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By James Dawson

James Dawson first released Australian Aborigines in 1881, after determining that his cautious description of the tribes, languages, customs, and features of the indigenous peoples of the western district of Victoria used to be too cumbersome for its initially meant booklet in a newspaper. primarily a field-inspired anthropological account of the dwindling Aboriginal inhabitants, written prior to the emergence of anthropology as a proper self-discipline, Dawson's booklet attracts on his daughter's skill to talk the neighborhood languages and makes an attempt a balanced description of a tradition he thought of ill-used and under-appreciated by means of white settlers. Minute information about garments, instruments, payment and ideology mix to depict a posh society that possessed hugely ritualised customs deserving of admire. Dawson additionally incorporated an in depth vocabulary of phrases in 3 indigenous languages that he was hoping may facilitate additional cross-cultural realizing. His paintings presents helpful resource fabric for contemporary researchers in anthropology and linguistics.

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Extra info for Australian Aborigines: The Languages and Customs of Several Tribes of Aborigines in the Western District of Victoria, Australia

Example text

The mother of a child is the only exception to this law, for, in talking to it, she must use its father's language as far as she can, and not her own. At the same time, she speaks to her husband in her own tribal language, and he speaks to her in his; so that all conversation is carried on between husband and wife in the same way as between an Englishman and a Frenchwoman, each speaking his or her own language. This very remarkable law explains the preservation of so many distinct dialects within so limited a space, even where there are no physical obstacles to ready and frequent communication between the tribes.

The exercise of this right would thus lead to a quarrel between the families and their respective tribes. If a young orphan woman elopes with a man of another tribe against the wishes of her relatives, notice is sent to him that she must be brought back, or she will be taken by force. Should the warning be unattended to, his wuurn is visited at daybreak by four or five of the woman's male friends, armed with spears and marwhangs, but not with boomerangs; they seize and stupefy her with blows, and carry her off.

The sons were kappatch, and the daughters kappaheear. As the laws of consanguinity forbade marriages between these, it was necessary to introduce wambepan tuuram,' fresh flesh,' which could be obtained only by marriage with strangers. The sons got wives from a distance. Their sons, again, had to do the same; and thus the pelican, snake, and quail classes were introduced, which, together with those of their first parents, form the five maternal classes which exist all through the Western District.

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