Notes by Howitt on Kulin from Barak

Page 59 of 103

Transcription - Page 59

to the exclusion of the younger men. These elder men
are those who exercise authority in the tribe.
They are the repositories and expounders of ancestral
custom and they are supposed to be possessed
not only of wisdom but also of secret and deadly
powers of sorcery by which they can destroy their
enemies. Their dicta are therefore [cl - crossed out]
charged with authority and [with - crossed out] they have the means
of making that authority obeyed. It is universally
true that man as an individual or as a class
will [ha - crossed out] if he have the power, appropriate to
himself privileges and advantages to the exclusion
of others. All history and experience is full
of instances. This is precisely that which
the elder men of such tribes [have done - crossed out] do
when they monopolize the women to the
exclusion of their fellow clans men.
The perpetuation of this monopoly is
ensured by those interested in it having
[dau - crossed out] sisters or daughters to exchange
with each other for wives. Such a
practice would in itself tend to
bring about [indur - crossed out] the Pairing Family
as we see it here. Namely the monopoly
by one man of one or more women.
The practices of capture and elopement
would [natu -crossed out] easily and naturally
fall into the path thus struck out
and individual marriage would result.
Exceptional case such as that of the Kurnai
would accelerate the process and
confirm the habit. This explanation of
the ongoing of Individual marriage is I submit
entirely in accordance with [ex - crossed out] what we know of
the Australian Aborigines, it is in accordance with
probability and renders unneccessary Sir J. Lubbock's
conclusion that "capture and capture alone could +c)

Page 59 of 103

Document Details

Letter From
Letter To
Author Howitt, Alfred William
Country Australia
Colony/State Victoria
Holding Institution State Library of Victoria
Collection Name Alfred W. Howitt Collection
Registration Number MS9356/391
Medium Notes
Summary MS 9356 [Series] Correspondence and notes concerning aboriginal tribes - Aboriginal tribes of Victoria. [Sub Series] Kulin Nation [Item Title] Notes by Howitt titled 'The Kulin tribe. Informant 'Ber-uk' otherwise King William of the Yarra tribe'. [Summary note] 103 pages. Box 1053 [Folder] 2(b) & (c) [State Library Victoria record 2018]
Physical Description Handwritten notes, undated and numbered pages. Additional notations and annotations in the left hand margins; includes a newspaper article.