Page:Native Tribes of South-East Australia.djvu/277

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MARRIAGE RULES

must be the mother's mother, since descent runs in the female line. One can see in these restrictions the local rules, which I have mentioned in speaking of the Wotjobaluk, carried out so far as to taboo to a man any woman speaking the dialect of his mother's locality.

Mr. Dawson further says that children were betrothed when just able to walk. The proposal was made by the father of the girl, and if the boy's father approved, he gave the girl a present of an opossum rug, showed her attentions, and gave her nice things to eat when he saw her at great meetings. The courtship of those who have not been betrothed is under strict regulations. As no personal communication is allowed between marriageable persons, outside the limits of consanguinity, a mutual friend called a Gnapunda, "matchmaker," is employed to carry messages; but this can only be done with the approval of the parents and kindred of both parties. When a man falls in love with a young woman, he does not always consult her wishes, or procure her consent to marriage, but makes his proposal to the father through her uncle or cousins.[1] If the father approves, he informs the suitor that he may marry his daughter, and to this decision she must submit whether she admires the man or not.

The reader who desires to learn more of the marriage customs of these tribes will find them very fully described in Mr. J. Dawson's book.

To the west of these tribes there were the Buandik, who lived about Mt. Gambler. It is the only one of a group of kindred tribes of which any record has been made.[2]

From the little which I have been able to learn of their marriage rules, I may summarise them by saying that the usual law of the class system obtained between the classes Kumit and Kroki, and that descent was in the female line. As the class system of the Buandik was practically the same

  1. This statement of Mr. Dawson's is an instance of the unfortunate practice of using our collective terms, which include two entirely distinct relations, kept separate by the native tribes. Probably the context requires the "uncle" to be the father's brother and the cousin to be his son, thus falling in with the Wotjobaluk rule.
  2. The Buandik tribe, Mrs. J. Smith.