NOTES ON THE SYSTEM OF CONSANGUINITY AND KINSHIP OF THE BRABROLONG TRIBE, NORTH GIPPSLAND.
(By A. W. Howitt.)
In undertaking to communicate a paper on the system of consanguinity and kinship of the Australian Aborigines, it had been hoped by the Rev. Mr. Fison and myself that we should be able to collect and discuss a large amount of systematized information from all parts of the Australian Continent. Experience has, however, proved to us that the time required to gather together such a mass of materials will be much longer than we had anticipated. We had hoped to have received aid from others in our enquiries; but the result has proved our expectation to be almost unfounded. In addition to these unforeseen difficulties, my valued colleague in the investigation has been compelled by ill-health to leave Victoria, at least for a time. Our work has, therefore, made but little progress, and the publication of our results must, of necessity, be postponed to some future undetermined time.
In order, however, that the promise made by us may not altogether fall to the ground, I have proposed to myself, as an example of the subject, to consider one system, namely, that of the Brabrolong tribe of North Gippsland. It has been carefully compiled, and thrown into shape in a series of diagrams, some of which will be embodied in these notes.
The knowledge which I may have acquired of the branch of ethnological research must be credited to the pioneer labors of Mr. Fison; but the conclusions at which I have arrived in this instance are my own, together with any imperfections or inaccuracies in the mode of treatment; and would not, I believe, as regards the latter, have arisen had I been so fortunate as to have had his co-operation.
Before entering into the subject of these notes, it may be well to lay down some classification to which the Brabrolong system may be referred.
I propose to avail myself of the classification used by Mr. Morgan, the well-known American ethnologist, whose opinion in these researches is of the very greatest weight and authority. I have not his works now at hand for reference, but I extract the following from communications which he has made to Mr. Fison and to me:—
1. Consanguine Family—founded upon the intermarriage of brothers and sisters in a group. The Malayan system of consanguinity was created by this family, and proves its antecedent existence.