XM453 Natives Tribes of South East Australia response to R H Mathews

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The Tribes of Western Victoria

Western Victoria was occupied for [pastoral?] purposes between the years 1837 and 1847.

It is difficult to speak with certainty as to the number of aborigines ['who' crossed out] in it. ['at as no' crossed out] ['census of ... was taken of them' crossed out]. But an ['approximate' crossed out] estimate may be made from ['the' crossed out] a ['statement of the Crown Land' crossed out] letter written in 1852 by the Commission of Crown Lands Captain [Foster Fyam?] (1) that in 1807 ['they' crossed out] the aborigines in the district could not exceed 3.000 ['and he adds' crossed out] ['that "the cau' crossed out] The numbers were reduced in the next ten years ['through' crossed out] by those killed in fights with the Settlers and their men, by drunkenness and by disease. In 1853 the then Crown Land Commission Mr W. N. Gray reported as to [d.....t] which ['was not' crossed out] ['quite' crossed out] appears not to have been so large as that in the [sha... .....] of Captain [Faym?]. The aborigines there numbered 325 males 290 females and 65 children.

In the year three aboriginal [Sl..t..s] were established in western Victoria ['an' crossed out] under the control of the Board For the Protection of Aborigines.

['The policy of the Board, at least from 1867 for the' crossed out] ['last forty years (2) has been to collect the aborigines' crossed out] ['into the [Slatin Slatinu?]' crossed out] Most of ^the [slat...s] ['which' crossed out] have ['also' crossed out] been under the mangement of mercinaries.

[Left margin:] (1) Letters of Old Victoria [.....] p 124

(2) [I have to thank?] Mr [Dit.....] the [acting secretary?] to the Board for this and other information.

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['According to the Secretary' crossed out] For the last forty years the policy of the Board has been to gather the aborigines into the [Plati...] to take ['care' crossed out] charge of the children, ['to instruct' crossed out] who ['have been' crossed out] attended a "state School" established ['there' crossed out] at each [st....], and ['to cause marriage lu' crossed out] when grown up to have ['been' crossed out] them married according to our ['custom' crossed out] rules.

Speaking of the present time Sundusland that the aborigines living at the [Slat...] are from different parts of Victoria and also from neighbouring states All references to tribal destruction have actually disappeared from the aborigines.

Marriage among them is conducted in accordance with our customs, but not without regard to their own rules. "That is, the affinity between ceremonies is [ab...] to marriage, and the union of parties would consequently not be sanctioned". (1)

The total number of aborigines in Victoria for the year ended 30 June 1907 was as follows. 189 Blacks, 81 Halfcastes Total 270.

['I may add to this that' crossed out] the estimated number of aborigines in Victoria at [several?] period was as follows: 1835 6.000 (2), 1861 - 1690, 1871 1330, 1881 - 780. 1891 - 565, 1905 - 365, 1906 - 275, [....ly ...] Half castes 1907 - 270 [mo...y ..] half castes

There are ^now seventeen men who are [over bo.....] of age, of whom six [...ing] with Gippsland tribe.

[Left margin:] (1) Mr [Dit.....'s] statement.

[Ra...fer to * p

(2)

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The "rule" against the marriage of cousins required some remark. When I was investigating the customs and beliefs of the Tribes of Western Victoria ^in 1885 I made use of some old men who were young when their ['whose memory went back' crossed out] ['to the time' crossed out] country was ['occupied' crossed out] taken in the years 1837-47.

I then found that there was an objection to the marriage of those whom we designate "['first' crossed out] cousins". (N. T. p 241)

Our term ['cousin' crossed out] "first cousin" includes two relationships which in Australian tribes are absolutely distinct. For instance all the children of two or more brothers, or of two or more Sisters are ^in the relation of brothers and sisters, but the children of a man on one side and of his Sister on the other are not so for ['the' crossed out] a reason which the [sub....d] two diagrams will make clear. I use the class names of the Wobjoballuk tribe of North western Victoria for this purpose

1 M. Krokitch 2 f Gamutch-gurk 3 m & 3 f Gamutch & Gamutch gurk

4 m Gamutch 5 f. Krokitch-gurk 5 m & f. Krokitch & Krokitchgurk

The son- 3. m. Gamutch is according to us the first cousin of the daughter 6 f Krokitchgurk. The belong to the two ^intermarrying segments of the tribe but under the rule of the ^tribe, if Woltovalluk Nation are not [allowed?] to marry

It is to be noted that in the case of the tribes of Western Victoria not only have diminished

[Left margin:] 1835 1885 50

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so much in number that for many years back there must have been a difficulty, if not an impossibility of marriages ['bene' crossed out] under the exogamic rule of the old times - which Mr Mathews speaks of as the "normal" marriage rule, but the policy of the Board, carried out by the Mersinaries "in accordance with our customs" certainly, as I know personally, has disregarded all the old marriage rules of the tribes and would without hesitation sanction unions between those who under the old time customs might have been ['Killed in pu' crossed out] punished for "mixing too near flesh" by death - as in the Morritari tribe which I have quoted

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Wongtubon

Mr Mathews includes the Wongtubon tribe (p 86) among those which he says [shun?] a complete absence of exogamy.

This tribe, whose county lay between the Lachlan and Bogan Rivers and suffer much for drough, was first brought under notice by Mr A L P. Cameron in his ['paper' crossed out] "Notes on some tribes of New south wales (1)

He therein pointed out that the marriage arrangements were different from those of the Kamilaroi with which he was well acquainted, that he suspected a mistake. However upon further investigation he worked out the full system of marriage and descents for me which I have given in my "Native Tribes" pp. 214-216).

In the table of marriage there are sixteen "normal" and twenty, of what I have termed, "anomalous marriages". Fortunately Mr Cameron has recorded the explanation of ['these' crossed out] the latter group by the native informants. I repet that the wording of the explanation is obscure and calculated to [m.....] the reader.

[Left margin:] (1) [I....] [Anthrop. ...] 1885

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