Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/64

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44
Description of the Natives of King George's Sound

Although every individual would immediately announce to us his tribual name and country, yet we have not been enabled to trace any regular order of descent. The son follows his mother as Erniung or Tem, and his father as Torndirrup or Moncalon. Beyond this we have not been able to penetrate, for half brothers are not unfrequently different. This would probably be caused by cross marriages. From the same cause also their divisions of relationship are very numerous. Eicher, mother; cuinkur, father; mourert, brother or sister; konk or conk, uncle, &c. &c.

In their marriage, they have no restriction as to tribe; but it is considered best to procure a wife from the greatest distance possible. The sons will have a right to hunt in the country from whence the mother is brought.

They are very jealous as to encroachments on their property, and the land is divided into districts, which is the property of families or individuals. At some particular seasons of the year, however, the young men visit their neighbours in parties, and sometimes travel forty or fifty miles for that purpose. Their stay, which is generally short, is a period of rejoicing and feasting. The visiting, of course, only takes place between friendly parties, yet it is attended with a ceremony denoting peace; and they generally approach their friends a little previous, or subsequent to noonday.

It once occurred to me to be out shooting, accompanied by Mawcurrie, the native before spoken of, and five or six of his tribe, when we heard the cry coo-whie, coō-whie-cā-cā, upon which my companion stopped short, and said that strange black men were coming, and were 'no good,' and wished me to accompany him to attack them. Very soon afterwards, however, he discovered that they were friends, and we walked towards them. They were five or six of the Murram tribe, and were dancing along the path towards us.

Their spears and mearas, or throwing-sticks, were carried by one man; the rest were unarmed. They were painted and greased all over, and each had a band round his forehead, in which was stuck grass-tree leaves, hanging downwards over the face. Each also carried in his hand a green bough.

On meeting, they made several turns in a circular direction, and then severally embraced, by encircling the waist of their friend with their arms, and lifting him from the ground, kissing hands, &c., all of which was invariably returned. The dancing was then renewed, and continued at intervals, after which I left them to themselves. The green twig appears always to be an indication of peace, and is much used at their dances.

When individuals quarrel with each other, it is taken up by the respective families.