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.

Among the Narrinyeri and the Yuin the kinship organisation, which is confined to totemic groups, takes a local form; here the regulation of marriage depends on considerations of the residence of the pair.  Local exogamy also prevails among the unorganised Kurnai.  The Chepara appear to have had no organisation, and among the Narrangga ties of consanguinity constituted the sole bar to marriage.  We are not however concerned with the problems presented by these aberrant types of organisation, to which no further reference is made in the present work.

The area covered by the dichotomous organisations is divided almost equally between matrilineal and patrilineal tribes.  The latter occupy the region north of Lat. 30 deg. and west of an irregular line running from Long. 137 deg. to 140 deg. or thereabouts.  In addition a portion of Victoria and the region west of Brisbane form isolated patrilineal groups.  The problem presented by these anomalous areas has already been discussed in the chapter on the Rule of Descent.  Where local exogamy is the rule, kinship is also virtually patrilineal.

In the remainder of Australia, non-organised tribes of course excepted, the rule of descent is matrilineal, save that in North Queensland a small tribe on the Annan River prefers paternal descent.  The accompanying map shows the distribution of the two forms.

[Illustration:  MAP I. RULE OF DESCENT.]




[37] Save in the Anula and Mara tribes.

[38] Vol.  II.

[39] Vol.  I, p. 38.

[40] Vocabulary, s.v. Kararu.

[41] Grey, Journals, II, 228.

[42] Descriptive Vocabulary, p. 3 etc.; Colonial Mag. V, 222.

[43] Australian Reminiscences, p. 212.

[44] Bunce, 23 Years Wanderings, p. 116.

[45] J.R.G.S. IV, 171, p. 88, Narrative of a Voyage round the World p. 88.

[46] Discoveries (1846), I, 393; cf. Kamilaroi and Kurnai, p. 64.

[47] Cf. the local groups of the Yuin, the Wiradjeri and other tribes, Howitt, passim.



In order to facilitate reference and to diminish the necessity for footnotes a survey of classes and phratries is here given.  It will be well to explain how they are arranged.

In the two-phratry system the rule of intermarriage is clear; a man of phratry A marries a woman of phratry B and vice versa.  The direct descent of the kinship name is obviously the rule.

The four classes are arranged according to the phratries; the normal rule is that a man A1 marries B1, A2 marries B2; their children are in matrilineal tribes A2 and B2, in patrilineal B2 and A2.  In the patrilineal Mara and Anula, by exception, the rule of descent is direct; it will be remembered that a dichotomy of the classes prevails, so that they really belong to the eight-class system.

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