Kinship Organisations and Group Marriage in Australia eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 199 pages of information about Kinship Organisations and Group Marriage in Australia.


[181] Howitt, p. 205.

[182] p. 214.

[183] p. 217.

[184] pp. 224, 260.

[185] p. 195.

[186] pp. 170, 277.

[187] Also among the Kurnandaburi, the Wonkamira, etc. Journ.  Anthr.  Inst. XX, 62.  General circumcision was a remedy in Fiji when the chief was ill.

[188] And among the Dieri, according to Gason, Journ.  Anthr.  Inst. XX, 87.

[189] p. 219.

[190] pp. 205, 193. J.A.I. XII, 36.

[191] p. 245.

[192] p. 269.

[193] He also omits to mention the Muni ceremony, described in Journ.  Anthr.  Inst. XX, 62.  If general licence is of magical efficacy in cases of sickness, it can hardly be argued that general licence at marriage has not, as Mr Crawley argues, a magical significance.

[194] p. 245.

[195] C.T. 556.

[196] C.T. 104.

[197] Commonly but erroneously termed “rudimentary organs.”  It is a natural and justifiable assumption for a zoologist that all vestigial organs have previously been more largely developed.  It is also an assumption that a given custom is vestigial, but it is not a justifiable one.



Decay of class rules in South-East.  Descent in Central Tribes.  “Bloods”
     and “Castes.”

A certain number of Australian tribes have ceased to adhere strictly to the regulations of their class systems.  Thus, in the Kamilaroi tribe a correspondent of Dr Howitt’s found intra-class marriage, the totem only being different; in determining the class and totem of the children the ordinary rule held good[198].  The Wiradjeri on the Lachlan permit Ipai to marry Muri as well as Kumbo, the two classes both belonging to Kupathin; in each case certain totems only, viz. emu, opossum, snake and bandicoot, have the privilege[199].  The same anomaly is found in the Wonghibon tribe[200].

Among the Warramunga and other northern tribes Spencer and Gillen find that the division of the classes, explained in the last chapter, does not prevent marriages from taking place which this division ought to prevent, if the Arunta rule were followed[201].  A curious feature of these marriages is that the children of the anomalous union pass into the class which would have been theirs if their mother had wedded her normal spouse.  It is not easy to say whether this should be regarded as a survival of matrilineal descent; it is, however, clear that only the existence of phratriac names enables us to say definitely that the descent in this tribe is in the male line.

According to the information printed by Mr R.H.  Mathews this irregularity is by no means the sum total of anomalies.  His information is far from being commonly accepted as accurate; but, as will be shown later, there are correspondences between his statements and those of other observers, which make it probable that his statements have some basis in fact.  At any rate they deserve notice, if only that they may be contradicted by competent witnesses, if they are incorrect.

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Kinship Organisations and Group Marriage in Australia from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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