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Title: Kinship Organisations and Group Marriage in Australia
Author: Thomas, Northcote Whitridge, 1868-1936
Language: English
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Transcriber's Note:

This text has many tables, which are best viewed using a fixed-width

Table I a and the _Arunta: Eight-class_ Table were printed on fold-out
pages. These have been split into sections (3 and 2 sections,
respectively) to fit within the display boundaries.

The original book had a number of words with inconsistant hyphenation or
spelling, as well as a small number of typographical errors. These have
been maintained in this version. The inconsistencies and errors are
detailed at the end of the present text.

_The Cambridge Archaeological and Ethnological Series is supervised by
an Editorial Committee consisting of WILLIAM RIDGEWAY, M.A., F.B.A.,
Disney Professor of Archaeology, A.C. HADDON, Sc.D., F.R.S., University
Lecturer in Ethnology, M.R. JAMES, Litt. D., F.B.A., Provost of King's
College and C. WALDSTEIN, Litt. D., Slade Professor of Fine Art._

                       KINSHIP ORGANISATIONS


                          GROUP MARRIAGE




                     NORTHCOTE W. THOMAS, M.A.
               Diplomé de l'École des Hautes-Études,
Corresponding Member of the Société d'Anthropologie de Paris, etc.

                      at the University Press

                        C.F. CLAY, MANAGER,

                      London: FETTER LANE, E.C.
                  Glasgow: 50, WELLINGTON STREET.


                     Leipzig: F.A. BROCKHAUS.
                   New York: G.P. PUTNAM'S SONS.
           Bombay and Calcutta: MACMILLAN AND CO., LTD.

                     [_All Rights reserved._]

                         MISS C.S. BURNE,
                    WHO FIRST GUIDED MY STEPS
                         INTO THE PATHS OF


It is becoming an axiom in anthropology that what is needed is not
discursive treatment of large subjects but the minute discussion of
special themes, not a ranging at large over the peoples of the earth
past and present, but a detailed examination of limited areas. This work
I am undertaking for Australia, and in the present volume I deal briefly
with some of the aspects of Australian kinship organisations, in the
hope that a survey of our present knowledge may stimulate further
research on the spot and help to throw more light on many difficult
problems of primitive sociology.

We have still much to learn of the relations of the central tribes and
their organisations to the less elaborately studied Anula and Mara. I
have therefore passed over the questions discussed by Dr Durkheim. We
have still more to learn as to the descent of the totem, the relation of
totem-kin, class and phratry, and the like; totemism is therefore
treated only incidentally in the present work, and lack of knowledge
compels me to pass over many other interesting questions.

The present volume owes much to Mr Andrew Lang. He has read twice over
both my typescript MS, and my proofs; in the detection of ambiguities
and the removal of obscurities he has rendered my readers a greater
service than any bald statement will convey; for his aid in the matter
of terminology, for his criticisms of ideas already put forward and for
his many pregnant suggestions, but inadequately worked out in the
present volume. I am under the deepest obligations to him; and no mere
formal expression of thanks will meet the case. I have been more than
fortunate in securing aid from Mr Lang in a subject which he has made
his own.

I do not for a moment suppose that the information here collected is
exhaustive. If any one should be in a position to supplement or correct
my facts or to enlighten me in any way as to the ideas and customs of
the blacks I shall be obliged if he will tell me all he knows about them
and their ways. Letters may be addressed to me c/o the Anthropological
Institute, 3 Hanover Sq., W.


  _Sept. 11th, 1906._


PREFACE                                                             vii

CONTENTS                                                             ix

BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                        xii

INDEX TO ABBREVIATIONS                                              xiv



Social Organisation. Associations in the lower stages of culture.
Consanguinity and Kinship. The Tribe. Kinship groups: totem kins;
phratries                                                   Pages =1-11=



Descent of Kinship, origin and primitive form. Matriliny in Australia.
Relation to potestas, position of widow, etc. Change of rule of descent;
relation to potestas, inheritance and local organisation         =12-28=



Definitions: tribe, sub-tribe, local group, phratry, class, totem kin.
"Blood" and "shade." Kamilaroi type. History of Research in Australia.
General sketch                                                   =29-40=



TABLES I, I a. Class Names                                      =42, 47=

TABLE II. Phratry Names                                             =48=

TABLE III. Comparison of "blood" and phratry names                  =50=

TABLE IV. Relations of Class and phratry organisations              =51=



The Phratriac Areas. Borrowing of Names. Their Meanings. Antiquity of
Phratry Names. Eaglehawk Myths. Racial Conflicts. Intercommunication.
Tribal Migrations                                                =52-62=



Mr Lang's theory and its basis. Borrowing of phratry names. Split
groups. The Victorian area. Totems and phratry names. Reformation theory
of phratriac origin                                              =63-70=



Classes later than Phratries. Anomalous Phratry Areas. Four-class
Systems. Borrowing of Names. Eight-class System. Resemblances and
Differences of Names. Place of Origin. Formative Elements of the Names:
Suffixes, Prefixes. Meanings of the Class Names                  =71-85=



Effect of classes. Dr Durkheim's Theory of Origin. Origin in grouping of
totems. Dr Durkheim on origin of eight classes. Herr Cunow's theory of
classes                                                          =86-92=



Descriptive and classificatory systems. Kinship terms of Wathi-Wathi,
Ngerikudi-speaking people and Arunta. Essential features. Urabunna.
Dieri. Distinction of elder and younger                         =93-101=



Terminology of Sociology. Marriage. Classification of Types.
Hypothetical and existing forms                                =102-109=



Passage from Promiscuity. Reformatory Movements. Incest. Relative
harmfulness of such unions. Natural aversion. Australian facts



Mother and Child. Kurnai terms. Dieri evidence. _Noa._ Group Mothers.
Classification and descriptive terms. Poverty of language. Terms express
status. The savage view natural                                =119-126=



Theories of group marriage. Meaning of group. Dieri customs. Tippa-malku
marriage. Obscure points. _Pirrauru._ Obscure points. Relation of
_pirrauru_ to _tippa-malku_ unions. Kurnandaburi. Wakelbura customs.
Kurnai organisation. Position of widow. _Piraungaru_ of Urabunna.
_Pirrauru_ and group marriage. _Pirrauru_ not a survival. Result of
scarcity of women. Duties of _Pirrauru_ spouses. _Piraungaru_; obscure
points                                                         =127-141=



Wife lending. Initiation ceremonies. _Jus primae noctis._ Punishment for
adultery. _Ariltha_ of central tribes. Group marriage unproven



Decay of class rules in South-East. Descent in Central Tribes. "Bloods"
and "Castes"                                                   =150-152=

INDEX OF PHRATRY, BLOOD, AND CLASS NAMES                       =153-157=
INDEX OF SUBJECTS                                              =158-163=

       *       *       *       *       *


  I. Rule of Descent                                                =40=
 II. Class Organisations                                  to follow =40=
III. Phratry Organisations                                    "     =40=


Class Names of Eight-Class Tribes              =between pp. 46= and =47=


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 2. _American Anthropologist._ Washington, 1888 etc., 8^o.

 3. _Année Sociologique._ Paris, 1898 etc., 8^o.

 4. _Archaeologia Americana._ Philadelphia, 1820 etc., 4^o.

 5. _Das Ausland._ Munich, 1828-1893, 4^o.

 6. _Bulletins of North Queensland Ethnography._ Brisbane, 1901 etc., fol.

 7.  BUNCE, D., _Australasiatic Reminiscences of Twenty-three Years
       Wanderings._ Melbourne, 1857, 8^o.

 8. _Colonial Magazine._ London, 1840-1842, 8^o.

 9.  CUNOW, H., _Die Verwandtschaftsorganisationen der Australneger._
       Leipzig, 1894, 8^o.

10.  CURR, E.M., _The Australian Race._ 4 vols., London, 1886, 8^o and fol.

11.  DAWSON, J., _Australian Aborigines._ Melbourne, 1881, 4^o.

12.  FISON, L. and HOWITT, A.W., _Kamilaroi and Kurnai._ Melbourne, 1880,

13. _Folklore._ London, 1892 etc., 8^o.

14. _Fortnightly Review._ London, 1865-1889, 8^o.

15.  FRAZER, J.G., _Totemism._ Edinburgh, 1887, 8^o.

16.  GERSTAECKER, F., _Reisen von F. Gerstaecker._ 5 vols., Stuttgart,
       1853-4, 8^o.

17. _Globus._ Hildburghausen etc., 1863 etc., 4^o.

18.  GREY, Sir G., _Journals of Two Expeditions of Discovery in
       North-West and West Australia._ 2 vols., London, 1841, 8^o.

19.  GRIBBLE, J.B., _Black but Comely._ London, 1874, 8^o.

20.  HODGSON, C.P., _Reminiscences of Australia._ London, 1846, 12^o.

21.  HOWITT, A.W., _Native Tribes of South-East Australia._ London, 1904,

22. _Internationales Archiv fur Ethnographie._ Leyden, 1888 etc., 4^o.

23. _Journal of the Anthropological Institute._ London, 1871 sq., 8^o.

24. _Journal of the Royal Geographical Society._ London, 1832-1880, 8^o.

25. _Journal of the Royal Society of New South Wales._ Sydney, 1877
       etc., 8^o.

26. _Journals of Several Expeditions in West Australia._ London, 1833,

27.  LAHONTAN, H. DE, _Voyages._ Amsterdam, 1705, 12^o.

28.  LANG, A. and ATKINSON, J., _Social Origins_; _Primal Law._ London,
       1903, 8^o.

29.  LANG, A., _Secret of the Totem._ London, 1905, 8^o.

30.  LEICHARDT, F.W.L., _Journal of an Overland Expedition in Australia._
       London, 1848, 8^o.

31.  LUMHOLTZ, C., _Among Cannibals._ London, 1889, 8^o.

32.  MACLENNAN, J.F., _Studies in Ancient History._ 2nd Series, London,
       1886, 8^o.

33. _Man._ London, 1901 sq., 8^o.

34.  MATHEW, J., _Eaglehawk and Crow._ London, 1898, 8^o.

35.  MATHEWS, R.H., _Ethnological Notes._ Sydney, 1905, 8^o.

36. _Mitteilungen des Seminars fur orientalische Sprachen._ Berlin, 1898
       etc., 8^o.

37. _Mitteilungen des Vereins fur Erdkunde._ Halle, 1877-1892, 8^o.

38.  MOORE, G.F., _Descriptive Vocabulary of the Language in Common Use
       among the Aborigines of Western Australia._ London, 1842, 8^o.

39.  MORGAN, Lewis H., _Ancient Society._ New York, 1877, 8^o.

40.  NEW, C., _Travels._ London, 1854, 8^o.

41.  OWEN, Mary A., _The Musquakie Indians._ London, 1905, 8^o.

42.  PARKER, K.L., _The Euahlayi Tribe._ London, 1905, 8^o.

43.  PETRIE, Tom, _Reminiscences._ Brisbane, 1905, 8^o.

44. _Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society._ Philadelphia,
       1840 etc., 8^o.

45. _Proceedings of the Australian Association for the Advancement of
       Science._ 1889 etc., 8^o.

46. _Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia,
       Queensland Branch._ Brisbane, 1886 etc., 8^o.

47. _Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland._ Brisbane, 1884
       etc., 8^o.

48. _Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria._ Melbourne, 1889
       etc., 8^o.

49. _Reports of the Cambridge University Expedition to Torres Straits._
       Cambridge, 1903 etc., 4^o.

50.  ROTH, W.E., _Ethnological Studies._ Brisbane, 1898, 8^o.

51.  SCHÜRMANN, C.W., _Vocabulary of the Parnkalla Language._ Adelaide,
       1844, 8^o.

52. _Science of Man._ Sydney, 1898 etc., 4^o.

53. _Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge._ Washington, 1848 etc. 4^o.

54.  SPENCER, B. and GILLEN, F.J., _Native Tribes of Central
       Australasia._ London, 1898, 8^o.

55.  SPENCER, B. and GILLEN, F.J., _Northern Tribes of Central
       Australia._ London, 1904, 8^o.

56.  STOKES, J.L., _Discoveries in Australia._ 2 vols., London, 1846, 8^o.

57.  TAPLIN, G., _Folklore, Manners, Customs and Language of the South
       Australian Aborigines._ Adelaide, 1878, 8^o.

58. _Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of South
       Australia._ Adelaide, 1878 etc., 8^o.

59.  VAN GENNEP, A., _Mythes et Légendes._ Paris, 1906, 8^o.

60. _West Australian._ Perth, 1886 etc., fol.

61.  WESTERMARCK, E., _History of Human Marriage._ 3rd Edition, London,
       1901, 8^o.

62. _Wiener Medicinische Wochenschrift._ Vienna, 1851 etc., 4^o.

63.  WILSON, T.B., _Narrative of a Voyage round the World._ London, 1835,

64. _Zeitschrift fur vergleichende Rechtswissenschaft._ Stuttgart, 1878
       etc., 8^o.


_Allg. Miss. Zts._, 1
_Am. Anth._, 2
_Am. Phil. Soc._, 44
_Ann. Soc._, 3
_Aust. Ass. Adv. Sci._, 45
_Col. Mag._, 8
_C.T._, 54
_Ethn. Notes_, 35
_Fort. Rev._, 14
_J.A.I._, 23
_J.R.G.S._, 24
_J.R.S.N.S.W._, 25
_J.R.S. Vict._, 48
_Nat. Tr._, 54
_Nor. Tr._, 55
_N.Q. Ethn. Bull._, 6
_N.T._, 21
_Proc. Am. Phil. Soc._, 44
_Proc. R.G.S. Qn._, 46
_Proc. R.S. Vict._, 48
_R.G.S. Qn._, 47
_Sci. Man_, 52
_T.R.S.S.A._, 58
_West. Aust._, 60
_Zts. vgl. Rechtsw._, 64



Social organisation. Associations in the lower stages of culture.
     Consanguinity and Kinship. The Tribe. Kinship groups; totem kins;

The passage from what is commonly termed savagery through barbarism to
civilisation is marked by a change in the character of the associations
which are almost everywhere a feature of human society. In the lower
stages of culture, save among peoples whose organisation has perished
under the pressure of foreign invasion or other external influences, man
is found grouped into totem kins, intermarrying classes and similar
organised bodies, and one of their most important characteristics is
that membership of them depends on birth, not on the choice of the
individual. In modern society, on the other hand, associations of this
sort have entirely disappeared and man is grouped in voluntary
societies, membership of which depends on his own choice.

It is true that the family, which exists in the lower stages of culture,
though it is overshadowed by the other social phenomena, has persisted
through all the manifold revolutions of society; especially in the stage
of barbarism, its importance in some directions, such as the regulation
of marriage, often forbidden within limits of consanguinity much wider
than among ourselves, approaches the influence of the forms of natal
association which it had supplanted. In the present day, however, if we
set aside its economic and steadily diminishing ethical sides, it
cannot be compared in importance with the territorial groupings on which
state and municipal activities depend.

If the family is a persistent type the tribe may also be compared to the
modern state; it is, in most parts of the world, no less territorial in
its nature; membership of it does not depend among the Australians on
any supposed descent from a common ancestor; and though residence plus
possession of a common speech is mentioned by Howitt as the test of
tribe, it is possible in Australia, under certain conditions[1], to pass
from one tribe to another in such a way that we seem reduced to
residence as the test of membership. This change of tribe takes place
almost exclusively where tribes are friendly, so far as is known; and we
may doubt whether it would be possible for a stranger to settle, without
any rite of adoption, in the midst of a hostile or even of an unknown
tribe; but this is clearly a matter of minor importance, if adoption is
not, as in North America, an invariable element of the change of tribe.
Although membership of a tribe is thus loosely determined, tribesmen
feel themselves bound by ties of some kind to their fellow-tribesmen, as
we shall see below, but in this they do not differ from the members of
any modern state.

But in Australia the importance of the tribe, save from an economic
point of view, as joint owner of the tribal land, is small compared with
the part played in the lives of its members by the intratribal
associations, whose influence is recognised without, as within the
tribe. These associations are of two kinds in the lowest strata of human
society; in each case membership is determined by birth and they may
therefore be distinguished as _natal associations_. In the one case, the
_kinship groups_ such as totem kins, phratries, etc., an individual
remains permanently in the association into which he is born, special
cases apart, in which by adoption he passes out of it and joins another
by means of a legal fiction[2]. The other kind of association, to which
the name _age-grades_ is applied, is composed of a series of grades,
through which, concomitantly with the performance of the rites of
initiation obligatory on every male member of the community, each man
passes in succession, until he attains the highest. In the rare cases
where an individual fails to qualify for the grade into which his
coevals pass, and remains in the grade of "youth" or even lower grades,
he is by birth a member of one class and does not remain outside the
age-grades altogether.

In the element of voluntary action lies the distinction between
age-grades and _secret societies_, which are organised on identical or
similar lines but depend for membership on ceremonies of initiation,
alike in the lowest as in the highest grade. Such societies may be
termed voluntary. The differentia between the natal and the voluntary
association lies in the fact that in the former all are members of one
or other grade, in the latter only such as have taken steps to gain
admission, all others being simply non-members.

Although _primâ facie_ all these forms of association are equally
entitled to be classed as social organisations, the use of this term is
limited in practice, at any rate as regards Australia, and is the
accepted designation of the kinship form of natal associations only; for
this limitation there is so far justification, that though they perhaps
play a smaller part in the daily life of the people than the secret
societies of some areas, with their club-houses and other features which
determine the whole form of life, the kinship associations are normally
regulative of marriage and thus exercise an influence in a field of
their own.

Marriage prohibitions in the various races of mankind show an almost
endless diversity of form; but all are based on considerations either of
consanguinity or kinship or on a combination of the two. The distinction
between _consanguinity_ and _kinship_ first demands attention; the
former depends on birth, the latter on the law or custom of the
community, and this distinction is all-important, especially in dealing
with primitive peoples. With ourselves the two usually coincide, though
even in civilised communities there are variations in this respect.
Thus, according to the law of England, the father of an illegitimate
child is not akin to it, though _ex hypothesi_ there is a tie of blood
between them. In England nothing short of an Act of Parliament can make
them akin; but in Scotland the subsequent marriage of the father with
the mother of the child changes the legal status of the latter and makes
it of kin with its father. These two examples make it abundantly evident
that kinship is with us a matter of law.

Among primitive peoples kinship occupies a similar position but with
important differences. As with us, it is a sociological fact; custom,
which has among them far more power than law among us, determines
whether a man is of kin to his mother and her relatives alone, or to his
father and father's relatives, or whether both sets of relatives are
alike of kin to him. In the latter case, where parental kinship
prevails, the limits of the kin are often determined by the facts of
consanguinity. In the two former cases, where kinship is reckoned
through males alone or through females alone, consanguinity has little
or nothing to do with kinship, as will be shown more in detail below.

Kinship is sociological, consanguinity physiological; in thus stating
the case we are concerned only with broad principles. In practice the
idea of consanguinity is modified in two ways and a sociological element
is introduced, which has gone far to obscure the difference between
these two systems of laying the foundations of human society. In the
first place, custom determines the limits within which consanguinity is
supposed to exist; or, in other words, at what point the descendants of
a given ancestor cease to be blood relations. In the second place
erroneous physiological ideas modify the ideas held as to actually
existing consanguine relations, as we conceive them. The latter
peculiarity does not affect the enquiry to any extent; it merely limits
the sphere within which consanguinity plays a part, side by side with
kinship, in moulding social institutions. If an Australian tribe, for
example, distinguishes the actual mother of a child from the other women
who go by the same kinship name, they may or may not develop on parallel
lines their ideas as to the relation of the child and his real father.
Some relation will almost certainly be found to exist between them; but
it by no means follows that it arises from any idea of consanguinity. In
other communities potestas and not consanguinity is held to determine
the relations of the husband of a woman to her offspring; and it is a
matter for careful enquiry how far the same holds good in Australia,
where the fact of fatherhood is in some cases asserted to be
unrecognised by the natives. In speaking of consanguinity therefore, it
must be made quite clear whether consanguinity according to native ideas
or according to our own ideas is meant.

The customary limitations and extensions of consanguinity, on the other
hand, cause more inconvenience. They are of course sometimes combined
with the other kind, which we may term quasi-physiological, but with
this combination we need not deal, as we are concerned to analyse only
on broad lines the nature of these elements. Just as, with us, kinship
and consanguinity largely coincide, so with primitive peoples are the
kinship organisations immense, if one-sided, extensions of blood
relationship, at all events in theory. In many parts of the world a
totem kin traces its descent to a single male or female ancestor; and
even where, as in Australia, this is not the case, blood brotherhood is
expressly asserted of the totem kin[3].

Entry into the totem kin may often be gained by adoption, though not
apparently in Australia, and the blood relationship thus becomes an
artificial one and partakes, even if the initial assumption be accepted
as true, far more of the nature of kinship than of consanguinity. In
Australia, and possibly in other parts of the world, there is a further
extension of natal kinship. Although the tribe is not regarded as
descended from a single pair, its members are certainly reckoned as of
kin to each other in some way; the situation may be summarised by saying
that under one of the systems of kinship organisation (the two-phratry),
half of the members of the tribe in a given generation are related to a
given man, A, and the other half to his wife. More than one observer
assures us that there is a solidarity about the tribe, which regards
some, if not all other tribes as "wild blacks," though it may be on
terms of friendship and alliance with certain neighbours, and feel
itself united to them by a bond analogous to, though weaker than, that
which holds its own members together.

If however a homonymous totem kin exists even in a hostile or absolutely
unknown tribe, a member of it will be regarded, as we learn from Dr
Howitt, as a brother. How this view is reconciled with the belief that
the tribe in question is alien and in no way akin to that in which the
other totem kin is found, is a question of some interest for which there
appears to be no answer in the literature concerning the Australian

Even if, therefore, we had reason to believe that all totem kins in a
given tribe or group of tribes could make out a good case for their
descent from single male or female ancestors, which is far from being
the case, we should still have to recognise that kinship and not
consanguinity is the proper term to apply to the relationship between
members of the same group. For, as we have seen, it may be recruited
from without in some cases, while in others, persons who are
demonstrably not of the same blood, are regarded as totem-brethren by
virtue of the common name.

Enough has now been said to make clear the difference between
consanguinity and kinship and to exemplify the nature of some of the
transitional forms. As we have seen, it is on considerations of either
consanguinity or kinship that many marriage prohibitions are based.

Marriage prohibitions depend broadly on three kinds of considerations:
(1) Kinship, intermarriage being forbidden to members of the same
kinship group; a brief introductory sketch of the nature and
distribution of kinship groups will be found below. (2) Locality. In New
Guinea, parts of Australia, Melanesia, Africa, and possibly elsewhere,
_local exogamy_ is found. By this is meant that the resident in one
place is bound to go outside his own group for a mate, and may perhaps
be bound to seek a spouse in a specified locality. This kind of
organisation is in Australia almost certainly an offshoot of kinship
organisation (see p. 10), and is _primâ facie_ due to the same cause in
other areas. (3) (_a_) consanguinity, and (_b_) affinity. The first of
these considerations is regulative of marriage even in Australia, where
the influence of kinship organisations is in the main supreme in these
matters. We learn from Roth and other authorities that blood cousins,
children of own brother and sister, may not marry in North-West Central
Queensland, although the kinship regulations designate them as the
proper spouses one for the other. (_b_) Considerations of affinity, the
relations set up by marriage, do not affect the status of the parties,
so far as the legality of marriage is concerned, till a somewhat higher
stage is reached.

In the present work we are concerned with kinship groups and the
marriage regulations based on them. A kinship group, whether it be a
totem kin, phratry, class, or other form of association, is a fraction
of a tribe; and before we proceed to deal with kinship organisations, it
will be necessary to say a few words on the nature of the tribe and the
family. In Australia the tribe is a local aggregate, composed of
friendly groups speaking the same language and owning corporately or
individually the land to which the tribe lays claim. A change of tribe
is effected by marriage plus removal, and possibly by simple residence;
children belong to the tribe among which their parents reside. In the
ordinary tribe each member seems to apply to every other member one or
other of the kinship terms; and this no doubt accounts for the feeling
of tribal solidarity already mentioned. There are however certain tribes
in which the marriage regulations, as with the Urabunna, so split the
intermarrying fractions, that the tribe is, as it were, divided into
water-tight compartments; how far kinship terms are applied under these
circumstances our information does not say.

The tribe is defined by American anthropologists as a union of hordes or
clans for common defence under a chief. The American tribe differs in
two respects, at least, from the Australian tribe; in the first place,
marriage outside the tribe is exceptional in America and common in
Australia; in the second place, the stranger gains entrance to the
American tribe only by adoption; and we may probably add, thirdly, that
the American tribe does not invariably lay claim to landed property or
hunting rights.

The tribe is subdivided in various ways. In addition to the various
forms of natal and other associations, there is, at any rate in
Australia, a local organisation; the local group is often the owner of a
portion of the tribal area. This local group again falls into a number
of families (in the European sense), and the land is parcelled out among
them in some cases, in others it may be the property of individuals. But
there is a great lack of clearness with regard to the bodies or persons
in whom landed property is vested. The composition of the local group
varies according to the customs of residence after marriage, and the
rules by which membership of the kinship organisation is determined.
These two forces acting together may produce two types of local group:
(1) the mixed group, in which persons of various kinship organisations
are scattered at random; (2) the kin group, in which either all the
males or all the females together with the children are members of one
kinship organisation.

Save in the rare instances of non-exogamous kinship groups, the family
necessarily contains one member, at least, whose kin is not the same as
that of the remainder; this is either the husband or the wife, according
as descent is reckoned in the female or the male line; where polygyny is
practised, this unity may go no further than the phratry or the class,
each wife being of a different totem kin.

Although it frequently happens that the children belong to the kin which
through one of the parents or otherwise exercises the supreme authority
in the family, it is far from being the case that there is invariable
agreement between the principles on which kinship and authority are
determined. Three main types of family may be distinguished: (1)
patripotestal, (2) matripotestal, (_a_) direct, and (_b_) indirect, in
which the authority is wielded by the father, mother, and mother's
relatives, in particular her brothers, respectively. Innumerable
transitional forms are found, some of which will be mentioned in the
next chapter, which deals with the rule of descent by which membership
of natal groups is determined.

Turning now to kinship organisations, we find that the most widely
distributed type is the totem kin, in fact, if we except the Hottentots
and a few other peoples among whom no trace of it is found, it is
difficult to say where totemism has not at one time or another
prevailed. It is found as a living cult to-day among the greater part of
the aborigines of North and South America, in Australia, and among some
of the Bantu populations of the southern half of Africa. In more or less
recognisable forms it is found in other parts of Africa, New Guinea,
India, and other parts of the world. In the ancient world its existence
has been maintained for Rome (clan Valeria etc.), Greece, and Egypt, but
the absence of information as to details of the social structure renders
these theories uncertain.

Aberrant cases apart, totemism is understood to involve (1) the
existence of a body of persons claiming kinship, who (2) stand in a
certain relation to some object, usually an animal, and (3) do not marry
within the kin.

Passing over the classes, which are peculiar to Australia and will be
fully dealt with below, we come to a more comprehensive form of kinship
organisation in the phratries. These are a grouping of the community in
two or more exogamous divisions, between which the totem kins, where
they exist, are distributed. The essential feature of a phratry is that
it is exogamous; its members cannot ordinarily marry within it, and,
where there are more than two phratries, there may exist rules limiting
their choice to certain phratries.[4]

This dual or other grouping of the kins is widely found in North
America, the number of phratries ranging from two among the Tlinkits,
Cayugas, Choctaws, and others, to ten among the Moquis of Arizona. As in
Australia, the totem kins bearing the same eponymous animal as the
phratry are usually, e.g. among the Tlinkits, found in the phratry in
question. Exceptions to this rule are found among the Haida, where both
eagle and raven are in the eagle phratry.

The Mohegan and Kutchin phratries call for special notice. The kins of
the former are arranged in three groups: wolf, turtle, and turkey; and
the first phratry includes quadrupeds, the second turtles of various
kinds and the yellow eel, and the third birds. We find a parallel to
these phratries in the groups of the Kutchin, but in the latter case
our lack of knowledge of the tribe precludes us from saying whether
totem kins exist among them, and, if so, how far the grouping is
systematic; the Kutchin groups, according to one authority, are known by
the generic names of birds, beasts, and fish. As a rule, however, no
classification of kins is found, nor are the phratry names specially

Dual grouping of the kins is also found in New Guinea, the Torres
Straits Islands, and possibly among the ancient Arabs[5]; but evidence
in the latter case has not been systematically dealt with.

Other peoples have a similar dichotomous organisation; but it is either
not based on the totem kins or they have fallen into the background.

In various parts of Melanesia we find the people divided into two
groups, each associated with a single totem or mythological personage,
and sexual intercourse, whether marital or otherwise, is strictly
forbidden between those of the same phratry[6]. In India the Todas have
a similar organisation[7], and the Wanika in East Africa[8].

Customs of residence and descent affect the distribution of the
phratries within the tribe, no less than the composition of the local
group. With patrilineal descent they tend to occupy the tribal territory
in such a way that each phratry becomes a local group. With the
disappearance of phratry names this would be transformed into a local
exogamous group, which is, however, indistinguishable from the local
group of the same nature which is the result of the development of a
totem kin under similar conditions.

As a rule kinship organisations descend in a given tribe either in the
male line or in the female. Among the Ova-Herero, however, and other
Bantu tribes, there are two kinds of organisation, one--the
_eanda_--descending in female line and regulative of marriage, is
clearly the totem kin; property remains in the _eanda_, and
consequently descends to the sister's son. The other--the
_oruzo_--descends in the male line; it is concerned with chieftainship
and priesthood, which remain in the same _oruzo_, and the heir is the
brother's son.[9]

This dual rule of descent brings us face to face with the question of
how membership of kinship groups is determined.


[1]  Howitt, _N.T._, p. 225.

[2]  Cf. Owen, _Musquakie Indians_, p. 122; Lahontan, _Voyages_, II,
203-4; Morgan, _Ancient Society_, p. 81.

[3]  Two kinds of kinship are recognised in Australian tribes--(_a_)
totem and (_b_) phratry or class--but the precise relationship of one to
the other is far from clear. Nor is there much information as to what
terms of kinship are used within the totem kin. It is certain that
neither set of terms includes the other, for the totem kin extends
beyond the tribe or may do so, and there is more than one in each

[4]  For the facts see Frazer, _Totemism_, and cf. p. 31 _infra_.

[5]  MS. note from Dr Seligmann's unpublished _Report of Cook-Daniels
Expedition; Camb. Univ. Torres Sts Exped._, V, 172; _Man_, 1904, no. 18.

[6] _J.A.I._ XVIII, 282.

[7] _Man_, 1903, no. 97.

[8]  New, _Travels_, p. 274.

[9] _Ausland_, 1856, p. 45, 1882, p. 834; _Allg. Miss. Zts._ V, 354;
_Zts. Vgl. Rechtswiss._ XIV, 295; _Mitt. Orient. Seminar_, III, 73, V,
109. The recent work of Irle is inaccurate and confused.



Descent of kinship, origin and primitive form. Matriliny in Australia.
     Relation to potestas, position of widow, etc. Change of rule of
     descent; relation to potestas, inheritance and local organisation.

In discussions of the origin and evolution of kinship organisations, we
are necessarily concerned not only with their forms but also with the
rules of descent which regulate membership of them. Until recently the
main questions at issue were twofold: (1) the priority or otherwise of
female descent; (2) the causes of the transition from one form of
descent to another. Of late the question has been raised whether in the
beginning hereditary kinship groups existed at all, or whether
membership was not rather determined by considerations of an entirely
different order. Dr Frazer, who has enunciated this view, maintains that
totemism rests on a primitive theory of conception, due to savage
ignorance of the facts of procreation.[10] But his theory is based
exclusively on the foundation of the beliefs of the Central Australians
and seems to neglect more than one important point which goes to show
that the Arunta have evolved their totemic system from the more ordinary
hereditary form. Whether this be so or not, it is difficult to see how
any idea of kinship could arise from such a condition of nescience. If
we take the analogous case of the nagual or "individual totem" there
seems to be no trace of any belief in the kinship of those who have the
same animal as their nagual, but are otherwise bound by no tie of
relationship. Yet if Dr Frazer's theory were correct, this is precisely
what we ought to find.

This is, however, no reason for rejecting the general proposition that
kinship, at its origin, was not hereditary; or, more exactly, that the
beginnings of the kinship groups found at the present day may be traced
back to a point at which the hereditary principle virtually disappears,
although the bond of union and perhaps the totem name already existed.
If, as suggested by Mr Lang, man was originally distributed in small
communities, known by names which ultimately came to be those of the
totem kins, we may suppose that daily association would not fail to
bring about that sense of solidarity in its members which it is found to
produce in more advanced communities. In the case of the tribe an even
feebler bond, the possession of a common language, seems to give the
tribesmen a sense of the unity of the tribe, though perhaps other
explanations may be suggested, such as the possession in common of the
tribal land, or the origin of the tribe from a single blood-related
group. However this may be, it seems reasonable to look for one factor
of the first bond of union in the influence of the daily and hourly
association of group-mates. On the other hand, if, as Mr Lang supposes,
the original group was a consanguine one, the claims of the factor of
consanguinity and perhaps of foster brotherhood and motherhood cannot be
neglected. It may be true, as Dr Frazer argues, that man was originally
and still is in some cases ignorant of physiological facts. But all
races of man and a great part of the rest of the animal kingdom show us
the phenomena of parental affection, of care for offspring and sometimes
of union for their defence. This does not, it may be noted, imply any
predominance of the mother.[11]

We may suppose that the idea of kinship or the recognition of
consanguinity, whichever be the more correct term to apply to these
far-off developments of the factors of human society, extended only by
degrees beyond the limits of the group. First, perhaps, came the naming
of the group, already, it may be, exogamous; then came the recognition
of the fact that those members of it, viz. the women, who passed to
community B after being born and having resided for years in community
A, were in reality, in spite of their change of residence, still in fact
the kin of community A; finally came the step of assigning to their
children the group names which were retained by their mothers from the
original natal groups. This brings us face to face with the first of the
fundamental questions of descent, to which allusion has been made.

It is commonly assumed by students of primitive social organisation that
matrilineal descent is the earlier and that it has everywhere preceded
patrilineal descent; but the questions involved are highly complicated
and it can hardly be said that the subject has been fully discussed.

Much of what has been said on the point has been vitiated by the
introduction of foreign factors. Thus, the child belongs to the tribe of
the father where the wife removes to the husband's local group or tribe.
But though it may be taken as a mark of matrilineal institutions, often
associated with matria potestas or its analogue the rule of the mother's
brother, that the husband should remove and live with the wife, we are
by no means entitled to say that the removal of the wife to the husband
implies a different state of things. Customs of residence are no guide
to the principles on which descent is regulated. Consequently it is
entirely erroneous to import into the discussion with which we are
concerned, viz. the rules by which _kinship_ is determined, any
considerations based on the rules by which membership of a _tribe_ is

Similarly, no proof of the existence of paternal authority in the family
throws any light on the question of whether the children belong to the
kin of the father rather than of the mother. Where the mother or
mother's brother is the guardian, we are usually safe in assuming that
descent is or has been until recently matrilineal. But from the
undisputed existence of patria potestas no similar inference can be

Again, as will be shown below, not even the tie of blood between parent
and child, confined though it may be in the opinion of the people whose
institutions are in question, to a single parent, is an index to the way
in which is determined the kinship organisation to which the child

It is therefore clear that the utmost discrimination is necessary in
dealing with these questions; rules of descent must be kept apart from
matters which indeed influence the evolution of the rules but are in no
way decisive as to their form at any given moment.

Returning now to the alleged priority of matrilineal descent in
determining the kinship organisation into which a child passes, it may
be said that whereas evidences of the passage from female to male
reckoning may be observed,[12] there is virtually none of a change in
the opposite direction. In other words, where kinship is reckoned in the
female line, there is no ground for supposing that it was ever
hereditary in any other way. On the other hand, where kinship is
reckoned in the male line, it is frequently not only legitimate but
necessary to conclude that it has succeeded a system of female kinship.
But this clearly does not mean that female descent has in _all_ cases
preceded the reckoning of kinship through males. Patrilineal descent may
have been directly evolved without the intermediate stage of reckoning
through females.

The problem is probably insoluble. No decisive data are available, for
the mere absence of traces of matrilineal descent does not necessarily
prove more than that it had long been superseded by reckoning of kinship
through males. All that can be said is that in the kinship organisations
known to us female descent seems to have prevailed in the vast majority
of cases and probably existed in the residual class of indeterminable

With patria potestas it is, of course, different. There can be little
doubt that it might and probably did develop in the absence of kinship
organisations and in a state of society where consanguinity is no real
bond after the children have reached puberty. If therefore under such
circumstances a kinship organisation were to come into existence, either
independently or by transmission, it might well be that patrilineal
principles prevailed from the first. But of such a case we have no
knowledge. It may perhaps be questioned whether the actually existing
peoples who appear to have no kinship organisations, such as the
Hottentots, the Bushmen, the Veddahs and perhaps the Fuegians, are not
in this state rather as a result of the break-up of their former
organisation than because they have never evolved kinship groups. But
our knowledge in these matters is lamentably small and the problem is
not one which calls for discussion here.

The second fundamental problem relating to rules of descent is that of
the cause of the transition from matrilineal to patrilineal descent. The
subject needs to be discussed in detail for each particular area before
general conclusions can be formulated; it is quite possible that the
causes will be found to differ widely; for no general rule can be laid
down as to the relations between matrilineal descent and other cultural

All that can be attempted here is an examination of the various elements
in the problem so far as it affects Australia. To this may be prefixed a
further discussion of the origin of matrilineal descent with especial
reference to Australian conditions.

It is commonly assumed that in a pure matrilineal community, the husband
removes to the wife's local group (matrilocal marriage), or if not that,
that at any rate the authority in the family rests in the hands of the
mother's brothers, who are also the heirs to the exclusion of the
children. But of any such custom of removal there is but the very
slenderest evidence in Australia. According to Howitt it occurs
occasionally in Victoria and among the Dieri; among the Wakelbura it is
done only if a man elopes with a betrothed woman and the man to whom she
was betrothed dies; among the Kuinmurbura it seems to have been a
recognised thing for a man who married a woman of another tribe to
remove, but in this case he took no part in intertribal warfare[13]. In
all these cases, the Kurnai excepted, descent is reckoned in the female

If however Dr Howitt's informant, who does not seem to have been
particularly accurate in many cases, is to be relied on, the removal of
the husband to the wife's group is also found among the patrilineal
Maryborough tribes, though only if the woman belonged to a distant
tribelet, whatever that may be[14]. To this information is added the
statement that in such cases the husband joined his wife's tribe for
purposes of hostilities also and that it has happened that a son has
come into conflict with his father under these circumstances and
endangered his life with full knowledge of what he was doing. There is,
it is true, no definite statement to the effect that children in these
tribes take their totems from the father, but we may assume that it is
the case. If therefore the statement in question is accurate, it is a
pretty clear proof of the break-up of the social system; for under no
circumstances does the totem-kinsman, as a rule, violate the
sacro-sanctity of his own flesh. It cannot therefore be argued that the
fact of removal in the Maryborough tribes is any very strong evidence of
the primitive nature of the custom. In the other tribes, on the other
hand, it is distinctly stated that the practice prevails only when
marriage takes place between members of two different tribes, and among
the Wakelbura only exceptionally even when the wife is of an alien folk.
Whatever else the custom proves in these cases, it certainly evidences
the existence of friendly relations between the tribes in question; for
if it were otherwise the man would hardly be disposed to give up the
security of his own people for the perils of a strange community; on the
other hand it is hardly likely that the man's tribe would allow him to
pass over to the ranks of the strangers, nor would they view with
equanimity the loss of effective fighting strength which would result
from the fact that his children too would be numbered against them, not
for them, if it came to hostilities. The custom is therefore clear
evidence of fairly permanent friendly relations in the district in
question; and it is plain that we cannot assume these to have existed in
more primitive times. It is therefore difficult to see in what way the
present day practices lend support to the theory that the original usage
was for the husband to remove to his wife's group. For, be it noted,
there is not a single case, unless we include the anomalous Kurnai, in
which the husband removes to his wife's group within his own tribe; but
clearly this is the custom to which the removal theory applies. So far,
therefore, as Australia is concerned, the removal theory falls to the
ground; it cannot of course be disproved, but we are not justified in
assuming that matrilineal descent and matria potestas are due to a
custom of removal.

Inasmuch as patrilocal[15] marriage involves descent of group and tribal
property rights in the male line, it might appear that in rejecting the
hypothesis of a prior stage of matrilocal marriage, we are involving
ourselves in difficulties; for it is clearly not easy to see how descent
could come to be reckoned through the mother, while property descended
through the father. But it is obviously unnecessary in the first place
to regard the individual rights of property as originating
simultaneously or under the same conditions as the rules as to kinship
or even communal property; there is nothing to show how long the present
system of land tenure in Australia has held good, and it is clearly one
which points to a certain growth of population; for if the local group
were remote from their neighbours, there would be little need to
encroach; moreover, the exact delimitation of territory now in practice
is a thing of long growth.

Further consideration however shows that it is only by a confusion of
thought that we can speak of land descending in the male line (that is,
of course, in respect of group rights, not private property, to which we
return later); strictly speaking the descent of landed property is
neither in the male nor the female line but local. A man who removes to
his wife's tribe is, so far as we can see, as truly part owner of the
tribal land as if he were himself a member of the tribe by birth within
its limits. The suggested difficulty, therefore, does not exist, and the
conclusion as to removal customs holds good.

We may now examine the relation of matriliny to the seat of authority in
the family. Questions of potestas naturally range themselves under more
than one head. We have (1) the relation of the husband (_a_) to the wife
and (_b_) to the children; (2) the relation of the mother to the
children, and closely connected with this the influence of the mother's
brother; finally (3) we have the position of the widow, a matter indeed
more intimately connected with inheritance from a legal point of view
but in Australia more closely connected with potestas than in countries
where slavery is a recognised institution.

Small as is our information on Australian jurisprudence, it is certain
that the husband enjoys practically unrestricted rights over the person
of his wife, _pirrauru_ and similar customs apart. He may at will lend
her or hire her out to strangers; he may punish her infidelity,
disobedience or awkwardness by chastisement, not stopping short of the
infliction of spear or club wounds; he may even, according to Roth[16],
go so far as to kill her and yet get off scot free, his only duty in
such a case being to provide a sister for the brothers of his dead wife
to kill in retaliation.

This custom suggests that the kin to which the woman belongs claim a
certain property in her even after she is married, and this partial
proprietorship naturally implies a slight protecting influence; for it
would clearly not be in every case easy for the homicidal male to find a
sister ready to go out and be killed as a set-off to his murdered wife.
We should not, it is true, overlook the fact that the customs of the
Pitta-Pitta differ from those of many of the Australian tribes, in that
exchange of sisters is not practised. Otherwise it would be tempting to
argue that this proprietorship in the women of their kin may go back to
the time of Mr Lang's connubial groups and help to explain the reckoning
of descent through females. For clearly, if a woman still belongs in a
sense to the group she has left, so may her children belong to the same
group, inasmuch as their relationship to her is, to us at any rate,
unmistakeable. If any evidence could be produced for the widespread
existence of the custom (found in various parts of the globe, though
not, up to the present, in Australia), according to which the widow and
her children remove to her own district, some probability would be
imparted to this hypothesis.

The ordinary rule as regards punishment inflicted by the husband on the
wife seems to be that he may go any length short of doing her a mortal
injury, without being liable to be called to account. The punishment of
death however may only be inflicted for adultery and certain specified
offences without incurring a blood-feud with the woman's relatives.

It is by no means improbable that under the influence of the custom of
exchanging sisters there may be a tendency for the control of the kin in
this respect to diminish; in fact the Boulia example is only explicable
on this hypothesis. At the same time we cannot overlook the fact that
elopement, or real marriage by capture, as distinguished from formal
abduction, would, so far as we can see, have a similar effect, and the
rise of the custom of exchange of sisters would in that case tend to
re-establish rather than weaken the power of the woman's kin, at any
rate in the first instance.

However this may be, the woman's kin exercises, _primâ facie_, some kind
of protectorship. At the present day the kinship may be matrilineal or
patrilineal without affecting their right. But if, before kinship was
reckoned at all, this protectorship were exercised for the benefit of
the children, we clearly have a possible cause of matriliny.

For a discussion of the question of the inheritance of the deceased's
wife by his brother we have more facts at our disposal. As a matter of
fact it is a not infrequent custom in Australia for the widow to pass to
the deceased husband's brother[17]; or if she does not become his wife,
he decides to whom she shall be allotted[18]. In no case do the woman's
kin seem to have a voice in the selection of her new husband. On the
whole therefore the proprietary rights found in the Boulia district seem
to be the product of exceptional local conditions. If this is so, it is
clear that in the matter of potestas the rights of the woman's kin are
now absolutely restricted to protecting her from a death which she has
not according to native law deserved and to avenging such a death when
it is inflicted by the husband.

The so-called levirate, or right of succession to the widow, is clearly
of much importance, so far as questions of dominion are concerned; but
as regards the problems of descent the evidence is less easily
interpreted. It has sometimes been assumed that the succession of the
brother and not the son is a mark of matriliny; but it is clear that
where the right of appropriating the widow is concerned, this is very
far from being the case, for the simple reason that the real matria
potestas would put her at the disposal of the kin from whom she
originally came; on the other hand, inasmuch as the son is naturally
debarred from marrying his own mother or his tribal mother, who commonly
belongs to a class into which he does not marry, there might easily
arise in a purely patripotestal and patrilineal tribe a custom of
handing over the widow to the father's brother.

On the whole however it seems simplest to regard the matter as one in
which the rights are determined by no considerations of inheritance or
descent but simply by the rule that the property in the woman remains
vested in the body of purchasers. For it must be remembered that not
only an own but also a tribal sister may be given in exchange for a
wife. From this it follows that, theoretically at any rate, the
contracting parties are corporations rather than individuals, and in
this case the death of the individual on whose behalf the transaction
has been effected does not extinguish the proprietary rights acquired by
handing over a woman, standing in the relation of sister to the one
corporation, in exchange for another woman standing in the relation of
sister to the other corporation.

If this solution is correct, it is unnecessary to go into the
complicated question of the relation of brother-inheritance to matriliny
and patriliny. For it is by no means clear that it is an exemplification
of the former rather than the latter principle. It may, of course, be
argued that brothers succeed as children of the same mother; but against
this must be set the fact that they are also children of the same
father; for uncertain paternity can only be a _vera causa_ where
_pirrauru_ and similar customs are found; and even here the pre-eminence
of the primary husband might well be held to determine the legal
paternity of the children, which is, of course, especially in Africa, a
matter of potestas rather than procreation. However this may be, the
position of the widow does not appear to invalidate the guardianship
origin of matriliny.

We now turn to the question of why male tends to take the place of
female descent. The possible factors are (1) authority in the family,
(2) the rise of chieftainship and inheritance generally, and (3) the
organisation of the family group. Of the authority of father or mother
over the children, there is not much trace in Australia except in the
most youthful period of the pre-adult life. It is for example
exceptional for a parent to correct a child. As to who decides in cases
of infanticide we have unfortunately too little information to be able
to generalise. Only in one important step--that of betrothal--have we
anything like adequate information, and the interrelations between rule
of descent and potestas are found to be in this case sufficiently clear,
though it is not clear on what principle it is decided _who_ shall
exercise the right.

Taking first tribes with matrilineal descent, we find that the Barkinji,
the Wakelbura, the Dieri, and in some cases the Wollaroi, assign the
right of betrothal to the mother or mother's brother[19]. In other
cases, transitional forms, the father, his elder brother, or the girl's
brothers decide, or else the parents or two of these persons
jointly[20]. Among the Mukjarawaint the betrothal rested in part with
the paternal grandparents[21]; it may be noted that the grandfather had
to decide also whether a child should be brought up or killed. Among the
Kuinmurbura it falls to the mother's brother's son or the father's
sister's son, who is, apparently, entitled to marry the girl

Turning now to tribes with male descent, we find that the father, his
brother, or the parents, almost invariably make the decision[23]. Among
the eight-class tribes, Spencer and Gillen assert in one place[24] that
the mother's brother betroths a girl; but this is contradicted in two
other passages[25], and cannot be regarded as reliable.

On the whole therefore it appears that while there are some survivals of
matria potestas into patrilineal descent, and in the matrilineal stage
transitional forms are found, the right of betrothal tends to pass from
the mother's to the father's side, when the rule of descent changes; but
there is little to show how far a change in the right of betrothal tends
to cause a change in the rule of descent.

A curious fact may be noted here, which goes far to demonstrate the
absolutely heterogeneous nature of kinship and consanguinity, and
suggests that descent is not reckoned in the female line on account of
any supposed specially close connection between the mother and her
offspring. Of the four tribes among which, according to Howitt, the
child is regarded as the offspring of the father alone[26], the mother
being only its nurse, two, the Yuin and Kulin, have male descent; two,
however, the Wolgal and Tatathi, have female descent, and among the
latter, in addition, the right of betrothal lies with the mother or
mother's brother.

On the whole, therefore, it may be said that no questions of potestas
seem to have exercised any influence in bringing about the transition
from matrilineal to patrilineal descent. It does not appear necessary,
therefore, to do more than allude in passing to a fact which may well
have had something to do with the decay of matria potestas, at any rate,
so far as the mother's brother is concerned, even if it did not actively
hasten the coming of patria potestas. This fact is the considerable size
of the area over which, with the rise of the so-called nations, it is
possible to select a wife. The more remote geographically the mother's
relatives, the less their influence. Allowance must of course be made
for the opportunities of discussion afforded by the great gatherings of
the tribes; but the wider area of bride-choice must have shaken the
authority of the brother.

It has been remarked above that there is no well-established case of the
right of betrothal being assigned on patrilineal principles in a
matrilineal tribe. The influence of the father's brother is not
necessarily a mark of patrilineal tendencies, except in so far as all
patria potestas is such. That the elder brother has authority in this
case is no more decisive than that the elder brother has authority in
cases of betrothal; it is no more an exemplification of the simple
patria potestas, which has already been shown to be universal and under
but slight limitations so far as the wife is concerned. From the point
of view of potestas, it is a great advance that the father should be
able to dispose of his own daughter in marriage; but if we may judge by
the survival of matria potestas into patriliny, the cases of patria
potestas under matriliny cannot have exercised an important influence in
bringing about a change in the rule of descent.

The case of the power of the girl's own brother is somewhat different.
_Primâ facie_ it appears to owe its origin to the fact that it is the
brothers who are mainly interested in the transaction, inasmuch as it is
to them that wives come in exchange for the sisters given in marriage.
Consequently we cannot, as has already been the case with the so-called
levirate, assign the practice definitely either to matripotestal or
patripotestal customs, for father's and mother's authority are alike

It has already been stated that we have but few data for estimating the
influence of the right of betrothal on the rule of descent. Clearly the
father has little to gain from the fact that his daughter follows him
rather than the mother, when the inevitable effect of the marriage
regulations is to make her children of the phratry and totem of her
husband, and consequently to make them of a different phratry and totem
from her father. Under matriliny on the other hand there is nothing to
prevent the grandchildren from being of the same totem as the
grandfather, and they are necessarily of the same class in a four-class
tribe. If considerations with regard to the phratry and totem of the
grandchildren played any part in bringing about a change in the rule of
descent, this must have been based on a review of the changes that would
be brought about in the position of the son's and not the daughter's
offspring. But this is unlikely.

But on the other hand the father's disposal of the daughter's hand is
indirectly a means of increasing his influence both with his son and in
general. If the son gains his wife by an exchange of sisters, the
father's authority is obviously increased. But we do not know how far
this factor of the right of betrothal has operated.

Turning now to questions of inheritance, we find that properly speaking
the hereditary chief is unknown in Australia. There is a tendency for
the son of the tribal headman to succeed his father, but it is subject
to exceptions. Moreover, it is by no means a universal rule for the
tribe to have an over-headman; it may be ruled by the council of
district headmen. In any case the influence of the quasi-hereditary
character of the over-headmanship upon the rule of descent cannot but
have been comparatively slight.

It is, on the other hand, usual for the local group and the totem kin to
have headmen. In the case of the latter, age is often the qualification,
as among the Dieri[27]; in such cases there is no possible effect on the
rule of succession. But among some of the Victorian tribes with
matrilineal descent the rule is for the son to follow the father in the
headmanship[28]; and the same is the case, as we should expect, among
the patrilineal eight-class tribes[29]. The most important tribe in
which hereditary headmanship is combined with female descent is the
Wiradjeri[30]; their neighbours, the Kamilaroi, showed marked respect to
the son of a headman, if he possessed ability, though they did not,
apparently, make him his father's successor[31].

On the whole, then, we cannot assign much weight to this element in the
list of possible causes of the transition.

Of inheritance of chattels or land and fixtures we know little. From
Spencer and Gillen we learn that among the Warramunga the mother's
brother, or daughter's husband, succeeds to the boomerangs, and other
moveable property[32]. Among the Kulin and the Kurnai inheritance in the
male line seems to have been the rule. In the Adelaide district, as we
learn from Gerstaecker[33], individual property in land was known; it
descended in the male line. Among the Turribul there was individual
property in _bunya-bunya_ trees; these too devolved from father to

On the other hand on the Bloomfield property in zamia nut grounds has
vested in women and descends from mother to daughter[35]; but in this
remarkable variant we see, of course, not the influence of the mother's
kin, but female influence or rather the right of females to the produce
of their labour. In respect of other property, inheritance in North
Queensland is in the male line, for it descends to blood brothers and
remains in the same exogamous group from generation to generation.

This brings us to the question of the part played by the local group in
causing the change from female to male descent. Under ordinary
circumstances, with female descent, the local group is made up of
persons of different phratries and totems; in any case, just as the
phratry and totem of the members of the individual family change from
generation to generation, the complexion of the local group is liable to
be completely changed; though in practice the changes in one direction
are no doubt counterbalanced by changes in the other, so that the net
result may be nil, when the original differences were small. But we
cannot suppose that the group was often evenly balanced; and a change in
the rule of descent would in that case have important results for the
local group and in any case for the individual family.

The importance of the difference in the constitution of the local group
under descent in the male line is seen when we reflect that in the
normal tribe the totem kin is practically the unit for many purposes.
If, for example, an emu man has killed, let us say, an iguana man, it is
the duty of the iguana men to avenge the death of their kinsman. Their
vengeance need not, however, fall on the original perpetrator of the
deed; according to the rules of savage justice all the emu men are
equally responsible with the culprit; consequently it suffices to kill
the first emu person whom they can find. Conversely, those to whom an
emu man looks for defence, when he is attacked, or assistance, when he
wishes to abduct a wife or anything of that sort, are his fellow emu
men. It is therefore clear that the rule of male descent gives far
greater security to the members of a local group; for they are
surrounded by kinsmen. Under the rule of female descent, on the other
hand, they probably have some kinsmen in the same group but equally a
considerable number of members of other totem kins.

Self-interest therefore, no less than the natural sympathy between
fathers and children, as well as between members of the same group
(quite apart from forays and fighting), must have tended to bring about
a change in the laws of descent.

The late Major J.W. Powell has already described the transition from
matria potestas to patria potestas among the Pueblo peoples. He put it
down to economic conditions, which lead the groups to scatter, each
under the headship of a male, who is also the husband; this naturally
resulted in a weakening of the influence of the mother's brother. It is,
however, less clear that it would bring about the decay of the power of
the mother herself, which in Australian tribes, at any rate, seems to be
independent of the support she obtains from her male relatives.

In Australia, as we have seen, the change from matria to patria potestas
had but little influence in bringing about a change in the rule of
descent. Here, too, the change in the rule of descent may be put down in
the main to economic causes also in a broad sense. Dumping was not in
those days a question of practical politics; the problem was to prevent
the neighbours from pursuing the policy of the free and open port. The
necessity of protecting tribal and group property in land and game would
naturally tend to bind men closer and closer, in proportion as the
pressure from without became greater. It is perhaps hardly accidental
that the main area of male descent is that which has also developed the
Intichiuma ceremonies.

If Prof. Gregory's view[36] that the occupation of Victoria by the
natives dates back no more than 300 years is correct, we may perhaps see
in the migration one cause of the rise of patriliny. Anything which
tended to shake the influence of the mother's kin would increase the
father's power; and the need of protecting newly established groups
from the incursions of their neighbours would be more urgent than in
older districts. As we have seen, the first mentioned cause has
elsewhere had little direct effect; but it may well have played a larger
part under the novel conditions of migration and occupation of fresh

In South Queensland the fractionation of tribes seems to have gone
further than elsewhere, unless we suppose that we have here an area,
where, as in California, pressure from without has crowded together the
remnants of many tribes. Although it is not obvious how the
multiplication of distinct tribes has favoured patrilineal descent, we
may, at any rate, say that the conditions in the area are exceptional;
possibly it was more fruitful than the greater part of the continent; if
so personal property in the shape of trees, etc., which we have already
seen in existence in this area, would play a more important _rôle_ here,
and may well have determined the transition to patrilineal descent.


[10] _Fortn. Rev._ Sept. 1905, cf. van Gennep, _Mythes et Légendes_.

[11]  It cannot be said that the ordinary theory of the development of
kinship in the female line is satisfactory. The consanguine relation of
mother and child does not appear to be a complete answer to the question
why kinship--an entirely different thing--was reckoned through the
mother; the alleged uncertainty of fatherhood is in the first place
closely connected with an unproven stage of promiscuity and consequently
hardly a _vera causa_, until further evidence of such a stage has been
produced; and again among the Arunta, it is rather potestas than
physical fatherhood which, on their theory, determines the kinship of
the child so far as the class is concerned. For the primitive group
therefore we cannot assert any predominant interest of the mother in the
children nor yet admit that it would necessarily be important if it were
shown to exist.

[12] _Année Sociologique_ V, 104 sq.; VIII, 132 sq.; Tylor in _J.A.I._
XVIII, 245-272.

[13]  Howitt, pp. 220, 225, 234, 248; cf. 159, 269.

[14] _ib._ p. 234.

[15]  P. 30 _infra_.

[16] _Ethnological Studies_, p. 141.

[17]  Howitt, pp. 193, 224, 227, 236.

[18] _ib._ p. 248, cf. 227.

[19]  Howitt, pp. 195, 221, 177, 217.

[20] _ib._ pp. 210, 227, 252, 216, 177, 260.

[21] _ib._ p. 243.

[22] _ib._ p. 219.

[23] _ib._ pp. 232, 257, 236.

[24] _Nor. Tr._ p. 603.

[25] _ib._ pp. 77 n., 114.

[26]  Howitt, pp. 263, 255, 198, 195.

[27]  Howitt, p. 298.

[28] _ib._ pp. 306, 308 sq.

[29] _Nor. Tr._ p. 23.

[30]  Howitt, p. 303.

[31] _ib._ p. 302.

[32] _Nor. Tr._ p. 524.

[33] _Reisen._ IV, 347.

[34] _Petrie's Reminiscences_, p. 117.

[35] _N.Q. Ethn. Bull._ VIII.

[36] _Proc. R.S. Vict._ XVII, 120.



Definitions: tribe, sub-tribe, local group, phratry, class, totem kin.
     "Blood" and "shade." Kamilaroi type. History of Research in
     Australia. General sketch.

Before proceeding to deal with the Australian facts it will be well to
define the terminology to be employed, and give a brief survey of a
typical organisation. Looking at the population from the territorial
point of view in the first place, we find aggregates of tribes; these
may be termed _nations_. The component tribes are friendly, one with
another; they may and often do hold initiation ceremonies and other
ceremonials in common; although the language is usually syntactically
the same, and though they contain many words in common, the vocabularies
differ to such an extent that members of different tribes are not
mutually intelligible. How far the occurrence of identical kinship
organisation and nomenclature should be taken as indicating a still
larger unity than the nation is a difficult question. _Primâ facie_ the
nation is a relatively late phenomenon; but the distribution of the
names of kinship organisations, as will be shown later, indicates that
communication, if not alliance, existed over a wide area at some
periods, which it is difficult to suppose were anything but remote.

The idea of the _tribe_ has already been defined. It is a community
which occupies a definite area, recognises its solidarity and possesses
a common speech or dialects of the same.

Between the tribe and the family occur various subdivisions, known as
sub-tribes, hordes, local groups, etc., but without any very clear
definition of their nature. It appears, however, that the tribal area is
sometimes so parcelled out that property in it is vested, not in the
tribe as a whole, but in the _local group_, which welcomes
fellow-tribesmen in times of plenty, but has the right of punishing
intruders of the same tribe who seek for food without permission; for a
non-tribesman the penalty is death. In some cases the local group is
little more than an undivided family including three generations; it may
then occupy and own an area of some ten miles radius. In other cases the
term is applied to a larger aggregate, the nature and rights of which
are not strictly defined; it may number some hundreds of persons and
form one-third of the whole tribe; it seems best to denominate such an
aggregate by the name of _sub-tribe_.

The term _family_ may be retained in its ordinary sense.

Superposed on the tribal organisation are the kinship organisations,
which, in the case of most Australian tribes, are independent of
locality. Leaving out of account certain anomalous tribes, it may be
said broadly that an Australian tribe is divided into two sets, called
phratries, primary classes, moieties, etc. by various authors; the term
used in the present work for these divisions is _phratry_. Membership of
a phratry depends on birth and is taken _directly_ from the mother
(_matrilineal descent_) or father (_patrilineal descent_).

In Queensland and part of N.S. Wales the phratry is again subdivided,
and four _intermarrying classes_ (sometimes called sub-phratries) are
formed, two of which make up each phratry. In North Australia and
Queensland a further subdivision of each of these classes is found,
making eight in all. Descent in the classes is _indirect_ matrilineal or
indirect[37] patrilineal, the child belonging to the mother's or
father's phratry as before, but being assigned to the class of that
phratry to which the mother or father does not belong. The classes of
father and son together are called a _couple_. The parent from whom the
phratry and class name are thus derived is said to be the _determinant

These phratries and classes regulate marriage. It is forbidden to marry
within one's own phratry. This custom is termed _exogamy_. When the
husband removes and lives in his wife's group the marriage is
_matrilocal_; if the wife removes it is _patrilocal_.

In addition to the division into classes each phratry is further divided
into a number of _totem kins_. A _totem_ is usually a species of animals
or plants; a body of human beings stands in a certain peculiar relation
to the totem species and is termed the totem kin; each member of a totem
kin is termed a _kinsman_. Membership of the totem kin usually descends
directly from parent to child.

The existence of these kinship organisations is universally recognised.
Mr R.H. Mathews has recently asserted the existence of yet another form
and at the same time controverted the accepted views as to the operation
and meaning of those described above. He distinguishes in certain tribes
of New South Wales kinship organisations running across the phratries;
these are of two kinds, according to the author, but they do not seem to
differ in function. They are termed by Mr Mathews "_blood_" and
"_shade_" divisions, and are held by him to be the names of the really
exogamous groups. The subject is discussed in detail below.

In order to make the working of these regulations plain, let us take as
an example the Kamilaroi tribe of N.S. Wales, with two phratries, four
classes and various totem kins. The phratries are named Dilbi and
Kupathin; Dilbi is divided into two classes, Muri and Kubi; Kupathin
into Kumbo and Ipai. The Dilbi totems, which may belong to either of the
classes, are kangaroo, opossum and iguana; those of Kupathin are emu,
bandicoot and black snake. Every member of the tribe has his own
phratry, class and totem; these all come to him by descent.

We have little or no information as to the local grouping of the
Kamilaroi tribes, but it was possibly not unlike that of some of the
tribes to the north-west. In the case of the latter the tribal area was
some 3000 sq. miles in extent, it was split up into smaller areas,
thirty or more in number, which were the property of the local groups; a
local group consisted frequently of three generations of relatives. When
we come to deal below with marriage regulations it will be shown that
husband, wife and child under the four-class system all belong to
different classes; there were therefore in each group at least three
classes, if not four, and consequently members of two phratries. If we
assume that the same conditions prevailed among the Kamilaroi, the local
groups would then be made up of members of both the Dilbi and Kupathin
phratries; and probably all four classes, Muri, Kubi, Ipai and Kumbo,
would be found in each group, which in Australia varied in size
according to local conditions from 20 or 30 to 200; under special
conditions, such as prevailed in the neighbourhood of Lake Alexandrina,
the number might run up to 600 or more, but this was exceptional.

From the fact that the totems are divided between the phratries it is
clear that the local group may also have members of all the six totem
kins mentioned above, among its members.

The rules by which marriage and descent are regulated are apparently
very complicated but practically very simple. Taking the Kamilaroi tribe
again, the rule is that Muri marries Butha (a female Kumbo) and their
children are Ipai and Ipatha: Kubi marries Ipatha and their children are
Kumbo and Butha; in each case the children belong to the same phratry as
the mother but to the other class in that phratry. This is termed
indirect matrilineal descent.

The rule of descent for the totem among the Kamilaroi was simpler;
membership of a totem kin descends directly from a mother to her child.
The combined effect of these rules is that if, for example, a male Dilbi
of the Muri class and iguana totem wants to marry, he must choose a wife
of the Kupathin phratry, the Kumbo class, and either the emu, bandicoot,
or black snake totems; suppose he marries an emu woman; then his
children are of the Kupathin phratry, the Ipai (or Ipatha) class, and
the emu totem. These regulations are naturally more complicated among
the eight-class tribes; on the other hand, where only phratries and
totems are found, but no classes, descent is much simpler; for in each
case the child takes the phratry and totem of its mother, where
matrilineal descent prevails, or of its father, where patrilineal
descent is found.

The general rule in Australia is that the wife goes to live with her
husband; in other words, she leaves the local group in which she was
born and becomes a member of her husband's local group. The effect of
this is very different according as descent is reckoned through the
mother or through the father. Taking the Kamilaroi again, the
Muri-iguana man brings into his group a Butha-emu woman; their children
are Ipatha-emu. If, therefore, a local group is made up of the
descendants of a single family, the phratry, class, and totem names vary
from generation to generation; for the girls go to other groups, and the
men bring in wives of a phratry, class, and totem different, as a rule,
from their own; the children of the next generation take their kinship
names directly or indirectly from the mother.

If, on the other hand, descent is reckoned through the father, the
phratry and totem names are always the same from generation to
generation; from this it follows that the phratry of the wife, who comes
from without, is also the same from generation to generation, though her
totem name does not of necessity remain the same. The class name
alternates both in the case of the family and of the wives in successive
generations. It has already been pointed out that reckoning of descent
in the male line tends to bring about local grouping of the kinship
organisations. In the eight-class tribes, and in parts of Victoria, the
phratries, elsewhere the totem kins, tend to be or are actually limited
to certain portions of the tribal area.

Our knowledge of these matters has not, of course, been gained at a
bound. Before indicating the present extent of our information, it may
be well to give an historical sketch of early discoveries in this field.

Some seventy years ago the attention of students of primitive social
institutions was drawn to the marriage regulations of the Indian tribes
of North America by an article in _Archaeologia Americana_[38]; in which
the author, drawing his conclusions partly from earlier writers, partly
from his own investigations, showed that the totem kin was an exogamous
group, while in some cases the kin bearing the name of a given totem
were not only exogamous, but not even permitted to choose their wives
from any of the other kins at will, being restricted in their choice to
certain groups or, in many cases, to a single group of totem kins,
according as the tribe was arranged in two or more phratries.

At least two observers had detected the existence of Australian
organisations of the same nature as the American phratries, so far as
our scanty information from West Australia goes, even before the
publication of _Archaeologia Americana_. The honour of being the first
to publish information on the subject belongs to Nind, who had spent
some time in the neighbourhood of King George's Sound in 1829, and
published his observations on native customs in the _Journal of the
Royal Geographical Society_[39] for 1832. Close on his heels came the
authors of _Journals of Explorations in West Australia_, which appeared
in 1833, and described journeys undertaken between 1829 and 1832.

The phratries were discovered in South Australia by the Rev. C.W.
Schürmann, whose Vocabulary[40], published in 1844, contains a mention
of the Parnkalla phratries, without, however, any indication of their
connection with marriage customs and exogamy. Five years earlier,
however, Lieutenant, afterwards Sir George Grey, had observed
institutions of the nature of totem kins, phratries, or intermarrying
classes in West Australia, and had detected their connection with the
marriage laws of the natives[41].

In 1841 and 1842, G.F. Moore[42] called attention to the grouping of the
native divisions or kins, and anticipated Schürmann, as will be shown
later. Grey, before the publication of his _Journal_, had read the
_Archaeologia_; but though he mentions the naming of "families" after
animals, he makes no mention of any grouping, but merely distinguishes
between "families" and "local names." Some of the names which he gives
seem to be those of phratries, and if he had been led by his study of
_Archaeologia Americana_ to the discovery of exogamic regulations
dealing with the relations of individual totem kins to one another, it
seems on the whole probable that he would not have overlooked the
grouping of the kins which is, with certain exceptions, of a more or
less local character, common to the whole of Australia, so far as our
information goes. Singularly enough this information, very full,
relatively, for the eastern and central tribes, has, so far as
South-West Australia is concerned, only just been completed, although
more than sixty years have elapsed since Grey wrote, the last twenty of
which have seen much additional light thrown on the organisation of the
tribes of the remainder of the continent.

The American tribes, where simple totemic exogamy is not the rule, are
organised in two and sometimes three or more, up to ten, phratries. It
is possible that Grey, in spite of his attention having been drawn to
the bi- or trichotomous organisation of American totem kins, failed to
understand the Australian system owing to the presence of an element,
discovered a few years later at a point remote from the scene of Grey's
researches, to which no American analogue exists. In addition to the
grouping of the kins into phratries, the Australian tribes over a large
part of the continent subdivide each phratry into two or four classes or
"castes," as they were frequently termed by the early investigators. The
effect of the class system is to further limit the choice of a given
individual, restricted to one-half of the women of the tribe under the
simple phratry system, to one-fourth of them or one-eighth, as the case
may be. Probably the first person to publish the fact of the existence
of these classes, which he regarded as differing in rank, was C.P.
Hodgson[43], who found them in 1846 among the blacks of Wide Bay. From a
letter of Leichardt's however it appears that the discovery must have
been made nearly simultaneously by several observers. Writing in
1847[44], he says that the castes are the most interesting and most
obscure feature among the tribes to the northward, and mentions F.N.
Isaacs as having noticed the existence of the classes among the natives
of Darling Downs, adding that Capt. Macarthur had also found them among
the Monobar tribes of the Coburg Peninsula. "These castes," he adds,
"are probably intimately connected with the laws of intermarriage."

If Leichardt's words mean, as apparently they do, that the Monobar
classes are regulative of marriage, and if his information was correct,
the first mention of classes in Australia is found, not in Hodgson's
work, but in Wilson's account[45]. Neither he, however, nor Stokes[46],
who mentions them as existing among the Limba Karadjee, makes any
mention of their connection with marriage regulations. And Earl, at a
later period, omits in like manner to say what constituted membership of
a caste, though he states that they differed in rank. The
names--Manjarojally (fire people), Manjarwuli (land people), and
Mambulgit (makers of nets, perhaps, therefore, water people), as well as
the anomalous number of the classes, seem to indicate that they are of a
somewhat different nature to the real intermarrying classes found
elsewhere[47]. It is of course well known that the initiation ceremonies
and totemic system of the northern tribes on both sides of the Gulf of
Carpentaria differ somewhat widely from the normal Australian form.

None of the observers hitherto mentioned can be said however to have
applied himself to the scientific study of the questions raised by the
facts which they recorded. Anthropology was in those days in its
infancy. The first to make a really serious effort to clear up the many
difficult questions, some of them still matters of controversy, which a
closer study of the native marriage customs brought to the surface, was
a missionary anthropologist, a class of which England has produced all
too few. In 1853 the Rev. William Ridley published the first of many
studies of the Kamilaroi speaking tribes, and, thanks to the impetus
given to the investigation of systems of relationship and allied
questions by Lewis Morgan, was the pioneer of a series of efforts which
have rescued for us at the nick of time a record of the social
organisation of many tribes which under European influence are now
rapidly losing or have already lost all traces of their primitive
customs, if indeed they have not, like the tribes formerly resident at
Adelaide and other centres of population, been absolutely exterminated
by contact with the white man with his vices and his civilisation, or by
the less gentle method euphemistically termed "dispersion," which, if
other nations were the offenders, we should term massacre.

After Mr Ridley, Messrs Fison and Howitt turned their attention to the
Kamilaroi group of tribes. The progress of these investigations is
traced, historically and controversially, in the second series of
Maclennan's _Studies in Ancient History_, and it is unnecessary to deal
with it in detail. More and more light was thrown on totemism, marriage
regulations, and intermarrying classes by the persistent efforts of Mr
Howitt, by Dr Frazer's little work on Totemism, and by other students,
until it seemed that the main features of Australian social organisation
had been clearly established, when in 1898 the researches of Messrs
Spencer and Gillen seemed to do much to overthrow all recognised
principles, so far as the totemic regulation of marriage was concerned.
How far this is actually the case it is unnecessary to consider here. It
may be said however that the work of these two investigators and the
enquiries of Dr Roth in North Queensland make it more than ever a matter
for regret that the British Empire, the greatest colonial power that the
world has ever seen, will not afford the few thousand pounds needed to
put such researches on a firm basis.

Having defined the various terms, and shown the actual working of the
system by the aid of the best known example, we may now pass, after this
brief historical sketch of the development of our knowledge, to the task
of giving the broad outlines of the phratry and class organisations.

If our knowledge of Australian phratries and classes is far from
exhaustive, we have at any rate a fair knowledge of the distribution of
the various types whose existence is generally recognised; that is to
say, we can delimit the greater part of the continent according to
whether the tribes show two phratries only, or two phratries, which may
be anonymous, with the further subdivision into four classes, or into
eight classes. We also know approximately the limits of the matrilineal
and patrilineal systems. New South Wales, Victoria, the southern portion
of Queensland and Northern Territory, the eastern part of South
Australia, and the coastal regions of West Australia, are now known
with more or less accuracy from the point of view of kinship
organisations. On the other hand, from the Cape York Peninsula, and the
part of Northern Territory north of Lat. 15°, we have little if any
information. The south coast and its hinterland from 135° westwards, as
far as King George's Sound, is virtually a terra incognita; in fact
beyond the south-western corner and the fringe which lies along the
coast we know little of the West Australian blacks, and the frontiers
between the various systems must in these areas be regarded as purely

Broadly speaking, the tribes of the whole of the known area of
Australia, certain coast regions of comparatively small extent excepted,
have a dichotomous kinship organisation. The accompanying map (Map II)
shows how the various forms are distributed. Along most of the south
coast, and up a belt broken perhaps in the northern portion, running
through the centre of the continent in Lat. 137°, are found two
phratries without intermarrying classes; for the area west of Lat. 130°
we have, it is true, only one datum, which gives no information as to
the area to which it applies; this portion of the field therefore is
assigned only provisionally to the two-phratry system. On the Bloomfield
River, which runs into Weary Bay, associated with the name of Captain
Cook, is an isolated two-phratry organisation, unless indeed we may
assume that the class names have either been overlooked or have passed
out of use.

The four-class system extends over the greater part of New South Wales,
and Queensland; a narrow belt runs through the north of South Australia
and broadens till it embraces the whole coastline of West Australia, the
north-eastern area excluded. An isolated four-class system, which does
not regulate marriage, is found in the Yorke Peninsula of South

The eight-class system forms a compact mass, between the Gulf of
Carpentaria and Roebuck Bay, extending south as far as Lat. 25° in the
centre of Australia.

In reality the rule of the eight-class system extends considerably
further south, but the classes are nameless or altogether non-existent.
Thus, the southern Arunta have nominally four classes, but each of these
has two sections, so that the final result is as though they were an
eight-class tribe. In the same way the marriage regulations of the
two-phratry Dieri are such that choice is limited among them precisely
as it would be if they had eight classes. The same may be true of the
remainder of the western branch of the four-class system, which is
closely allied in name to the Arunta type; the boundary between the
related sets of names is unknown.

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° and west of an irregular line running from
Long. 137° to 140° 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.

In the eight-class system and among the nominally four-class southern
Arunta the intermarriage and descent is as follows, according to Spencer
and Gillen;

      _A1_               _B1_
     ------ = _A4_,     ------ = _B3_,
      _B1_               _A1_

      _A_2               _B2_
     ------ = _A3_,     ------ = _B4_,
      _B2_               _A2_

      _A3_               _B3_
     ------ = _A2_,     ------ = _B1_,
      _B3_               _A3_

      _A4_               _B4_
     ------ = _B4_,     ------ = _B2_.
      _B4_               _A4_

In each case the male is the numerator, the woman the denominator, and
the = shows the child.

Tribes with conterminous territories usually know what phratries and
classes are equivalent in their systems. In the tables which follow the
phratries and the classes of matrilineal tribes are arranged to show
this correspondence so far as it is known. A * shows that no information
on the point is to hand. A rearrangement of patrilineal classes is
necessary to make them equivalent to the organisations of matrilineal
tribes; this cannot be shown in the tables; but full details will be
found in the works of Spencer and Gillen. A † indicates patrilineal

Where the names of phratries and classes are translated, the meanings
are shown in the tables; where the authorities do not give the
translation but a word of the same form is in use in the tribe or group
of tribes the meanings are given in round brackets; words in use in
neighbouring tribes are put in square brackets.


_The Class Names._

     _Class names_             _Feminine_         _Meaning_
   I. Muri (Bya)[48]            Matha              (Red kangaroo)
      Kubi                      Kubitha            (Opossum)
      Kumbo (Wōmbee)[49]        Butha
      Ipai                      Ipatha             (Eaglehawk)

These class names are found in the following tribes:

Kamilaroi (Howitt, p. 107); Wiradjeri (_ib._ 107); Wonghi (_ib._ 108);
Euahlayi (Mrs L. Parker, _Euahlayi Tribe_, p. 13); Ngeumba (Mathews in
_Eth. Notes_, p. 5); Murawari (_id._ in _Proc. R.G.S. Qu._, 1906, 55);
Moree (_R.G.S. Qu._ X, 20); Turribul (_R.S. Vict._ I, 102); Wollaroi
(Howitt, 109); on Narran R. (Curr, I, 117); Pikumbul (_ib._); Unghi
(Howitt, 217); Peechera (Curr, III, 271); Wailwun (_ib._ I, 116);
Wonnaruah (_Sci. Man_, I, 180); Geawegal (Howitt, 266).

Associated with these class names are the following phratry names:

(_a_) Kamilaroi, etc.           Dilbi              Kupathin
(_b_) Wiradjeri to N. of        Budthurung         Mukula
(_c_) Wonghibon                 Ngielbumurra       Mukumurra (Howitt)
(_d_)    "  & Ngeumba          {Ngumbun            Ngurrawan (Mathews)
(_e_) Euahlayi                  Gwaigullean        Gwaimudthen
(_f_) Murawari                  Girrana            Merugulli

     _Class names_             _Feminine_
  II. Kurbo                     Kooran
      Marro                     Kurgan
      Wombo                     Wirrikin
      Wirro                     Wongan

The proper arrangement of these names is unknown.

_Tribe_: Kombinegherry (_J.A.I._ XIII, 304; Howitt, 105).

_Science of Man_ (IV, 8) gives:

      Carribo                   Gooroona
      Maroongah                 Carrigan
      Womboongah                Werrican
      Weiro                     Warganbah

For the Anaywan, Thangatty, etc., R.H. Mathews gives (_J.R.S.N.S.W._
XXXI, 169):

      Irpoong                   Matyang
      Marroong                  Arrakan
      Imboong                   Irrakadena
      Irroong                   Palyang

     _Class name (Fem. termination, -an or -gan)_ _Meaning_
III†[50]. Parang (Moroon)                          (Black wallaby. Emu)
      Bunda                                        [Kangaroo]
      Balgoin (Banjoor,                            (Red wallaby. Native
        Pandur)                                      bear)
      Theirwain                                    (Kangaroo)

_Tribes_: Maryborough tribes (Howitt, 117); Kabi (Curr, III, 163):
Kiabara (_J.A.I._ XIII, 305); ? (Hodgson, 212; Mathew, _Eaglehawk_,
100); Wide Bay (Curr, I, 117).

For the Emon, Howitt (p. 109) gives:


With these classes are associated the phratries:

(_a_) The Maryborough tribes    Dilbi              Kupathin.
        and the Kiabara
(_b_) Dippil                    Deeajee            Karpeun

are the forms given by Mathews (_Proc. Am. Phil. Soc._ XXXVIII, 329).

     _Class names (Fem. termination, -an)_        _Meaning_
  IV. Karilbura                                    Barrimundi
      Munal                                        Hawk
      Kurpal                                       Good water
      Kuialla (Koodala)                            Iguana

_Tribes_: Kuinmurbura (_J.A.I._ XIII, 341; Howitt, 111). The Taroombul
have the form Koodala (_Proc. R.S. Qu._ XIII, 41).

For the Kangulu, Mathews (_J.R.S.N.S.W._ XXXIII, 111) gives:


With these may be compared Howitt's (p. 111):

      Jarbain (? Tarbain)

The phratries associated with these are:

(_a_) Kuinmurbura               Witteru            Yungaru
(_b_) Kangulu                   Wutthuru           Yungnuru

     _Class names_             _Fem. termination_ _Meaning_
  V.  Wongo
      Kubaru (Ubur, Obu)             -an           (Gidea tree)
      Bunburi (Anbeir, Unburri,
      Koorgilla (Urgilla)

_Tribes_: Ungorri (Howitt, 109); Kogai (Curr, I, 117; _J.A.I._ XIII,
337); Yuipera etc. (Curr, III, 45, 64; _J.A.I._ XIII, 302); Akulbura,
Bathalibura (Howitt, 113, 141); Wakelbura (Howitt, 112); on Belyando
(Curr, III, 26); Dalebura (Howitt, 113), Buntamurra (Howitt, 113, 226);
Purgoma (Roth, 66); Jouon (_ib._ 67); Pitta-Pitta, Goa, Miorli (Roth,
56-7); Ringa-Ringa (_J.A.I._ XIII, 337); Mittakoodi (Roth, 56-7);
Woonamurra (_ib._); Yerunthully (Mathews in _R.G.S. Qu._ X, 30); Badieri
(_id. ib._ 1905, 55).

With these class names are associated the phratries

(_a_) Kogai, Wakelbura etc.     Wuthera            Mallera
(_b_) Yuipera, Bathalibura      Wootaroo           Yungaroo
(_c_) Purgoma                   Naka               Tunna
(_d_) Jouon                     Chepa              Junna
(_e_) Pitta-Pitta etc.,         Ootaroo            Pakoota
        Mittakoodi, Woonamura
(_f_) Badieri                   Wootaroo           Yungo

Aberrant forms, probably inaccurate, are given by Curr (II, 424) for
Halifax Bay: Korkoro, Korkeen, Wongo, Wotero; by Lumholtz (p. 199) for
the Herbert R.: Gorilla, Gorgero, Gorgorilla, Otero, by Curr (II, 468)
for the Yukkaburra: Utheroo, Multheroo, Yungaroo, Goorgilla.

On the Tully R. Roth (_Ethn. Bull._ V, 20) found the following:

     _Class names_
  VI. Karavangi

With these may be compared the names given by Mathews for the Warkeman
(_J.R.S.N.S.W._ XXXII, 109, 251):


On the Annan R. we find (Howitt, 118) with male descent:

     _Class names_                                _Meaning_
 VII. Wandi                                        Eaglehawk
      Walar                                        Bee
      Jorro                                        Bee
      Kutchal                                      Saltwater Eaglehawk

With these are associated the phratries:

(_a_)                           Walar              Murla

VIII. Ranya (Arenia)
      Rara (Arara)
      Awunga (Arawongo)

_Tribes_: Wollongurma (Roth, 68); Goothanto (Mathews in _J.R.S.N.S.W._
XXXIII, 109).

Connected with these forms are:

     _Class names_
      Barry (Ahjereena)
      Ararey (Arrenynung)
      Jury [? Loory] (Perrynung)
      Mungilly (Mahngal) [diamond snake][52]

_Tribes_: Koogobathy (_J.A.I._ XIII, 303); Koonjan etc. (Mathews in
_J.R.S.N.S.W._ XXXIII, 110, XXXIV, 135). Probably Perrynung and
Ahjereenya should be transposed.

     _Class names_             _Feminine_
  IX. Jimmilingo                Carburungo
      Badingo                   Ngarrangungo
      Maringo[53]               Munjungo
      Youingo (Kapoodungo)      Goothamungo

_Tribes_: Miappe (Roth, 56-7); Mycoolon (_J.A.I._ XIII, 302);
Workoboongo (Roth, _ib._).

For the Kalkadoon, Roth (_ib._) gives:


With these are associated the phratries:

(_a_) Kalkadoon                 Ootaroo            Mullara
(_b_) Miappe                    Woodaroo           Pakutta

     _Class names_
   X. Murungun

_Tribe_: Mara (_Northern Tribes_, 119).

With these the phratry names:

(_a_)                           Urku               Ua

In this tribe is male descent, and, as in the S. Arunta, the classes are
themselves divided; for equivalence the numbers of the eight-class
system are arranged (_Nor. Tr._ 123), 1, 4; 3, 2; 5, 7; 6, 8.

Leichardt (_Journal_, 447) reports from the Roper R., Gnangball, Odall,
Nurumball, which from their form seem to be class names and identifiable
with some of the Mara names.

     _Class names_
  XI. Awukaria

_Tribe_: Anula (_Nor. Tr._ 119).

XII. For the eight-class system see Table I a; in which it is assumed
that patrilineal descent prevails in all the tribes.

With these are associated the following phratries:

(_a_) Umbaia, Gnanji            Illitchi           Liaritchi
(_b_) Warramunga, Walpari,      Uluuru             Kingilli
(_c_) Worgaia                     "                Bimgaru
(_d_) Bingongina                Wiliuku            Liaraku

Spencer and Gillen, _Nor. Tr._ pp. 100-102, 119. On p. 102 is a
statement about the Bingongina inconsistent with that on the following
page; according to the former the phratry names are Illitchi, Liaritchi,
as among the Umbaia.

     _Class names_
XIII. Panunga

_Tribe_: S. Arunta (_Nat. Tr._ 90).

XIII_a_. Deringara

_Tribe_: Yoolanlanya etc. (_R.G.S. Qu._ XVI, 75).

The arrangement suggests that matrilineal descent prevails, but there is
probably some error.

          _Class names_
XIII_b_. Burong (Parungo)
         Ballieri (Parajerri; Butcharrie)
         Banaka (Boogarloo)
         Kymerra (Kaiamba)

_Tribes_: Gnamo, Gnalluma (_Int. Arch._ XVI, 12); Nickol Bay and
Kimberley have the alternative forms of 1, 2, and 4 (Curr, I, 296;
_Kamilaroi_, 36, Mathews in _J.R.S.N.S.W._ XXXV, 220), Weedokarry (_id._
in _Proc. Am. Phil. Soc._ XXXIX, 89) have third form of 2; at Murchison
R. Boorgarloo comes into use (_West Australian_, Ap. 7, 1906).

     _Class names_             _Meaning_
 XIV. Tondarup (Namyungo)       Fish hawk
      Didaruk                   Sea
      Ballaruk (Yangor)         (Opossum)
      Naganok                   (Fish)

_Tribes_: S.W. Australia, Tarderick etc. (_West. Aust._, _loc. cit._;
Moore, _Desc. Voc._, _Col. Mag._ V, 422.

The phratries are

(_a_)                           Wartungmat         Munichmat

The equivalence is unknown.

     _Class names_
  XV. Langenam

_Tribe_: Joongoongie of N. Queensland (Mathews in _Proc. Am. Phil. Soc._
XXXIX, 93).

Associated with them the phratries:

(_a_)                           Jamagunda          Gamanutta

The equivalence is unknown.

     _Class names_                                _Meaning_
 XVI. Kari                                         Emu
      Waui                                         Red kangaroo
      Wiltu                                        Eaglehawk
      Wilthuthu                                    Shark

_Tribe_: Narrangga of Yorke Peninsula (Howitt, p. 130).


[48]  The Darkinung have Bya for Muri (_J.R.S.N.S.W._ XXXI, 170).

[49]  Some of the Wiradjeri have Wōmbee for Kumbo (Gribble, 113).

[50]  Male descent.

[51]  Some of the names given by Howitt and Mathews seem to be identical
with those of the Kiabara, but there is a difficulty about the
arrangement, for Koorpal-Keeara=Yungnuru=Bunya-Jarbain; but Banniar,
which seems to be the same as Bunya, falls in the other moiety.

[52]  Curr, II, 478.

[53]  Marinungo seems to be the same as Maringo but is not equivalent.


 +---------------------+   +-------------------------------------------------+
 Oolawunga  | Bingongina | Umbaia[56] | Yookala   | Binbinga   |Gnanji[59]     |
  [54] etc. | [55]       |            | [57] etc. | [58]       |               |
 Janna      | Thama }    | Tjinum     |Jinagoo    |Tjuanaku    |Uanuku         |
 _Nanakoo_  | Tchana}    |  _Ninum_   |           |_Niriuma_   |_Nuanakurna_   |
            |  _Nana_    |            |           |            |               |
            |            |            |           |            |               |
 Jimidya    | Tjimita    | Tjulum     |Joolanjegoo|Tjulantjuka |Tjulantjuka    |
 _Namaja_   | _Namita_   | _Nulum_    |           | _Nurlum_   |_Nurlanjukurna_|
            |            |            |           |            |               |
 Dhalyeree  | Thalirri   | Paliarinji |Bullaranjee|Paliarinji  |Paliarinji     |
            | _Nalirri_  | _Paliarina_|           |_Paliarina_ |_Paliarina_    |
            |            |            |           |            |               |
 Dhongaree  | Thungarie  | Pungarinji |Bungaranjee|Pungarinji  |Pungarinji     |
            | _Nungari_  |_Pungarinia_|           |_Pungarina_ |_Pungarinia_   |
            |            |            |           |            |               |
 Joolama    | Tjurla     | Tjurulum   |Jooralagoo |Tjurulum    |Uralaku        |
 _Nowala_   | _Nala_     | _Nurulum_  |           | _Nurulum_  |_Nuralakurna_  |
            |            |            |           |            |               |
 Jungalla   | Thungalla  | Thungallum |Jungalagoo |Thungallum  |Thungallaku    |
            | _Nungalla_ | _Nungallum_|           | _Nungallum_|_Nungallakurna_|
            |            |            |           |            |               |
 Jeemara    | Tjimara    | Tjamerum   |Jameragoo  |Tjamerum    |Tjameraku      |
            | _Nunalla_  |_Niameragun_|           | _Niamerum_ |_Niamaku_      |
            |            |            |           |            |               |
 Jambijana  | Tjambitjina| Yakomari   |Yukamurra  |Yakomari    |Yakomari       |
 _Nambean_  |_Nambitjina_| _Yakomarin_|           |_Yakomarina_|_Yakomarina_   |

 Worgaia[60]| Yangarella   | Inchalachie  | Yungmunnie  | Tjingillie[64]  |
            |   [61]       |   [62]       |  [63]       |                 |
 Wairgu     | Narrabalangie|{Narrabalangie| Unwannee    | Thamininja      |
            | _Neonammer_  |{Warkie       | _Imbannee_  | _Namininja_     |
            |              |              |             |                 |
 Blaingunjhu| Bolangie     | Bolangie     | Eemitch     | Tjimininja      |
            | _Nolangmer_  |              | _Immadena_  | _Truminginja_   |
            |              |              |             |                 |
 Biliarinthu| Bulleringie  | Belyeringie  | Uwallaree   | Thalaringinja   |
            | _Nulyarammer_|              | _Imballaree_| _Nalaringinja_  |
            |              |              |             |                 |
            |              |              |             |                 |
 Pungarinju | Bongaringie  | Beneringie   | Uwungaree   | Thungaringinta  |
            | _Nongarimmer_|              | _Imbongaree_| _Namaringinta_  |
            |              |              |             |                 |
 Warrithu   | Burralangie  |{Burralangie  | Urwalla     | Tjurulinginja   |
            | _Nurralammer_|{Narechie     | _Imbawalla_ | _Nalinginja_    |
            |              |              |             |                 |
 Kingelunju | Kunuller     | Kungilla     | Yungalla    | Thungallininja  |
            | _Nungalermer_|              | _Inkagalla_ | _Nalangininja_  |
            |              |              |             |                 |
 Tjameramu  | Kommerangie  |{Kommerangie  | Unmarra     | Thamaringinja   |
            | _Nemurammer_ |{Boonongoona  | _Inganmarra_| _Namaringinja_  |
            |              |              |             |                 |
 Ikamaru    | Yakomari     |{Akamaroo     | Tabachin    | Tjapatjinginja  |
            | _Jumeyunyie_ |{Thimmermill  | _Tabadenna_ | _Nambitjinginja_|

 {Ilpirra[65]  |{Warramunga[66] | Meening[67] | Mayoo[68]  | Koorangie |
 {Arunta       |{Walpari        |             |            |  [69] etc.|
 {Kaitish      |{Wulmala        |             |            |           |
 {Iliaura      |                |             |            |           |
  Panunga      | Thapanunga     | Chowan      | Chinuma    | Janna     |
               | _Napanunga_    | _Nowana_    | _Nanagoo_  | _Nanakoo_ |
               |                |             |            |           |
  Uknaria      | Tjinguri       | Choongoora  | Choongoora | Jamada    |
               | _Namigili_     | _Nangili_   | _Narbeeta_ |           |
               |                |             |            |           |
 {Bulthara     | Tjapeltjeri    | Chavalya    | Chavalya   | Dhalyeree |
 {Kabidgi      | _Naltjeri_     | _Nanajerry_ | _Nabajerry_|           |
  _Appitchana_ |                |             |            |           |
               |                |             |            |           |
  Appungerta   | Thapungarti    | Chowarding  | Changary   | Dhungaree |
               | _Napungerta_   | _Nabungati_ | _Nhermana_ |           |
               |                |             |            |           |
  Purula       | Tjupila        | Chooara     | Choolima   | Joolam    |
               | _Naralu_       | _Nooara_    | _Naola_    |           |
               |                |             |            |           |
  Ungalla      | Thungalla      | Changally   | Chungalla  | Jungalla  |
               | _Nungalla_     | _Nangally_  | _Nungalla_ |           |
               |                |             |            |           |
  Kumara       | Thakomara      | Chagarra    | Chapota    | Jameram   |
               |_Nakomara_      | _Nagarra_   | _Nemira_   |           |
               |                |             |            |           |
  Umbitchana   | Tjambin        | Chambeen    | Chambijana | Jummiunga |
               | _Nambin_       | _Nambeen_   | _Nambjana_ |           |


[54]  Mathews in _Proc. R.G.S. Qu._, X, 72.

[55] _Northern Tribes_, 101.

[56] _Ib._, 100, cf. _J.R.S.N.S.W._, XXXIV, 121; XXXIX, 105.

[57]  Mathews in _Proc. Am. Phil. Soc._, XXXVIII, 77.

[58] _Northern Tribes_, 111.

[59] _Northern Tribes_, 101.

[60] _Northern Tribes_, 101.

[61]  Mathews in _J.R.S.N.S.W._, XXXII, 251.

[62]  Mathews in _J.R.S.N.S.W._, XXXIII, 111.

[63]  Mathews in _J.R.S.N.S.W._, XXXIV, 130.

[64] _Northern Tribes_, 100; cf. _Am. Anth._, N.S. II, 495; _Proc.
R.G.S. Qu._, XVI, 72, 73.

[65] _Native Tribes_, 90; cf. _Proc. R.S. Vict._, N.S. X, 19;
_T.R.S.S.A._, XIV, 224; _J.R.S.N.S.W._, XXXII, 72.

[66] _Northern Tribes_, 100; cf. _J.A.I._, XVIII, 44; _J.R.S.N.S.W._,
XXXII, 73.

[67]  Mathews in _J.R.S.N.S.W._, XXXIII, 112; XXXV, 217.

[68]  Mathews in _Proc. R.G.S. Qu._, XVI, 70.

[69]  Mathews in _Am. Phil. Soc._, XXXVIII, 78.


_Phratry Names._

    _Phratries_      _Meanings_            _Name of Tribe_
 1. †Waa(ng)           Crow                 Wurunjerri[70]
     Bunjil or Wrepil  Eaglehawk
 2.  Yuckembruk            "                Ngarrego[71]
 3.  Umbe              Crow                 Wolgal[72] etc.
     Malian or Multa   Eaglehawk
 4.  Muquara               "                Berriait[73], Tatathi[74],
     Kilpara                                  Wathi-Wathi[74], Keramin[75],
                                              Waimbio[76], Barkinji[77],
                                              Milpulko[78], Wilya[78],
 5.  Kumit (Gamutch,   Black cockatoo
     Kaputch, Kulitch)
     Kroki (Krokitch,  White cockatoo       Booandik[80], Wotjoballuk[81],
     Krokage)                                 Gournditchmara[82] etc.

The feminine terminations are -egor, -gurk or -jarr.

For South-West Victoria Dawson (_Aborigines_, p. 26) gives two groups
and an odd totem kin (?):

    _Phratries_       _Meaning_             _Name of Tribe_

 6.  Kuurokeetch       Longbilled cockatoo
     Kartpoerappa      Pelican
     Kappatch          Banksia cockatoo
     Kirtuuk           Boa snake
     Kuunamit          Quail
 7.  Kararu (Kiraru,                         Dieri[83], Parnkalla & Nauo[84],
       Kararawa)                             Yandairunga[85], Urabunna[86]
 8.  Tinewa                                  Yandrawontha, Yowerawarika[87]
     Koolpuru          (? Emu)
 9.  Yungo             (? Kangaroo)
     Mattera                                 Kurnandaburi[88]
10.  Kookoojeeba
     Koocheebinga                            Geebera[89]

The equivalence is not known.

11.  Koorabunna
     Kooragula                               Goonganji[90]


12.  Darboo*                                 Bloomfield River[91]

*The equivalence is unknown.

   _Phratry names._         _Four-class system_     _Meaning_
20. Dilbi         Kupathin       Ia, III†
21. Budthurung(1) Mukula         Ib            (1)=black duck
22. Gwaigullean   Gwaimudthen    Ie            Light blood; dark blood
23. Ngielbumurra  Mukumurra      Ic
24. Ngumbun       Ngurrawan      Id
25. Girana        Merugulli      If
26. Deeajee       Karpeun        IIIb
27. Witteru       Yungaru        IVa, b; Vb    (? Kangaroo; ? emu)
27_a_. "          Yungo          Vf
28.    "          Mallera        Va, IXa
29.    "          Pakoota        Ve, IXb
30. Naka          Tunna          Vc
31. Walar         Murla*         VIIa          Bee; bee
32. Cheepa        Junna          Vd
33. Jamagunda     Gamanutta*     XIa
34. Wartungmat    Munichmat*     XIVa          Crow; white cockatoo

                           _Eight-class system_†
40. Illitchi      Liaritchi      XIIa
41. Uluuru        Biingaru       XIIc          (? Curlew)
42.   "           Kingilli       XIIb          (? Curlew)
43. Wiliuku       Liaraku        XIId
44. Urku          Ua             Xa


[70] Howitt, p. 126.

[71] _Id._ p. 101.

[72] _Id._ p. 102, Lang, _Secret_, p. 163.

[73]  Curr, II, 165.

[74] _J.A.I._ XIII, 338; Howitt, p. 195.

[75] _J.A.I._ XIV, 349.

[76]  Taplin, p. 17; Howitt, p. 100.

[77] _J.A.I._ XIV, 348; Curr, II, 188, 195.

[78]  Howitt, p. 98.

[79] _Id._ p. 106 n. For the Kurnai, Bunjil and Ngarregal were perhaps
phratry names (Howitt, p. 135).

[80]  Curr, III, 461; Howitt, p. 123.

[81] _Id._ p. 121.

[82] _Id._ p. 124.

[83]  Howitt, p. 91.

[84]  Woods, p. 222.

[85]  Howitt, p. 187.

[86] _Nor. Tr._ p. 60.

[87]  Howitt, p. 97.

[88]  Howitt, p. 92; Mathews in _J.R.S.N.S.W._ XXXIII, 108.

[89]  Mathews in _Proc. Am. Phil. Soc._ XXXIX, 187.

[90] _Sci. Man_, I. 84; Mathews in _Proc. Am. Phil. Soc._ XXXIX, 89; in
_J.R.S.N.S.W._ he reports a third name in certain

[91]  Mathews in _Proc. Am. Phil. Soc._ XXXIX, 89.


Allusion has been made in Chapter III to kinship organisations
denominated "bloods" and "shades" by Mr R.H. Mathews. Whether it is that
some observers have mistaken these for phratries or _vice versâ_, it
seems that the names of the two classes of organisation are at present
inextricably intermingled, as the following table shows:

 _Tribe_          _Phratry_           _Blood_          _Meaning_
Itchmundi[92]  Kilpara-Muquara   {Mukulo-Ngielpuru     †Sluggish and
    "                            {Muggula-Ngipuru†      swift blood
Wiradjeri[93]  Mukula-Budthurung
Wonghibon[94]  Mukumura-Ngiel-
Wonghi-  }[95]
 bon and }     Ngumbun-           Gwaigullimba-       ‡Swift and sluggish
 Ngneumba}      Ngurrawan          Gwaimudhan‡          blood

Euahlayi[96]   Gwaigullean-                            Light and dark
                Gwaimudthen                             blooded

Murawari[97]   Girrana-Merugulli  Muggulu-Bumbirra§   §Sluggish and
                                                        swift blood


[92]  Howitt, p. 106 n.; Mathews in _J.R.S.N.S.W._ XXXIX, 118.

[93] _Id._ p. 107.

[94] _Id._ p. 108.


The areas covered by the different class and phratry names are not
co-extensive, that is to say a class is associated with more than one
phratry and _vice versâ_. The Undekerebina[98] and Yelyuyendi[99] have
phratries (No. 29) which are usually associated with classes but in
their case none have been noted. On the other hand it is not uncommon to
find classes without the corresponding phratry names; this is the case
in the eight class area, among the tribes of N.S. Wales, S. Queensland,
etc.; but no special significance attaches to it unless we are certain
that it is not the negligence of the observer nor the disuse of the
names which has produced this state of things. On the other hand the
relation of phratry and class areas is of the highest importance, as is
shown in Chapter V. The following table shows the anomalies:

           _Tribe_                 _Phratry_     _Class_
Wiradjeri                             21            I
Euahlayi                              22            I
Ngeumba, Wonghi                       23, or 24     I
Murawari                              25            I
Kiabara, etc.                         20            III
Dippil                                26            III
Kuinmurbura, Kongulu                  27            IV
Yuipera, Badieri, Yambeena, etc.      27            V
Kogai, Wakelbura, etc.                28            V
Woonamura, Mittakoodi, Miorli, etc.   29            V
Purgoma                               30            V
Jouon                                 32            V
Miappe                                29            VIII
Kalkadoon                             28            VIII


[95]  Mathews in _J.R.S.N.S.W._ xxxix, 116. _Eth. Notes_, p. 5.

[96]  Mrs Langloh Parker, _Euahlayi Tribe_, p. 11.

[97]  Mathews in _Proc. R.G.S. Qu._, 1905, 52.

[98]  Rota, p. 56.

[99]  Howitt, p. 192.



The Phratriac Areas. Borrowing of Names. Their Meanings. Antiquity of
     Phratry Names. Eaglehawk Myths. Racial Conflicts.
     Intercommunication. Tribal Migrations.

It has been shown in Chapter III that from the point of view of kinship
organisations Australia falls into three main areas--occupied by the
classless two-phratry, the four-class and the eight-class organisations.
The total number of phratry names, thirty-three pairs in all, does not
of course fall solely to the count of the two-phratry tribes, but is
divided between the three kinds of organisation, the two-phratry having
twelve pairs with one anomalous area, the four-class sixteen, and the
eight-class five such sets. As regards the relative size of the areas
thus organised, the largest seems to be that occupied by the
Matteri-Kiraru system, though the Muquara-Kilpara (5) probably runs it
close, especially if we take into account the names of like meaning
(1-4) in the East Victorian area. The remainder of the two-phratry
systems do not range over a wide extent of country, so far as is known;
but 10, 11, and 33 are of unknown extent.

In the four-class area are two extensive systems, ranking next after
those of South Australia and N.S. Wales; these are Mallera-Wuthera (27)
and Pakoota-Wootaro (29); they have a single phratry name in common,
which is also found in two other systems; if we add these together, as
we may perhaps do on this evidence of a common basis, we have by far the
largest phratric system in Australia as the result. Almost equal in
extent to either of the two areas occupied by 27 and 29 is that claimed
by the better known Kamilaroi system--Dilbi-Kupathin, which spreads over
a long, comparatively narrow region, but had possibly at one time a
wider field from which at the present time only the corresponding class
names can be recovered. Of the remaining thirteen in the two-class
region, only 28, one of the Wuthera systems already mentioned, has more
than a restricted field of influence. Of moderate size are the four
areas in the eight-class system proper, that of the Mara being small in

Taking now the native names, we find that, in addition to the Wuthera
(Ootaroo) sets already mentioned, the Dieri and Kurnandaburi have
Matteri (Mattera) in common, while the latter have in the Baddieri tribe
a neighbour which shares the Yungo phratry name with them. The fact, if
correct, that with the Badieri Yungo is associated with Wutheru, and
takes the place of the more usual Yungaru, suggests that we may equate
the latter with Yungo. In the eight-class area Uluuru is common to two
systems, while a third has Wiliuku, and the fourth Illitchi, all of
which seem to be allied, if we may take it that uru, uku, and tchi are
suffixes; that they are is borne out by the corresponding names
Liaritchi and Liaraku. Other possible equations are Mukula--Mukumurra,
and Cheepa--Koocheebinga, but in the latter case, even if koo is a
prefix, the distance of the two systems makes any such correspondence
improbable. In Victoria the Malian-Multa equation is indisputable; it is
interesting to note that the former is found in N.S. Wales as the name
of the bird, while Multa belongs to Yorke Peninsula.

As regards the meaning of these names, we find that of the fifty-eight
names which remain after deducting those which occur in more than one
system, nineteen can be translated with certainty, and we can guess at
the meaning of some half dozen more. Of translateable names the most
widely spread are various titles of Eaglehawk and Crow, which appear in
five different systems in Victoria and New South Wales[100]. Crow
reappears in West Australia under the name of Wartung, with white
cockatoo, also a Victorian phratry name, as its fellow. In North
Queensland, as a parallel to the black and white cockatoo of the south,
we find on the Annan River two species of bee giving their names to
phratries; and the Black Duck phratry of the Waradjeri suggests that
here too might be found another contrasting pair, if we could translate
the other name. For the Euahlayi phratry names, on which more will be
said in discussing the "blood" organisations, Mrs Parker gives the
translation "Light-blooded" and "Dark-blooded," which comes near that
suggested by Mr Mathews--slow and quick blooded. In the Ulu, Illi, and
Wili of Northern Territory we seem to recognise Welu (curlew). Koolpuru
(emu), Yungaru and Yungo (kangaroo), and Wutheroo (emu) are also
possible meanings.

The problems raised by the phratriac nomenclature are complex and
probably insoluble. They are in part bound up with the problem of the
origin of the organisation itself; of this nature, for example, is the
question whether the names correspond to anything existing in the
pre-phratriac stage, or whether the organisation was borrowed and the
names taken over translated or untranslated into the idiom of the
borrowers. If the latter be the solution, we have a simple explanation
of the wide-spread Eaglehawk-Crow system as well as of other facts, to
which reference is made below.

If on the other hand the names have not been much spread by
borrowing,--and the increasing number of small phratry areas known to us
tells in favour of this, though it also suggests that the widely-found
systems have gained ground at the expense of their neighbours,--then we
obviously need some theory as to the origin of the organisation, before
we can frame any hypothesis as to the origin of the names.

The prominent part, however, played by the Eaglehawk among phratry names
raises some questions which can be discussed on their merits. One of
these is the age of phratry names. Some of the earliest records of
initiation ceremonies in New South Wales mention that the eaglehawk
figured in them[101]. In West Australia this bird is the demiurge, and
the progenitors of the phratries, of which crow is one, are his nephews.
This is not the only case in which these birds figure in mythology.

As the Rev. John Mathew has pointed out in his work, _Eaglehawk and
Crow_, there are found in Australia, especially in the south-eastern
portion, a number of myths relating to the conflicts of these birds.
These myths he interprets as echoes of a long-past conflict between the
aboriginal Negrito race and the invading Papuans, and traces the origin
of the phratries to the same racial strife. As an explanation of exogamy
the hypothesis is clearly insufficient, but it is evident that no theory
of the origin of the phratries can leave exogamy out of the question.
The point, however, with which we are immediately concerned is the myth
on which in the main Mr Mathew based his theory. Unfortunately, he did
not think it necessary to attempt to define either the area covered by
the different phratry names--an omission which is remedied by the
present work--nor yet the limits within which the myth in question or
its analogues are part of the native mythology. These analogues to the
story of the battle of Eaglehawk and Crow, ended in the Darling area
according to tradition by a treaty between the contending birds, are
myths in which birds are said to have destroyed the human race, or a
large portion of it, to have contended with Baiame, or one of the other
gods, or to have figured in some other conflict[102]. The bird of this
myth--the bird conflict myth, as it may be termed--is the Eaglehawk.
Possibly, as I have pointed out in the note in _Man_, both bird conflict
myths and Eaglehawk-Crow myths--they may be termed collectively bird
myths--may go back to a common origin. So far as Mr Mathew's evidence
goes, bird myths do not seem to be told outside the colony of Victoria
and the Darling area of New South Wales.

A little research, however, shows that this idea is altogether
erroneous. There are unfortunately large areas in Australia, as to the
mythology of which we know absolutely nothing. Therefore it must not be
supposed that the bird conflict myth is confined to the districts in
which we have evidence of its existence. We may rather infer that a myth
so widely distributed--it ranges from the head of the Bight, 129° E., to
the coast north of Sydney, and probably as far as Moreton Bay; to the
north it is found among the Urabunna, and probably elsewhere--is common
property of the Australian Tribes.

A glance at the map will show that the eaglehawk and crow myth covers
but a small portion of the area in which the bird conflict myth is
found. On the other hand we find within the eaglehawk-crow myth district
the phratry names Cockatoo, three names of unknown meaning, and the
doubtful Kiraru--Kirarawa. Now if a racial conflict is indicated by the
names eaglehawk and crow, this must be either because the contending
races were already known by these names, or because the two birds in
question are proverbially hostile to each other. In either case we are
left without any explanation of the two cockatoo phratries. It may
indeed be argued that the locality in which the eaglehawk-crow phratry
names are found tells strongly in favour of the racial conflict
hypothesis; for it is precisely in this area that the last stand of the
aborigines against the invaders may, on the theory put forward by Mr
Mathew and accepted by some anthropologists[103], be supposed to have
taken place. But against this must be set the fact that in this area
also we find two cockatoos, and on the Annan River two bees, arrayed
against one another; unless it can be shown that these two birds are
also proverbial foes, or that the Australian native had reached a point
in his biological investigations at which he recognised that the
presence of two closely allied species in a district involves a
particularly keen struggle for existence (which they would, however,
regard in such an advanced stage of knowledge as appropriate to the
designation of intra-racial rather than inter-racial feuds), the two
sets of facts balance one another, and leave us still engaged in a vain
quest for a conclusion.

Putting theories as to racial conflicts aside, and dealing with the
facts as we find them, we seem to have a choice of two hypotheses.
Either the eaglehawk-crow myths were told before the phratry names came
into existence, or they were invented to explain the existence of the
phratry names. Let us assume that none of the unknown names mean
eaglehawk or crow, and that the eaglehawk-crow area has remained
approximately the same size, or has, at any rate, not diminished
(excluding, of course, those cases where it seems to have lost ground
owing to the disappearance of phratry names altogether, as among the
Kurnai); we must then, on the second theory, assume that the story of
the combat spread to tribes with completely different phratry names like
the Urabunna, and got mixed up with their ceremonies of initiation (the
most sacred part of the mythology of the Australian natives, and one not
likely to be much influenced by chance intruders); and that it came even
in some cases to be told of Baiame, the creator and institutor of the
rites of initiation, who is represented as himself taking part in the
conflict and gaining a victory over the foes of mankind[104]. On the
whole, therefore, this view of the case appears improbable.

To the theory that the Eaglehawk-Crow story was originally independent
of the phratry names no such objections apply. We are indefinitely
remote from the period at which the anthropologist will be able to do
for Australia what Franz Boas has done for the North-West of
America--draw up a table showing the resemblances and differences
between the stock of folktales of the different tribes, or, which is
more important for our present purpose, of the main divisions, eastern,
central, and western, which the analysis of initiation ceremonies gives
us--a tripartite division which Curr also makes on the linguistic side,
though Mathew's map shows considerable intermixture in this respect.
Until we know to what extent the Urabunna or the Ikula have folktales in
common with the Victorian area, or,--which is perhaps more important,
though we do not seem to hear of any communication on this line,--how
far there is a stock of folktales common to the Darling district and the
central area, it is obviously idle to speculate as to how it comes that
an Eaglehawk myth is told in both areas. The physical anthropology of
the Australian natives is at present a little-worked field, in which,
singularly enough, the French have done more than the English, to our
shame be it said. Possibly a somatological survey might disclose to what
extent the central tribes are distinct from the eastern group, and how
far we may assume movements of population, subsequent to the original
peopling of the country by the stocks in question, in either or both
directions. In the absence of such data, and until an Australian Grimm
has arisen to bring order into the present linguistic chaos, the
evidence from folktales seems to promise most light on the question of

We are, of course, confronted by the difficulty that this evidence may
simply disclose the lines along which tribal intercommunication has been
most easy, whether in the way of simple interchange of commodities,
evidence of which we have over considerable areas in Australia, or in
the way of intermarriage, which, as we see by the example of the
Urabunna and the Arunta, is found in spite of fundamental differences of
tribal organisation. A common stock of folktales due to this cause would
leave unexplained the prominence of the bird myth in the sacred rites,
and leave the present hypothesis, in this regard, on a par with that of
post-phratriac dissemination, in respect of probability. On the other
hand we have the Scylla of tribal property in land, an idea so firmly
rooted in our own day in the minds of the Australians as to make wars of
conquest unthinkable to them, and to transform the practical part of
their intertribal feuds into mere raids. If, therefore, investigation
showed that the central and eastern tribes are in possession of a stock
of folktales with many items in common, we should always have to take
into consideration the possibility that these tales antedate the
complete occupation of Australia, and go back to a period when the
eastern and central divisions were in close relation. The probability of
this view would, of course, depend on the extent of the resemblance
between the two stocks of tales, or, perhaps, rather on the extent of
the resemblance between those tales which they have in common; for it is
clear that a close resemblance between comparatively few items would be
more effective proof of intercommunication than a less marked general
resemblance between the tale-stocks as a whole.

In spite of the deficiencies of our evidence we may perhaps incline to
the view that the bird myth dates back to a very early period. Until it
has been shown that intrusive elements are not only taken up into the
tribal stock of tales, but also incorporated in the more sacred portion
of those tales, which are told at the tribal mysteries, it will always
remain more probable that the myth belongs to the two divisions as a
result of lineal and not lateral transmission. If this is so the
differences between the initiation ceremonies, no less than the
anthropomorphic form of the myth in the eastern division, as compared
with the purely theriomorphic story of the central division and the
mixed form of the Ikula, will enable us to say that the period when the
separation of the divisions took place must be very remote.

There is, therefore, no inherent improbability in supposing that the
bird myth was told before the phratry names were invented or adopted,
and that the latter were in some cases taken from the principal
characters in the myth. This conclusion is supported by the fact that
the phratry names seem to be subsequent to the present grouping, if we
may take as our guide the fact that the frontiers of the phratry names
correspond with the boundaries between the central and eastern
divisions. The fact that there is a cross division, if we base our
reasoning on the class organisation, need not of course be taken into
account, for we have every reason to believe that the classes are
subsequent to the phratries.

In favour of the derivation of the phratry names from the myth tells
also the five-fold division of the eaglehawk-crow groups into Muquara
and Kilpara, Bunjil and Waa, Merung and Yuckembruk, Multa or Malian and
Umbe. For it is clearly more probable that the names should have been
taken from a common object than that they should have been in their
origin identical in form and subsequently differentiated, as the
languages changed; we have in fact direct evidence of a tendency to
preserve the old names, which we may perhaps regard as the sacred names,
after the bird has been rebaptised in the terminology of daily life.
Over and above this we have of course the fact that the sacred language
has, generally speaking, both in Australia and elsewhere, this
unchanging character. But this simple name-borrowing theory, it is
clear, is equally valid as an explanation of the facts.

Although we cannot determine the meaning of the names the quadripartite
division of the Mallera-Wuthera[105] and allied phratries in the north is
evidence of a similar tendency. It is by no means impossible that
Mallera, Yungaroo, and Pakoota all mean the same thing. (This ignorance
of the meaning of the phratry and class names is _primâ facie_ evidence
of their high antiquity.) In the newly-discovered phratry names of the
eight-class tribes we have yet another instance of tripartite division.
If we may assume that Illitchi, Uluuru, and Wiliuku are from the same
root (which, as we have seen, is probably _welu_, the terminations
_-uku_, _-itchi_, and _-uru_ (=_-aree_) being formative suffixes), we
have here too a single phratry name on the one side and three sister
names on the other. While it is clear that the names cannot be in any
sense of the term recent, from the fact that linguistic differentiation
had already gone some distance in what we may call, for want of a better
term, groups speaking a stock language (in proof of which we have only
to look at the formative suffixes), it seems equally clear that the
present phratry names must be considerably later than the final
settlement of the country. At the same time it must not be forgotten
that the existence of numerous small phratries, the number of which may
yet be largely increased by more exact research, is _primâ facie_ a
proof that the groups which adopted them had not reached the stage at
which anything like that tribal (still less national) organisation was
known, which is at the present day characteristic of the Arunta, and,
perhaps, we may say, of all groups organised on a class system with
class names known and used over an area far beyond that over which the
(in a restricted sense) tribal language extends.

The recurrence of crow in the phratry name of the far west lends further
support to the view that the phratry names were selected in some way,
and were not due to some accident of savage wit. The view has been taken
that the phratry animals were originally totems, or animals that became
totems at a later stage. In view of the large number of totems found in
many tribes, or even restricting their number to six or eight in each
phratry, it is not difficult to estimate the probability that cockatoo
and crow would recur in different areas, and that an opposition of
characters should be found in other cases. The hypothesis needs at any
rate to be combined with a theory, firstly, of borrowing of phratry
names, a process which must indeed have played a large part in the
development of the present system, but which does not necessarily
involve the supposition that the borrowed names replaced previously
existing home-made names; and, secondly, of selection of such names as
were not borrowed.

It has been mentioned that the principle of tribal property in land or,
to be strictly accurate, in hunting grounds, is, at the present day, a
fundamental one in native Australian jurisprudence. But, as is shown by
the map, in some cases the phratries are split into two or more
segments[106], more or less remote from one another, geographically
speaking. Now this apparent segmentation must be due to migration; it
can hardly arise from the chance adoption of identical names; for the
groups in which the names occur are, though separated by a considerable
distance, not so remote as, on the theory of chance selection, we should
expect them to be, in other words the probability is in favour of the
segmentation of an original group 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

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.


[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.

[104]  See _Man_, 1905, no. 28, where I show that in the Wellington
Valley was current a myth of the conflict between Baiame and Mudgegong

[105]  Chap. IV, phratries, nos. 27-29.

[106]  See Map III, phratry no. 28.



Mr Lang's theory and its basis. Borrowing of phratry names. Split groups.
     The Victorian area. Totems and phratry names. Reformation theory of
     phratriac origin.

If a pre-phratry organisation developed into the system as we find it,
it is a little difficult to see how selection can have operated, unless,
indeed, as Mr Lang suggests, the phratries are _transformed_ connubial
groups, in which case they may have received new names. It is perhaps
simpler to suppose that the cases of selection of phratry names cited
above are those in which the organisation has been borrowed with full
knowledge of its meaning. If this view is correct, no criticism of
theories of the origin of phratries is possible from the point of view
of the names actually existing, for we cannot say which, if any, are
those which were evolved in the organisation which served as a model to
the remainder.

Broadly speaking the theories of origin at present in the field may be
reduced to two: in the first place, the conscious reformation theory,
which supposes that man discovered the evils of in-and-in breeding, a
point on which some discussion will be found in a later portion of this
work. In the second place, there is the unconscious evolution theory put
forward by Mr Lang, whose criticism of the opposing view makes it
unnecessary to deal with the objections here[107].

Mr Lang's original theory took for its basis the hypothesis, put forward
by the late Mr J.J. Atkinson, in _Primal Law_, of the origin of
exogamy. His starting-point was mankind in the brute stage. At the point
in the evolution of the human race at which Mr Atkinson takes up his
tale, man, or rather Eoanthropos, was, according to his conjecture,
organised, if that term can be applied to the grouping of the lower
animals, in bodies consisting of one adult male, an attendant horde of
adult females, including, probably, at any rate after a certain lapse of
time, his own progeny, together with the immature offspring of both
sexes. As the young males came to maturity, they would be expelled from
the herd, as is actually the case with cattle and other mammals, by
their sire, now become their foe. They probably wandered about, as do
the young males of some existing species, in droves of a dozen or more,
and at certain seasons of the year, one or more of them would, as they
felt their powers mature, engage the lord of their own or of another
herd in single combat, until with the lapse of time the latter either
succumbed or was driven from the herd to end his days in solitary
ferocity, his hand against everyone, just as we see the rogue elephant
wage war indiscriminately on all who approach him.

In process of time, so Mr Atkinson suggests, with the lengthening
childhood conditioned by the progress of the race, maternal love of a
more enduring kind developed, than is found among the non-human species
of the present day. This led eventually to the presence of a young male,
perhaps the youngest born of a given mother, being permitted to remain,
on conditions, in the herd after he had attained maturity. The original
lord and master of the herd retained, Mr Atkinson supposes, his full
sovereignty over the females born in the herd as well as over those whom
his prowess had perhaps added to it from time to time. The young male on
the other hand was not condemned to a life of celibacy as a condition of
his non-enforcement of the traditional decree of banishment. He was
permitted to find a mate, but she must be a mate not born in the herd,
nor one of the harem of his sire; he had, if he wished to wed, to
capture a spouse for himself from another herd. For the detailed working
out of this ingenious theory we must refer our readers to Mr Atkinson's
work, _Primal Law_. Here it suffices to state the primal law which
resulted from the process sketched above. This primal law was "thou
shalt not marry within the group." This law, at first enforced by the
superior strength of the sire, came in the process of time to be a
traditional rule of conduct, almost an instinct. And with this we reach
the theory put forward in _Social Origins_ by Mr Andrew Lang, according
to which local groups received animal names, perhaps from their
neighbours. These local groups being exogamous for the reason just
given, and the group name being eventually[108] given, not only to the
actual members of the group, but also to the women, captured or
otherwise, who became the mates of the men of the adjoining groups, it
necessarily resulted that the men of a group, so long as the mother's
group name did not descend to her children, were of one name, while
their wives were of another, or more probably of many other names. The
group became definitely heterogeneous when the maternal group name
descended to the children born in the alien group, and in process of
time these maternal group names became totem names.

Meanwhile the original group names had been retained and applied, along
with the totem or quasi-totem names, to the members of the group; the
name being probably, in the first place, that of the group in which they
were born, but, with the rise of the matrilineal descent, which has been
discussed above, eventually taken from the group to which the mother

During these processes the custom had sprung up to select a wife, not at
random from any of the probably more or less hostile surrounding groups,
but from one particular group with which the group of the candidate for
matrimony had in the course of time come to be on friendly terms.

The names of these two groups, which drew in other smaller groups,
became the phratry names of the newly-formed aggregate, the largest unit
known to primitive society at that stage of its evolution, and
corresponding roughly to what we have defined as a tribe; for it was
united by bonds of friendship, and in the course of time the language,
originally very different no doubt, how different we can, indeed, hardly
say, must have so far coalesced, owing to the interchange of wives (in
so far as a distinct woman's language, traces of which are found among
some savage tribes, was not developed), as to produce a single tongue.

This theory Mr Lang has now fortified and elaborated in _The Secret of
the Totem_, the most important new point being the demonstration of the
fact that totem kins which bear names of the same significance as the
phratry names are almost invariably in the eponymous phratries--a clear
proof that law and not chance has determined their position.

As an explanation of the distribution of phratry names Mr Lang adopts a
theory which combines the hypotheses of evolution and borrowing, and
thus explains both the wide area covered by some systems, and the
increasing multitude of organisations confined to small districts, which
more minute research reveals. This does not, it is true, explain the
geographical remoteness of different parts of the same system or of
allied systems, shown to be so by the identity of phratry animal or
name. Not only is Wuthera-Mallera split into two sections; but a portion
of Wuthera-Yungaru seems to be in the same position; if we may take the
Badieri Yungo as equivalent to Yungaru, dispersion alone suffices to
explain the case; but if Yungo is derived from the Kurnandaburi, who
have Mattera as the sister phratry, then we have the Badieri phratry
names borrowed each from a different tribe, at any rate in appearance.

In reality this state of things affords the strongest possible support
to Mr Lang's hypothesis, if only we can suppose that the formation of
tribes is subsequent to the elaboration of the phratriac system. For it
might well happen that an original Yungo local group divided, from
economic causes, but that each half retained its original name. Under
these circumstances the two portions formed connubial alliances with
other groups; and in the tribes as we see the names of these split
groups are found as phratry names, combined in each case with a
different sister phratry name. We find for example Wuthera-Yungo,
Yungo-Mattera, Matteri-Kiraru in the central area. The same theory will
explain the appearance of Wuthera beside three other sister names,
though here we must call in the borrowing and migration theories as
well, to explain the wide area over which the names are found. We have
seen that in the northern tribes one of the phratry names appears to be
in each case from the same root; if this is so, we can apply to them too
the split-group hypothesis.

The case of Eaglehawk-Crow is less simple. Separated from the Darling
area by a considerable space lie four systems of the same name in the
east of Victoria. Here it is hardly possible to assume that the latter
systems have migrated; on the other hand the area covered by the Darling
group suggests that it is unlikely to have been forced from its original
home by pressure from outside. Perhaps it is simplest to suppose that
the Wiradjeri have gradually forced their way in, wedge fashion, between
the different sections, and either swallowed up the intervening members
or driven them before them; this would account for the existence of the
anomalous groups to the south-west.

In this area, too, we seem to have a case of the split group; but the
identity of meaning of the other phratry names (Malian and Multa both
mean Eaglehawk) makes it clear that it is simply a case of
translation--a possibility which must be kept in mind in the other cases
also. It is a common phenomenon for two tribes to have the name of one
animal in common, while for that of another entirely different words are
in use. The four Victorian groups appear to have borrowed the phratry
names, but the centre from which they took them must remain uncertain.

It may be noted in passing that the view of Prof. Gregory, who holds
that the occupation of Victoria by the blacks dates back no more than
300 years, is hardly borne out by the distribution of the phratriac
systems. It is clearly improbable that they were developed _in situ_,
for this would make the organisation of very much more recent date than
we have any warrant for supposing. On the other hand it is improbable
that four tribes, all with the same phratriac names, should have taken
their course in the same direction, and settled in proximity to one
another, at any rate, unless the natural features of the country made
this course the only possible one.

To return to Mr Lang's theory, it obviously suggests, if it does not
demand, that such phratries as are spread over wide areas should in the
main follow the lines of linguistic or cultural areas. Our knowledge of
these is hardly sufficient to enable us to say at present how far the
presumption of coincidence is fulfilled; but it is certain that in more
than one large area the facts are as Mr Lang's theory requires them to

On the other hand in New South Wales we find an area in which we fail to
discern the lines on which the phratriac systems are distributed. Here,
however, we are at a disadvantage in consequence of the uncertainty
introduced by the unsettled question of "blood" organisations[109].
Further research may show that the supposed phratriac areas, which are
apparently only portions of the Wiradjeri territory, are in reality to
be assigned to the "blood" organisations, which we may probably assign
to a later date than the phratries and classes.

Perhaps Mr Lang's theory hardly accounts for the fact that eaglehawk and
crow figure not only as phratry names but also in the myths and rites.
It is not apparent why eaglehawk and crow groups should take the lead
and give their names to the phratries unless it was as contrasted
colours; on the other hand, if they were selected as the names from
among a number of others this difficulty vanishes, but then we do not
see why these names are not more widely found, unless indeed the
untranslated names mean eaglehawk and crow; but possibly all express a
contrast of some sort.

On the whole, however, it may be said that Mr Lang's theory holds the
field. Not only is it internally consistent, which cannot be affirmed of
the reformation theory, but it colligates the facts far better. This may
be illustrated by a single point.

On the reformation theory, unaccompanied, as it is, by any hypothesis of
borrowing of phratry names, we should _primâ facie_ find the latter,
where they are translateable, to be those of the animals which are most
frequently found as totems. Now in the area covered by Dr Howitt's
recent work, omitting those tribes for which our lists of totems are
admittedly not complete, we find that emu, kangaroo, snake, eaglehawk,
and iguana are found as totems in about two-thirds of the cases; then,
after a long interval, come wallaby and crow, less than half as often,
with opossum rather more frequently, in half the total number. But it is
clearly outside the bounds of probability that four of the commonest
totems should not give their names, so far as is known, to phratries,
while eaglehawk recurs five, crow six, and cockatoo three times, the two
latter in one case in a remote area. Not only so, but the opposition
between the phratry names--black and white or the like--is
unintelligible, if, as on Dr Durkheim's theory, the phratries are simply
the elementary totem groups which intermarried and threw off secondary
totem kins. But criticism of other theories opens a wide field, into
which it is best not to diverge.

On the development theory the phratries came into existence perhaps as
the result of the persistence of an old custom of exogamy, non-moral in
its inception, or, it may be, as a result of the rise of totemic tabus.
The reformation theory, on the other hand, makes the conscious
attainment of a better state of society the object of the institution of
a dichotomous organisation. It will therefore be well to see what
results in practice from the phratriac organisation.

In the two-phratry area (other rules, which usually exist, apart) it is
impossible for children of the same mother or father, or of sisters or
of brothers, to marry, nor can one of the parents, either mother or
father, according to the rule of descent, take her or his own child in
marriage. Now if the object of the reformation was to prevent parents
from marrying children, it was clearly not attained. If, on the other
hand, it was intended to prevent children of the same mother or father
from intermarrying, the result could have been attained far more simply,
either by direct prohibition, such as is found in other cases, or by the
institution of totemic exogamy, which, in the view of some authorities,
already existed, and consequently made the phratry superfluous.

According to Dr Frazer's 1905 theory, phratries were introduced to
prevent brother and sister marriage and exogamous bars began in the
female line[110]. Against this hypothesis may be urged not only the
objections first stated but also the fact that for Dr Frazer the Arunta
are primitive and yet reckon descent (of the class) in the _male_ line.
If, as he conceives, conceptional totemism was transformed in the
central tribes into patrilineal totemism, I fail to see why the
phratries or classes should descend in the female line.

If in the third place, it was proposed to prevent children of sisters or
of brothers from intermarrying, it is completely mysterious why children
of brothers and sisters should not only not have been prevented in the
same way, but absolutely be regarded as the proper mates for each other.
Even if a single community reformed itself on these lines, it is hardly
conceivable that many should have done so, even if we suppose that the
advantages of prohibition were preached from tribe to tribe by
missionaries of the new order of things. _Ex hypothesi_, cousin marriage
was not regarded as harmful; and it is highly improbable that any people
in the lower stages of culture should have discovered that in-and-in
breeding is harmful, for the results, especially in a people which
contained no degenerates, would not appear at once, even if they
appeared at all.

On this point therefore the probabilities are wholly on the side of
development as against reformation.

An additional reason against the reformation theory is found in the fact
that phratries, on this theory, would never exceed two in number, but in
practice there are, as shown in Chapter II, wide variations.


[107] _Secret of the Totem_, pp. 31, 91 sq.

[108]  Mr Lang's view is that the women from the first retained their
original group names wherever they went. _Letter of July 27th_, 1906.

[109]  See pp. 31, 50.

[110] _Fortn. Rev._ LXXVIII, 459.



Classes later than Phratries. Anomalous Phratry Areas. Four-class
     Systems. Borrowing of Names. Eight-class System. Resemblances and
     Differences of Names. Place of Origin. Formative Elements of the
     Names: Suffixes, Prefixes. Meanings of the Class Names.

The priority of phratries over classes is commonly admitted and it is
unnecessary to argue the question at length. The main grounds for the
assumption are: (1) that it is _a priori_ probable that the fourfold
division succeeded the twofold division, exactly as the eightfold
division has succeeded, and apparently is still gaining ground, at the
expense of the four-class system. (2) Over a considerable and compact
area phratries alone are found without a trace of named classes, if we
except the anomalous organisation recorded by Dawson in S.W. Victoria.
On the other hand, while we find certain tribes among whom no phratry
names have yet been discovered, it is inherently probable that this is
due to their having been forgotten and not to their never having
existed. It is possible that the encroachments of an alien class system
have in some cases helped on the extinction of the phratry names. (3) We
find classes without phratry names, not in a compact group, but
scattered up and down more or less at random, suggesting that chance and
not law has been at work to produce this result. (4) Where class names
are found without corresponding phratry names, they are invariably
arranged in what may be termed anonymous phratries; that is to say, in
pairs or fours, so that the member of one class is under normal
circumstances not at liberty to select a wife at will from the other
three, but is usually limited to one of the other classes. This state of
things clearly points to a time when the phratries were recognised by
the tribes in question.

(5) While the classes are arranged in pairs or fours, according to
whether the system is four- or eight-class, the totems, on the other
hand, are distributed phratry fashion; in other words, one group of
totems belongs to each pair or quadruplet of classes. This divergent
organisation of the classes (four or eight for the whole tribe) and
totems (two groups for the whole tribe) can only be explained on the
supposition that the phratry everywhere preceded the class organisation.

The spatial relations of the phratries and classes are sufficiently
clear from the map; and a table shows how far cross divisions are found.

The main area of disturbance of the normal relations is, as shown in
Table IV (p. 51), the district occupied by the Koorgilla class-system
and its immediate neighbourhood. The Yungaroo-Witteru group has three
representatives in the Koorgilla class and one in the Kurpal class. The
Pakoota-Wootaroo phratry has likewise three in the Koorgilla class, a
fourth being in the Yowingo organisation. A large area is occupied by
the Mallera-Witteru phratry in the Koorgilla class, and one tribe is
again found in the Yowingo group. No class names are recorded for the
Undekerebina in the Pakoota group, and no phratry names for the Mycoolon
and Workobongo in the Yowingo group, nor for the Yerunthully in the
Koorgilla group, which in addition to tribes belonging to the three
Wuthera phratries also embraces within its limits the small Purgoma and
Jouon tribes.

The only other anomaly recorded in addition to those mentioned is among
the tribes on the south and south-east of the area just dealt with,
which have the Barang class names with the Kamilaroi phratry names, or
the Kamilaroi class names with tribal phratry names. In four cases
therefore the phratry is found outside the limits of the class usually
associated with it, or, in other words, it is associated with a strange
class system. In one case, that of the Kalkadoon, this is sufficiently
explained by the fact that the tribe is itself now remote geographically
speaking from its fellows, owing to the interposition of Pitta-Pitta
and allied tribes. In the other three cases the facts seem to point to a
change in the intertribal relationships in the period intervening
between the adoption of phratry names and the introduction of the class
system. If the lines of intercourse and intermarriage had suffered a
revolution in the interval, the names, the origin of which we have yet
to consider, would naturally show a different grouping of the tribes;
for it is on the grouping of the tribes that the spread of the names,
whether of phratries or classes, must have depended.

The main mass of the tribes organised on the four-class system lies in
Queensland and New South Wales, and whereas only two sets of names are
found in the latter colony, no less than fifteen (some of which are,
however, of more than doubtful authenticity) are reported from various
parts of Queensland. From Northern Territory two (Anula and Mara) of
small extent are reported[111]; a considerable area of this colony, as
well as of South and West Australia, is occupied by the Arunta system,
and the closely allied classes to the north-west of them. The only other
four-class system in West Australia of which we have definite
information is that west and north of King George's Sound and eastwards
for an unknown distance.

Covering nearly the whole of New South Wales outside the area occupied
by the two-phratry tribes of the Darling country, and extending far up
into Queensland, we find the well-known Muri-Kubbi, Ippai-Kumbo classes
(1) of the Kamilaroi nation[112]. The Kamilaroi system appears to have
touched the sea in the neighbourhood of Sydney. According to Mr Mathews,
the Darkinung, who inhabited this part of New South Wales, substituted
Bya for Muri. (1_a_) In like manner the Wiradjeri are stated by Gribble
to have replaced Kumbo by Wombee; this may however be no more than a
dialectical variant.

Lying along the sea coast north-east of the Darkinung and east of the
main mass of Kamilaroi tribe were the Kombinegherry and other tribes,
whom Mr Mathews denominates the Anaywan. Their classes are given by him
as Irrpoong, Marroong, Imboong, and Irrong; but an earlier authority
gives the forms Kurbo, Marro, Wombo, and Wirro (2); at Wide Bay we find
Baran, Balkun, Derwen, and Bundar (3) with an alternative form Banjoor.

North of them, still on the coast, we find the Kuinmurbura with Kurpal,
Kuialla, Karilbura, and Munal (4); for the Taroombul, which I am unable
to locate, Mr Mathews gives Koodala in place of Kuialla and Karalbara
for Karilbura. For the Kangoollo, lying inland from this group, Mr
Mathews gives Kearra, Banjoor, Banniar, and Koorpal. This suggests that
there is some confusion, for the names include two from 4, and one or
two from 3.

A very large area is occupied by tribes with the classes (5) Koorgila,
Bunburi, Wunggo, and Obur (and variants). They include the Yuipera and
allied tribes, the Kogai, the Wakelbura and allied tribes, the Yambeena,
the Yerunthully, the Woonamurra, the Mittakoodi, the Pitta-Pitta, etc.,
together with the Purgoma of the Palm Islands and the neighbouring
Jouon, whose headquarters are at Cooktown. In the southern portion of
this group a correspondent of Curr's has reported the classes Nullum,
Yoolgo, Bungumbura, and Teilling. We have class names analogous in form
to the third of these names, it is true, but it resembles tribal names
so closely as to suggest that the observer in question was really
referring to a tribe and not to a class. If this is so we may perhaps
identify Teilling with the Toolginbura. There seems to be no reason for
admitting these four names to a place among the other groups of class
names. In like manner we may dismiss the class names assigned to the
Yukkaburra by an inaccurate correspondent of Curr's, who gives Utheroo,
Multheroo, Yungaroo, and Goorgilla. It seems clear that the first and
third of these are really phratry names; possibly the second is a
dialectical form for Utheroo.

From Halifax Bay and Hinchinbrook Island are reported the names Korkoro,
Korkeen, Wongo, and Wotero (with variants). Among the Joongoongie of
North Queensland we find Langenam, Namegoor, Packewicky, and Pamarung
(15); and among the Karandee Curr gives an anomalous and probably
defective set, Moorob, Heyanbo, Lenai, Roanga, and Yelet.

The Goothanto and Wollungurma have Ranya, Rara, Loora, and Awunga (8);
allied to these perhaps are the Jury, Ararey, Barry, and Mungilly of the
Koogobathy; the Ahjeerena, Arrenynung, Perrynung, and Mahngal of the
Koonjan are clearly variants of the latter set. East of the Koogobathy
lie the Warkeman with Koopungie, Kellungie, Chukungie, and Karpungie
(6), with an allied tribe on the Tully River with classes, Kurongon,
Kurkulla, Chikun, Karavangie, the two latter obviously corresponding to
Warkeman classes, the second to Koorgilla.

The Miappe, Mycoolon, Kalkadoon, and Workoboongo have Youingo, Maringo,
Badingo, and Jimmilingo (9), with alternatives Kapoodingo, Kungilingo,
and Toonbeungo.

The Yoolanlanya and others have Deringara, Gubilla, Koomara, and
Belthara, possibly a defective list, for Mr Mathews adds to these for
the Ullayilinya Lookwara and Ungella (probably a defective set) in
another communication. Two of these are obviously identical with the
Arunta Koomara and Bulthara, with which are associated Purula and
Panungka (13), while Ungilla and Gubilla are taken from the eight-class
system to which we may probably assign the tribe. North-west of the
Arunta, outside the eight-class area, the class names are almost
identical with, though they differ widely in form from the Arunta names.
They are Burong, Ballieri, Baniker, and Caiemurra (13). The form
Boorgarloo is given as a variant. Mrs Bates has found a system (14) in
S.W. Australia.

On the western shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria we find the Mara with
Purdal, Murungun, Mumbali, and Kuial (10); and the Anula with Awukaria,
Roumburia, Urtalia, and Wialia (11).

The only two remaining four-class systems of which the names are known
are on the Annan River with Wandi, Walar, Jorro, and Kutchal (7)--the
Ngarranga of Yorke Peninsula, with Kari, Wani, Wilthi, and Wilthuthu.

Attention has been called in the course of the above exposition to
various cases in which the class names found among one group of tribes
are in part if not entirely identical with those found among their
neighbours. A close examination discloses other possible though hardly
probable points of contact besides those already enumerated. The variant
form Banjoora in 3 seems to be the same as the Banjoor of the Kangulu,
which again has Koorpal in common with 4, and also Kearra, if we may
equate the latter with Kuialla. This again is perhaps the Kuial of the
Mara tribe (9).

The Marroong of 2 seems to be the Maringo of 9, and we may perhaps also
equate the Kurbo of this group with the Kurpal of 4. Irroong resembles
the roanga of the Karandee which is probably the Arawongo of the

In 5 Wongo suggests the Youingo of 9; it reappears in the Halifax Bay
list, as also does Koorgilla in one of the variants. Again Kubi (1)
corresponds to Koobaroo (5), and Kumbo (Wombee) to Bunburi (Unburi), but
we can hardly regard them as the same words. Koodalla and Koorpal (4)
may be the same as Kellungie and Koopungie (6); the other pair shows no

Possibly the Wiradjeri Wombee is the Kombinegherry Wombo; it is at any
rate significant that the name is found in the portion of the tribe
nearest the Kombinegherry.

We have seen that the Arunta and their north-western neighbours have a
four-class system, the component names of which are found with little
variation over a range of nearly 25° of longitude. In the forms
Kiemarra, Palyeri, Burong, and Baniker, the class names in vogue among
the southern Arunta meet us again near the North-West Cape, thus
covering a larger area than even the widespread Koorgila-Bunburi class
names of Queensland, and forming a striking contrast to the narrow
limits of the majority of the four-class system. This peculiarity is
reproduced in the compact area of the central eight-class tribes, north
and north-east of the Koomara four-class area, though with much greater
variations in the names. Bulthara however in the form Palyeri is found
in more or less disguised shapes in the whole of the eighteen tribes,
whose class names are shown in Table I a; Koomara is found in shapes
which are on the whole harder to recognise, and Panunga and Purula in
two or three cases, either replaced by another word or so changed as to
be unrecognisable. Of the supplementary names belonging to the
eight-class Arunta, Uknaria, Ungalla, Appungerta, Umbitchana, Ungalla is
found in the whole of the tribes under consideration, and Appungerta
undergoes on the whole but little change; Uknaria is practically not
found outside the Arunta area, and Umbitchana is in six cases replaced
by Yacomary, which seems to be a form of Koomara (to this point we recur

Although this suggests that the names were in the first case taken from
the Arunta a comparison of them shows that it is not among this tribe
that the greatest number of forms common to the whole group and the
greatest general resemblance of the names is to be found, as is shown by
the comparative tables below. Judged by the standard of resemblance the
Oolawunga of the north-west, on the Victoria River, have preserved the
names nearest their original forms. Judged by the standard of least
deviation from the common stock of names and basing the comparison, not
on resemblances but on differences, the Koorangie of the upper waters of
the same river take the first place, with the Oolawunga not far behind.
In each case the Inchalachee, the most easterly of the group, take the
last place, followed in the table of resemblances by the Walpari and the
Worgaia; and in the table of differences by the Worgaia and, though at a
considerable distance, the Mayoo and the Walpari.

_Figure of Resemblance_[113].

Oolawunga                         55
Bingongina                        54
Umbaia                            51
Koorangie                         50
Yookala, Binbinga                 48
Gnanji                            47
Meening                           43
Warramunga, Yungmunni             41
Arunta, Mayoo                     40
Kaitish, Yungarella, Tjingilli    39
Worgaia                           37
Walpari                           31
Inchalachee                       28

_Figure of Difference_[114].

Koorangie                         31
Oolawunga                         33
Umbaia                            35
Bingongina                        37
Yungmunni                         42
Gnanji, Tjingilli                 44
Warramunga                        45
Arunta                            46
Binbinga                          49
Yookala                           50
Meening                           52
Kaitish                           54
Yungarella, Walpari               56
Mayoo                             57
Worgaia                           69
Inchalachee                       84

Attention has already been drawn to the resemblance between the Arunta
four-class names and the names of the eight-class group. It is clearly
of high importance to determine whether the resemblance is on the whole
between the names of the western group and the eight-class names, or
whether the latter can more readily be derived from those of the Arunta.
In the latter case it is obvious that the position of the Oolawunga and
Koorangie in the comparative tables is due, not to their having been the
tribes from which all the others derived their names, but rather to
movements of population subsequent to the adoption of the class names.
If on the other hand it appears that the names came in the first
instance from the more western portion of the Koomara group, we have
some grounds for supposing that the names and the system reached the
eight-class area from the west and not from the south.

We have already seen that in the case of Palyeri-Bulthara all the
evidence points to the name having come from the west. In the case of
Panunga the evidence is weaker, certain of the forms being derivable
from either Baniker or Panunga, but with the exception of the
Warramunga, and possibly the Tjingili, there are no tribes of whom we
can definitely say that they took the name from the Arunta, whereas
there are at least four cases where the resemblance is distinctly with
the western class names, and several more in which it can more readily
be derived from them. The resemblance between Koomarra and Kiemarra or
Kiamba is already considerable, and makes it difficult to estimate the
probabilities in most cases; the problem is complicated by the question
of prefixes, which will come up for discussion later, and on the whole
there appears to be no certain solution of the problem, though the Mayoo
seem to have taken over and varied the western form. In the case of
Purula-Burong there appear to be indeterminate cases; six seem to tell
in favour of a southern origin; three suggest a western origin; and one
word Chupil (f. Namilpa) seems to be from a different root.

The problem is further complicated by the anomalous class name Yakomari,
to which allusion has already been made. As will be seen later, _cha_ or
_ja_ seem to be prefixes, and if that is so we can hardly avoid the
conclusion that Yakomari is Koomara or Kiemara. But in the table it
takes the place of Umbitchana, with which it is not even remotely
connected philologically; Jamara and its various forms take the place in
the table occupied by Koomara among the Arunta when Yakomari holds the
eighth place as well as in other cases. If therefore _ku_, _ja_, and
_ya_ are simply prefixes, as seems to be the case, we have this class
name duplicated among five of the tribe--the Umbaia, Yookala, Binbinga,
Worgaia, Yangarella, and Inchalachee, of which one comes near the top,
and two fairly high in the comparative table. It is however worthy of
notice that these six tribes form the eastern group, and are
consequently precisely those among which we should, on the hypothesis
that the class names originated in the western portion of the area,
expect to find the greatest amount of variation and the most numerous
anomalies. Dividing the six tribes into two groups, western and eastern,
each of three tribes, we find that the cumulative resemblance of the
western group to the Arunta is 132, to the Oolawunga 186; the same
figures for the eastern group, more remote from the Oolawunga, but
practically equidistant with the western group from the Arunta, are 91
and 112. This again seems to lend support to the hypothesis of a western
origin. It is perhaps simplest to suppose that the majority of the names
came from the west; but that Yakomari, travelling upwards from the
south-west, displaced the more usual eighth class name, or perhaps we
should say, replaced it, when the eight-class system was adopted, for a
name is not likely to have gone out of use when it had once been applied
as a designation.

Attention has been called in connection with the phratries to the
suffixes such as _um_, _itch_, _aku_[115], etc. Their precise meaning is
usually uncertain. An attentive consideration of the class names seems
to show that similar suffixes have been used in forming them. If we
compare Panunga and Baniker, it seems a fair conclusion that the _ban_
or _pan_ is compounded with _iker_ (_aku_) or _unga_, for among the
Yookala, the nearest neighbours of the Bingongina, who have it as a
phratriac suffix, the _-agoo_ of the class names is unmistakeably
independent of the root word, whatever that may be. In addition to
_unga_ we find _inginja_, _angie_, _inja_, _itch_ (recalling the _itji_
of the phratries), _itchana_, and the form _anjegoo_ which seems to have
a double suffix. _Ara_, _yeri_, _aree_, _um_, _ana_, _ula_ (as we see by
comparing Purula with Burong), _ta_, and the possibly double form
_tjuka_, seem to be further examples.

The feminine forms Nalyirri for Thalirri (=Palyeri), Nala for Chula,
Ninum for Tjinum, Nana for Tjana or Thama, etc. suggest that prefixes
are also to be distinguished. They seem to be _choo_, _joo_, _ja_, _ya_,
_n-_, _yun_, _u-_, _ku_, _pu_, _bu_, _nu_, etc. We are however on very
uncertain ground here, for the feminine forms may be deliberate
creations. Allowance has to be made too for the personal equation of the
observer, which is by no means inconsiderable. Possibly this factor,
together with ordinary laws of phonetic change, the most elementary
principles of which have yet to be established for the Australian
languages, will suffice to account for the variations in the names as
recorded. Otherwise the words are in most cases reduced to monosyllabic
roots from which it seems hopeless to attempt to extract a meaning.

These questions of suffixes and prefixes are intimately connected with
the very difficult problem of the origin of the classes. The languages
of these tribes are at present, if not distinct linguistic stocks, at
any rate very far from being mere dialectical variations of a common
tongue, for the members of two tribes appear to be mutually
unintelligible, unless, contrary to the custom of the American Indians,
they are bilingual. But if each tribe added a suffix, and thus adopted
into their own language words which, from the general agreement among
the class names of this group, seem to have come to them from outside,
it is a reasonable hypothesis that the word which they adopted had some
meaning for them. Of course we may suppose that the class names were all
adopted in the far off time when all spoke a common language. But apart
from the difficulty that this presupposes the existence of an
eight-class system at that early period, it is clear from the Queensland
evidence that class names have been handed on from tribe to tribe, and
it is reasonable to suppose this to have been the case with the northern
tribes. This conclusion is borne out by the forms of the suffixes, which
do not appear to have been developed from one root determinative, as
must have been the case if we suppose that the names originated when the
language spoken by these tribes was undifferentiated; and by the facts
as to the apparent duplication of Koomara, to which allusion has already
been made.

The important point about the class, as distinguished from the phratry
systems, is the great extent covered by the former. The north-west area
of male descent is virtually one from the point of view of class names;
two other areas are very large, six are of medium size, three are small,
and the remaining one is probably medium.

Although the question of the meaning of the class names is closely bound
up with that of their origin, the problem is closely bound up with some
of the points discussed in this chapter. The meaning of the eight-class
names is connected with the area of origin of the system, and linguistic
questions, such as those relating to suffixes, come in. We may therefore
briefly discuss at this point the meaning of the class names.

On the whole it may be said that we know the meaning of the class names
only in exceptional cases. The Kiabara, Kamilaroi, Annan River,
Kuinmurbura, Narrang-ga, and two of the West Australian names can be
translated (see Table I). But with these exceptions we have no certain
knowledge of the meaning of the single class names.

Conjectures are of comparatively little value. For in the first place
the number of words recorded from any given tribe is as a rule very
small, and little or no indication of the pronunciation is given even in
the latest works on Australian ethnography. The variations, evidently
purely arbitrary and due to the want of training in phonetics, are
frequently very considerable. And finally the area over which the names
prevail is sufficiently great to give us our choice from half a dozen or
more different tribal languages, which combined with the variation in
the form of the words, adds very considerably to the probability that
there will be found somewhere within the area a word or words bearing a
deceptively close resemblance to the class names. How far this is the
case may be made clear by one or two instances of chance resemblances
between animal names (it seems on the whole probable that if the names
are translateable they will turn out to be animal names) in the same or
neighbouring tribes. The meaning of Arunta seems to be white
cockatoo[116], but we also find a word almost indistinguishable from it
in sound--eranta--with the meaning of pelican[117]. Kulbara means emu
and koolbirra kangaroo[118]. Malu (=kangaroo), mala (=mouse), and male
(=swan) are found in tribes of West Australia, though not of tribes
living in immediate proximity one to another[119]. But perhaps the best
example is that of Derroein, which, as we have seen, means kangaroo. In
addition to durween (young male kangaroo) we find at no great distance
the words dirrawong (=iguana) and deerooyn (=whip snake), either of
which bears a sufficiently close resemblance to the class name to be
accepted as a translation for it in the absence of other

With these facts in mind such suggestions as an attentive study of
vocabularies has disclosed are naturally put forward with a full sense
of their uncertainty, they are of a purely tentative nature.

For the Koobaroo (var. Obur) of the Goorgilla set I find in the same
group the homophone _obur_ (gidea tree), which is also a totem of the
group of tribes in question[121]. The Wotero of Halifax Bay suggests
Wutheru, for which I am unable to find a meaning, unless it be emu, as
given by one observer, who however on another occasion gave a different
translation. Korkoro in the same set may be the same as korkoren
(opossum) of a tribe some 150 miles away[122]. The muri[123] and kubbi
of the Kamilaroi and Turribul (?) mean kangaroo and opossum in the
latter language, and ibbai means Eaglehawk in Wiraidhuri[124]. The
Kamilaroi bundar (=kangaroo) may give us a clue to the meaning of the
Dippil Bundar[125]; the Kiabara Bulcoin has a homophone in the Peechera
tribe, where it means kangaroo; on the Hastings River it means red
wallaby. Balcun however means native bear according to Mathew[126].

If we turn to the eight-class tribes the results are hardly more
striking. The Dieri Pultara, Palyara and Upala[127], are homophones of
the class names which we have seen as alternative forms; but this very
fact makes it certain, or nearly so, that one of the homophones is due
to chance coincidence. Bearing in mind that the Arunta alone have the
form Bulthara, we may perhaps see in the change undergone by the word in
their language the result of attraction, though it must be confessed
that the hypothesis is far-fetched in the case of a non-written
language. On the other hand it tells against the Palyeri=Palyara
equation that the Arunta, who are by far the nearest to the Dieri, use
the form Bulthara. The equation Kanunka=Panunga is not backed by any
evidence that the p-k change is admissible. Finally three of the four
words mentioned seem to be compounded with a suffix; and if this is so
it is clearly useless to equate them with words in which this suffix is
a component part.

One class name only, Ungilla, is found in the Arunta area itself (and
far beyond it, as far as the Gulf of Carpentaria) with the meaning
crow[128]. If we may regard the _j_ and _k_ of the forms jungalla,
kungalla, as a prefix, the equation seems justified; otherwise it seems
an insuperable difficulty that not the original form of the class name,
but the derivative and shortened form is the one to which the equation
applies. Our very defective knowledge of the languages of the
eight-class tribes makes it possible that when we know more of them
other root words may be discovered. At present it can only be said that
in very few instances have we either in the four-class or the
eight-class areas any warrant for saying that we know the meaning of the
class names, much less that we know them to be derived from the names of

One piece of evidence on the subject we need mention only to reject. The
Rev. H. Kempe, of the Lutheran Mission among the southern Arunta, has on
two occasions stated that the classes in signalling to each other use as
their signs the gestures employed to designate animals[129]. On one
occasion however he assigns to the Bunanka class the eaglehawk gesture,
on another the lizard gesture; the remaining three, which he added only
on the second occasion, were ant, wallaby and eaglehawk. It may be noted
that the eaglehawk sign is attributed by him to the two classes which
would form the main part of the population of a local group; in the
second place all four animals are among the totems of the tribe; it
seems therefore probable that Mr Kempe has merely confused the sign made
to a man of the given kin with a sign which he supposed to be made to a
man of a certain class. If he paid little attention to the subject, and
especially if on the second occasion he gained his information at a
large tribal meeting, the large number of totems would render it
improbable that conflicting evidence would lead him to discover his
mistake. If he pursued his enquiries far enough he might, it is true,
get more than one sign for a given class; but if he contented himself
with asking four men, one of each class, the probability would be that
he would get four separate gestures. In any case we have no warrant for
arguing that the gesture in any way translates the class name.


[111]  In practice they are eight-class.

[112]  The numbers refer to those used in chapter IV.

[113]  These are merely rough percentages based on arbitrary values for
partial resemblances.

[114]  This table shows what percentage of names is completely different;
partial differences are not allowed for.

[115]  Possibly a prefix also; cf. _Koocheebinga_, _Koorabunna_ and their
sister names.

[116]  Curr, vocab. no. 37.

[117]  ib. no. 39. Spencer and Gillen give "loud voiced" as the meaning.

[118]  ib. nos. 34, 40, 49 _a_, 104.

[119]  Moore, _Vocab._; Mathew, p. 226.

[120]  Mathew, p. 232; Curr, nos. 164, 170, 178.

[121]  ib. no. 143.

[122]  ib. no. 110.

[123]  Elsewhere muri means red kangaroo.

[124]  ib. nos. 168, 181, 190; Mathew, _Eaglehawk_, p. 227.

[125]  Curr, no. 181.

[126]  Mathew, _Eaglehawk_, p. 100; Curr, no. 177.

[127]  ib. no. 55.

[128]  Roth, _Studies_, p. 50; Curr, nos. 37, 38, 39.

[129] _Halle Verein fur Erdkunde_, 1883, p. 52; _Aust. Ass. Adv. Sci._
II, 640.



Effect of classes. Dr Durkheim's Theory of Origin. Origin in grouping of
     totems. Dr Durkheim on origin of eight classes. Herr Cunow's theory
     of classes.

In dealing with the origin of the classes it is important to bear in
mind that they are undoubtedly later than the phratries. This is clear,
not only from the considerations urged on p. 71, but also from the fact
that the areas covered by the same classes are in the three most
important cases immensely larger than any covered by a phratriac system.
We may therefore dismiss at the outset Herr Cunow's theory, which makes
the classes the original form of organisation.

To explain the origin of the classes, as of the phratries, two kinds of
theories have been put forward, which are in this case also classifiable
as reformatory and developmental respectively. The former labour under
the same disadvantages, so far as they assume that particular marriages
were regarded as immoral or objectionable, as do the similar hypotheses
of the origin of phratries.

What is the effect of dividing a phratry into two classes? Firstly and
most obviously, to reduce by one half the number of women from whom a
man may take his spouse. Secondarily, to put in the forbidden class both
his mother's generation and his daughters' generation. It must however
not be overlooked that it is the whole class of individuals that are
thus put beyond his reach and not those only who stand to him in the
relation of daughters in the European sense. Now it is certain that the
savage of the present day distinguishes blood relationship from tribal
relationship; of this there are plenty of examples in Australia
itself[130]. In fact the hypothesis that the introduction of class
regulations was due to a desire to prevent the intermarriage of parents
and children, more especially of fathers and daughters, the mothers
being of course of the same phratries as their sons in the normal tribe,
depends for its existence on the assumption that consanguinity was
recognised. But it is clearly a clumsy expedient to limit a man's right
of choice to the extent we have indicated solely in order to prevent him
from marrying his daughter, when the simple prohibition to marry her
would, so far as we can see, have been equally effective.

Dr Durkheim has suggested that phratries and classes originated

If we start with two exogamous local groups in which the determinant
spouse removes, the result is two groups in which both phratries are
found, as is evident from the following graphic representation. The two
sides represent the local grouping, the letters A and B the phratry
names, and m or f male or female; the = denotes marriage, the vertical
lines show the children, the brackets show that the person whose symbol
is bracketed removes, and the italics that the symbol in question is
that of a spouse introduced from without.

            mA=_fB_                      mB=fA
       _______|                            |_______
       |      |                            |      |
     [fB]     mB=_fA_                  _fB_=mA   [mB]
       _________|                          |_________
       |        |                          |        |
     [fA]     mA=_fB_                  _fA_=mB     [fB]
       _________|                          |_________
       |        |                          |        |
     [fB]     mB=_fA_                  _fB_=mA     [fA]
               etc.                                etc.

We see from this that the alternate generations are in each group A and
B, whose spouses are in the same alternation B and A, the male remaining
in the group, the female removing in each case, if we assume that the
matrilineal kinship is the rule. The permanent members of each group
therefore, and in like manner the imported members, are by alternate
generations A and B, though of course there is no difference of age
actually corresponding to the difference of generation.

By the simple phratry law that A can only marry B, and may marry any B,
local group mates are marriageable. The law however which forbids the
marriage of phratry mates is on Mr Lang's original theory founded on the
prohibition to marry group mates. If we suppose that the primal law or
the memory of it continued to work, we have at once a sufficient
explanation of the origin of the four-class system. The tribes or
nations in which the instinct against intra-group marriage was strong
enough to persist as an active principle after the law against
intra-phratry marriage had become recognised, may have proceeded to
create four classes at a very early stage, while those in whom the
feeling for the primal law was less strong adhered to the simple phratry

But it is an insuperable objection to this theory that it makes the
four-class system originate simultaneously with, or at any rate shortly
after, the rise of the phratries. For we cannot suppose that the feeling
for the primal law remained dormant for long ages and then suddenly
revived. On the other hand we have seen that if the difference in the
distribution of the phratry and class names is any guide, a considerable
interval must have separated the rise of the one from the rise of the
other. Unless therefore it can be shown that some other explanation
accounts for the non-coincidence of phratry and class areas, we can
hardly accept any explanation of the origin of classes which makes them
originate at a period not far removed from the introduction of the

The fact that a certain number of class names are in character totemic,
that is, bear animal names, suggests that the class system may be a
development of the totem kins, which in certain cases are grouped within
the phratries or otherwise subject to special regulations. In the
Urabunna the choice of a man of one totem is said to be limited to women
of the right status in a single totem of the opposite phratry. Among the
similarly organised Yandairunga the limitation is to certain totems, and
Dr Howitt gives other examples of the same order. In the Kongulu tribe
these totemic classes seem to have been known by special names. In the
Wotjoballuk tribe there are sub-totems, grouped with certain totems,
which again seem to be collected into aggregates intermediate between
the phratry and the simple totem kin. But it is difficult to see why, if
the classes have arisen out of such organisations, there should be found
over the great part of Australia four, and only four, classes from which
the eight have obviously developed. In any case we have no parallel in
these modifications to the alternate generations of the class system.

These find an analogue, according to an old report, not subsequently
confirmed, in the Wailwun tribe, where, however, it is supplementary to
the classes. We are told that there are four totems in this tribe,
though this does not agree with other reports, and that they are found
in both phratries indiscriminately. A woman's children do not take her
totem, nor, apparently, the totem of her brother, who belongs to a
different kin, but are of the remaining two totems according to their
sex[131]. From this it follows that the totems alternate, precisely as
do the classes; the difference in the arrangement consists in the
distinction of totem falling to males and females, which has no analogue
in the class system. But such arrangements, even if we may take them as
established facts, are clearly of secondary origin, and can hardly give
a clue to the origin of the classes.

There is an important difference between the four-class and eight-class
organisations in respect of the totem kins. In the former systems the
kins are almost invariably divided between the phratries; but within
them they do not belong to either of the classes, though certain classes
claim them[132]; but on the contrary, of necessity are divided between
them. In the eight-class tribes this seems to be the case in some tribes
also; in others, like the Arunta, abnormalities of development cause the
totems to fall in both phratries. But in the Mara, the Mayoo, and the
Warramunga[133] they fall, or are stated to fall, in the first case into
groups according to the four classes, in the other cases according to
the "couples," i.e. the two classes which stand in the relation of
parent and child (the son of Panunga is Appungerta, his son is again
Panunga, and so for the other pairs). This suggests that totemism has
something to do with the division of the four classes into eight, as was
pointed out by Dr Durkheim in 1905[134]. His argument is that as long as
descent was in the female line, the rule was that a man could not marry
a woman of his mother's totem. When the change to male descent took
place, the mother's totem, as we see by actual examples[135], did not
lose the respect which it formerly enjoyed; there is in more than one
tribe a tabu of the mother's as well as of the father's totem. That
being so, it is natural to suppose that the new marriage organisation
according to male descent might be modified to take account of this
fact. By dividing the classes and arranging that one member of a couple
should be debarred not only from intermarrying with the class of his
mother, for which the four-class system also provides, but also from
intermarrying with the second member of the same couple too, this result
was attained, in the view of Dr Durkheim.

It remains however to be established that this segregation of totems is
actually found in the tribes in question. For the Warramunga Spencer and
Gillen distinctly state[136] that the arrangement is dichotomous, in
which case the alleged result would not be brought about. The Anula and
Mara are exceptional tribes with direct male descent; it is hardly
likely that the eight-class system spread from them. The Mayoo have not
yet been reported on by an expert. Finally some of the tribes have not
even the dichotomous arrangement of totems but distribute them in both
phratries. The basis of the hypothesis, therefore, is hardly

Singularly enough, Dr Durkheim[137] expresses his adherence to a
previous theory of his own as to the method of effecting the change from
female to male descent in four-class tribes. This he supposes to have
been done by transferring one of the two classes from each phratry to
the opposite one; and in the former discussion (_Année Soc._ V, 82 sq.)
he showed that this procedure would result in scattering the totems
through both phratries, as we find them to be in the case of the Arunta.
It is therefore singular to find that he adheres to this theory when his
new hypothesis demands that the totems, so far from being more widely
distributed, should be actually confined to the members of one couple.
Beyond the Urabunna custom in intertribal marriages, however, which is
hardly decisive evidence, there does not appear to be any proof that the
transference from one phratry to the other ever took place.

The further support claimed by Dr Durkheim for his hypothesis from the
alleged male descent of the totem in tribes where female descent of the
class names prevails, rests on too uncertain a basis to make it
necessary to deal with it at length; some criticism of the evidence will
be found elsewhere.

We have seen above that the Dieri rule is precisely parallel to that of
the eight-class tribes in practice; it is however expressed, not by a
class system, but by enacting that people standing in a certain degree
of kinship or consanguinity shall marry. If Dr Durkheim's theory of the
origin of the eight-class system is correct, it should also apply to the
Dieri. Now the rule that a man must marry his maternal great-uncle's
daughter clearly prevents intermarriage with one of the mother's totem;
but this cannot be the object of the rule, for it is prevented already
by the phratry system. Dr Durkheim's theory therefore finds no support
in the Dieri rule.

On the other hand, unless the totems have been scattered through the
phratries since the southern Arunta divided their classes, Dr Durkheim
will have difficulty in explaining why a tribe where the totem does not
concern marriage at all has found it necessary to split the classes; and
that though the child does not take its totem from mother or father.

Herr Cunow has advanced the view that the classes correspond to
distinctions of age; but he took as his basis, not the differentia of
elder and younger, but the distinction made by the initiation customs,
which divide the community, in his view, into three strata--young, adult
and old. Into the difficulties created by this theory we need not here
enter. Suffice it to say that the theory depends on the supposition that
an age-grade had to marry within itself. Now the age-grade is not a
fixed body, but is continually changing its personnel; not only so, but
it is difficult to see how marriage could take place, given the
initiation ceremonies, in any other way; unions of "old men" with adult
women apart, which are not, in fact, prohibited, so far as is known, the
only marriages possible are those within the adult grade. Although
father and son can rarely belong to the adult grade simultaneously,
mother and daughter can readily do so. If not, these grades are clearly
generation classes, and what Herr Cunow really takes as the basis of his
theory is the generation in each family. This can readily be shown by a
consideration of the kinship terms.


[130]  Roth, _Eth. Stud._ p. 182; Spencer and Gillen, _Nor. Tr._ p. 616;
Howitt, p. 262; _J.R.S.N.S.W._ XXXI, 166.

[131] _J.A.I._ VII, 249, cf. _J.R.S.N.S.W._ XXXI, 172.

[132]  Howitt, p. 110.

[133] _Nor. Tr._ p. 167; _Proc. R.G.S. Qu._ XVI, 70; _J.R.S.N.S.W._ XXX,
111, 112.

[134] _Ann. Soc._ VIII, 118.

[135]  Spencer and Gillen, _Nor. Tr._ p. 166.

[136] _Nor. Tr._ p. 163.

[137]  p. 142.



Descriptive and classificatory systems. Kinship terms of Wathi-Wathi,
     Ngerikudi-speaking people and Arunta. Essential features. Urabunna.
     Dieri. Distinction of elder and younger.

Some classless two-phratry tribes observe in practice the same rules as
the four and eight class tribes when they are deciding what marriages
are permissible. The Dieri and Narrangga follow the eight-class rule;
the position of the Urabunna is somewhat uncertain owing to the
obscurity of our authorities, which again is probably due to their lack
of intimate acquaintance with the tribe; and the Wolgal, Ngarrego and
Murring have the simple four-class rule that a man marries his mother's
brother's daughter.

We have seen in an earlier chapter that kinship and consanguinity are
distinct in their nature, though among civilised peoples they are not in
practice distinguishable. In the lower stages of culture it is otherwise,
as will be shown in detail below. Corresponding to this distinction of
consanguinity and kinship but not parallel to it we have two ways of
expressing these relationships--the descriptive and the classificatory.
The terminology of the former system is based on the principle of
reckoning the relationship of two people by the total number of steps
between them and the nearest lineal ancestor of both. The latter does not
concern itself with descent at all but expresses the status of the
individual as a member of a group of persons. Thus, to take a single
example, in a typical Australian tribe the word applied by a child to its
father is not used of him alone but of all the other males on the same
level of a generation provided they belong to the same phratry; to the
other half of the generation is applied the term usually translated
"mother's brother."

Unfortunately but few Australian lists of kinship terms have been drawn
up, and the anomalous tribes like the Kurnai have absorbed a large share
of attention. It is however possible to give tables for the three classes
of tribes with which we have been in the main concerned. Those given are
in use among the Wathi-Wathi of Victoria, the Ngerikudi-speaking people
of North Queensland and the Arunta[138].

_Wathi-Wathi Tribe: two-phratry._

             _Phratry A_             |             _Phratry B_            |Gen-
                  |_Naponui_         |                  |_Kokonui_        |er-
                  |(mother's father) |                  |(mother's mother)|at-
                  |_Miimui_          |                  |_Matui_          |ion
                  |(father's mother) |                  |(father's father)|
                  |                  |                  |                 | I
_Mamui_           |                  |_Kukui_           |                 |
(father)          |                  |(mother)          |                 |
_Niingui_         |                  |_Gunui_           |                 | II
(father's sister= |                  |(mother's brother=|                 |
_Nalundui_,       |                  |_Nguthanguthu_    |                 |
wife's mother)    |                  |wife's father)    |                 |
                  |_Malunui_         |                  |  EGO            |
                  |(father's         |                  |_Wawi, mamui_    |
                  |sister's son)     |                  |(elder brother,  | III
                  |_Neripui_         |                  |sister)          |
                  |(father's sister's|                  |_Tatui, minukui_ |
                  |daughter=wife)    |                  |(younger do.)    |
_Waipui_          |                  |_Ngipui_          |                 |
(son, daughter)   |                  |(sister's son)    |                 |
                  |                  |? (sister's dau.  |                 | IV
                  |                  |=_Boikathui_,     |                 |
                  |                  | son's wife)      |                 |
                  |_Naponui_         |                  |_Kokonui_        |
                  |(daughter's son)  |                  |(sister's        |
                  |_Miimui_          |                  |daughter's son)  | V
                  |(sister's son's   |                  |_Matui_          |
                  | son)             |                  | (son's son)     |

_Ngerikudi: Four-class._

                  |                  |                  |                 |Gen-
                  |                  |                  |                 |er-
_Phratry A:_      |_Class a_1_       |_Phratry B:_      |_Class b_1_      |at-
_Class a_         |                  |_Class b_         |                 |ion
                  |_Daida_ (mother's |                  |_Mite_ (mother's |
                  |father)           |                  |mother)          | I
                  |_Baida_ (father's |                  |_Laeta_ (father's|
                  |mother)           |                  |father)          |
_Naider_ (father) |                  |_Naibeguta_       |                 |
_Waita_ (father's |                  |(mother)          |                 |
brother)          |                  |_Miata_ (brother) |                 |
_Niata_ (elder    |                  |_Goete_ (elder    |                 | II
sister)           |                  |sister)           |                 |
_Wiata_ (younger  |                  |_Datu_ younger    |                 |
do.)              |                  |( do.)            |                 |
                  |                  |                  |       EGO       |
                  |_Danuma_ (wife=   |                  |_Maneinga_ (elder|
                  |mo. bro. dau.)    |                  |brother)         |
                  |_Lanti ngenuma_   |                  |_Goete_ (elder   | III
                  |(sister's husband |                  |sister)          |
                  |=mo. bro. son)    |                  |_Otro_ (younger  |
                  |                  |                  |brother or       |
                  |                  |                  |sister)          |
_Yuta_ (son or    |                  |? (sister's son   |                 |
daughter)         |                  |or daughter)      |                 |
                  |                  |_Yamaanta_ (dau.'s|                 | IV
                  |                  |husband)          |                 |
                  |_Yudanta_         |                  |_Yuunta_ (son's  |
                  |(daughter's child)|                  |child)           | V

So far as deficiencies in our information would allow, these tables have
been drawn up on corresponding lines, and the first point which strikes
us is the great similarity between the three tables, in spite of the
apparent wide divergence in the kinship organisation of the tribes. To
facilitate comparison the Wathi-Wathi terms have been arranged, not only
according to the system in use in the tribe, but in such a way as to
show how the terms would be arranged under the four-class system.

_Arunta: Eight-class._

   _Panunga_    |   _Uknaria_   |    _Bulthara_     |   _Appungerta_   |Gen-
                |               |_Ipmunna_ (mother's|_Arunga_ (father's|at-
                |               |mother, wife's     |father)           |ion
                |               |mother's father)   |                  |I
_Oknia_ (father)|_Mura_ (wife's |                   |                  |
_Uwinna_        |mother, wife's |                   |                  |II
(father's       |mother's       |                   |                  |
sisters)        |brothers)      |                   |                  |
                |               |                   |                  |
                |               |                   |        EGO       |
                |               |_Ipmunna_ (father's|_Okilia_ (elder   |
                |               |sister's daughter's|brothers)         |
                |               |husband, son's     |_Ungaraitcha_     |III
                |               |wife's mother)     |(elder sisters)   |
                |               |                   |_Itia_ (younger   |
                |               |                   |brothers and      |
                |               |                   |sisters)          |
_Allira_        |               |                   |                  |
(children,      |               |                   |                  |
brother's       |               |                   |                  |IV
children)       |               |                   |                  |
                |               |                   |_Arunga_ (son's   |
                |               |                   |son)              |V

   _Purula_     |   _Ungalla_   |     _Kumara_      |   _Umbitchana_   |Gen-
                |               |_Tjimmia_          |_Aperla_          |at-
                |               |(mother's father)  |(father's         |ion
                |               |                   |mother)           |I
_Mia_ (mother,  |_Ikuntera_     |                   |                  |
mother's sister)|(wife's father)|                   |                  |II
_Gammona_       |               |                   |                  |
(mother's       |               |                   |                  |
brother)        |               |                   |                  |
                |               |                   |                  |
                |               |_Unkulla_ (father's|_Unawa_ (wife,    |
                |               |sister's sons)     |wife's sisters)   |
                |               |                   |_Umbirna_         |III
                |               |                   |(wife's brother=  |
                |               |                   |sister's          |
                |               |                   |husband)          |
-               |               |                   |                  |
_Gammona_ (son's|_Umba_         |                   |                  |
 wife)          |(sister's      |                   |                  |IV
                |children)      |                   |                  |
                |               |                   |                  |
                |               |_Tjimmia_          |                  |
                |               |(daughter's child) |                  |V

In the Wathi-Wathi system, we observe that in each generation there are
two groups of males and two of females, corresponding to the two-phratry
system, which are distinguished by names differing for each generation.
Precisely the same arrangement is found in the four-class tribe. The
four-class are therefore simply a systematisation of the terms of
kinship in use under the two-phratry system.

Comparing now the eight-class with the four-class system, we do not see
at a glance the essential principle of the former. The clue is given by
the fact that classes I and IV, II and III in phratry A, I and II, III
and IV in phratry B, are what we have termed a couple, that is to say
stand in the relation of parent and child alternately. Marriage being
between classes of corresponding numbers, it follows that
Kumara-Bulthara and Appungerta-Umbitchana are the maternal and paternal
grandparents of the man EGO. The grandparents of his wife are in the
same classes but with reversal as regards the sex. Bulthara is the
cousin of Appungerta, Kumara of Umbitchana and so on. We see therefore
that, just as among the Dieri, a man may not marry his cousin, but must
marry his second cousin, to use ordinary terms, which in this case are
not misleading.

Looking now at the Ngerikudi system, we see that elder and younger
sisters are distinguished in the generations of EGO and his parents.
Possibly they are the eight-class tribe of Queensland to which Dr Howitt
alludes. If not, we have in them a tribe one stage earlier than the
southern Arunta, who have their four classes divided but as yet without
any corresponding names.

The Dieri rule is that of the eight-class tribes. The person designated
as the proper spouse for a male is his mother's mother's brother's
daughter's daughter, in other words, the grandchildren of brother and
sister intermarry. This, as we have already seen, is precisely the
effect of the eight-class rules. We are therefore confronted with three
possibilities. Either the Dieri regulations are aberrant or they have
introduced these rules under the influence of the neighbouring
eight-class system; or the eight-class organisation is a systematisation
of the Dieri rule, adopted perhaps to facilitate the determination of
marriageableness or otherwise in the case of persons residing at some
distance from each other and therefore less likely to be acquainted
with genealogical niceties than the members of a small community. Now if
the second of these hypotheses is correct, it is by no means clear why
the Dieri, having in view the attainment of the object of the
eight-class system, did not simply adopt it; for this we can find no
reason; and it is clearly more reasonable on other grounds to suppose
that these regulations are of independent origin. But we know the
eight-class rule to have arisen from a division within a generation,
which the Dieri rule is not. Therefore the latter must be sporadic.

The same is probably true of the Urabunna, but here our information is
very scanty and the precise working of the rules is far from clear. What
happens is that an elder brother (A) of a woman (B) marries an elder
sister (D) of a man (C); the daughter of this elder sister (D) is the
proper mate for the son of the younger sister (B) of her husband; this
younger sister's husband is the younger brother, C. Now the term elder
brother, elder sister, does not seem to refer to age; the rule appears
to be--once an elder brother, always an elder brother from generation to

We learn from Spencer and Gillen, that all the women of a generation in
the one phratry, and presumably within the right totem only, are to a
man either _nupa_ (=marriageable) or _apillia_. In the case given by Dr
Howitt the younger sister is _nupa_ to the younger brother, the elder to
the elder brother; but we do not learn how elder and younger are
distinguished, if it is not by descent. Apparently it cannot be by
descent, however; for we find that the son of the younger brother and
sister marries the daughter of the elder brother and sister. As to what
would happen if the younger brother and sister have a daughter, the
elder a son, we have no information; but apparently they cannot marry.
Such a daughter must find the son of two people who stand to her father
and mother as they stood to A and D.

From this example it is clear that the boundaries of the _nupa_ and
_apillia_ groups are not fixed in a given group of women; it is not
possible to divide the women and the men into elder brothers and sisters
on the one hand, younger brothers and sisters on the other. But if this
is the case, we are quite in the dark as to the meaning of the marriage

One thing however seems certain; viz., that the Urabunna regulations do
not give the same result as the four-class regulations. With them the
division is within the generation. There is no class of women, who, with
their descendants, are the normal spouses of a class of men, with their
descendants. That being so, the Urabunna case can hardly throw light on
the genesis of the four-class system.

Among the Urabunna, however, like the Wathi-Wathi, we find the rule that
a man must marry in his own generation; and this is _primâ facie_ the
meaning of the four-class rule. It is true that the origin of the
eight-class rule was not what its _primâ facie_ meaning suggests, viz.,
the desire to prevent the marriage of cousins, for we know that it
originated in the distinction between elder and younger sisters. But no
similar theory appears to fit the case of the four-class tribes. No
division within the generation could possibly produce an alternation of

The Red Indians have in many cases different names for the elder and
younger sister; the Hausa impose on persons standing in these relations
certain prohibitions and avoidances, which are not the same for both
elder and younger; in Australia a man may speak freely to his elder
sisters in blood, but only at a distance to his tribal _ungaraitcha_. To
his younger sisters, blood and tribal, he may not speak save at such a
distance that his features are indistinguishable. In many parts the
elder brother has special rights with regard to the younger, and many
similar customs might be quoted[139].

The question why marriage within the generation--the rule of four-class
and two-phratry tribes alike--should have come into existence is a
complicated one and involves that of the origin of kinship terms. If we
take a crucial case of kinship terminology, we find that a child applies
the same term to its actual mother as to all the women whom its father
might have married, to its potential mothers in fact. If therefore we
have to choose between the gradual extension of the terms from the
single family to the group or their original application to a group,
this instance seems decisive in favour of the latter theory.

Now if marriage was originally not "group" but individual, a question to
be fully discussed in later chapters, we can hardly doubt that
parent-child marriage was forbidden or perhaps instinctively avoided.
But this would be equivalent to prohibiting marriage with one of a
number of men or women embraced under a common kinship term. In the
lower culture generally and especially among the Australians there is a
tendency to follow things out to their logical conclusions. If this were
done in the present case, the result would be to extend the prohibition
to all the persons embraced under the kinship term.

In any case the natural tendency in a small group would be to marry
within the generation, and this might readily become crystallised in the
kinship terms.

The eight-class system, as we have seen, resulted from the distinction
between elder and younger sister. What is the meaning of this and what
analogies do we find to it?

Widely extended also are the systems of age-grades. In all parts of the
world the men, and sometimes the women, are or have been divided into
associations, to which reference was made in Chapter I, which begin by
being co-extensive with the tribe for all practical purposes, since all
pass through the initiation ceremonies. The various initiation
ceremonies during what may be termed the involuntary stage of these
associations, no less than in their later form of secret societies,
determine the rights and duties of the individuals who undergo them. The
period at which they take place is determined, broadly speaking, by the
age of the individual. It is therefore clear that for the peoples in the
lower stage of culture considerations of age are of the highest

We find that in practice the elder brother has much authority, both over
the younger brother and the sister. In Victoria he decides whom they are
to marry. As we have seen in the tables of terms, the Wathi-Wathi man
distinguishes both elder and younger of either sex by special terms,
which points to their having special rights or duties[140].

If therefore we cannot see why primitive man should have enacted that
the elder rather than the younger, or the daughter of the elder rather
than the daughter of the younger, should be preferred, it is at any rate
of a piece with his other customs.

From the terms of kinship tabulated above various conclusions have been
drawn. It will be seen that a man applies to all the women in the other
phratry on the level of his generation the same term as he applies to
his actual wife. On this basis it has been argued that at one time all
the men in one phratry were united in marriage with all the women in the
other within the limits of the generation. Before this again a stage of
absolute promiscuity is supposed to have existed. This alternative
explanation of the kinship organisations demands to be considered.


[138] _J.A.I._ XIV, 354; _N. Queensl. Eth. Bull._ VI, 6; Spencer and
Gillen, _Northern Tribes_, p. 90.

[139]  Morgan, in _Smithsonian Contr._ vol. XVII; _Globus_, LXIX, 3;
_Nat. Tribes_, pp. 88-9.

[140]  For lists of tribes where this distinction is found see Mathew,
_Eaglehawk_, p. 223-4.



Terminology of Sociology. Marriage. Classification of Types. Hypothetical
     and existing forms.

Students of the sociology of white races enjoy conspicuous advantages
over those who devote themselves to the investigation of the
organisation of races in the lower stages of culture. In the first place
they deal with conditions and forms with which they are personally
familiar; and this familiarity is shared by those who form the audience,
or the reading public, of these investigators, who may thus count on
making themselves understood. Even should they find the already existing
terminology insufficient, the knowledge of the phenomena enables them to
introduce suitable modifications or innovations without fear of causing
misunderstanding. It is true that terminology is often loose, but it
exists and can be made to express what is meant.

The student of primitive sociology, on the other hand, is called upon to
digest the reports of other observers, who have not always understood
the conditions which they describe, who have failed to define to
themselves what they are endeavouring to make clear to others, and who
make use of a terminology created for an entirely different set of
conditions, as if exact definition and care in the use of terms were the
last and not the first duty of the observer when he frames his report.

Thus, to take a concrete example, there is not much danger that a writer
who discusses the question of marriage in civilised communities will
deal with one form of union of the sexes, while his readers may imagine
that he is dealing with another form. For marriage is the form of
sexual union recognised by the law of the land, and its legal sanction
distinguishes it from all other forms of sexual union, however permanent
they may be, and however short may be the period before the marriage is
dissolved by an appeal to the courts of law. In fact in civilised
communities the fulfilment of legal forms and ceremonies constitutes
marriage, whatever might be said of a union sanctioned by legal forms
but unaccompanied by the cohabitation of the parties. When, however, we
are dealing with a people ruled by custom and not by law, the case is
far different. The force of custom may and usually does in such cases
far exceed the force of law in civilised communities. In the lower
stages of culture there is far more reluctance to overstep the
traditional lines of behaviour than is felt by the ordinary member of a
European state, and this though there are penalties in the latter which
do not necessarily exist in the former case. But law, in the sense of a
rule of conduct, promulgated by a legislator and enforced by penalties
inflicted by law courts and carried out by the agents of the state, does
not necessarily exist, and, at most, exists only in a very inchoate
state. If therefore we read of marriage among such a people, we are left
in complete uncertainty whether it is a union corresponding to marriage
in civilised lands, or whether it belongs to a different category. The
difficulty of the case lies partly in the inability of the observer to
distinguish _de jure_ from _de facto_ unions, partly in the fact that
one may be transformed into the other, and no ceremony of any sort mark
the change. An Australian may, for example, have a wife who is
recognised as his by tribal custom and tradition; if she is abducted the
aggrieved husband may vindicate his rights but will not necessarily be
supported by even his own kin, and will certainly not find anything to
correspond to the tribunal before which an Englishman would sue for the
restitution of conjugal rights. If the aggrieved husband proves the
weaker, he necessarily abandons his wife, and she becomes _ipso facto_
the wife of the aggressor; divorce is in fact pronounced by the issue of
an ordeal by combat. So far the matter is clear to the observer.

But if the aggrieved husband take no steps to vindicate his rights, the
woman will equally pass to the aggressor, and in this case there will
be no customary ceremonial to mark for the benefit of the observer the
exact moment of the transition from a marriage, recognised by public
opinion, or tribal custom, with the first husband A to the same kind of
union with B.

Again, even where no second mate intervenes to complicate the question,
the observer may be confronted with delicate problems; at what point,
for example, does a mere liaison pass into something worthy of the name
of marriage? What is the status of a union in which the parties are more
or less permanently associated, but which confers no rights as against
aggressors? If by native custom the union is not of such a nature as to
confer on the male party to it any rights over the female, such as the
liberty to chastise or punish without fear of the intervention of the
woman's kin, are we to regard the tie as equivalent to marriage if only
it is permanent? At what point does mere cohabitation pass into

All these are questions which have to be debated and decided before we
are in possession of a suitable terminology for dealing with the unions
of the sexes in the lower stages of culture. But they are commonly
neglected in controversies as to the origin and history of human

We have seen above that in a European community we mean by marriage a
union between two persons of opposite sexes, entered into with due legal
formalities, and not dissoluble simply at the will of either or both the
parties concerned. When we go further afield the connotation of the term
is extended to embrace (1) polygyny, in which one male is associated
with two or more females, (2) polyandry, in which one female is
similarly associated with more than one male, and (3) the condition
which I propose to term polygamy, in which both these conditions are
found. In all these cases the union is properly termed marriage, in so
far as it cannot be entered upon without due formalities nor be
dissolved without the concurrence of the authority upon the carrying out
of whose conditions in the preliminary steps the union depends for its

When however we come to the so-called group marriage, using the term in
its original sense of limited promiscuity, we are dealing with an
entirely different state of things, and it is difficult to see any
justification for the use of the term marriage in this connection at
all. By group marriage is meant a condition only removed from absolute
promiscuity by the existence of age-classes or of two or more exogamous
classes in the community; it demands no special ceremonies prior to the
individual union[141], it permits this union to be dissolved at will,
and it consequently confers no rights on either of the parties to it,
other than perhaps the right to the produce, or some of the produce, of
each other's labour.

If the confusion did not extend beyond the terminology, the advance of
knowledge would perhaps be but little impeded; but experience shows that
confusion in terminology is apt to go hand in hand with confusion in
ideas. As will be shown later, this seems to be particularly true of
investigations into the history of marriage and sexual relationships. It
seems desirable therefore to clear the way by classifying the ideas with
which we have to deal, and by defining the terms corresponding to them.

Before classifying the various forms of sexual relationships, it may be
well to say a few words on the definition of marriage in general. Dr
Westermarck has defined it from the point of view of natural history as
a more or less durable connection between male and female, lasting
beyond the mere act of propagation till after the birth of the

It may not be possible to propose a better definition from the point of
view selected by Dr Westermarck, which is certainly the one from which
anthropology must regard sexual relationships. At the same time it is
not entirely free from objection. In the first place we are employing
the word marriage in a sense which has but little in common with its
ordinarily accepted meaning. Suppose, for example, we are dealing with
marriage in Europe, it is confusing to be compelled by our definition to
regard as a marriage the _faux ménage_, not to speak of the not uncommon
fairly permanent unions in which there is no common residence. Such
monogamous relationships may be, technically speaking, marriages, in Dr
Westermarck's sense, but it seems desirable to make use of some other
term for them and reserve marriage for the unions sanctioned by legal
forms. Or take the union of two people, each of whom has prior
matrimonial engagements. Such a union may, as the records of the divorce
court show, be anything but impermanent; but it does not make for
clearness to call such an union marriage. Let us take a third example--a
New Hebridean girl purchased, or in Upa stolen, for the use of the young
men, who, of course, reside in their club-house. If any of the bachelors
there resident chooses to recognise her children, they are regarded as
his children; if not, they are supported by the whole of the residents
in the club-house. How are we to classify the position of the mother of
these children? The union is obviously fairly permanent, although some
of the group enter into sexual relationships of an ordinary type and
join the ranks of the married men, and others enter the club-house from
the ranks of those hitherto shut out from the enjoyment of the
privileges of the adult unmarried male. But the relationship established
with the whole body of unmarried men and indistinguishable, so far as
definition goes, from polyandry, hardly seems to be a permanent union of
the type which Dr Westermarck had in mind when he framed his definition,
much less a marriage in any accepted sense of the term.

For Dr Westermarck's general term marriage it would be well to
substitute _gamé_ or gamic union, to express all kinds of sexual
relationships other than temporary ones. As sub-heads under this we

(1) Marriage, a union recognised by law or custom, which imposes duties
and confers rights on one, both, or all the parties to it.

(2) Free union, a relationship not recognised by the community as
conferring rights, but at the same time not punished and not necessarily
regarded as immoral. Temporary unions we may classify as (_a_)
promiscuity where marriage does not exist or is temporarily in abeyance:
(_b_) free love, the relationships of the unmarried: (_c_ i.) temporary
polyandry or polygyny of married people, where the unions are limited
and recognised by custom: (_c_ ii.) marital licence where the husband is
complaisant in the face of public opinion: (_c_ iii.) adultery where
neither the husband nor public opinion permits them.

(3) Liaison, a union in which one or both parties have other ties, which
renders them liable to punishment, or to some kind of atonement.

Ten various possible forms of sexual relationship actually found or
assumed to have existed may now be classified.


I. Unregulated Promiscuity. (_a_) Primary unregulated promiscuity is the
hypothetical state assumed by Morgan and others to be the primitive
state of mankind. It may be noted that promiscuity _de jure_, which is
all that is implied by Morgan's hypothesis, is not necessarily also _de
facto_ promiscuity. Unless it be assumed that jealousy was absent at
this stage, it is clear that free unions must have been the rule rather
than the exception. But if this be so, the only distinction between
Morgan's promiscuity and the ordinary state of things in an Australian
tribe is constituted, intermarrying rules apart, by the fact that the
Australian husband is at liberty to reclaim his wife, if he can, without
fear of blood feud if perchance he slays his successor in the
affections, or perhaps rather in the possession, of his wife, whereas in
Morgan's primitive stage might was right and the abductor was on an
equal footing with his predecessor and successor. (_b_) Secondary
unregulated promiscuity is distinguished from primary promiscuity by the
co-existence of other forms of sexual relations. It may temporarily
supersede these as in Australia; or it may take their place, as among
the Nairs.

II. Regulated Promiscuity. This again falls into (_a_) primary regulated
promiscuity, the hypothetical stage postulated for Australia before the
introduction of individual marriage; and (_b_) secondary regulated
promiscuity, which is found in certain tribes as an exceptional
practice. With this custom I deal in greater detail below.


III, Polygamy. This state is constituted by the union of several men
with several women. It may be distinguished, as before, into primary and
secondary polygamy. We may further distinguish (_α_) simple and (_β_)
adelphic polygamy; and the latter may be (i) unilateral or (ii)
bilateral, according as either the males or females, or both males and
females, are brothers and sisters. A further sub-division is constituted
by the relations of the groups of males or females, or both, within
themselves. I distinguish these unions by the names of dissimilar (M.)
and dissimilar (F.) according as one husband or one wife has a position
superior to the others[142].

IV, Polyandric and V. polygynic unions fall into the same divisions,
save that they are naturally always unilateral. As a designation for the
hypothetical stage postulated by Mr Atkinson in _Primal Law_, we may
take "patriarchal polygyny," meaning thereby the state in which (_a_) in
the earlier stage all the females of the horde[143] are _ipso facto_
mates of the one adult male of the horde; or (_b_) in the second stage
all females born in the horde are equally allotted to him.

Finally we have VI, monogamy.

To the three forms of marriage we can apply the determinants "regulated"
and "unregulated," "temporary[144]," "permanent," as in the case of

We have further two well-marked types of marriage and a mixed form in
which (_a_) the husband goes to live with the wife; (_b_) he lives with
the wife for a time and then removes to his own village or tribe; and
(_c_) the wife removes to the husband. For the first of these Maclennan
has proposed the name _beena_ marriage; Robertson Smith has proposed to
call the third type _ba‘al_ marriage, and to include both _beena_ and
_mot‘a_ marriages under the general name of _ṣadīca_. This terminology
is unnecessarily obscure and has the further disadvantage of connoting
the domination or subjection of the husband, a feature not necessarily
bound up with residence. I therefore propose to term the three types
matrilocal, removal, and patrilocal marriages. I suggest compounds of
_pater_ and _mater_, not as being specially appropriate, but as being
parallel to matrilineal and patrilineal, denoting descent in the female
and male lines respectively.

For the somewhat complicated relationships of _potestas_ in the family I
propose two main divisions, (_a_) patri-potestal, (_b_) matri-potestal;
the latter may be further subdivided according as the authority is in
the hands (1) of the actual mother, (2) of the maternal uncles, (3) of
the mother's relatives in general, and so on.


[141]  The _pirrauru_ union is preceded by a ceremony, but this is no
proof that primitive group marriage, if it existed, was contracted in
the same way.

[142]  Dissimilar polygamy is, in respect of the inferior spouses, hardly
to be distinguished from promiscuity, save that the number of them is
limited. But in Australia the lending of _pirraurus_ sweeps away even
this distinction.

[143]  He says family, or Cyclopean family. Harem in fact is the idea.

[144]  i.e. not life-long.



Passage from Promiscuity. Reformatory Movements. Incest. Relative
     harmfulness of such unions. Natural aversion. Australian facts.

The arguments for group marriage in Australia are of two kinds--(1) from
the terms of relationship, that is to say of a mixed philological and
sociological character, and (2) from the customs of the Australian

The argument from the terms of relationship is so intimately connected
with the theories of Lewis Morgan that it may be well to give a brief
critical survey of Morgan's hypotheses. I therefore begin the treatment
of this part of the subject by a statement of Morgan's views on the
general question of the origin and development of human marriage.

As a result of his enquiries into terms of relationships, mainly in
North America and Asia, Morgan drew up a scheme of fifteen stages,
through which he believed the sexual relations of human beings had
passed in the interval between utter savagery and the civilised family.
We are only concerned with the earlier portion of his scheme. It is not
even necessary to discuss that in all its details. Morgan's first eight
(properly five) stages are:

I. Promiscuous Intercourse.

II. Intermarriage or Cohabitation of Brothers and Sisters.

III. The Communal Family (First stage of the Family).

IV. The Hawaian Custom of Punalua[145], giving the Malayan Form of the
Classificatory System[146].

V. The Tribal Organisation, i.e. totemic exogamy plus promiscuity,
giving the Turanian and Ganowanian System[147].

VI. Monogamy.

The objections to this theory or group of theories are numerous, and it
will not be necessary to consider them all here. Were it not that no one
has since Morgan's day attempted to trace in detail the course of
evolution from promiscuity to monogamy, it would be almost superfluous
to discuss the theories of a work on primitive sociology dating back
nearly thirty years.

With some points Morgan has failed to deal in a way that commends itself
to us in the light of knowledge accumulated since his day; with others
he has not attempted to deal, apparently from a want of perception of
their importance.

First and foremost among the points with which Morgan has failed to deal
is that of the constitution of the primitive group. Was it composed of
parents and children only or were more than two generations represented?
If the former, why were the children expelled? if the latter, how are
brother and sister marriages introduced, when _ex hypothesi_ the father
of any given child was unknown and may have been any adult male? If
Morgan and his supporters evade this difficulty by defining brother and
sister as children of the same mother, they are met by the obvious
objection that no revolution in a promiscuous group would result in the
marriage of children of the same mother. _Ex hypothesi_ there were
several child-bearing women in the group, and their children, if a
reform were introduced prohibiting marriage outside one's own
generation, would intermarry; but the children of these women are, on
the definition adopted, not brothers and sisters.

If brother and sister does not mean children of the same mother, what
does it mean?

By what process are these names supposed to have come into existence in
a promiscuous group? If brother in this sense is taken to imply common
parentage, the name must clearly denote the relation between two males
because, although a whole group of men had access to the mother, the
male parent was or may have been the same person in each case, and this
whether the mother was the same or not. Now, quite apart from the fact
that primitive man was unlikely to have evolved a term for such an
indefinite relationship, except in so far as it involved rights or
duties, it is obvious that great complications would arise which would
in practice make the nomenclature unworkable. For to call two boys
brothers because they have the same group of men as possible fathers is
only practicable in a society which has already evolved a system of age
grades, and has established restrictions on intercourse between
different generations, to use a somewhat indefinite term. For it is
clear that in a state of promiscuity the class of adults is continually
being recruited and that the boy passes at puberty, in so far as
restrictions in the nature of initiation ceremonies are not imposed,
from the class of sons to that of fathers. In other words, if a group
consists of M_1 M_2 M_3 M_4, and they have male children of all
ages N_1 N_2 N_3 N_4, as soon as N_1 reaches puberty he
becomes a possible father of the children O_1 O_2 O_3 O_4, who
differ in age from N_4 only by a few years at most and reckon as his
brothers. But this means that N_1 is the son of M_1, for example,
but at the same time the father of O_1, who is likewise the son of
M_1; in the same way O_1 is the brother of N_4, who is the brother
of N_1; but O_1 is not the brother of N_1. The extraordinary
complexity of the relations that would arise is at once obvious, and it
seems clear that relationship terms could never come into existence
under such circumstances unless they implied something beyond mere
relationship and denoted rights and duties[148]. But if they denoted
rights and duties, these must have preceded the relationship term, which
consequently need not be held to apply to kinship in any proper sense of
the term.

It is clear that the same difficulties apply when we try to work out the
development on the hypothesis that a group of mothers existed. We are
therefore reduced to the supposition that the term brother denoted
originally a person born within a given period of time, and that this
period was the same for whole sections of the community; in other words
that the name brother was given to all males born between, let us say,
B.C. 10,000 and B.C. 9,990. This is of course equivalent to the
establishment of age grades and is in itself not unthinkable; age grades
are of course perfectly well known among primitive peoples; but the
establishment of age grades implies a degree of social organisation;
and, what is more important, this hypothesis makes the term brother
quite meaningless as a kinship term; for at the present day a common
term of address for members of an age grade does not imply any degree of
consanguinity, and unless it be proved that age grades are a product of
the period of "group marriage" it cannot be argued that they ever did
imply kinship.

It is sufficiently clear from these examples that Morgan entirely failed
to work out the process by which the transition from pure to regulated
promiscuity came about. But if the process is uncertain the causes are
equally obscure. In Mr Morgan's view, or at any rate in one of the
theories on which he accounted for the change, it was due to "movements
which resulted in unconscious reformation"; these movements were, he
supposes, worked out by natural selection. These words, it is true,
apply primarily to the origin of the "tribal" or "gentile" organisation,
as Mr Morgan terms totemism, but they probably apply to the original
passage from promiscuity to "communal marriage," and I propose to
examine how far such a theory has any solid basis.

Natural selection is a blessed phrase, but in the present case it is
difficult to see in what way it is supposed to act. The variation
postulated by Mr Morgan as a basis for the operation of natural
selection is one of ideas, not physical or mental powers. Now under
ordinary circumstances we mean by natural selection the weeding out of
the unfit by reason of inferiorities, physical or psychical, which
handicap them in the struggle for existence. But it cannot be said that
the tendency to marry or practice of marrying outside one's own
generation is such a handicap to the parents. How far is it injurious to
the children of such unions? Or rather, how far have children who are
the offspring of brothers and sisters or of cousins a better chance of
surviving than the offspring of unions between relatives of different

It is at the outset clear that savages are not in the habit of taking
account of such matters. Even if it were otherwise, it is not clear how
far they would have data as to the varying results of unions of near
kin. For though on this question, so far as the genus homo is concerned,
we have very few data on which to go, such data as we have hardly bear
out his view. Modern statistics relate almost exclusively to the
intermarriage of cousins, and apply, not to primitive tribes, such as
those with which, _ex hypothesi_, Mr Morgan is dealing, but to more or
less civilised and sophisticated peoples, among whom the struggle for
existence is less keen owing to the advance of knowledge and the
progress of invention, and among whom possibly the rise of humanitarian
ideas not only tends to counteract the weeding out of the unfit, but
even makes it relatively easy for them to propagate their species. What
the result of the intermarriage of cousins is when war, famine, and
infanticide are efficient weeders out of the unfit, we cannot say.
Possibly or even probably the ill results would be inappreciable. It
must not be forgotten that the marriage of near relatives is only
harmful because or if it hands on to the children of the union an
hereditary taint in a strengthened form, a result which is likely to
follow in civilised life because hereditary taints are allowed to
flourish unchecked by prudence and controlled by natural selection only
so far as humanitarianism will permit it. These hereditary degeneracies
however are probably largely if not entirely absent among savages. It is
therefore open to question how far intermarriage of cousins would prove
harmful under such conditions.

Statistics of the influence of cousin-marriage are not however what Mr
Morgan wants. It is essential for him to prove that father-daughter
marriage is more harmful than brother-sister unions.

It might be imagined that the data for estimating the effect of the
union of father and daughter would be non-existent, but this is not so.
Within the last few years it has been stated that such unions are common
in parts of South America, and that the children, so far from being
degenerates, are remarkably healthy and vigorous[149]. This is of
interest in connection with Mr Atkinson's speculations as to the history
of the family. In this connection it may be pointed out that such
unions, _ex hypothesi_, are unlikely to result in continual in-and-in
breeding, and would in all probability seldom be continued beyond the
first alliance of this nature.

We are practically in complete darkness as to the results of brother and
sister marriage in the human species. We have of course various cases of
ruling families who perpetuated themselves in this way, but the data
from such peoples refer to an advanced stage of culture and to a
favoured class. They are not therefore applicable to similar unions
among savages where they formed, as Mr Morgan suggests, the invariable
practice. It is however possible to deduce from very simple
considerations the probabilities as to the respective effects of
adelphic and father-daughter unions. In the first place, as has been
already pointed out, the father-daughter union implies only one family
of in-and-in-bred children; in the case of brother and sister marriage,
on the other hand, this state of things may go on indefinitely. If this
is not enough to turn the scale against adelphic unions there is the
further fact that, taking the descendants of the first pair of
intermarrying descendants of common parents, whose tendency to disease
or deformity is we will suppose x^1 on both sides, and assuming that
this tendency increases in a simple ratio, the offspring have the same
tendencies to the second power of x. If their children marry each other
the measure of degeneracy in the third generation is x^4. Suppose now
a father and mother with index of degeneracy each x^1; a daughter of
this union will have as her index x^2; if the daughter bears children
to the father, their index will be not x^4, but x^3, if the simple
law which I have assumed for the purposes of argument holds good.

It is therefore clear that the offspring of adelphic unions, so far from
being at an advantage compared with the offspring of father-daughter
unions, are at a disadvantage in the proportion of 4 to 3. In the third
place, in father-daughter unions the male is physically as well as
sexually mature. In adelphic unions both parties are probably immature.
Consequently from this point of view also the advantage is with the
supposed injurious type of union. Now if the father-daughter union was
less harmful than the brother-sister union, _a fortiori_ are uncle-niece
and similar unions less harmful. Yet Morgan supposes them to have been
prohibited in favour of brother and sister unions.

Mr Morgan's reformation therefore turns out to have been no reformation
at all, but a retrograde step. Assuming however that the facts were as
he supposed them to be, and that the reformation was a real one, it is
by no means clear how he supposes it to have been brought about. It was,
as we have seen, an unconscious[150] reformation; it is not supposed
therefore that the primeval savage detected more pronounced signs of
degeneracy in the offspring of one class of union and by the force of
public opinion caused such unions to fall into disrepute and ultimately
into desuetude. So far as can be seen the method which Mr Morgan had in
his mind was this: certain unions resulted in offspring less able to
maintain the struggle for existence, and these families consequently
tended to die out. Other unions--those of sisters and brothers--on the
other hand produced more vigorous children, and tended to perpetuate
themselves. Whereas originally there was no tendency either one way or
the other, some families developed from unknown causes, which, whatever
they were, were neither moral nor utilitarian, the practice of brother
and sister marriage. This diathesis followed the ordinary laws of
descent, and eventually those families which were fortunate enough to be
affected in that way exterminated their rivals.

Now, as will be shown immediately, this course of events seems to be in
contradiction with the facts of savage society at the present day and
with all probability. Apart from that however, how does Mr Morgan
suppose his eugenic diathesis to be transmitted? It can hardly be
maintained that this was the result of the different social conditions
of the families in which brothers and sisters intermarried. Obviously
there would be nothing to prevent the male in one of these unions from
reverting to the other type of marriage. This would indeed be highly
probable for reasons to be developed in the next paragraph. But if
social conditions were not the determining factor, we are left with the
somewhat grotesque theory of innate ideas. It is hardly necessary to
refute this origin of social evolution.

Perhaps the strongest objection, however, to Mr Morgan's theory is the
fact that in the most primitive communities the female tends to be
younger, often much younger, than her mate. It is a readily
ascertainable fact, though it seems to have been neglected by Mr Morgan,
that the age of puberty does not coincide with the greatest development
of the physical powers, but precedes it in the human subject by many
years. The result of this is that the younger males are, as a rule, in
the case of many mammals, held in subjection by the patriarch of the
herd, the result being what I have termed above patriarchal polygyny, as
long as the old male retains his powers. We have, it is true, no
evidence of any such conditions among the anthropoids; but it must not
be forgotten that we have no evidence of the consanguine family either
among anthropoids, other mammals or human beings.

It tells against the hypothesis of patriarchal polygyny that both among
horses and among camels there is evidence of the existence of actual
sexual aversion between both sire and filly and dam and colt in the
first case; and, as Aristotle tells us, at least between dam and colt in
the case of camels; but we can hardly argue from Ungulata to Primates.

However this may be, the objections to Morgan's theories do not lose
their strength. Enough has perhaps been said of them from the point of
view of theory. We may look at them in the light of the known facts of
social evolution among races of low stages of culture.

If we now turn for a moment to see what light Australian facts throw on
the first two stages postulated by Mr Morgan, we find that the
theoretical objections are amply supported by the course of evolution
which can be traced in Australian social regulations. It will be
recollected that in his view father-daughter marriage disappeared first,
then brother and sister marriage. Totemism apart, there are in
Australia, as we have seen, two kinds of organisation for the regulation
of marriage--phratries, the dichotomous division of the southern tribes,
and classes, the four-fold or eight-fold division of the other areas as
to which we have any knowledge. Of these the phratry is demonstrably
older than the class. But the result of the division of a tribe into two
phratries is to prevent brother and sister marriage, while, so far as
phratry rules are concerned, father and daughter are still free to marry
in those tribes where the descent is matrilineal. The result (though not
necessarily the original object) of the class-system, on the other hand,
is to prevent the marriage of fathers and daughters and generally of the
older generation with the younger, so far as the classes actually
represent generations. In actual practice the class into which a man may
marry includes females of all ages, so that he is only debarred from
marrying young females if they are his own daughters. But if we may
assume that the original object of the classes was to prevent the
intermarriage of different generations, it is at once obvious that in
Australia the evolution postulated by Mr Morgan, if it took place at
all, took place in reverse order, the brother and sister marriage being
the first to be brought under the ban.

The objections to which attention has been called seem to make it
difficult if not impossible to accept Morgan's explanations either of
the processes or of the causes which led to the passage from promiscuity
to communal marriage.


[145]  This is not really material.

[146]  Properly speaking these are not stages in the same sense as the
other forms.

[147]  See note 2 on previous page. [Transcriber's Note: Refers to [146]]

[148]  We find that in practice change of age grade, i.e. of relationship
term, does exist; a clearer proof could not be given that the term of
relationship has nothing to do with descent.

[149] _Wiener Med. Wochenschrift_, 1904; cf. _Fort. Rev._ LXXXIII, 460,
n. 18. There is, as Mr Lang informs me, a curious Panama case in records
of the Darien expedition, 1699.

[150]  Sometimes but usually not, for Morgan is utterly inconsistent.



Mother and Child. Kurnai terms. Dieri evidence. _Noa._ Group Mothers.
     Classification and descriptive terms. Poverty of language. Terms
     express status. The savage view natural.

We may now turn to consider the terms of relationship from the point of
view of marriage, more especially in connection with Australia. We have
already seen that there are great difficulties in the way of Morgan's
hypothesis that the names accurately represent the relations which
formerly existed in the tribes which used them. I propose to discuss the
matter here from a somewhat different standpoint.

It seems highly probable that if any individual term came into use,
whether monogamy, patriarchal polygyny, "group marriage," or promiscuity
prevailed, it would be that which expresses the relationship of a mother
to her child. The only other possibility would be that in the first two
conditions mentioned the relation of husband to wife might take

In actual practice we find that the name which a mother applies to her
own child is applied by her equally to the children of the women whom
her husband might have married. This state of things may obviously arise
from one of three causes, (_a_) In the first place the name may have
been originally that which a mother applied to her own son, and it may
have been extended to those who were her nephews in a state of monogamy,
or stepsons (=sons of other women by the same father) in a state of
polygyny either with or without polyandry. (_b_) The theory that a name
was applied originally to own and collateral relatives has already been
discussed, so far as it refers to the "undivided commune." The case of
regulated promiscuity is different and must be considered here. (_c_) On
the other hand the name which she uses may have been expressive of
tribal status or group status, and may have had nothing to do with

It is unnecessary to say much about the first of these possibilities.
First, there is no evidence to show that such a thing has taken place;
secondly, we can see no reason why such a thing should take place;
thirdly, if such a change of meaning did take place, it is quite clear
that we have no grounds for regarding the philological evidence for
group marriage as having the slightest significance.

In connection with the second hypothesis--that the names actually
represent the relations formerly existing, it may be well to preface the
discussion by a few remarks on the regulation of marriage in Australia.
The rules by which the Australian native is bound, when he sets out to
choose a wife, make the area of choice as a rule dependent on his
status, that is to say, he must, in order to find a wife, go to another
phratry, class, totem-kin, or combination of two of these, membership of
which depends on descent, direct or indirect; on the other hand he may
be limited by regulations dependent on locality, that is to say he may
have to take a wife from a group resident in a certain area. There is
reason to suppose that the latter regulations are the outcome of earlier
status regulations which have fallen into desuetude. However this may
be, all that we are here concerned with is the fact that regulations in
this case also are virtually dependent on descent, inasmuch as a man is
not in practice free to reside where he likes, but remains in his own
group, though occasionally he joins that of his wife (this does not
apparently affect the exogamic rule). The groups are therefore to all
intents and purposes totem-kins with male descent.

Taking the Kurnai as our example of the non-class-organised groups, we
find that the fraternal relationship once started goes on for ever; the
result of this is that with few exceptions the whole of the
intermarrying groups, so far as they are of the same generation, are
brothers and sisters. Dr Howitt, whose authority on matters of
Australian ethnology is final, recognises that on the principles on
which group marriage is deduced from terms of relationship, this fact
should point to the Kurnai being yet in the stage of the undivided
commune (why, it is difficult to see, when they are definitely
exogamous), but regards the argument from terms of relationship as
untrustworthy in this instance. If it is not reliable in one case it may
well be unreliable in all; we are entitled to ask supporters of the
hypothesis of group marriage what differentiates this case from those in
which they have no doubt of the validity of the philological argument.

Now if Dr Howitt's doubts as to the interpretation to be put upon the
Kurnai terms of relationship are correct, we may reasonably, in the
absence of proof that they originated in a different way from the
Malayan terms, ask ourselves upon what basis the case for promiscuity
rests. Beyond a few customs, and it will be shown below that it is
unnecessary to regard them as survivals of a period when marriage was
unknown, the proof is purely philological, and on examination the
philological proof is found to be wanting.

Dr Howitt, in his recent book, rests the case for the undivided commune
(i.e. promiscuity) on the Australian terms of relationship which he
discusses, viz. those of the Dieri and the Kurnai. He will not admit
that the Kurnai terms point to the undivided commune; we are therefore
left with the Dieri terms. But the Dieri organisation, so far from being
that of an undivided commune, is the two-phratry arrangement by which a
man is by no means free to marry any woman in his tribe, but is limited
to one-half of the women; further, tribal customs limit his choice still
further and compel him to marry his mother's mother's brother's
daughter's daughter (these terms do not refer to blood but so-called
"tribal" relationship, i.e. it is a woman with a certain tribal status
whom he has to marry). Where then does Dr Howitt find his proof of

We have, it is true, a certain number of tribal legends, according to
which the phratry organisation was instituted to prevent the marriage
of too near kin. But, quite apart from the fact that tribal legends are
not evidence, the legends merely point to a period when marriage was
unregulated, when a man was free to marry any woman, not when he was _de
facto_ or _de jure_ the husband of every woman. Even if it be proved
beyond question that marriage was once unregulated, it does not follow
that promiscuity prevailed.

The existence of the undivided commune is a proof of promiscuity only
for those who discover proofs of group marriage in the divided commune,
in other words in the terms of relationship and the customs of the
ordinary two-phratry tribe of the present day. We may therefore let the
decision of the question of the validity of terms of relationship as a
proof of extensive connubial activities rest upon the discussion of the
evidence to be drawn from the tribes selected by Dr Howitt and Messrs
Spencer and Gillen, viz. the Dieri and the Urabunna.

It may however be pointed out that neither of these writers has dealt
with the passage from promiscuity to "group marriage," nor shown how
under the former system terms of relationship could come into existence
at all. With the difficulties we have dealt above.

We must now revert to the question of the origin of the so-called "terms
of relationship." Are they expressive of kinship or only of status and
duties? Neither Lewis Morgan nor the authorities on Australian marriage
customs--Dr Howitt and Messrs Spencer and Gillen--discuss the question
at length, but seem to regard it as an axiom (although they warn us that
all European ideas of relationship must be dismissed when we deal with
the classificatory system) that all these terms may be interpreted on
the hypothesis that the European relationships to which they most nearly
correspond actually existed in former times, not, as in Europe, between
individuals, but between groups. The case on which Spencer and Gillen
rely is that of the _unawa_ relationship. They argue that a man is
_unawa_ to a whole group of women, one of whom is his individual wife;
for this individual wife no special name exists, she is just _unawa_
(=_noa_) like all the other women he might have married. Consequently
the marital relation must have existed formerly between the man in
question and the whole group of _unawa_ women. The reasoning does not
seem absolutely conclusive, and our doubts as to the validity of the
argument are strengthened when we apply it to another case and find the
results inconsistent with facts which are known to the lowest savage.
Not only has a man only one name for the women he might have married,
and for the woman he actually did marry, but a mother has only one name
for the son she actually bore, and for the sons of the women who, if
they had become her husband's wives, would have borne him sons in her
stead. From this fact by parity of reasoning we must draw the obvious
conclusion that during the period when group marriage was the rule,
individual mothers were unknown. If we are entitled to conclude from the
fact that a man's wife bears the same name for him as all the other
women whom he might have married, that he at one time was the husband of
them all, then we are obviously equally entitled to conclude, from the
fact that a woman's son is known to her by the same name as the sons of
other women, either that during the period of group marriage she
actually bore the sons of the other women or that the whole group of
women produced their sons by their joint efforts. Finding that the term
which is translated "son" is equally applied by the remainder of the
group of women to the son of the individual woman, whose case we have
been considering, we may discard the former hypothesis and come to the
conclusion that if there was a period of group marriage there was also
one of group motherhood. This interesting fact may be commended to the
attention of zoologists.

It is perhaps unnecessary to pursue the argument any further. The single
point on which Spencer and Gillen rely is sufficiently refuted by a
single _reductio ad absurdum_. If more proof is needed it may be found
in Dr Howitt's work[151]. We learn from him that a man is the younger
brother of his maternal grandmother, and consequently the maternal
grandfather of his second cousin. Surely it is not possible in this case
to contend that the "terms of relationship" are expressive of anything
but duties and status. It seems unreasonable to maintain in the
interests of an hypothesis that a man can be his own great uncle and
the son of more than one mother.

From the foregoing discussion it will be clear that there are very
grave, if not insurmountable, difficulties in the way of regarding the
"terms of relationship" as being in reality such. In reply to those who
regard them as status terms it is urged that if they are not terms of
relationship, then the savages have no terms of any sort to express
relationships which we regard as obvious, the implication being that
this is unthinkable.

Now in the first place it may be pointed out that the converse is
certainly true. Civilised man has a large number of terms of
relationship, but he has none for such ideas as _noa_; a boy has no term
for all men who might have been his father; a woman has no name for the
children of all women who might have married her husband, if she had not
anticipated them. To the savage this is just as unthinkable as the
converse seems to be to some civilised men.

In the second place it is perfectly obvious that the savage has, as a
matter of fact, no names for the quite unmistakeable relationship of
mother and child. The name which an Australian mother applies to her
son, she applies equally to the sons of all other women of her own
status; the name which a son applies to his mother, he applies equally
to all the women of her status, whether married or unmarried, in old
age, middle life, youth, or infancy. If there is no term for this
relation we can hardly argue that the absence of terms for other
relations is unthinkable.

Morgan attempted to meet this objection by urging that in a state of
promiscuity a woman would apply the same name to the children of other
women as to her own, because they were or might be by the same father.
But in the first place this assumes that the relationship to the father
was considered rather than the relationship to the mother, and this is
against all analogy. In the second place, even granting Morgan's
postulate, the relation of a mother to her son is not that of a wife to
the children of other wives of a polygynous husband. Poverty of language
is therefore established in this case, and may be taken for granted
where the obvious relationships are concerned.

It has been pointed out more than once that there are grave difficulties
in the way of any hypothesis which assumes that terms of relationship,
properly so called, were evolved in a state of pure promiscuity. It has
now been shown that no intelligible account of the meaning of such terms
can be given, even if we dismiss the difficulties just mentioned and
assume that terms were somehow or other evolved, and a transition
effected to a state of regulated promiscuity. If on the other hand we
regard the "terms of relationship" as originally indicative of tribal
status and suppose they have been transformed in the course of ages into
"descriptive" terms such as we use in everyday life, the difficulties

For one proof of this hypothesis we need look no further than the terms
of relationship applied by a mother to her own (and other) children, an
illustration which has already done duty more than once. It is
abundantly clear that what this term expresses is not relationship but
status, the relation of one generation to the next in the Malayan
system, of the half of a generation to the next generation in the same
moiety of the tribe among the Dieri, and so on.

It is admitted even by believers in group marriage that the terms of
relationship do not correspond to anything actually existing; beyond the
"survivals" which we shall consider below, they can produce no shadow of
proof that the terms ever did correspond to actual relationships, as
they understand them. They can give no proof whatever that they did not
express status.

It is therefore a fair hypothesis that _unawa_ (_noa_) and similar terms
express status and not relationship. From the example of mother and son
we see that the Australian does not select for distinction by a special
term that bond which is most obvious both to him and us. It is therefore
by no means surprising that by _unawa_ he should mean, not the existence
of marital relations, but their possibility, from a 'legal' point of
view. Just as he is struck, not by the genetic relation between mother
and son, but by the fact that they belong to different generations, so
in the case of husband and wife the _existence_ of marital relations
between them is neglected, and the point selected for emphasis is the
_legality_ of such marital relations, whether existent or not.

It is singular that anyone should regard this savage view of life as
anything but natural. For the Australian the due observance of the
marriage regulations is a tribal matter; their breach, whether the
connection be by marriage or free love, is a matter of more than private
concern. The relations of a man with his legal wife however concern
other members of the tribe but little. Public opinion among the Dieri,
it is true, condemns the unfaithful wife, but her punishment is left to
the husband; among the Kamilaroi the tribe indeed takes the matter up
but only on the complaint of the husband; and generally speaking it is
the husband who, possibly with his totemic brethren, pursues the
abductor. We have therefore in this insistence on the legal status of
the couple and the comparative indifference to the husband's rights a
sufficiently exact parallel to the insistence on status and not marital
relations in the use of the term _unawa_.

The course of evolution has been, not, as group-marriagers contend, from
group to individual terms of relationship but from terms descriptive of
status to terms descriptive of relationship.

It is, in fact, on any hypothesis, impossible to deny this. Whatever
terms of relationship may have meant in the past, no believer in group
marriage contends that they represent anything actually existing. But
this is equivalent to admitting that they express status and not
relationship, and no proof has ever been given that they were ever
anything else.


[151]  p. 163.



Theories of group marriage. Meaning of group. Dieri customs. Tippa-malku
     marriage. Obscure points. _Pirrauru._ Obscure points. Relation of
     _pirrauru_ to _tippa-malku_ unions. Kurnandaburi. Wakelbura customs.
     Kurnai organisation. Position of widow. _Piraungaru_ of Urabunna.
     _Pirrauru_ and group marriage. _Pirrauru_ not a survival. Result of
     scarcity of women. Duties of _Pirrauru_ spouses. _Piraungaru_:
     obscure points.

We now come to the marriage customs of the Australian natives of the
present day and the supposed survivals of group marriage. In dealing
with the question of group marriage we are met with a preliminary
difficulty. No one has formulated a definition of this state, and the
interpretations of the term are very diverse.

Fison, for example, says[152] group marriage does not necessarily imply
actual giving in marriage or cohabitation; all it means is a marital
right or rather qualification which comes by birth. He argues however on
a later page[153] that Nair polyandry, which is more properly termed
promiscuity, is group marriage. Much the same view is taken by A.H.
Post[154], who regards the theory of pure promiscuity and the undivided
commune as untenable.

Kohler, on the other hand[155], speaks of group marriage as existing
among the Omahas, a patrilineal tribe, be it remarked; but means by that
no more than adelphic polygyny.

Spencer and Gillen criticise Westermarck's use of the term "pretended
group marriage" and assert it to be a fact among the Urabunna. On the
very next page group marriage is spoken of as having preceded the
present state of things. Both statements cannot be true.

For the purposes of the present work I understand group marriage to mean
promiscuity limited by regulations based on organisations such as
age-grades, phratries, totem-kins, or local groups.

The fact is that Spencer and Gillen and other writers on Australia use
the term group merely as a noun of multitude. They do not mean by group,
in one sense, anything more than a number of persons. In this sense they
speak of group marriage (=polygamy) at the present day--a fact which is
not peculiar to Australia and which no one is concerned to deny. By a
quite illegitimate transformation of meaning they also apply the term
group to a portion of a tribe distinguished by a class name and (or or)
term of relationship and mean by group marriage class promiscuity. They
do not even perceive that they make this transition, for otherwise
Messrs Spencer and Gillen could hardly assail Dr Westermarck for using
the term "pretended group marriage" which is quite accurate as a
description of group (=class) marriage or promiscuity. Even if there
were justification for assuming that group marriage (=polygamy) is a
lineal descendant of group marriage (=class promiscuity), nothing would
be gained by using the term group marriage of both. In the subsequent
discussion it will be made clear that whatever their causal connection,
there is hardly a single point of similarity between them beyond the
fact that the sexual relations are in neither case monogamous. It is
therefore to be hoped that the supporters of the hypothesis of group
marriage will in the future encourage clear thinking by not using the
same term for different forms of sexual union.

I now proceed to discuss the alleged survival of group marriage and
other Australian marriage customs.

Taking the Dieri tribe as our example the following state of things is
found to prevail. The tribe is divided into exogamous moieties, Matteri
and Kararu; subject to restrictions dependent on kinship, with which we
are not immediately concerned, any Matteri may marry any Kararu. A
reciprocal term, _noa_[156], is in use to denote the status of those who
may marry each other. This _noa_ relationship is sometimes cited as a
proof of the existence of group marriage. As a matter of fact it is no
more evidence of group marriage than the fact that a man is _noa_ to all
the unmarried women of England except a few, is proof of the existence
of group marriage in England; or the fact that _femme_ in French means
both wife and woman is an argument for the existence of promiscuity in
France in Roman or post-Roman times.

A ceremony, usually performed in infancy or childhood, changes the
relationship of a _noa_ male and female from _noa-mara_ to
_tippa-malku_. The step is taken by the mothers with the concurrence of
the girl's maternal uncles, and is in fact betrothal. Apparently no
further ceremony is necessary to constitute a marriage. At any rate
nothing is said as to that.

In connection with this form of marriage there are two points of
importance to be noted. The first is that whereas a man may have as many
_tippa-malku_ wives as he can get, a woman cannot have more than one
_tippa-malku_ husband, at any rate not at the same time. After the
husband's death she may again enter into the _tippa-malku_ relation. The
second point is that the _tippa-malku_ relation must precede the
_pirrauru_ relation, of which I shall speak in a moment, and cannot
succeed it[157].

There are unfortunately many points in Dr Howitt's narrative which
demand elucidation. He says, for example, that _noa_ individuals become
"_tippa-malku_ for the time being[158]." This suggests, probably
erroneously, that the _tippa-malku_ relation is merely temporary; but I
am unable to say whether it in reality means that the _tippa-malku_
relation is terminated by the capture of the woman, or that divorce is
practised and may terminate the relationship at the will of the man only
or of both parties.

Another point on which we have no information is the position of the
unmarried girls and widows. Free love is permitted, the only
limitation[159] given by Dr Howitt being that the man (who must of
course have passed through the Mindari ceremony) must not be
_tippa-malku_ to the girl, but must be _noa-mara_. It would be
interesting to know whether girls in the _tippa-malku_ relation before
actual marriage are at liberty to have sexual relations with any men of
the right status or only with unmarried men, or whether the privilege is
restricted to those who are not yet _tippa-malku_ to any one, and how
far the same restriction applies to the men.

Any man who has been duly initiated, whether he is married to a
_tippa-malku_ wife or not, and any woman who has a _tippa-malku_
husband[160], can enter or be put into a relation termed _pirrauru_ with
one or more persons of the opposite sex. The effect of the
ceremony--termed _kandri_--is to give to the _pirrauru_ spouses the
position of subsidiary husbands and wives, whose rights take precedence
of the _tippa-malku_ rights at tribal gatherings, but at other times can
only be exercised in the absence of the _tippa-malku_ spouse, or, when
the male is unmarried, with the permission of the _tippa-malku_ husband
of the _pirrauru_ spouse.

The _pirrauru_ relation is, for the woman, a modification of a
previously existing _tippa-malku_ marriage; that being so, it cannot be
quoted as evidence of a more pristine state of things in which she was
by birth the legal and actual spouse of all men of a certain tribal

The _pirrauru_ relation falls under two heads of the classification I
have given above, according as the man has or has not a _tippa-malku_
wife. In the first case, it is, taken in combination with the
_tippa-malku_ marriage, a case of bi-lateral adelphic dissimilar (M. and
F.) polygamy. In the latter it is dissimilar adelphic (tribal)
polyandry, adelphic being taken here, be it noted, in the sense of
tribal, and possibly, but not necessarily, own brother.

Here too our information is unfortunately fragmentary and sometimes
contradictory. We learn from Dr Howitt, for example, that a _pirrauru_
is always a brother's wife or a wife's sister (they are usually the
same), and the relation arises through the exchange by brothers of their
wives[161]. But on the next page we learn that the unmarried (men) can
also become _pirraurus_. It appears further that a woman may ask for a
_pirrauru_, but whether he must be a married man or not is not clear. It
is only stated that she has to get her husband to consent to the
arrangement. Further we find that important men have many _pirrauru_
wives, but it does not appear how far they reciprocate the attention.
Then again we are told that when two new _pirrauru_ pairs are allotted
to each other, all the other pairs are re-allotted. Are we to understand
from this that the allocation of new _pirraurus_ is a rare event or that
the _pirrauru_ relationship is a very temporary affair? Or does
re-allotted simply mean that the names are called over? If the latter,
the terminology is very unfortunate. Gason's statement is perfectly
clear: once a _pirrauru_, always a _pirrauru_[162]. Again does it imply
that the wishes[163] of the already existing _pirraurus_ are consulted
in the matter or not? If, as is stated, there is a good deal of jealousy
between _pirraurus_, especially when one of them (the male) is
unmarried, it is difficult to make the two statements fit in with one
another. Once more, it is said that a widower takes his brother's wife
as his _pirrauru_, giving presents to his brother. Does this imply that
the consent of the husband is not necessary, or that he cannot refuse
it, or that it is purchased? Again we read "a man is privileged to
obtain a number of wives from his _noas_ in common with the other men of
his group, while a woman's wish can only be carried out with the consent
of her _tippa-malku_ husband." This latter statement clearly implies
that a man can obtain a _pirrauru_ without the consent of the
_tippa-malku_ husband, but this contradicts what has already been told
us about the exchange by brothers of their wives. Exchange is clearly
not the right term to apply; if one or perhaps both have no voice in the
matter, it is rather a transfer. These are by no means all the unsettled
questions on which light is needed. What, for example, is the position
of a _pirrauru_ wife whose _tippa-malku_ husband dies? Does she pass to
a new _tippa-malku_ husband? If so, must he be an ex-_pirrauru_? Does
she continue in the _pirrauru_ relation to her former _pirraurus_,
regardless of her new husband's wishes? Can the _pirrauru_ relationship
be dissolved at the wish of either or both parties and by what means?

With so many obscurities in the narrative we must esteem ourselves
fortunate that we are not left without the information that a special
ceremony is necessary to make the _pirrauru_ relation legal; this is
performed by the head or heads of the men's totems, and need not be
described here.

With regard to precedence it should be noted that at ordinary times the
_tippa-malku_ spouse always takes precedence of the _pirrauru_ spouse.
Where two men are _pirrauru_ to the same woman, the _tippa-malku_
husband being absent, the elder man may take the precedence or may share
his rights and duties with the younger. It is the duty of the _pirrauru_
husband to protect a woman during the absence of her _tippa-malku_

A woman cannot refuse to take a _pirrauru_ who has been regularly
allotted to her. In her _tippa-malku_ husband's absence the _pirrauru_
husband takes his place as a matter of right. He cannot however take her
away from the _tippa-malku_ husband without his consent except at
certain ceremonial times[164]. One other fact may be noted. An
influential man hires out his _pirraurus_ to those who have none.

Before we proceed to discuss the import of these facts it will be well
to mention the analogous customs of the only two tribes outside the
Dieri nation where the same relation is asserted to exist, and certain
cases regarded by Dr Howitt, wrongly in all probability, as on the same
level as the _pirrauru_ custom. In the Kurnandaburi, according to an
informant of Dr Howitt's, a group of men who are own or tribal brothers
and a group of women who are own or tribal sisters, are united,
apparently without any ceremony, in group marriage, whenever the tribe
assembles or this Dippa-malli group meets at other times[165].

Dr Howitt adds that in this tribe the husband often has an intrigue with
his sister-in-law (wife's sister or brother's wife), although they are
in the relation of _Kodi-molli_ and practise a modified avoidance. This
he attempts to equate with Dieri group marriage. It is not however clear
that it is more than what we have called a liaison. Our authority does
not state that it is recognised as lawful by public opinion, nor yet
that any ceremony initiates the relations[166]. In the absence of these
details we cannot regard his view as probable. It may however be noted
that the widow in this tribe passes to the brother.

The only other case of "group marriage" which Dr Howitt gives[167] is in
the Wakelbura tribe of C. Queensland. Here however, so far from being
group marriage, it is, according to his own statement, simply adelphic
polyandry. A man's unmarried brothers have marital rights and duties,
the child is said to term them its father. It may however be pointed out
that this hardly bears on the question of group marriage, for it would
do so even if no marital relations existed between its mother and any
other man besides the primary husband.

It will be seen that our information is very fragmentary, and what we
have is neither precise nor free from contradiction. A most essential
point, for example, is the connection of the totem-kin with the
_pirrauru_ relationship. Among the Dieri the men may be of different
totems. Is this the case among the Wakelbura? Was it always the case
among the Dieri?

Before we leave Dr Howitt's work it is necessary to refer again to the
Kurnai. The most important point in connection with the Kurnai, so far
as the present work is concerned, is that, contradictory to Bulmer's
statement[168] that unmarried men have access to their brothers' wives,
and sometimes even married men, Dr Howitt mentions[169] as a singular
fact that he recalls one instance of a wife being lent in that tribe.

Dr Howitt however holds that there are traces of group marriage in the
tribe, and refers to the fact that the term _maian_[170] is applied to a
wife by her husband and by his brother, whose "official wife[171]" she
is thus declared to be, and that a brother takes his deceased brother's
widow. He regards this rather unfortunately named custom of the levirate
as having its root in group marriage. Now _maian_ is applied, not only
by a husband to a wife, but by a wife to her husband's sister, and by a
sister to her brother's wife. If therefore the use of the term proves
anything, it proves, not group marriage, as Dr Howitt understands it,
but promiscuity, the prior existence of the undivided commune, and this,
as we have seen, Dr Howitt declines to accept on the strength of the
philological argument.

We are therefore reduced to the levirate as a proof of the former
existence of group marriage. But there is nothing whatever to show that
it is not a case of inheritance of property. For the Australians, as for
many other savage peoples, the married state is the only thinkable one
for the adult, and that being so it is natural for the widow to remarry.
She has however been purchased by the exchange of a woman in the
relation of sister to the deceased, and if the widow were allowed to
pass to another group, the property thus acquired would be alienated.
Moreover the marriage regulations require the woman to marry only a
tribal brother of the deceased. It is therefore in every way natural for
a brother to succeed to a brother. No arguments for the prior existence
of group marriage can be founded on the levirate, any more than an
argument for primitive communism can be founded on other laws of
inheritance. At most the _maian_ relationship is evidence of adelphic

For the Urabunna we depend on the information gained by Spencer and
Gillen on their first expedition. Here the circle from which a man takes
his wife is much more restricted than among the Dieri. Not only is he
bound to choose a woman of the other moiety of the tribe, but he is
restricted to a certain totem[173] in that moiety, and to the daughters
of his mother's elder brothers (tribal) in that totem. Hence although
the _kami_ relationship of the Dieri is unknown among the Urabunna, the
choice among the latter is more limited.

The marriageable group is termed _nupa_ by both men and women; in
addition to the _nupa_ relationship and the unnamed individual marriage,
into which a man enters with one or more of his _nupa_, there is the
_piraungaru_ relationship, corresponding to the _pirrauru_ of the Dieri.
In each case the elder brothers of the woman decide who are to have the
primary and who the secondary right to the female. In the case of the
_piraungaru_ however the matter requires confirmation by the old men of
the tribe. The circumstances under which the _piraungaru_ claims take
the first rank are not stated by Messrs Spencer and Gillen; the
statement that a man lends his _piraungaru_ need not, of course, refer
to times at which he himself cannot claim the right of access[174].

We may now turn to a discussion of the bearing of the facts just cited
on the question of "group marriage." The first point is naturally that
of nomenclature, and we at once recognise that among the Dieri the
relations of the _pirrauru_ are not marriage, either on the definition
suggested by Dr Westermarck or on that given in Chapter XI of the
present work. If two _tippa-malku_ pairs are reciprocally in _pirrauru_,
the only relations between them, unless the _tippa-malku_ husbands
absent themselves or are complaisant, are, strictly speaking, those of
temporary regulated polygamy or promiscuity, and rather a restriction
than an extension of similar customs in other tribes, as I shall show

A second point of a similar nature is that the parties to a _pirrauru_
union are in no sense a group[175]. They are not united by any bond,
local, totemistic, tribal, or otherwise. The theoretical "group
marriage"--the union of all the _noa_--does, in a sense, refer to a
group, though this term properly refers rather to a body of people
distinguished by residence or some other _local_ differentia from other
persons or groups. But no distinction of this kind can in any sense be
affirmed of the _pirrauru_ spouses; it cannot be said of them that they
are in any way distinguished from the remainder of their tribe, phratry,
class or totem-kin. From this it follows that the term class-marriage
cannot be applied to the relation between the _pirrauru_, nor yet class
promiscuity; the _pirrauru_, though members of a certain class, do not
include all members of that class.

Turning now to the custom itself, let us examine how far it presents any
marks of being a survival of a previous state of class promiscuity.
_Pirrauru_ relations are regarded by Dr Howitt and others as survivals
from a previous stage of "group," by which we must, presumably,
understand class or status marriage, or promiscuity. So far as they are
evidence of this, the _pirrauru_ customs are certainly important. If
however it cannot be shown that they probably point to some form of
promiscuity, they have but little importance except as a freak or
exceptional development of polyandry and polygyny.

Let us recall the distinguishing features of the _pirrauru_ union. They
are (1) consent of the husband (?); (2) recognition by the totem-kin
through its head-man; (3) temporary character[176]; (4) priority of the
_tippa-malku_ union in the case of the woman; (5) purchase of _pirrauru_
rights by (_a_) the brother who becomes a widower, and (_b_) visitors or
others without _pirraurus_ of their own, the rights being in the latter
case for a very short period and not dependent on recognition by the
totem-kin, so far as Dr Howitt's narrative is a guide. Now unless "group
marriage" was very different from what it is commonly represented to be,
the essence of it was that all the men of one class had sexual rights
over the women of another class. How far does this picture coincide with
the features of the _pirrauru_, which is regarded as a survival of it?
In the first place _pirrauru_ is created by a ceremony, which is
performed, not by the head, nor even in the Wakelbura tribe, by a member
of the supposed intermarried classes of the earlier period; but by the
heads of the totem-kins of the individual men concerned. Now it is quite
unthinkable that the right of class promiscuity, to use the correct
term, should ever have been exercised subject to any such restriction;
even were it otherwise the performance of the ceremony would more
naturally fall into the hands of tribal, phratriac, or class authorities
than of the heads of totem-kins. Then too if _pirrauru_ is a survival of
group marriage we should expect the ceremony to be performed for the
_tippa-malku_ union and not for the _pirrauru_.

Again if _tippa-malku_ is later and _pirrauru_ earlier, what is the
meaning of the regulation that the woman must first be united in
_tippa-malku_ marriage before she can enter into the _pirrauru_
relationship? On the "group marriage" theory this fact demands to be
explained, no less than the different position of men and women in this
respect. We have seen that freedom in sexual matters is accorded to both
bachelors and spinsters. It is therefore from no sense of the value of
chastity, from no jealousy of the future _tippa-malku_ husband's rights,
that the female is excluded from the _pirrauru_ relation until she has a

Again, if _pirrauru_ is a relic of former rights, now restricted to a
few of the group which formerly exercised them, why is the husband's
consent needed before the _pirrauru_ relation is set up, and why is the
_pirrauru_ relation, once established, not permanent (assuming that my
reading of Dr Howitt is right)?

Once more, if _pirrauru_ is a right, how comes it that a brother has to
purchase the right, when he becomes a widower[177]? What too is the
meaning of the transference of _pirrauru_ women to strangers in return
for gifts?

All these points seem to me to weigh heavily against the survival
theory, and we may add to them the fact that the _tippa-malku_ husband,
so far from having to gain the consent of his fellows before he obtains
his wife, gets her by arrangement with her mother and her mother's
brothers, all of whom belong to the other moiety, and consequently are
not among those whose supposed group rights are infringed by the
introduction of individual marriage. When we consider that the _jus
primae noctis_ is explained as an expiation for individual marriage the
position of the _tippa-malku_ husband and the method in which he obtains
his wife are exceedingly instructive.

Supporters of the theory of group marriage will naturally ask in what
other way the facts can be explained. The unfortunate lack of detail to
which I have alluded does not make it easier to make any
counter-suggestion; but the explanation may, I think, be inferred from
the facts already at our disposal. We have seen that in the Wakelbura
tribe, so far from the condition being one of "group marriage," it is
one of dissimilar adelphic polyandry. Now it is by no means easy to see
how this could arise from the Dieri custom, the essence of which,
according to one of the statements I have quoted, is reciprocity. On the
other hand we can readily see how polyandry of this type, which is found
in other parts of the world also, may be in Australia, as in other
regions, the result of a scarcity of women[178], or, what is the same
thing, of polygyny on the part of the notables of the tribe and of the
independent custom of postponing the age of marriage in the male till 28
or 30.

With this view agree the facts that in some cases the brother is
required to purchase his _pirrauru_ rights, that the young man without
_pirrauru_ wife can purchase from another man the temporary use of one
of his _pirrauru_ spouses, and that the _tippa-malku_ marriage always
precedes the _pirrauru_ relation in the female. It may indeed be urged
against the view that the purchase of a temporary _pirrauru_ is in fact
not a case of _pirrauru_ at all, but simply the ordinary purchase of
hospitality among savage nations. This is no doubt the case and we might
merely cite this fact in order to show that the purchase of sexual
rights is a recognised proceeding in Australia. Looked at from another
point of view however the case is seen to be singularly instructive. So
far as Dr Howitt's statements go, the husband of the _pirrauru_ who is
thus lent does not require to be consulted in the matter. The _pirrauru_
husband, on the other hand, disposes of his spouse exactly as if she
were a slave. On the theory of group marriage the _tippa-malku_ husband
has no less a right to be consulted in the matter than the _pirrauru_
husband. In point of fact he seems to be entirely neglected in the
transaction. It is true that in the case we are considering the
_pirrauru_ husband seems to have exceptional privileges, for we have
seen that under ordinary circumstances the _tippa-malku_ husband has
exclusive rights at ordinary times. But we must probably understand the
passage to mean that the lending of _pirraurus_ takes place at tribal
meetings[179] or on other occasions when the right of the husband is in
abeyance. In either case, the facts tell far more strongly in favour of
the view suggested here than in favour of group marriage.

There is another factor to be considered. Abductions and elopements are
merely ordinary amenities of married life among the aborigines of
Australia. We have seen that it is the duty of the _pirrauru_ husband to
protect the wife during the absence of the _tippa-malku_ husband.
Clearly this is a sort of insurance against the too bold suitor or the
too fickle wife, unless indeed the _pirrauru_ himself is the offender, a
point on which Dr Howitt has nothing to say, though Mr Siebert's
evidence may be fairly interpreted to mean that such occurrences are
not known.

We shall see below in connection with the question of the _jus primae
noctis_ that special privileges are sometimes accorded to men of the
husband's totem or class in return for assistance in capturing the wife.
Now assuming that a wife is abducted or elopes, it is, I think, on the
same persons that the duty of aiding the injured husband would fall.
Whether this is so or not, the men of his own totem are those with whom
a man's relations are, in most tribes, the closest. We have seen that
the heads of the totem-kins play an important part in assigning
_pirraurus_. Now although it is actually the practice for men of
different totems to exchange wives, it by no means follows that it was
always the case. The element of adelphic polyandry, for example, may
well have upset the original relations and brought about a practice of
exchange between men of different totems. At any rate the theory here
suggested affords an explanation of the part played by the totem
headmen, and on the theory of group marriage their share in the
transaction remains absolutely mysterious.

In connection with these possible explanations of the _pirrauru_ custom,
it is important to observe that there are duties in regard to food owed
by the _pirrauru_ wife to her spouse, when her husband is absent. Now it
is hardly conceivable that in a state of "group marriage" any such
practice should have obtained. A woman would doubtless have collected
food for the man with whom she was actually cohabiting; but in the case
of the _pirrauru_ relation, the absence of the _tippa-malku_ wife of her
_pirrauru_ spouse must coincide with the absence of her own
_tippa-malku_ husband before this position is reached. So long as only
one _tippa-malku_ partner is absent, the _pirrauru_ spouse is under the
obligation of lightening the labours of the woman whose place she
sometimes occupies, and this is very far from what we should expect in
the "group marriage" stage.

On the whole therefore I conclude that the _pirrauru_ relation affords
absolutely no evidence of a prior stage of group marriage. So far from
the quantity of evidence for group marriage having been increased by Dr
Howitt's recent book, it has undergone a diminution. Gason had
stated[180] that tribal brothers had the right of access in the absence
of the husband without first being made _pirrauru_. This, if correct,
would have been much nearer group marriage than the actual facts; the
statement however appears to be incorrect, if we may judge by the fact
that Dr Howitt has silently dropped it.

Of the _piraungaru_ relation but little can be said, mainly for the
reason that our information is so scanty. We do not learn, for example,
if it is temporary or permanent, if the consent of the woman is needed,
if she ever asks her husband for a certain _piraungaru_, or if she
applies rather to her elder brothers. We do not know what becomes of the
_piraungaru_ when the primary spouse dies, whether the brother can claim
a right to his brother's wife as _piraungaru_ on giving presents,
whether married and unmarried alike enter into the relationship, whether
a woman can become _piraungaru_ before she has a special husband,
whether relations of free love are barred between a man and his
prospective wife and permitted with other _nupa_ women, and a host of
other questions. We do not even learn when access is permitted to a
_piraungaru_ spouse. We have, it is clear, far too few data to be able
to estimate the value of the dictum of Messrs Spencer and Gillen that
"individual marriage does not exist either in name or in practice in the
Urabunna tribe." If their views are based only on the facts they have
given us, they have clearly overlooked a number of essential points; if,
on the other hand, they took other facts into consideration, we may
reasonably ask to be put in possession of the whole case.


[152] _Aust. Ass._ IV, 689.

[153] _Ib._ p. 717.

[154] _Ausland_, 1891, p. 843.

[155] _Zts. Vgl. Rechtsw._ XII, 268.

[156]  The statement, _Journ. Anthr. Inst._ XX, 55, that a man and woman
become _noa_ by betrothal is clearly erroneous.

[157] _Nat. Tribes_, p. 181. This was not brought out by Dr Howitt's
paper of 1890 in _Journ. Anthr. Inst._ XX, and is denied in _Folklore_
XVII, 174 sq. by Dr Howitt himself; see my criticism, _ib._ 294 sq.

[158]  p. 179.

[159]  p. 187. Subject to the girl having passed the _wilpadrina_
ceremony. _Journ. Anthr. Inst._ XX, 56.

[160]  But see p. 129, n. 2.

[161]  This is in contradiction with the statement (_Journ. Anthr. Inst._
XX, 56) that the various couples are not consulted. We also learn (_loc.
cit._ p. 62) that the exercise of marital rights by own tribal brothers
is independent of their _pirrauru_ relation. The order of precedence is
(1) _tippa-malku_, (2) _pirrauru_, (3) brothers.

[162] _Journ. Anthr. Inst._ XX, 57.

[163]  Howitt says (p. 182) that each of a pair of _pirrauru_ watch each
other carefully to prevent more _pirrauru_ relations arising.

[164]  In the Urabunna tribe a woman is lent irrespective of _piraungaru_
to all _nupa_, _Nor. Tr._ p. 63. It is therefore a matter of no moment
even if the consent of the primary husband is never refused at
non-ceremonial times.

[165]  It appears, however (_Journ. Anthr. Inst._ XX, 62), to be only on
ceremonial (Muni) occasions that anything like general intercourse
occurs, termed Wira-jinka, then it is promiscuous. The Dippa-malli
relation is not permanent (_Journ. Anthr. Inst._ XX, 61), and the
_mebaia_ husband receives a present. If the Dippa-malli "group" is not
permanent, it does not appear why Dr Howitt speaks of a "group" at all.

[166]  In the absence of these there is nothing to distinguish the
practice from the adultery which prevails among the Dieri (p. 187), in
which Dr Howitt does _not_ see a survival of group marriage or

[167]  He mentions the _pira_ marriage of the Yandairunga in _Journ.
Anthr. Inst._ XX, 60, but drops it in _Native Tribes_. It is unfortunate
that we never learn why Dr Howitt omits to mention facts which he has
previously published. Are we to infer that the previous statements are
erroneous in every case? If so, _pirrauru_ must be a temporary

[168]  Curr, III.

[169] _Journ. Anthr. Inst._ XX, 61, n. 2.

[170]  Dr Howitt's argument from the use of _maian_ raises a difficulty.
Twenty-five years ago he stated (Brough Smyth, II, 323) that among the
Brabrolung a wife was termed _wrūkŭt_, and this seems to be the ordinary

[171]  Titular _maian_ is Dr Howitt's phrase.

[172]  Dr Howitt's statement on p. 281 that the widow invariably passes
to the brother is contradicted by passages on pp. 227 and 248.

[173]  Dr Howitt (p. 176) does not admit this to be correct, but cf. his
attitude on p. 188.

[174]  But cf. _Journ. Anthr. Inst._ XX, 58 n.; this may, however, have
been regarded as a ceremonial occasion, though there is no other
evidence of such being the case.

[175]  Properly speaking group marriage should mean that all persons in a
local group live in polygamy, a state not far removed indeed from
promiscuity, the boundary between which and polygamy I cannot undertake
to discuss here, or else that the whole of one group is united in
marriage to those of the opposite sex in another group.

[176]  This is uncertain, as I have already intimated.

[177]  This tells strongly in favour of my theory. The unmarried youth
gets his _pirrauru_ free, for he will reciprocate the attention later.
The man who has lost his wife and can make no return purchases the

[178]  Cf. Curr, III, 546.

[179]  Cf. _Journ. Anthr. Inst._ XX, 73.

[180] _Journ. Anthr. Inst._ XX, 56.



Wife lending. Initiation ceremonies. _Jus primae noctis._ Punishment for
     adultery. _Ariltha_ of central tribes. Group marriage unproven.

It has been mentioned above that the _pirrauru_ custom, so far from
being an extension of the recognised practice of Australian tribes, is
in some respects a limitation of it. We may now proceed to illustrate
this. Even among the Dieri the tribal festival on the occasion of an
inter-tribal marriage is marked by free intercourse between the sexes
without regard to existing sexual unions[181] (? either _tippa-malku_ or
_pirrauru_). In the same way the Wiimbaio tribal gatherings were
accompanied by regulated promiscuity, the class rules being the only
limitation. At others wives could be lent or temporarily exchanged by
the husbands[182]. The Geawe-gal held festivals at which wives were lent
to young men, subject to class laws[183]. In other cases the exchange
was limited to brothers or men of the same totem[184]. Among the
Kamilaroi a wife was lent to friendly visitors but only with her
consent. In all these cases we see a state of things similar to or not
unlike the relations of the Dieri _pirrauru_ spouses, and it should be
noted that it is at tribal gatherings that the latter can claim to
exercise their rights. From this it appears that the Dieri custom
amounts to an ear-marking of certain women for the use of certain men,
and is consequently a limitation of the common custom; in consideration
of the fact that the _pirrauru_ men protect them in the absence of their
husbands, they are permitted at the same time to exercise marital
rights, provided their own primary spouses are absent.

Among the Wiimbaio, when sickness was believed to be coming down the
Murray[185], and among the Kurnai, when the _Aurora australis_ was
seen[186], an exchange of wives was ordered by the old men to avert the
threatened evil[187]. This is explained by Dr Howitt as a reversion to
the ancient custom of group marriage. It is however not quite clear on
what grounds it is necessary to treat it as a survival at all. If a day
of prayer and fasting is ordered in order to avert national calamities,
it does not follow that the nation in question was in the habit of
perpetual prayer and fasting at some previous stage of its existence.
Moreover, if the magical rite was formerly the universal practice we may
well ask what induced the tribes which believe in its efficacy to adopt
a new form of marriage. _Ex hypothesi_, it is pleasing to Mungan, or
good against disease; knowing this, they have not hesitated to abolish
group marriage, but apparently without incurring Mungan's wrath, or
bringing any epidemic upon them.

Among the Narrinyeri[188], the old men have a right of access to the
newly initiated girls, but apparently Dr Howitt does not regard this as
a survival. On the other hand the _narumbe_ (initiated youths), who may
not at this period take wives, had unrestricted rights over the younger
women, those "of his own class and totem not excepted," and this Dr
Howitt regards as a survival from the days of the undivided commune,
though if it is so it is hard to see why they should have rights only
over the younger women. The practice does not appear to differ from the
free love found among the Dieri except in the absence of class
restrictions and its limitation to the period after initiation which is
among many other peoples a period of sexual licence.

Another group of customs, also interpreted by Dr Howitt as a survival of
group marriage and an "expiation for individual marriage," calls for
some discussion. It is unnecessary to refer here to the explanation of
the _jus primae noctis_ suggested by Mr Crawley. It may be that the
matter can also to some extent be explained as payment for services, in
the same way as the _pirrauru_ relation shows some signs of being a
_quid pro quo_.

In certain tribes access to the bride is permitted to men of the group
of the husband. Among the Kuinmurbura they are the men who have aided
the husband to carry off the woman[189]; and the same is the case with
the Kurnandaburi and Kamilaroi tribes[190]. It is very significant that
among the Narrinyeri the right of access only accrues in case of
elopement and precisely to those men who actually give assistance in the
abduction, a fact hard to explain on the theory of expiation[191]. Among
the Mukjarawaint the right seems to belong to those of the same totem,
but apparently the young men only[192]; but here too their position as
accessories is quite clear, as indeed it must be in any tribe where the
right accrues to men of the same totem. By all the rules of savage
justice a punishment may be inflicted in these cases either on the
offender himself or on the men of his totem. It is therefore not strange
that they require from the abductor some return for the danger to which
he exposes them, especially if they actually take part in the abduction.
An aberrant form of the custom is found among the Kurnai, among whom the
_jus primae noctis_ falls to men initiated at the same _jeraeil_ as the

Among the Kurnandaburi there was a period of unrestricted licence after
the exercise of the _jus primae noctis_, even the father of the bride
being allowed access to her. This did not of course violate totem or
phratry regulations. Dr Howitt does not comment on the case, but it
would have been interesting to hear whether both these customs are to be
regarded as survivals and if so what caused the duplication[193].

In estimating the value of the custom of _jus primae noctis_ as evidence
of a prior state of group marriage, a custom of the Yuin should not be
overlooked. If a man elopes with another man's betrothed he is punished
by having to fight the girl's father, brothers, and mother's brother;
the girl was sometimes punished by being beaten; all the men who pursued
her had a right of access provided they were of the right totem and
locality. If however the eloping couple were not caught they were not
liable to punishment after a child was born. There is no mention of any
_jus primae noctis_ where the marriage was the result of betrothal. In
this case therefore the right of access is a punishment, so far as the
girl is concerned; it is earned by taking part in the pursuit, a fact
which confirms the suggested explanation of the right of access at

It should not be overlooked that this form of punishment is found among
some tribes as the penalty for adultery[194], when it certainly cannot
be interpreted as an expiation for individual marriage. This was the
case among the Wotjoballuk, the Kamilaroi, and the Euahlayi.

We may now turn to the customs of the central and northern tribes
visited by Messrs Spencer and Gillen. Except in the case of three of the
north-eastern tribes the right of access accrues in connection with the
_ariltha_ ceremony. It may be said at once that there is among these
tribes no trace of access as payment for services; for on the rare
occasions when a wife is captured she is allotted to an individual and
becomes his property at once, according to a statement in the first work
of Spencer and Gillen[195]. In the same work, it is true, this statement
is contradicted by the assertion that on such occasions only the men of
the right class are allowed to have access[196]. But this statement does
not seem to be based on any facts within the knowledge of the writers,
for they make a definite statement to the contrary with regard to the
Arunta customs, and it was with the Arunta that they were specially
concerned, and in the later volume no further details are given, as they
should have been, if the custom was found among any of the tribes
visited on the second expedition.

The association of the right of access with the initiation ceremony is
paralleled, as we have already seen, among other tribes. It hardly seems
necessary to argue a state of primitive promiscuity from a custom of
licence at the period of puberty, which does not in fact differ, except
in degree, from the licence normally enjoyed by the unmarried, and is
readily explicable on other grounds than those suggested by Spencer and
Gillen. If we are not prepared to regard this licence at puberty, which
may equally well have subsisted side by side with marriage or group
promiscuity, as a mere expression of the newly attained sexual rights,
we have as an alternative the magical theory of Mr Crawley. I do not
propose to dwell on this but will pass at once to discuss some points
which seem to have escaped the notice of Spencer and Gillen when they
proposed their hypothesis of promiscuity.

The essential point in connection with these ceremonies is the fact that
access is not limited, as in the case of the Dieri, to men who might
lawfully marry the woman. The right is restricted to men of six classes
out of the eight, including all four of the other moiety and the two of
her own half of her own moiety. Now whatever else may be deduced from
this, one thing is clear, and that is that the custom in its present
form, at any rate, took its rise before the eight classes were
introduced but after the four classes were already in existence and _a
fortiori_ after the phratries were known. Consequently no argument for
promiscuity can be founded on the right of access at initiation. It
cannot be a survival from a time when no marriage regulations were
known, for the simple reason that the custom itself bears unmistakeable
traces of regulations of a comparatively advanced type. It may of course
be argued that these limitations are of late origin. How far this is so
and why such limitations should have been introduced it is impossible to
say; but it is impossible to base an argument for primitive promiscuity
on a state of things which is admittedly not primitive unless we have
good _primâ facie_ grounds for regarding the custom as a survival. There
is nothing in the present case to show that it is not a magical rite.

At other times access is permitted in accordance with class regulations,
the husband's consent being necessary, if indeed he does not actually
take the preliminary steps himself. We have seen that a similar state of
things exists in other tribes. It does not seem necessary to look for
the explanation further than the ordinary customs of savage hospitality,
the desire to do a favour to men who may be useful. It is difficult to
see why Spencer and Gillen regard the fact that women are lent in this
way only to their _unawa_ as a proof of the former existence of group
marriage. Clearly if intercourse is permitted only between certain
persons before marriage and only certain persons are allowed to marry,
we can hardly be surprised to find that these latter are restricted in
the choice of men to whom they may lend their wives after marriage. The
surprising thing would be if it were otherwise.

In addition, as in the tribes we have already considered, irregular
access is practised for magical purposes in connection with the
performance of ceremonies and the sending out of messengers. It has
already been pointed out that we have no grounds for regarding such
practices as survivals; for if we put on sackcloth and ashes as a
penance for our misdeeds, it does not follow that this was ever the
prevailing costume. It is even less possible to interpret the ritual
lending of wives to messengers as a survival, for, _ex hypothesi_, the
messengers were not of the group which "group-married," and messengers
of any sort point to a stage when inter-tribal relations had made
considerable advance and the tribes in question are hardly likely to
have been still in the stage of the "undivided commune."

The survey of Australian customs and terms of relationship leads us to
the conclusion that the former, so far from proving the present or even
former existence of group marriage in that continent, do not even render
it probable; on the latter no argument of any sort can be founded which
assumes them to refer to consanguinity, kinship or affinity. It is
therefore not rash to say that the case for group marriage, so far as
Australia is concerned, falls to the ground. Even were it otherwise,
even were group marriage proved for Australia or for any other part of
the world, we should still be far from having established promiscuity
and group marriage as a stage in the general history of mankind. For
that at least a scheme of development is needed. Even were the arguments
in favour of the group marriage hypothesis much stronger, its supporters
might reasonably be asked to give us something more than assertion and
reassertion without any attempt to show in detail the process of
evolution. To take an example from another sphere, it may safely be said
that the general theory of evolution would find few supporters if it
were not possible to trace some existing species and genera back to some
generalised type in the past. At present the position of a supporter of
the theory of primitive promiscuity and group marriage is analogous to
that of an evolutionist who can only point to a few more or less useless
peculiarities in the anatomy of man without being able to show
resemblances between them and the corresponding portions of fossil or
actually existing anthropoids. He calls them "vestiges[197]" and insists
that _homo_ is descended from a generalised anthropoid. The mere
assertion of the vestigial character of such bones or organs would
hardly carry conviction unless they could be shown to exist in some
anthropoid in a more fully developed state. Similarly the arguments for
promiscuity and group marriage suffer from incurable weakness, and would
so suffer, even were the basis far more reliable than I have shown to be
the case, unless and until it has been shown by what process and for
what reasons man took each upward step. So far only one writer has
attempted, and that nearly thirty years ago, to trace the course of
human development on the hypothesis of primitive promiscuity, and his
scheme is a house of cards.

The student of sociology is at a disadvantage compared with the
zoologist in not being able to unearth his fossils for comparison with
living forms. He must therefore trace the relationship between living
forms, and, in seeking to discover the earlier stages of human progress,
rely in part on the sociology of the higher mammals, in part on the
possibility of showing a logical scheme of human development. When he
examines the living forms he is of course unable to say whether actually
existing savage institutions are in the main line of human progress or
merely bye-paths embryological or teratological. It may be possible to
show that group marriage exists somewhere on the earth at the present
time. Even if this is so, the theory of primitive promiscuity and group
marriage as stages in the general history of mankind remain mere
baseless guesses until we have a systematic account both of the causes
which led to the various steps, and of the processes by which the
various stages were reached.


[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,

[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



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.

In the Inchalachee tribe, according to Mr Mathews, descent of the
classes is reckoned through females. In the place of the arrangement
shown in Table I a, he gives the order 3, 4, 8, 7; 6, 5, 1, 2[202]. Any
man of the first moiety may marry any woman of the second, though
certain marriages are normal and one of the remainder more usual than
the others. The effect of these rules is to make it possible for a man
to marry any woman of his own generation, even if she be of his own
class. This is precisely the same as the case reported from the
Kamilaroi by Dr Howitt, if we may take it that in the latter case the
normal marriages are found side by side with the anomalous ones.

In the Inchalachee marriages the children, as in the Warramunga cases of
Spencer and Gillen, take the class which they would have had if the
woman had taken her normal spouse. On this Mr Mathews relies for the
statement that descent is reckoned in the female line in this tribe.
But, as we have seen, such a view is erroneous as regards the
Warramunga, among whom anomalous marriages also occur; it is therefore
by no means clear that the Inchalachee are matrilineal. We have even
more reason to doubt his view as to the Binbinga, for whom we have the
evidence of Spencer and Gillen.

Mr Mathews also reports among the Wiradjeri marriages resembling in many
respects those mentioned above from the Wailwun tribe[203]. The table
does not seem to be complete; it is therefore useless to enquire on what
principle these marriages are arranged. There seems, however, no reason
to doubt the substantial accuracy of the information.

More revolutionary is the statement that these cross-class marriages are
based on an actual kinship organisation, to which Mr Mathews gives the
name of "blood" (Table III, p. 50)[204].

Running across the phratries and classes are divisions known as
Gwaigullean and Gwaimudthen, Muggulu and Bumbirra, etc., which have the
meaning of "sluggish" and "swift" blood respectively. The bloods again
are sometimes subdivided. In the Ngeumba tribe Gwaimudthen is divided
into nhurai (butt) and wangue (middle), while Gwaigulir is equivalent to
winggo (top). These names refer to different portions of the shadow of a
tree and refer to the positions taken up in camping by the persons
belonging to the different "bloods" and "castes." In this, it may be
noted, these organisations follow the parallel of the phratries and

With the correspondences in names shown in Table III. before our eyes,
it is difficult to suppose that the statements of Mr Mathews have no
basis in fact. In the absence of further information, however, it is
clearly impossible to discuss the origin of these divisions. It seems
most probable that they are the systematisation of the anomalous
marriages already cited. But much more information is needed before
anything like certainty can be attained in the matter. Both actual
genealogies and tables of terms of relationship must be in our hands
before we can come to a decision.


[198]  Howitt, p. 204.

[199] _ib._ p. 211.

[200] _ib._ p. 214, cf. _J.A.I._

[201] _Nor. Tr._ pp. 107, 114.

[202] _Proc. R.G.S. Qu._ XX, 71.

[203] _J.R.S.N.S.W._ XXXI, 173.

[204] _ib._ XXXVIII, 207-17, XXXIX, 117, _Proc. R.G.S. Qu._ XX, 53, etc.


Phratry and Blood names are in caps., Class names in roman. In the
     references Map II is equivalent to Table I (pp. 42-48), Map III to
     Table II (pp. 48-51). The numbers refer to pages, save in the case
     of Table I a.

Ahjereena, 46, Map II, viii

Akamaroo, Table I a, 9

Anbeir, 44, Map II, v

Appitchana, Table I a, 12

Appungerta, Table I a, 12

Arara, 45, Map II, viii

Ararey, 46, Map II, viii

Arawongo, 45, 76, Map II, viii

Arenia, 45, Map II, viii

Arrakan, 43, Map II, ii

Arrenynung, 46, Map II, viii

Awukaria, 47, Map II, xi

Awunga, 45, Map II, viii

Badingo, 46, Map II, ix

Balgoin, 43, 83, Map II, iii

Ballaruk, 48, Map II, xiv

Ballieri, 47, Map II, xiii b

Banaka, 47, Map II, xiii b

Banjoor, 43, 44, 76, Map II, iii, iv

Banniar, 44, Map II, iv

Barah, 43, Map II, iii

Baran, 43, 74

Barry, 46, Map II, viii

Belthara, 47, Map II, xiii a

Belyeringie, Table I a, 9

Beneringie, Table I a, 9

BIINGARU, 47, 50, Map III, 41

Biliarinthu, Table I a, 7

Blaingunju, Table I a, 7

Bolangie, Table I a, 8, 9

Bondan, 43, Map II, iii

Bondurr, 43, Map II, iii

Bongaringie, Table I a, 8

Boogarloo, 47, Map II, xiii b

Boonongoona, Table I a, 9

BUDTHURUNG, 42, 50, Map III, 21

Bullaranjee, Table I a, 4

Bulleringie, Table I a, 8

Bulthara, 47, Table I a, 12, Map II, xiii

Bunbai, 44, Map II, v

Bunburi, 44, 76, Map II, v

Bunda, 43, 83, Map II, iii

Bungaranjee, Table I a, 4

Bungumbura, 74

BUNJIL, 48, Map III, 1

Bunjur, 44, Map II, iv

Bunya, 44, Map II, iv

BURGUTTA, see also Pakoota

Burong, 47, Map II, xiii b

Burralangie, Table I a, 8, 9

Butcharrie, 47, Map II, xiii b

Butha, 42, Map II, i

Bya, 42, Map II, i

Carburungo, 46, Map II, ix

Carribo, 43, Map II, ii

Carrigan, 43, Map II, ii

CHEPA, 45, 50, 53, Map III, 32

Chagarra, Table I a, 14

Chambeen, Table I a, 14

Chambijana, Table I a, 15

Changally, Table I a, 14

Changary, Table I a, 15

Chapota, Table I a, 15

Chavalya, Table I a 14, 15, 16

Cheekungie, 45, 75, Map II, vi

Chikun, 45, 75, Map II, vi

Chinuma, Table I a, 15

Chooara, Table I a, 14

Choolima, Table I a, 15

Choongoora, Table I a, 14, 15

Chowan, Table I a, 14

Chowarding, Table I a, 14

Chungalla, Table I a, 15

DARBOO, 50, Map III, 12

DEEAJEE, 43, 50, Map III, 26

Deringara, 47, Map II, xiii a

Derwen=Theirwain, 43, 82, Map II, iii

Dhalyeree, Table I a, 1, 16

Dhongaree, Table I a, 1

Dhungaree, Table I a, 16

Didaruk, 48, Map II, xiv

DILBI, 42, 43, 50, 53, Map III, 20

Eemitch, Table I a, 10

GAMANUTTA, 48, 50, Map III, 33

GAMUTCH, 49, Map III, 5

GIRANA, 42, 50, 51, Map III, 25

Gnangball, 47

Gooroona, 43, Map II, ii

Goothamungo, 46, Map II, ix

Gubilla, 47, Map II, xiii a

GWAIGULLEAN, 42, 50, 51, Map III, 22



Gwaimudthen, 42, 50, 51, Map III, 22

Heyanbo, 74

Ikamaru, Table I a, 7

ILLITCHI, 47, 50, 53, Map III, 40

Imballaree, Table I a, 10

Imbannee, Table I a, 10

Imbawalla, Table I a, 10

Imbongaree, Table I a, 10

Imboong, 43, Map II, ii

Immadena, Table I a, 10

Inganmarra, Table I a, 10

Inkagalla, Table I a, 10

Ipai, 42, Map II, i

Ipatha, 42, Map II, i

Irrakadena, 43, Map II, ii

Irroong, 43, 76, Map II, ii

Irpoong, 43, 73, Map II, ii

Irpoong-Marroong classes, 73

Jamada, Table I a, 16

JAMAGUNDA, 48, 50, Map III, 33

Jambijana, Table I a, 1

Jameragoo, Table I a, 4

Jameram, Table I a, 16

Janna, Table I a, 1, 16

Jarbain, 44, Map II, iv

Jeemara, Table I a, 1

Jimidya, Table I a, 1

Jimmilingo, 46, Map II, ix

Jinagoo, Table I a, 4

Joolam, Table I a, 16

Joolama, Table I a, 1

Joolanjegoo, Table I a, 4

Jooralagoo, Table I a, 4

Jorro, 45, Map II, vii

Jumeyungie, Table I a, 8

Jummiunga, Table I a, 16

Jungalagoo, Table I a, 4

Jungalla, Table I a, 1, 16

JUNNA, 45, 50, Map III, 32

Jury, 46, 75, Map II, viii

Kabidgi, Table I a, 12

Kapoodungo, 46, Map II, ix

KAPPATCH, 49, Map III, 6

KAPUTCH, 49, Map III, 5

Kaiamba, 47, Map II, xiii b

Kairawa, 44, Map II, iv

KARARAWA, 49, Map III, 7

KARARU, 49, Map III, 7

Karavangi, 45, 75, Map II, vi

Kari, 48, Map II, xvi

Karilbura, 44, Map II, iv

KARPEUN, 43, 50, Map III, 26

Karpungie, 45, 75, Map II, vi


Kearra, 44, 76, Map II, iv

Kellungie, 45, 75, 76, Map II, vi

KILPARA, 49, Map III, 4

Kingelunju, Table I a, 7

KINGILLI, 47, 50, Map III, 42

KIRARU, 49, Map III, 7

KIRTUUK, 49, Map III, 6

Kommerangie, Table I a, 8, 9

KOOCHEEBINGA, 49, Map III, 10, 53

Koodala, 44, 76, Map II, iv


KOOLPURU, 49, Map III, 8

Koomara, 47, Map II, xiii a

Koopungie, 45, 75, 76, Map II, vi


KOORAGULA, 49, Map III, 11

KOORAMEENYA, 49, n. 19

Kooran, 43, Map II, ii

Koorgilla, 44, 74, Map II, v

Koorpal, 44, Map II, iv

KROKAGE, 49, Map III, 5

KROKI, 49, Map III, 5

KROKITCH, 49, Map III, 5

Kubaru, 44, 76, Map II, v

Kubi, Kubbi, 42, 76, 83, Map II, i

Kubitha, 42, Map II, i

Kuial, 46, Map II, x

Kuialla, 44, 76, Map II, iv

KULITCH, 49, Map III, 5

Kumara, 47, 76, 79, Map II, xiii, Table I a, 12

Kumbo, 42, 76, Map II, i

KUMIT, 49, Map III, 5

Kunggilungo, 46, Map II, ix

Kungilla, Table I a, 9

Kunullu, Table I a, 8

KUPATHIN, 42, 43, 50, Map III, 20

Kurbo, 43, 74, 76, Map II, ii

Kurgan, 43, Map II, ii

Kurkilla, 45, 72, Map II, v

Kurongon, 45, 75, Map II, vi

Kurpal, 44, 72, 74, 76, Map II, iv

Kutchal, 45, Map II, vii

KUUNAMIT, 49, Map III, 6


Kymerra, 47, Map II, xiii b

Langenam, 48, 74, Map II, xv

Lenai, 74

LIARAKU, 47, 50, 53, Map III, 43

LIARITCHI, 47, 50, 53, Map III, 40

Loora, 45, Map II, viii

Mahngal, 46, Map II, viii

MALIAN, 49, 53, Map III, 3

MALLERA, 45, 50, 52, Map III, 28

MALLERA-WUTHERA phratries, 52 sq.

Mambulgit, 36

Manjarojally, 36

Manjarwuli, 36

Maringo, 46, 75, 76, Map II, ix

Marinungo, 46, Map II, ix

Marro, 43, Map II, ii

Marroong, 43, 76, Map II, ii

Maroongah, 43, Map II, ii

Matha, 42, Map II, i

MATTERA, 49, 66, Map III, 7

MATTERI, 49, 52, 53, 66, Map III, 7

Matyang, 43, Map II, ii

MERUGULLI, 42, 50, 51, Map III, 25

MERUNG, 48, Map III, 2

Moorob, 74

Moroon, 43, Map II, iii

MUKULA, 42, 50, 53, Map III, 21

MUKUMURRA, 42, 50, 53, Map II, 23

MULLARA, 46, 50, Map III, 28

MULTA, 49, 53, Map III, 3

Mumbali, 46, Map II, x

Munal, 44, Map II, iv

Mungilly, 46, Map II, viii

MUNICHMAT, 48, 50, Map III, 34

Munjungo, 46, Map II, ix

MUQUARA, 49, 52, Map III, 4

Muri, 42, 73, 83, Map II, i

Muri-Kubbi classes, 73

MURLA, 45, 50, Map III, 31

Murungun, 46, Map II, x

Nabajerry, Table I a, 15

Nabungati, Table I a, 14

Naganok, 48, Map II, xiv

Nagarra, Table I a, 14

NAKA, 45, 50, Map III, 30

Nakomara, Table I a, 13

Nala, Table I a, 2

Nalangininja, Table I a, 11

Nalaringinja, Table I a, 11

Nalinginja, Table I a, 11

Nalirri, Table I a, 2

Naltjeri, Table I a, 13

Namaja, Table I a, 1

Namaringinja, Table I a, 11

Namaringinta, Table I a, 11

Nambean, Table I a, 1

Nambeen, Table I a, 14

Nambin, Table I a, 13

Nambjana, Table I a, 15

Nambitjin, Table I a, 2

Nambitjinginja, Table I a, 11

Namegor, 48, Map II, xv

Namigili, Table I a, 13

Namininja, Table I a, 11

Namita, Table I a, 2

Namyungo, 48, Map II, xiv

Nana, Table I a, 2

Nanagoo, Table I a, 15

Nanakoo, Table I a, 16

Nanajerry, Table I a, 14

Nangally, Table I a, 14

Nangili, Table I a, 14, 15

Naola, Table I a, 15

Napanunga, Table I a, 13

Napungerta, Table I a, 13

Naralu, Table I a, 13

Narbeeta, Table I a, 15

Narechie, Table I a, 9

Narrabalangie, Table I a, 8, 9

Nemira, Table I a, 15

Nemurammer, Table I a, 8

Neonammer, Table I a, 8

Ngarrangungo, 46, Map II, ix

NGIELBUMURRA, 42, 50, Map III, 23



NGUMBUN, 42, 50, 51, Map III, 24

NGURRAWAN, 42, 50, 51, Map III, 24

Nhermana, Table I a, 15

Niamaku, Table I a, 6

Niameragun, Table I a, 3

Niamerum, Table I a, 5

Ninum, Table I a, 3

Niriuma, Table I a, 5

Nolangmer, Table I a, 8

Nongarimmer, Table I a, 8

Nooara, Table I a, 14

Nowala, Table I a, 1

Nowana, Table I a, 14

Nuanakuma, Table I a, 6

Nullum, 74

Nulum, Table I a, 3

Nulyarammer, Table I a, 18

NUMBUN, 42, Map III, 24

Nunalla, Table I a, 2

Nungalermer, Table I a, 8

Nungalla, Table I a, 2, 13, 15

Nungallakurna, Table I a, 6

Nungallum, Table I a, 3, 5

Nungari, Table I a, 2

Nuralakurna, Table I a, 6

Nurlanjukurna, Table I a, 6

Nurlum, Table I a, 5

Nurralammer, Table I a, 8

Nurulum, Table I a, 3, 5

Nurumball, 47

Obu, 44, 83, Map II, v

Odall, 47

OOTAROO, 45, 46, 50, Map III, 29; see also Wuthera, etc.

Packwicky, 48, Map II, xv

PAKOOTA, 45, 46, 50, 53, Map III, 29

Paliarina, Table I a, 3, 5, 6

Paliarinji, Table I a, 3, 5

Palyang, 43, Map II, ii

Pamarung, 48, Map II, xv

Pandur, 43, Map II, iii

Panunga, 47, Table I a, 12, Map II, xiii

Parajerri, 47, Map II, xiii b

Parang, 43, 72, Map II, iii; see also Baran

Parungo, 47, Map II, xiii b

Patingo, 46, Map II, ix

Perrynung, 46, Map II, viii

Pungarinia, Table I a, 3, 6

Pungarinji, Table I a, 3, 5, 6

Pungarinju, Table I a, 7

Purdal, 46, 75, Map II, x

Purula, 47, Table I a, 12, Map II, xiii

Ranya, 45, 75, Map II, viii

Rara, 45, Map II, viii

Roanga, 74, 76

Roumburia, 47, Map II, xi

Tabachin, Table I a, 10

Tabadena, Table I a, 10

Taran, 43, Map II, iii

Tarbain, 44, Map II, iv

Tchana, Table I a, 2

Teilling, 74

Thakomara, Table I a, 13

Thalaringinja, Table I a, 11

Thalirri, Table I a, 2

Thama, Table I a, 2

Thamaringinja, Table I a, 11

Thamininja, Table I a, 10

Thapanunga, Table I a, 13

Thapungarti, Table I a, 13

Theirwain, 43, Map II, iii

Thimmermill, Table I a, 9

Thungalla, Table I a, 2, 13

Thungallaku, Table I a, 6

Thungallinginja, Table I a, 11

Thungallum, Table I a, 3, 5

Thungarie, Table I a, 2

Thungaringinta, Table I a, 11

TINEWA, 49, Map III, 8

Tjambin, Table I a, 13

Tjambitjina, Table I a, 2

Tjameraku, Table I a, 6

Tjameramu, Table I a, 7

Tjamerum, Table I a, 3, 5

Tjapatjinginja, Table I a, 11

Tjapetjeri, Table I a, 13

Tjimara, Table I a, 2

Tjimininja, Table I a, 11

Tjimita, Table I a, 2

Tjinguri, Table I a, 13

Tjinum, Table I a, 3

Tjuanaku, Table I a, 5

Tjulantjuka, Table I a, 5, 6

Tjulum, Table I a, 3

Tjupila, Table I a, 13

Tjurla, Table I a, 2

Tjurulinginja, Table I a, 11

Tjurulum, Table I a, 3, 5

Tondarup, 48, Map II, xiv

TOOAR, 50, Map III, 12

Toonbeungo, 46, Map II, ix

Trumininja, Table I a, 11

TUNNA, 45, 50, Map III, 30

UA, 46, 50, Map III, 44

Uanaku, Table I a, 6

Ubur, 44, 83, Map II, v

Uknaria, Table I a, 12

ULUURU, 47, 50, 53, Map III, 41, 42

UMBE, 49, Map III, 3

Umbitchana, Table I a, 12

Unburri, 44, Map II, v

Ungalla, Table I a, 12

Unmarra, Table I a, 10

Unwannee, Table I a, 10

Uralaku, Table I a, 6

Urgilla, 44, Map II, v

URKU, 46, 50, Map III, 44

Urtalia, 47, Map II, xi

Urwalla, Table I a, 10

Uwallaree, Table I a, 10

Uwungaree, Table I a, 10

WAA, 48, Map III, 1

WAANG, 48, Map III, 1

Wairgu, Table I a, 7

WALAR, 45, 50, Map III, 31

Walar, 45, Map II, vii

Wandi, 45, Map II, vii

Warganbah, 43, Map II, ii

Warkie, Table I a, 9

Warrithu, Table I a, 7

WARTUNGMAT, 48, 50, 53, Map III, 34

Waui, 48, Map II, xvi

Weiro, 43, Map II, ii

Werrican, 43, Map II, ii

Wialia, 47, Map II, xi

WILIUKU, 47, 50, 53, Map III, 43

Wilthuthu, 48, Map II, xvi

Wiltu, 48, Map II, xvi

Wirrikin, 43, Map II, ii

Wirro, 43, Map II, ii

WITTERU, 44, 50, Map III, 27

Wombee, 42, 76, Map II, i

Wombo, 43, 76, Map II, ii

Womboongah, 43, Map II, ii

Wongan, 43, Map II, ii

Wongo, 44, 76, Map II, v

WOODAROO, 46, 50, Map III, 27, 28, 29

WOOTAROO, 45, 50, Map III, 27; see also Ootaroo

WREPIL, 48, Map III, 1

WUTHERA, 45, 50, 53, 54, 66, Map III, 28


WUTTHURU, 44, 50, Map III, 27

Yakomari, Table I a, 3, 5, 6, 8, 79

Yakomarin(a), Table I a, 3, 5, 6

Yangor, 48, Map II, xiv

Yelet, 74

Yoolgo, 74

Youingo, 46, 72, 76, Map II, ix


Yukamura, Table I a, 4

Yungalla, Table I a, 10

YUNGAROO, 45, 50, Map III, 27

YUNGARU, 44, 50, 53, Map III, 27

YUNGNURU, 44, 50, Map III, 27

YUNGO, 45, 49, 50, 53, 66, Map III, 9, 27

YUNGO phratry, 66


Names of Australian tribes are in Clarendon, native words and parts of
     words in italics. Words in inverted commas are defined.

Abduction, 103

Adoption, 2, 5, 7

Adultery, punishment for, 146

Affinity, 6

"Age grades," 2, 92, 112

_Agoo_ as suffix, 80

_Aku_ as suffix, 80

=Akulbura= classes, 44

America, tribe in, 7

American organisations, 9, 33

_An_ as feminine termination 43, 44

_Ana_ as suffix, 80

=Anaywan= classes, 43

_Angie_ as suffix, 80

_Anjegoo_ as suffix, 80

Annan R., classes on, 45

Anomalous areas, 51, 72

Anomalous marriages, 151

=Anula= classes, 47

_Ara_ as suffix, 80

Arab phratries, 10

_Archæologia Americana_, 33, 34

_Aree_ as suffix, 60, 80

_Ariltha_, 145

=Arunta= classes, Table I a, 47
  customs, 145
  kinship terms, 96
  meaning of, 82
  primitiveness, 70
  S., classes, 47
  totemism, 12

Associations, changes in, 1
  natal, 2

Atkinson, J.J., 63

Aversion, sexual, 117

=Badieri= classes, 44, 51
  phratries, 45, 51

Baiame, 57

_Balcoin_, 83

=Barkinji= betrothal, 22
  phratries, 49

=Bathalibura= classes, 44

_Beena_ marriage, 108

Belyando R., classes on, 44

=Berriait= phratries, 49

Betrothal and potestas, 22
  rule of descent, 22 sq.

=Binbinga= classes, Table I a, 47

=Bingongina= classes, Table I a, 47
  phratries, 47

Bird myth, 55
  conflict myth, 55

Blood and phratry organisations, 68
  cousins, marriage forbidden to, 7
  division, 31
  feud, 26
  organisations, 30, 153
  relationship, 4

Bloomfield R., phratries on, 38, 50

Brother and sister marriage, 69
  meaning of terms in Morgan's work, 111

_Bu_ as prefix, 80

_Bulcoin_, 83

_Bulthara_, 83

_Bundar_, 83

=Buntamurra= classes, 44

"Caste" subdivision, 153

_Cha_ as prefix, 79

Chieftainship, 25

Child and parent, 23, 119

Children and parents, 4

_Choo_ as prefix, 80

"Classes, intermarrying," 30
  and phratries, 51, 72, 87
  and totems, 89
  later than phratries, 71
  list of, 42 sq.
  names, borrowing of, 75 sq.
  meaning of, 82

Class organisations, 37 sq.; Map II, 40
  effect of, 86
  origin of, 100

Classificatory terms of relationship, 93

Conception, theories of, 12, 23

"Consanguinity," 3 sq.

Consent of husband, 131, 138, 146

Contrasts in phratry names, 54, 56, 68

"Couple," 30

Cousin marriage, 70

Crow phratry, 53

Cunow, H., 86, 91

=Dalebura= classes, 44

=Darkinung= classes, 42 n.

_Deeroyn_, 82

Degeneration and incest, 113

Descent, rule of, 11, 12 sq.; Map I, 40
  change of, 15, 16

Descriptive terms of relationship, 93

"Determinant spouse," 30

=Dieri= betrothal, 22
  marriage rules, 97
  phratries, 49
  wife lending, 143

_Dippa-malli_, 133

=Dippil= classes, 43, 51
  phratries, 43, III b, 51

"Direct descent," 30

_Dirrawong_, 82

Durkheim, E., 69, 87, 90

_Durween_, 82

Eaglehawk, 54
  and crow, 53, 59
  phratries, 67

_Eanda_, 10

Earl, G.W., 36

Economic conditions and rule of descent, 27

_Egor_ as feminine suffix, 49

Eight-class names, centre of origin, 78
  percentages of resemblance and difference, 77, 78
  system, 76
  tribe in Queensland, 97

Elder and younger, meaning of, 98
  brother, authority, 100

Elopement, 20, 144

_Eranta_, 82

=Euahlayi= classes 42, 51
  phratries, 42 e, 50, 51, 54

Exchange of wives, 143

Exogamy, 6, 30
  origin of, 63

Family, 1
  types of, 8

Father and son, conflict of, 17

Father and daughter marriage, 114

Father right, see Patriliny

Female descent, see Matriliny

Females, property vested in, 26

Feminine class names, 80

Fison, L., on group marriage, 127

Folktales, stock of, 57

Four-class area, 73
  and eight-class systems, results compared, 97

Frazer, J.G., 69
  on totemism, 12

Free love, 106, 129

Free union, 106

Gason, S., 13

_Gamé_, 106

_Gan_ as feminine termination, 43

=Geawegal classes=, 42
  wife lending, 142

=Geebera= phratries, 49

Generation, marriage within, 99

=Gnalluma= classes, 47, 48

=Gnamo= classes, 47, 48

=Gnanji= classes, Table I a, 47
  phratries, 47

=Goa= classes, 44

=Goonganji= phratries, 49

=Goothanto= classes, 45

Gregory, J.W., 27, 67

Grey, Sir G., 34

Groups, local, 29
  meaning of, 136
  primitive, 13, 64

Group marriage and _pirrauru_, 136
  meaning of term, 127
  not proven, 148

_Gurk_ as feminine suffix, 49

Haida phratries, 9

Hausa rules of avoidance, 99

Hereditary kinship groups, 12

Hodgson, C.P., 35

Homophones, 82

Hottentots non-totemic, 8

Howitt, A.W., 16, 23, 37, 121, 134

_Iker_ as suffix, 80

=Iliaura= classes, Table I a, 47

=Ilpirra= classes, Table I a, 47

In-and-in breeding, 115

Incest and degeneration, 113

=Inchalachee= classes, Table I a, 47
  marriage, 151

"Indirect descent," 30

Individual property, 25

_Inginja_ as suffix, 80

Inheritance and descent, 18, 25
  and patriliny, 22
  of widow, 20
  of wife by brother, 20, 21

Initiation and free love, 144

_Inja_ as suffix, 80

"Intermarrying classes," 30

Isaacs, F.N., 35

_Itch_ as suffix, 63, 80

_Itchana_ as suffix, 80

=Itchumundi= "bloods," 50
  phratries, 49, 50

_J_ as prefix, 84

_Ja_ as prefix, 79, 80

_Jarr_ as feminine suffix, 49

Jealousy, 131

_Joo_ as prefix, 80

=Joongoongie= classes, 48
  phratries, 48

=Jouon= classes, 44, 51
  phratries, 45, 51

_Jus primae noctis_, 140, 144

_K_ as prefix, 84

=Kabi= classes, 43

=Kaitish= classes, Table I a, 47

=Kalkadoon= classes, 46, 51
  phratries, 46, 51

=Kamilaroi= classes, 42
  customs, 143
  marriage, 151
  organisation, 31 sq.
  phratries, 42 a
  wife lending, 142

_Kandri_, 130

=Kangulu= classes, 44
  phratries, 44, IV b, 51

_Kanunka_, 83

=Karandee= class names, 74

Kempe, H., 84

=Keramin= phratries, 49

=Kiabara= classes, 43, 51

Kimberley, classes at, 47, 48

"Kin group," 8

"Kinsman," 31

"Kinship," 3 sq.
  and consanguinity, 23
  groups, 2, 7
  origin of idea, 13, 14
  tribal, 5

_Kodi-molli_, 133

=Kogai= classes, 44, 51
  phratries, 45, 51

Kohler, J., on group marriage, 127

=Kombinegherry= classes, 43

_Koo_ as prefix, 80

=Koogobathy= classes, 46

_Koolbirra_, 82

=Koonjan= classes, 46

=Koorangie= classes, Table I a, 47

_Korkoren_, 83

_Korkoro_, 75, 83

_Ku_ as prefix, 79, 80

_Kubbi_, 83

=Kuinmurbura= betrothal, 22
  classes, 44
  customs, 144
  phratries, 44, IV a, 51
  rules of residence, 16

_Kulbara_, 82

=Kurnai= customs, 143, 144
  phratries, 49, n. 8
  polygamy, 134
  relationships, 120
  rule of residence, 17, 18

=Kurnandaburi= phratries, 49
  polygamy, 132

Kutchin phratries, 9

Landed property, 7, 8, 29

Lang, Andrew, ii, 63

Languages, differentiation of, 60, 81

Leichardt, L., 35

Lending of wives, 132 sq., 143
  _pirrauru_ wives, 132, 135, 139

Levirate, 20, 134

Liaison, 107, 133

=Limba Karadjee= classes, 36

Local group, constitution of, 26
  influence of, in causing change of rule of descent, 26
  types of, 8

Macarthur, Capt., 35

_Maian_, 134

_Mala_, 82

_Male_, 82

Male descent, _see_ Patriliny

_Malu_, 82

=Mara= classes, 46
  phratries, 46

Marriage, definition of, 103, 105 sq.
  evolution of, Morgan's theory, 110
  forms of, 108
  origin of, 64
  prohibitions, 3, 6
  rules, 97 sq.
  and kinship terms, 93

Maryborough tribes, classes of, 43
  phratries, 43, III a, 51
  rules of residence, 17

Mathews, R.H., 31, 150

Matriliny in eight-class tribes, 151
  origin of, 13, 19
  primitive, 69
  priority of, 12, 15

"Matrilocal," 30
  marriage, 16

Matripotestal family, 8, 109

=Mayoo= classes, Table I a, 47

=Meening= classes, Table I a, 47

Melanesian phratries, 10

=Miappe= classes, 46, 51
 phratries, 46, 51

Migrations, 61

=Milpulko= phratries, 49

=Miorli= classes, 44

=Mittakoodi= classes, 44, 51
  phratries, 45, 51

"Mixed group," 8

Mohegan phratries, 9

=Monobar= classes, 35

Moore, G.F., 34

=Moree= classes, 42

Morgan, Lewis, on promiscuity, 110

Mother right, see Matriliny

Mother, term for, 123

=Mukjarawaint= betrothal, 22
  customs, 144

=Murawari= "bloods," 51
  classes, 42, 51
  phratries, 42 f, 50, 51

Murchison R., classes on, 47, 48

_Muri_, 83

=Mycoolon= classes, 72

Myths, diffusion of, 56

_N_ as prefix, 80

Nagualism, 12

Narran R., classes on, 42

=Narrangga= classes, 48

Narrinyeri customs, 143, 144

"Natal associations," 2

=Nauo= phratries, 49

Near relatives, marriage of, 113

New Hebrides club-house, 106

=Ngarrego= phratries, 48

=Ngerikudi= kinship terms, 95

=Ngeumba= "bloods," 51
  classes, 42, 51
  phratries, 42 d, 51
  organisation, 152

Nicol Bay, classes at, 47, 48

Nind, S., 34

_Noa_, 122, 129

_Noa-mara_, 129

_Nu_ as prefix, 80

_Nupa_, 98, 135

_Obur_, 83

=Oolawunga= classes, Table I a, 47

_Oruyo_, 11

Ovaherero organisations, 10

_Palyara_, 83

_Palyeri_, 83

_Panunga_, 83

=Parnkalla= phratries, 49

Paternity, uncertain, 21

Patria potestas, 15, 19

Patrilineal inheritance, 18

Patriliny, causes of, in Australia, 27
  cause of rise, 22
  possible primitive, 13

"Patrilocal," 30

Patripotestal family, 8, 109

=Peechera= classes, 42

Phratries and classes, 51, 72, 87
  list of, 48 sq.
  object of, 69
  origin of, 65
  systematic groups as, 9

"Phratry," 30

Phratry names, 32 sq.
  meanings of, 53 sq.
  organisations, distribution of, 9, 37 sq.; Map III, 40
  segmentation, 61, 66

=Pikumbul= classes, 42

_Piraungaru_, 135, 141

_Pirrauru_, 130
  and group marriage, 136
  distinguishing features, 137
  origin of, 139, 140, 141
  spouses, duties of, 139-141

=Pitta-Pitta=, authority of husband among, 19
  classes, 44
  phratries, 45

Polyandry, 104, 108

Polygamy, 104, 108

Polygyny, 104, 108

Post, A.H., on group marriage, 127

Potestas, 4
  and betrothal, 22
  and patriliny, 22
  and residence, 14
  and rule of descent, 14
  relation of, to rule of descent, 19

Poverty of language, 124

Powell, J.W., 27

Prefixes, 79, 80

Primitive group, 111

Promiscuity, 133 n., 144
  forms of, 107

Property, inheritance of, 25
  in law, 2, 7, 18

Protectorship of woman's kin, 19, 20

_Pu_ as prefix, 80

Puberty, licence at, 143 sq., 146

Pueblo peoples, descent among, 27

_Pultara_, 83

Punishment, 19, 20

Purchase of wife, 21

=Purgoma= classes, 44, 51
  phratries, 45, 51

Queries as to Australian facts, 129 sq., 132, 141

Racial conflict, 55

Rank and intermarrying class, 35

Relationship, systems of, 93

Residence and potestas, 14
  and rule of descent, 14
  customs of, 8, 10

Ridley, W., 36

Right of betrothal, 22

=Ringa-Ringa= classes, 44

Scarcity of women, 139

Schürmann, C.W., 34

"Secret Societies," 3

Sexual aversion, 117
  unions, 102 sq.

"Shade" division, 31, 152

Sign language, 84

Sisters, exchange of, 19, 20

"Social organisation," 3

Societies, secret, 3

Solidarity of totem kin, 140

Spencer, B., on group marriage, 128

Status and kinship terms, 120, 125

Stokes, J.L., 36

"Sub-tribe," 30

Suffixes, 53, 60, 80

_Ta_ as suffix, 80

=Tarderick= classes, 48

=Taroombul= classes, 44

=Tatathi= phratries, 49

_Tchi_ as suffix, 53, 60, 80

Terminology, 29 sq.

_Tippa-malku_, 129
  husband, rights of, 132, 139

=Tjingillie= classes, Table I a, 47

_Tjuka_ as suffix, 80

Toda phratries, 10

Totem and phratry, 9

Totems and classes, 89
  and phratry names, 60, 69

Totemism, distribution of, 8

"Totem kin," 31
  sacrosanctity of, 16

Totem kins, 5
  and phratries, 89
  arrangement of, 89
  and _pirrauru_, 134

Tribal brothers, rights of, 131 n., 141
  kinship, 5
  names, meaning of, 82
  property, 2, 7, 18, 61
  solidarity, 7

"Tribe," 2, 7, 29
  subdivisions of, 8

Tully R., classes on, 45

=Turribul= classes, 42

_U_ as prefix, 80

_Uku_ as suffix, 53, 60

_Ula_ as suffix, 80

_Um_ as suffix, 80

=Umbaia= classes, Table I a, 47
  phratries, 47

_Unawa_, 122

Unconscious reformation, 116

=Undekerebina= phratries, 51

Undivided commune, 121, 143

_Unga_ as suffix, 80

=Unghi= classes, 42

_Ungilla_, 84

=Ungorri= classes, 44

_Upala_, 83

=Urabunna= customs, 142
  marriage rules, 98
  phratries, 49
  polygamy, 135

_Uru_ as suffix, 53, 60

Victoria, occupation of, 27, 67
  S.W., phratries in, 49

=Wailwun= classes, 42
  organisation, 89

=Wakelbura= betrothal, 22
  classes, 44, 51
  phratries, 45 51
  polyandry, 133
  rules of residence, 16

=Walpari= classes, Table I a, 47
  phratries, 47

Wanika phratries, 10

=Warkeman= classes, 45

=Warramunga= classes, Table I a, 47
  marriage, 150
  phratries, 47

=Wathi-Wathi= kinship terms, 94
  phratries, 49

=Weedokarry= classes, 47, 48

_Welu_, 54

West Australia, classes in, 48
  phratries in, 48

Westermarck, E., on group marriage, 128
  on marriage, 105

Wide Bay, classes at, 43

Widow, position of, 20, 134
  removal of, 19

Widower, 131

Wife lending, 142
  authority over, 19

=Wiimbaio= customs, 143
  phratries, 49
  wife lending, 142

_Wilpadrina_, 129 n.

Wilson, T.B., 36

=Wilya= phratries, 49

=Wiradjeri=, chiefs among, 25
  classes, 42, 51
  marriage, 150
  phratries, 42 b, 50

=Wolgal= phratries, 49

=Wollaroi= betrothal, 22
  classes, 42

=Wollongurma= classes, 45

=Wonnaruah= classes, 42

=Wonghibon= "bloods," 51
  classes, 42, 51
  phratries, 42 c, 50, 51

=Woonamurra= classes, 44, 51
  phratries, 45, 51

=Worgaia= classes, Table I a, 47
  phratries, 47

=Workoboongo= classes, 46, 72

=Wulmala= classes, Table I a, 47
  phratries, 47

=Wurunjerri= phratries, 48

_Ya_ as prefix, 79, 80

=Yambeena= classes, 51
  phratries, 51

=Yandairunga= phratries, 49

=Yandrawontha= phratries, 49

=Yangarella= classes, Table I a, 47

=Yelyuyendi= phratries, 51

=Yerunthully= classes, 44, 72

=Yookala= classes, Table I a, 47

=Yoolanlanya= classes, 47

=Yowerawarika= phratries, 49

=Yuin= custom, 145

=Yuipera= classes, 44, 51
  phratries, 45, 51

=Yukkabura= classes, 45

_Yun_ as prefix, 80

=Yungmunnie= classes, Table I a, 47


Transcriber's Note:

The following inconsistencies have been maintained in the text:

Misspellings and typographical errors

Hawaian for Hawaiian
Chapter IV, Table I, Section XV, the paragraph that begins with "Tribe"
  is missing a ) at the end.

Inconsistent hyphenation:

bi-lateral / bilateral
eight-fold / eightfold
four-fold / fourfold
Geawe-gal / Geawegal
head-man / headman
inter-tribal / intertribal
matri-potestal / matripostestal
Narrang-ga / Narrangga
patri-potestal / patripotestal
sacrosanctity / sacrosanctity
sub-division / subdivision
wide-spread / widespread

Other inconsistencies:
Archæologia / Archaeologia
Eaglehawk-Crow / eaglehawk-crow
Pirraurru / Pirrauru
vice versâ / vice versa

In list of abbreviations: Proc. R.G.S. Qn.
  In text: Proc. R.G.S. Qu., Proc. R.S. Qu.
In list of abbreviations: R.G.S. Qn.
  In text: R.G.S. Qu.

In Chapter IV, Table II, repeated column headings have been omitted.
The numbering in this table jumps from 12 to 20 and then from 34 to 40.

In Chapter IV, Table III, two symbols are used (‡ and §) which are
not defined. Repeated column headings have been omitted.

In Chapter VII, the abbreviation ib. in the Footnotes is not italicized.

In Chapter X, Section B. Marriage
  The roman numerals are followed by a comma, rather than a period as in
  the preceding section.

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