamatang

 

Djilamatang

Dhudhuroa

Unnamed Wolgal

Dhudhuroa

Ginning matong

Omeo or Jaitmathang

Dhudhuroa

Dhudhuroa

Unknown language

Dhudhuroa

Tarrer mittung

 

Waywurru

Waywurru

Unknown language

Dhudhuroa

Pallang-middah

Omeo or Jaitmathang

Waywurru

Waywurru

Minubuddong

Pallangan-middang (Waywurru)

Theddora mittung

Omeo or Jaitmathang

Dhudhuroa or Jaithmathang

Dhudhuroa

 

Dhudhuroa

Tinne mittong

 

Dhudhuroa

Dhudhuroa

Unknown language

Variant name of Ginning matong

Kandangora mittung

Omeo or Jaitmathang

Dhudhuroa or Jaithmathang

Dhudhuroa

 

Yaithmathang

Yatte mittong

 

Dhudhuroa or Jaithmathang

Dhudhuroa

 

Yaithmathang

 

 

More detailed analysis of Dhudhuroa and Yaithmathang local groups is found in Appendix One. A summary of conclusions for each group now follows.

a) Boenger mittung

Wesson has suggested that Boen.ge.a. mittong means ‘the people who belong to the Pilot Range, from Beong.e.o meaning the Pilot Range’. Presumably this is based on her mistranscription of the third locative entry listed in Appendix One which she has transcribed as ‘Boeng.e.o mountains SW from crossing place’. Wesson also mistranscribes the second entry as ‘Boen.ge.a.mittong – on Mitta Mitta lower’.73 She fails to refer to the citation in Robinson’s 1844 report.74 If the location of this local group is the source of the Mitta Mitta River then this would clearly locate it in Dhudhuroa (even in Wesson’s narrower delineation of Theddora boundaries) and not in the country she delineates as ‘unknown language’.

b) Djila mittung

This is an obscure group first recorded in 1860 by Central Board Honorary Correspondent David Reid, from Chiltern.75 Djilamatang is considered a tribal group by Tindale.76 Tindale cites five references in support of his delineation,77 however, analysis of the published materials does not support Tindale’s delineation. For example, Lane discusses Wiradjuri and the Thara mittung belonging to the Kiewa River;78 and Mitchell’s vocabularies79 concern the Pallanganmiddang and are not about this group. Howitt is silent on Djilamatang.80 So all things considered, it is difficult to know the basis of Tindale’s delineation, and it does not withstand scrutiny. Andrews’s statement (see Appendix One) is questionable, Gilamatong is unlikely to mean ‘swift’ because it conforms to the naming principles of local groups, the first element often being a toponym and the second element –matong, cognate with ‘mittung’ which means ‘people’.81 Tindale nevertheless did concede that it could be a Dhudhuroa local group.82 Wesson considers the ‘Gillamatong’ to be a Wolgal group, but her reasons for this are never articulated.83

c) Djinning mittung

This was first listed in Robinson’s 1844 journal and report, and confirmed by local sources such as James Wilson in 1858,84 and later by RH Mathews.85 Although Clark and Wesson distinguish two groups, one named Tinne mittung and the second named Djinning mittung, a re-analysis of the locative information and the phonetic equivalence of Ch/Dj/Tj, and comparison of Robinson’s journal narrative with his official report which was based on his journal, suggests the names are cognate, and therefore represent the same group.86

d) Kandangora mittung

This is considered a language name, and not a local group name, by Wesson. Wesson presents the following conclusions about Gundungerre:

The Gundungerre were a group who are known from references made by Lhotsky and Robinson. This group was later mentioned by Wills (1859, [in Smyth] 1878), Howitt (1050/2c) and Fison (1890)87 who described them as subgroups of the Yaithmathang of Omeo. Lhotsky made a clear distinction between the Kunora or Gundanora who belonged to the country ‘over the Snowy River [from Cooma] and in the Alps’ and the Omeo tribe ‘near the lake and Stanley’s plains’ (Lhotsky 1835: 106). Robinson described a group named ‘Gun.dunger.re’ which belonged to the country ‘towards the Tumut mountains’ (Robinson 1844d). Unfortunately Robinson did not give his point of reference for this description (and the date is difficult to estimate as it comes from his notes rather than his journals) but he was probably writing from Omeo. Hence this group has been mapped with an eastern boundary on the Snowy River and the Yaithmathang to the west utilising the country about the Indi River and with a northern boundary at Tom Groggin. ... Remnants of this group must have gravitated to Omeo because their name became synonymous with the Omeo people (Wills 1859) and by the 1870s were considered by Howitt’s informants to be a sub-group of the Yatte-mittong.88

Wesson makes too much of Lhotsky’s distinction between the ‘Gundanora’ and the Omeo tribes; rather than suggesting he is referring to two distinct language groups, it is more plausible to consider them as distinct local groups.89 Local group attribution is supported by the inclusion of the local group affix -mittung in several sources (see Appendix One). The reference that suggests Kangdangora may be a language name is the record Howitt obtained from a Ngarigu speaker named ‘Mickey’, however it must be noted that Howitt himself when he came to write his ethnography clearly referred to the group as a section of the Ya-ithma-thang, and not a language name. Wesson’s suggestion that the Gundangora were adopted into the Yaithmathang owing to severe population decline, and thus lost their separate linguistic distinction, is speculative and unsupported.

e) Theddora mittung

This is another example of a local group and a language sharing the same name, or at least the first element of the local group name. Wesson failed to acknowledge the existence of a Theddora-mittung local group.90

f) Yaithmathang

It has been argued above that Yaithmathang is a local group name, and the probable language name. Analysis of vocabulary provided by Yaithmathang people supports that they spoke a dialect of Ngarigu, and not Dhudhuroa.

Conclusion

This paper surveys the primary literature and critiques earlier attempts at finding some resolution to the complexity of Aboriginal territorial groups in the country eastward of and including the Mitta Mitta River basin. In 1940, Tindale delineated just the one group in this region, that of Jaithmathang, however in his 1974 atlas, he delineated three groups – ‘Jaithmathang’, ‘Duduroa’, and ‘Djilamatang’ – however he did raise the possibility that these three may be ‘clans’ or ‘hordes’ of a larger single entity. Clark in his 1996 reconstruction adhered to this unitarian view, and considered Djilamathang, Yattemittong, Theddora mittung, and Kandangora mittung to be part of a larger group named Dhudhuroa. Wesson divided the region into six languages: Theddora, Yaithmathang, Gundungerre, Ngarego, Unnamed Wolgal, and an Unknown language along the Mitta Mitta River, north of Theddora.91 None of these reconstructions is supported in this paper. The evidence for Djila-mittung is very weak. No linguistic information has survived for this group. Analysis of the sources that Tindale cites to support his delineation of the group as a separate tribal entity has not supported him, and his work does not withstand scrutiny.92 Wesson considers it to be a Wolgal clan, but her reasons for this are never articulated.93 Tindale, however, did concede that it may be a Dhudhuroa group, and this is considered likely.

Analysis of ethnohistoric records and linguistic analysis suggests that there were at least two distinct language groups in the Mitta Mitta River drainage basin – Yaithmathang and Dhudhuroa. Dhudhuroa in the north was a distinct language. The name of the dialect of the Omeo people is unclear, but there is some suggestion in the literature that it was Yaithmathang. Kandangora-mittung may be an alternate name. Yaithmathang has been shown to be a dialect of Ngarigu, which means that it forms part of the language continuum that includes Walgalu, Ngarigu, and the language spoken at Canberra. Analysis of local groups in the study area has argued that at least seven named groups existed: five Dhudhuroa (Boengar-mittung; Djila-mittung; Ginning-mittung, Tarrer-mittung, and Theddora-mittung), and two Yaithmathang groups (Kandangora-mittung and Yatte-mittung).

 

Appendix One: detailed analysis of Dhudhuroa and Gundungerre local groups

a) Boenger mittung

(Boenger; Boen.ge.a mittong; Boeng.e.o.mittung)

Location:

- ‘The Boenger on the Mitte Mitte’, Robinson 1844 Report extract in Clark 2000c: 329; Robinson 1844 Report in Mackaness 1978: 28.

- Boen.ge.a mittong on Mitte Mitter source, Robinson 1844 in Clark 2000c: 181

- Boeng.e.o.mittung: SW from crossing place, Robinson 1844 in Clark 2000c: 181

Group location:

Sources of Mitta Mitta River.

Sources:

Robinson 1844 Report (Mackaness 1978); Robinson 1844 in vocabulary volume (Clark 2000c).

b) Djila mittung

(Gelematong; Gillamatong; Djilamatang; Gilla matong; Dtjilma midthung)

Location:

- ‘Weeroo, Gelematong, Kiewa, Unorring &cs’, Reid 1860, 1861.

- ‘A branch of the Wiradjuri, roving about the head waters of the Murrumbidgee, was known as “kunamildau” or “come by night”, owing to their often attacking other tribes during the hours of darkness. They were probably the people we read of as “Gilamatong” or “swift” who are said to have raided as far west as Wangaratta, and were supposed to have [been] ultimately wiped out by a general uprising of the various river tribes’, Andrews 1920: 35.

- ‘Djilamatang: west of Mount Kosciusko, and on upper headwaters of Murray River. At enmity with the Jaitmathang, Walgalu, and Ngarigo, who, on the only occasion in post-European times when there was intertribal action in the Albury area, used to exterminate the Djilamatang people. T. W. Mitchell, M.L.A., confirmed that data passed to Curr and Smyth by his grandparent belonged to this tribe and he supplied further details of boundaries’, Tindale 1974: 203-204.

- ‘The Gillamatong had no tribal region but ranged the upper Murray to the alpine areas’, Mitchell 1981: 12.

Group location:

West of Mount Kosciusko, upper headwaters of Murray River.

Sources:

Reid 1860 (cited by Smyth in The Argus, 5 October 1860), 1861; Andrews 1920; Tindale 1974; Mitchell 1981.

c) Djinning mittung

(Tinne mittong; Tin.ne mitong; Tin.ne.mit.tum; Tinner mittum; Tinnemittong; Kenin mitun, Ginning matong; Guining-matong; Jeenong-metong; Din.ne.mit.tum; Dyinning-middhang; Jinning middha; Dyinningmiddha)

Location:

- Breastplate inscription: ‘Ginningmatong, Chief of Talangata, Presented by, NELSON TOOTH, 1839’, Cleary 1993: 131 cited in Wesson 2000: 64.

- ‘Keninmitum’, Robinson, Journal, 3 June 1844 in Clark 2000b.

-‘The Bolarer and Jinne Mittong inhabit the Eastern and South Eastern extremity of the Mountains’, Robinson 1844 Report in Mackaness 1978: 26.

- ‘Din.ne.mit.tum: a tribe inhabiting the country inland SE from the crossing place at the Murry River’, Robinson, Journal, 25 April 1840 in Clark 2000a.

- ‘Tinnermittum’, Robinson, Journal, 15 June 1844 in Clark 2000b.

- ‘The blacks on the Mitte Mitte are called Tin.ne mitong’, Robinson, Journal, 22 June 1844 in Clark 2000b.

- ‘Tin.ne.mittong, tribe on Mitte Mitte’, Robinson vocabulary papers in Clark 2000c: 205.

- ‘Kinninmetum – ditto [east] of Toutorite’, Thomas, Papers, vol 23: 65.

- ‘The Tallangatta creek was the hunting ground of the Ginning-matong tribe. There are only three of this tribe now alive’, James Wilson in Victoria 1858-9: 26.

- ‘The Guining-matong of the Alps’, Bonwick 1863: 81.

- ‘Tallangatta Creek, a tributary of the River Mitta Mitta, was, according to Mr James Wilson, the hunting ground of the Ginning-matong tribe’, Smyth 1878 I: 37.

- ‘Neddy Wheeler, Dyinningmiddha or -buttha Tribe, native of Mitta Mitta River. Dhuthuro’-wa … Neddy Wheeler is a native of Mitta Mitta River, where his father also belonged – His tribe was Dyinning middhang’, Mathews nd, Notebook 6, Ms 299: 40.

- ‘Neddy Wheeler of Jinningmiddha tribe, native of Mitta Mitta – his father belonged to there – his mother belonged to Walgaloo tribe Walaragang. Dhoo’-dhoo-ro’wa Language’, Mathews nd Notebook 7, Ms 299: 40.

- ‘The Dhudhuroa was spoken by the Dyinningmiddhang tribe on the Mitta Mitta and Kiewa Rivers, and along the Murray Valley from Albury to Jingellic’, Mathews 1909: 11.

Group location:

Mitta Mitta River and Tallangatta Creek.

Sources:

Robinson, Journal, 3 June 1844 and 1844 report; Thomas Papers vol 23; Victoria 1858-59; Bonwick 1863; Smyth 1878; Mathews 1909, Notebooks; Mackaness 1978; Barwick 1984; Clark 1993, 2000a,b,c; Cleary 1993; Wesson 2000.

d) Kandangora mittung

(Kunora; Gundungerer; Gundanora; Gun.dung.er.rer; Gun.dung.er.ro; Kandangora; Kandangora mittung; Karrndtarrngkorra midtung)

Location:

- ‘The Kunora alias Gundanora tribe, over the Snowy river [from Cooma] and in the Alps, may consist of 300 men, they never go further than Menero. Then there is the Omeo tribe, near the lake and Stanley’s plains’, Lhotsky 1835: 106 in Neal 1976: 27.

- ‘The Gundungerer on the Tumut mountain’, Robinson 1844 Report extract in Clark 2000c: 329.

- ‘Gun.dung.er.rer. (query): Yass tribe: towards the Tumut mountains’, Robinson vocabulary papers in Clark 2000c: 181.

- ‘Gun.dung.er.ro; G. Land natives’, Robinson vocabulary papers in Clark 2000c: 182.

- ‘The name of the tribe that inhabited the high plains of Omeo was, according to information furnished to the Select Committee of the Legislative Council by the late Mr. Alfred Currie Wills, formerly Police Magistrate and Warden at Omeo, Gundanora. He stated that in May 1835 there were about 500 or 600 men, women, and children resident on the elevated plain of Omeo. … Their hunting and fishing grounds extended northward to the Cobberas Hills, southward and eastward to the River Tambo, and westward to the Bogong Range, via the Gibbo and Mitta Mitta rivers’, Smyth 1878 I: 37.

- ‘Extending down the Mitta Mitta, the Kiewa and the Ovens River as far as Buffalo, were tribes called Theddora and Kandangora’, Howitt and Fison 1900: 47.

- ‘His language is called Ngarego; that of Gippsland he calls Kungela. Wild Blacks are called Budara. The Omeo language is called Kundung-urur. White men called Mugan’, Mickey in Howitt Papers in Young, Mundy and Mundy 2000: 295.

- ‘The Kandangora-mittung, who lived on the Omeo plains, the Limestone River down to its junction with the Indi River, and the Tambo River to Tongiomungie. On the latter river they were in contact with the Kurnai. It is worth noting that the old road from Omeo to Bruthen follows the trail by which the Gippsland and Omeo blacks made hostile incursions into each other’s countries’, Howitt 1904: 77-8.

- ‘horde on the Omeo plains’, Tindale 1974.

- ‘Kandangora Mittung = Omeo Plains, Limestone River, Bindi, Tongeo’, Howitt, Papers, Ms 1054/2a in Wesson 2000: 85.

Group location:

Omeo Plains.

Sources:

Robinson 1844 Report in Mackaness 1978; Smyth 1878; Howitt and Fison 1900; Howitt 1904; Barwick Papers; Tindale 1974; Clark 1993, 2000c; Wesson 2000; Young et al 2000.

e) Theddora mittung

(Dodoro; Do.dare; Doodore.rer; Dodore; Dodorera; Dodora; Do-dor-dee; Do.dor.er; Theddora; Theddora mittung; Dtedtorra midtung)

Location:

- ‘The Do.dor.er blacks are under Mt Barker, head of McAlister’, Robinson, Journal, 23 May 1844 in Clark 2000b.

- ‘Dodora blacks on Ranges and adjoining the Omeo blacks’, Robinson, Journal, 29 June 1844 in Clark 2000b.

- ‘Extending down the Mitta Mitta, the Kiewa and the Ovens River as far as Buffalo, were tribes called Theddora and Kandangora’, Howitt and Fison 1900: 47.

- ‘the Theddora-mitting, occupying the sources of Mitta-Mitta River and its tributaries down to about the Gibbo Mountain, the Upper Kiewa River and the Ovens River to the Buffalo Mountain, thus being the neighbours of the Mogullum-bitch, the furthest out of the Kulin tribes’, Howitt 1904: 77.

- ‘An intelligent Theddora woman told me that her tribe extended as far as the upper waters of the Yakonda (Yackandandah), from which place she went as a wife of one of the Omeo Theddora’, Howitt 1904: 78.

- ‘The Theddora, who lived on the sources of the Mitta-Mitta, Tambo, and Ovens Rivers’, Howitt 1904: 301.

- ‘Omeo, Theddora mittung = Cobungra, Yackandanda, Kiewa, Ovens River down to Buffalo’, Howitt, Papers, Ms 1054/2a in Wesson 2000: 85.

Group location:

Sources of Mitta Mitta River.

Sources:

Robinson 1844 Journal in Clark 2000b; Howitt and Fison 1900; Howitt 1904; Barwick Papers; Clark 1993; Wesson 2000.

f) Yaithmathang

(Yate mittong; Yaymittong; Ywa mitong; Yaitmathang; Yattemittong; Ya-it-mathang; Ya-itma-thang)

Location:

- ‘there is the Omeo tribe, near the lake and Stanley’s plains’, Lhotsky 1835: 106 in Wesson 2000: 77.

- ‘The blacks of Omeo are called the Yaymittong’, Robinson Journal, 22 June 1844, 24 July 1844 in Clark 2000b; Fison and Howitt 1880: 350.

- ‘Yate, or, Yay.mittong, Omeo tribe’, Robinson vocabulary papers in Clark 2000c: 205.

- ‘The Yate-mittongs are the original inhabitants [of Omeo]’, Robinson 1844 Report in Mackaness 1978: 13.

- ‘The Yatte-mittongs are the original inhabitants [of Omeo] with whom the Mountain Tribes as far Eastward as Maneroo Downs are in Amity’, Robinson 1846 letterbook in Wesson 2000: 77.

- ‘Yate mittong or Omeo tribe’, Robinson vocabulary papers in Clark 2000c: 205.

- ‘The Omeo Blacks called themselves Ya-it-ma-thang. I have tried to get the meaning of the word but Jinny says it means the same as Brabelong but I suspect it means some peculiarity of the people as speech. I think it means people who speak quickly or it might refer to the term ya being much used as ya you (yes) and of course this is just speculation’, Bulmer 1881 in Howitt Papers in Wesson 2000: 77.

- ‘The Omeo tribe lived about the Plains, the Mitta Mitta and over eastward where they joined on to the Maneroo tribes. They also extended down by Bindi to Tongio but not as far as Numlamungi’, McFarlane’s Johnny in Howitt Papers in Wesson 2000: 78.

- ‘the now extinct Ya-itma-thang occupied the mountain country in which rise the rivers Mitta Mitta and Tambo, and some of the sources of the Ovens, and extended north at least as far as the Upper Yackandanda River, called by them Yakonda. … The eastern boundary of the Ya-itma-thang was about the Cobbora Mountains, and thence down the Indi River to Tom Groggin’s Run, their neighbours on that side being the Wolgal and Ngarigo tribes’, Howitt 1904: 78.

- ‘Each of these tribes had its own specific tribal area called a “bimble”. The Ja-ita-mathang bimble was roughly in about Corryong and extended towards Omeo’, Mitchell 1981: 12.

Group location:

Omeo.

Sources:

Robinson 1844 Journal in Clark 2000b; Fison and Howitt 1880; Howitt 1904; Mackaness 1978; Mitchell 1981; Barwick 1984; Clark 1993, 2000c; Wesson 2000.

 

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— and L Fison 1900, ‘The Aborigines of Victoria’, in Handbook of Melbourne, WB Spencer (ed), Ford, Melbourne: 45–55.

Jackson-Nakano, A 2001, The Kamberri – A History of Aboriginal Families in the ACT and Surrounds, Aboriginal History Monograph 8, Aboriginal History Inc, Canberra.

Koch, H forthcoming, ‘Aboriginal languages and social groups in the Canberra region: interpreting the historical documentation’.

Lhotsky, J 1835, ‘A journey from Sydney to the Australian Alps undertaken in the months of January, February, and March 1834’, Sydney.

Mackaness, G (ed) 1978, George Augustus Robinson’s Journey into South-Eastern Australia – 1844 with George Henry Haydon’s Narrative of Part of the Same Journey, Review Publications, Dubbo.

Mathew, J 1899, Eaglehawk and Crow, David Nutt, London.

Mathews, RH 1904, ‘The native tribes of Victoria; their languages and customs’, Proceedings of the American Philiosophical Society 43: 54–70.

— 1908, ‘Vocabulary of the Ngarrugu tribe, New South Wales’, Journal of the Royal Society of New South Wales 42: 335–342.

— 1909, ‘The Dhudhuroa language of Victoria’, American Anthropologist 11: 278–284.

Mitchell, JFH 1899, ‘Barwidgee vocabulary’, in Eaglehawk and Crow, J Mathew, David Nutt, London: 208–272.

Mitchell, TW 1981, Corryong and the ‘Man from Snowy River’, Wilkinson, Albury.

Neal, L 1976, Cooma Country, Cooma-Monaro Historical Society, Cooma.

NSW Governor’s Despatches vol 47 1845.

Reid, D 1860, in RB Smyth’s table ‘Aboriginal Population in 1860’, The Argus, 5 October 1860: 5.

— 1861, in First Report of the Central Board appointed to watch over the interests of the Aborigines in the Colony of Victoria, Presented to both Houses of Parliament, Parliamentary Paper, Victoria: 13.

Seddon, G 1994, Searching for the Snowy: An Environmental History, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, NSW.

Smyth, RB 1878, The Aborigines of Victoria, 2 vols, Victorian Government Printer, Melbourne.

Tindale, NB 1940, ‘Distribution of Australian Aboriginal tribes: a field survey’, Roval Society of South Australia, Transactions 64: 140–231.

— 1974, Aboriginal Tribes of Australia: their terrain, environmental controls, distribution, limits and proper names, Australian National University Press, Canberra.

Victoria, 1858–59, Report of the Select Committee of the Legislative Council on The Aborigines; Together with the Proceedings of Committee, Minutes of Evidence, and Appendices, John Ferres, Government Printer, Melbourne.

Victoria, 1861–69, Reports of the Central Board Appointed to Watch over the interests of the Aborigines in the Colony of Victoria. Presented to both Houses of Parliament.

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— 2000, An Historical Atlas of the Aborigines of Eastern Victoria and Far South-Eastern New South Wales, Monash University, Clayton.

— 2002, ‘The Aborigines of Eastern Victoria and far South-Eastern New South Wales, 1830 to 1910: An historical geography’, unpublished PhD thesis, Monash University, Clayton.

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1 Tindale 1940, 1974; Barwick 1984; Clark 1993, 1996a,b; and Wesson 1994, 2000, 2002.

2 Blake and Reid 2002: 179.

3 Howitt 1904: 77.

4 Blake and Reid 2002: 179.

5 Blake and Reid 2002. This view is confirmed by Dixon 2002; Wafer and Lissarrague 2008; Eira 2008.

6 Dixon, Working Papers and Files, in possession of RMW Dixon, Melbourne [hereafter Papers].

7 In Clark 2000c.

8 Mathews 1909, Notebooks and Papers, National Library of Australia [hereafter NLA], MS 8006; Mitchell 1899.

9 See Clark 2000c: 205.

10 See Clark 2000c: 203.

11 Blake and Reid 2002.

12 Mathews 1909.

13 Blake and Reid 2002: 179.

14 Mathews nd, Notebook 6, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies [hereafter AIATSIS], MS 299: 30–40.

15 Mathews nd, Notebook 7, AIATSIS, MS 299: 40–45.

16 Mathew 1899.

17 Blake and Reid 2002: 180.

18 Clark has transcribed this vocabulary: Clark 2000c: 199–204.

19 Blake and Reid 2002; Dixon, Papers, 2002.

20 Dixon, Papers.

21 See Robinson, 29 June 1844 in Clark 2000b: 104.

22 This list is included in Robinson’s 1844 Report, and is found in the NSW Governor’s Despatches vol 47, 1845: 763–762. It is identical to the list in his vocabulary papers. For a transcription see Clark 2000c: 326–327.

23 Dixon, Papers.

24 Curr 1887 III: 558–559.

25 In Wafer and Lissarrague 2008: 67.

26 Wesson 2002.

27 Wesson 2000: 116.

28 See Clark 2000b.

29 See Robinson papers in Clark 2000c: 190.

30 Koch forthcoming.

31 Koch forthcoming.

32 Koch pers comm 17 July 2009.

33 See Wafer and Lissarrague 2008.

34 Curr 1887 III: 429.

35 Hercus 1986: 165–166.

36 Howitt 1904.

37 Blake and Reid 2002.

38 Howitt 1904: 78.

39 Wafer and Lissarrague 2008: 68.

40 Wafer and Lissarrague 2008: 68.

41 Howitt 1904: 77; Fison and Howitt 1880: 35.

42 Wafer and Lissarrague 2008.

43 Koch in Wafer and Lissarrague 2008: 66f.

44 Wafer and Lissarrague 2008: 67.

45 Jackson-Nakano 2001.

46 Koch in Wafer and Lissarrague 2008: 106.

47 Robinson 1844 Report extract in Clark 2000c: 329; Mackaness 1978: 28.

48 Robinson vocabulary papers in Clark 2000c: 181.

49 Robinson vocabulary papers in Clark 2000c: 182.

50 Koch in Wafer and Lissarrague 2008; Koch forthcoming.

51 Koch forthcoming.

52 Thomas nd, Papers, Mitchell Library, Set 214, Items 1–24; Smyth 1878; Howitt 1883, 1904; Curr 1886–87; Mathews 1904, 1909.

53 Thomas, nd, Papers, Mitchell Library, Set 214, Items 1–24, vol 63: 65.

54 Smyth 1878.

55 Curr 1886–87.

56 Howitt 1883.

57 Howitt 1904: 77.

58 Mathews 1904.

59 Mathews 1909: 278.

60 Tindale 1974; Fesl 1985; Clark 1993, 1996a; Wesson 1994, 2000, 2002.

61 Tindale 1974.

62 Dixon, Papers.

63 Fesl 1985: 51.

64 Wesson 2000: 81.

65 Mitchell 1899.

66 Fairweather 1983; Fesl 1985; Clark 1993, 1996b; Wesson 2000, 2002.

67 Howitt 1904.

68 Fairweather 1983: 7.

69 Fesl 1985.

70 Clark 1993.

71 Clark 1996b.

72 Wesson 2000, 2002.

73 Wesson 2000: 61.

74 Mackaness 1978.

75 Victoria 1861.

76 Tindale 1974.

77 Lane in Smyth 1878; Mitchell in Smyth 1878; Mitchell in Curr 1887 III; Howitt 1904; Mitchell 1954 verbal communication.

78 In Smyth 1878 I: 37–38.

79 In Smyth 1878 and Curr 1887.

80 Howitt 1904.

81 Andrews 1920: 35.

82 Tindale 1974.

83 Wesson 2000: 59.

84 Victoria 1858–59.

85 Mathews 1909.

86 Clark 1993, 1996; Wesson 2000.

87 Wesson means Howitt and Fison 1900.

88 Wesson 2000: 80.

89 Seddon comments that Lhotsky’s account of the Aboriginal people who visited Cooma is ‘hearsay: his informant was Mr Bath, an overseer for a group of Sydney “pastoralists” who was living in a bark hut at Kuma’, Seddon 1994: 125.

90 Wesson 2000: 61.

91 Wesson 2000, 2002.

92 Tindale 1974.

93 Wesson 2000.


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