The organisation of Australian tribes

I use the word tribe as meaning a number of people who occupy a definite tract of country who recognize a common relationship [and - crossed out] who have a common speech or at least dialects of the same. The tribes people recignize some common [bod - crossed out] bond which excludes other neighbouring tribes. Usually there is a tribal name, which may either be the word in their language signifying man (that is an aborigine of Australia), as the Kurnai of Gippsland, or the Wotjo of the Wimmera River, in the case of the latter usually prefixed to the word "ballaiull" meaning "people". Or the name may be derived from the word in the language signidying either "yes" or "no" but more frequently the former as the Woë-worung of the Yarra River, the [??] signifying "lips" or hence "speech".

But while the individual tribes thus distinguish themselves from others there is usually a word, often that [wor- crossed out] for "man" which is common to a [larger - crossed out] group of kindred tribes as for instance the word Kūlin = man which [marks - crossed out] extends over most of the Eastern half of Victoria excepting Gippsland.

The distinction is drawn between [the - crossed out] a tribe and [the - crossed out] alien tribes by some terms applied to the latter either in contempt or fear. Thus while the Kurnai speak of themselves as men they give the name of Brajerak from Bra=male=man and Jirak=rage or anger or ferocity to their neighbours to the Eastward namely the Theddora of the Omeo Tableland, the

Last edit 3 months ago by ALourie


2 Ngarego of the Maneroo Tableland and the Coast Murring [beyon - crossed out] of Twofold Bay and the South coast of New South Wales.

Their neighbours living in the Western Port District were called [Thuring?] or snakes as they put it because they came snaking about to kill us.

The Australians as a whole are [crossed out - therefore] thus divided into tribes and these tribes are organized in certain lines in two independent directions. One [2 words crossed out] I have termed the local [underlined] and the other the social [underlined] organization.

As this is a matter of great importance in my investigation I shall devote some special consideration to it. The Dieri and Kurnai [crossed out - tribes] are [crossed out - respectively] two of the best examples with which I am acquainted. The former of the [?] most backward [crossed out - and] standing and the latter of the most forward standing Australian tribe. I shall therefore take them as my examples of the organization which I have inferred, leaving it to another place to enter into further explanation as to the nature and extent of the advance made by the Kurnai beyond the States in which the Dieri even now are

Left hand margin note] (1) The Dieri culture Horde. A and & 7 doc 2 I - A -d now - 1884 - be XIV p 143-

(1) As I shall more fully explain later in an entire community-nation tribe or which ever else it may be called - of Australian blacks is divided socially inot the principal exogamous intermarrying section which may for shorten designate as A and B. In some parts of Austrlaia these principal sections or classes have been divided each into two supclasses [or subclasses?], and whether there the two principal classes only, or those with the four subclasses or the latter only without the former there are also a number of lesser groups attached, let us say, to A and

[Lower left hand margin not - cannot read]

Last edit about 1 month ago by J Gibson



B for which the term "[Whern?]" is appropriate: But twice their sum = A + B I need not mark them into amount at present. They will come in future in: if we have called This is called by Dr [Sommer?] - [?] and myself the social organization.

The community is also divided geographically inot a number of say X - Y - Z [?] he take three for the sake if convenience. Then maybe many more.

This we have called the local organization X is made up of individuals belonging to A and of others belonging to B; so is Y. and so is Z.

The children of the Horde belong to the Horde eg. the children of X males are of X Horde and so forth.

But since A (male) must marry B (female) and with descent in the female line - the [sinq?] XA is XB. In other words the son is of the fathers Horde but of the mothers class and totwm - of the local divisiion to which the father belongs but of the mothers social division.

In certain tribes while the organization in clans, subclans and totems remains the same [there - crossed out] there has been a change in [the - crossed out] descent to the male line. This has the effect of [?ealying??] the [to- crossed out] classes and totems. It belongs to a phase of the social advance to which I have referred and which I shall explain and discuss elsewhere. It is not necessary to do more [here - crossed out] other than to note that such was the case.

Frequently we find the hordes where exogamous as well as the social divisions or in the extreme cases were the social organization has brotherdown as in the [Woëworung?] tribe

Last edit 7 months ago by Christine


4 or became extinct in the Kurnai tribe the local groups, Hordes if descent remains in the female or clans if it has been [?] of and [crossed out - became attached] the male line, the exogamous law has attached itself to the local that is geographical groups which therefore regulate marriage. It is as if an English Village had determined that its children should marry beyond its bounds, possibly with the children of some one in some adjacent village while its daughters went to the village whence thier brothers took their wives.

The illustration of these statements I shall take several instances mainly those of [crossed - the case of] the Dieri and the Kurnai [crossed out - as instances] for the reason [crossed out - already stated] that they are respectively highly typical of the most archais and the most recent forms of local & social organization of the Australian tribes known to me.

The local organization [underlined]

The Dieri tribe inhabits the country of the Barcoo delta in the west and to the west side of Lake Eyre in Central Australia. It is one of a number of tribes which have the same organization, with allied languages and [crossed out - the same] ceremonies, customs and beliefs are the same lines. These tribes to some extent althoroughly submitting, if I may be permitted to so phrase it, to the English imperium, still have their own lives and follow so far as is possible the tribal customs. That which I shall have [?] of them will however be as I knew them thrity seven years ago in their wild state before their country had been occupied for pastoral purposes. The tribal territory was occupied by five principal local divisions (1) [Poordo Pirmauie?] or Lake Hope [crossed out - the ?] Lake (2) Kūramina or Blanchewater (3) Kopperamana (4) [Kilalepanina?] and [Kathithaudra?] at the junction of the Baroo Rd with Lake Eyre.

Last edit 3 months ago by ALourie


5 These greater divisions of the tribes were again divided into lesser areas each of which was occupied by a certain group of people. For instance of the [Pindo Pinnanie?] there was one divisions occupying a lake zone which to western [Kūnabūra?] and the people living there were the [Kūnabūra Kurna?] or men of[ Kunabura?].

In this manner the tribe is organized geographically in local groups each having a definite trail of hunting and food grounds and the aggregate of theses groups forms the tribe. The sons inherit, or perhaps more properly speaking occupy the country on which their fathers hunted as a matter of birth right.

Such was the local organization of a typical two class tribe with descent in the female line.

As another instance I take the Wakelbŭra tribe living in the Belyando River in Queensland the name is derived from [?] and the [?] food from [?] if or

[Left hand margin note to insert here] Formerly it was called [Korbalbura?] from Korbal the edible root of the water lily found growing in the swamps & [?] watercourses and [?] them for food.

It is one of that great number of tribes found in Eastern Australia from near Sydney to near this frequently [?] with the four subclans and totems and in some cases still retaining the original two classes also.

[Two lines crossed out]

Last edit 3 months ago by Christine
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