Kinship Organisations and Group Marriage in Australia eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 171 pages of information about Kinship Organisations and Group Marriage in Australia.
or its cleavage by an intrusive element.  Of the causes of this drift of population, which on a large scale, and under pressure of any kind, might well overrule even the rights of property, we have naturally no idea.  In a homogeneous mass like the population of Australia, and especially in a mass whose level of culture is so low as to leave no remains behind which we could use for the purposes of chronology, it is hopeless to expect any solution of any of the problems connected with drift of population.  One thing only seems clear, and on this point we may hope for some light from the data of philology, namely that the migration was long subsequent to the original Volkerwanderung; for this must have preceded the rise of phratry names, which again must have preceded the migration of which the segmentation of groups, evidenced by the names themselves, is at present, and in default of the aid of philology, our only proof.

The migrations of which we are speaking must, if the possession of one phratry name in common be worth anything as evidence of a closer connection between the groups, have been internal to a group or, if the term be preferred, to a nation occupying the south of Queensland.  For in the absence of evidence that phratry names are to be found outside their own linguistic groups, we cannot but infer from the quadripartite division of the Wuthera phratries both the linguistic unity (and language must be in Australia the ultimate test of racial relationship on a large scale) and the internal movements of the group in which they occur.

In favour of the primitive unity of the Wuthera groups, is the fact that with small exceptions, and those on the outskirts of the district, the area occupied by the assumed homogeneous pre-phratry group has the same class names throughout—­which is at the same time a proof that the class names are posterior to the phratry names; for the later the date, the more extensive the group, may be taken to be the rule in savage communities; if the phratry names came later than the class names we should expect them to be identical, and the class names different instead of the reverse.  But to the relative age of classes and phratries we return at another point of our argument.

The available data being few, it could hardly be expected that a discussion of them would be very fruitful.  In the present chapter we have, however, shown that the phratry names and organisation are probably of very early date, that considerable movements of population took place within the linguistic groups subsequent to the adoption of the phratry names, and that these names have been selected for some explicit reason and not adopted at haphazard.

FOOTNOTES: 

[100] For references, meanings, etc. see chap.  IV.

[101] See Man 1905, no. 28.

[102] Cf. Man, 1905, no. 28.

[103] But see J.R.S.  Vict. XVII, 120.

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