Page:Native Tribes of South-East Australia.djvu/177

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III
151
SOCIAL ORGANISATION

Petrie of North Pine River, Brisbane, has described the fight between the sexes about them, by saying that the men out of mischief would kill a woman's sister, and then in turn the women killed a man's brother, when there would be a fight, or rather "a sort of jolly fight, like skylarking." As Mr. Harry E. Aldridge of Maryborough (Queensland) has no knowledge of the sex totems, it is probable that they do not extend farther north than Brisbane.

I am quite unable to offer any suggestion as to the origin of the sex totems. I am not aware of any case in which they have been eaten. They are thought to be friendly to the sex they are akin to, and are protected by it.

The Wotjobaluk saying that "the life of a bat is the life of a man" seems to me to explain why the killing of that totem causes the men to be so enraged. To injure a bat is to injure some man, but as this is a group totem, so far as in that it includes all the men, each of them may justly fear that he is the particular one whose life will be affected.

Totemism

As totemism combined with exogamy is at the root of the social organisation, it requires some special mention here. In this connection I may now say that I entirely agree with the opinion expressed by Messrs. Spencer and Gillen,[1] that the relation between totemism and exogamy is merely a secondary feature, the primary functions of the former having probably been in existence before the latter became established.

There is much difference of opinion as to the origin of what is termed totemism, and a number of hypotheses have been framed to account for it.

It has always seemed to me that the origin of totems and totemism must have been in so early a stage of man's social development that traces of its original structure cannot be expected in tribes which have long passed out of the early conditions of matriarchal times. Yet if anywhere

  1. "On Totemism as applied to Australian Tribes," Journal Anthrop, Inst. February and May 1899.