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Skin, Kin and Clan

7

Patriclan Subsets of the Ashburton River District in Western Australia

Peter Sutton

Abstract

In the Ashburton River district of Western Australia, individual members of different patrifilial totemic country groups (patriclans) could share a common name that was used in both address and reference for those individuals. This namesake relationship between members of distinct patriclans or descent-based estate-owning groups existed regardless of the linguistic identities of the patriclans concerned and was regional in distribution. This institution had family resemblances to cross-regional identity-sharing systems in other parts of Aboriginal Australia; however, it was unique in its detail. These shared names frequently, but not always, reflected shared patriclan totems. In any case, they structurally yielded subsets of patriclans. In some recorded cases, members of these subsets married each other. These cases may or may not have been post-conquest ‘wrong marriages’ contracted when the old prescriptive marriage laws were losing force.

Introduction

In this chapter, I discuss certain anthropological and linguistic records from the Ashburton River district of the Pilbara region of Western Australia (see Figure 23). My focus is on several authors’ descriptions of subgroupings of descent-based totemic clans—subsets that they variously named ‘phratries’ (Bates 1913), ‘inter-tribal totemic divisions’ (Radcliffe-Brown 1931) and ‘totem classes’ (Austin 1992a–e, 2012). The information left to us regarding these subsets is limited and no longer being socially reproduced. For this reason, we have a small and closed corpus of evidence about them. Their unusual features, though, make it worthwhile for this paper to attempt as comprehensive a description and analysis of them as practicable.

While the evidence for the emotional colour of intra-set relationships among the people concerned is sparse, it does point towards amity—a ‘mateship’—based on mutual likeness. The members of these subsets enjoyed a commonality of identity, irrespective of their constituents’ linguistic group memberships. These subsets linked people, not only as individuals, but also as members (or perhaps ‘representatives’ would be closer to classical Aboriginal psychology) of different estate-holding totemic clans both within and across linguistic-territorial boundaries. Although two or more such subsets might have possessed the same linguistic variety, they were not structurally nested subgroups of linguistic groups per se; rather, they were distributed in a mosaic fashion across the landscape—geographically and socially.

They thus formed a superordinate association of women, men and presumably children who were at once both ‘same and different’—in the sense of that widespread Aboriginal expression that reflects a philosophical preference for conjoint complementarity rather than monoliths of unity. These patriclan membership subsets formed discontinuous unities of like peoples who differed in other respects. Thus, they were counterterritorial in function, if not intention—that is, one peacemaking role of the patriclan subsets was that within this system, one could find namesakes with linguistic affiliations and home locations far from one’s own. In classical Aboriginal Australia generally, namesake relationships are always infused with a positive tone. Shared names often imply shared transcendent substance. That this amity-oriented structural institution formed a mosaic across territorial groups in the present case suggests that the Ashburton system was another example, although unique in detail, of the tendency of Australian societies to codify and formalise social forces that countervailed against the insularity and, at times, aggressive localism typically associated with patrifiliation or patriliny and male political dominance. Balance, not uniformity, was the supreme principle underpinning the valorisation of both kinds of institutions.

Figure 23: Map showing the locations of the Ashburton and Gascoyne rivers of Western Australia.

Source: Prepared by William McConvell from standard topographic maps of Australia; geodata from Geosciences Australia.

In spite of this distributive function in relation to identity, the Ashburton patriclan subsets were not strictly exogamous. In this sense, their members could not have been culturally constructed as being ‘of one blood’. I say this because a structure of a similar kind, widely spread in classical times in much of Australia and still extant in some regions such as the north central Northern Territory, consists of matrilineal totemic clans. Co-members of such descent-based unities were deemed to be of the same ‘flavour’, ‘aroma’ or ‘meat’, which meant there was a ban on sexual relationships between co-totemites, whether within one area or between distantly linked geographical areas. Along with an incest taboo, these matrilineal clans generally combined an ethic of amity between co-members.

Matrilineal social totems identified in these ways include the dhii or ‘meat’ of north Central New South Wales (Ash et al. 2003, p. 61; Mathews 1897, p. 157, ‘dheeh’), the mardu or ‘flavour’ of the Lake Eyre region (Hercus 1989, p. 102; Howitt 1904, p. 91, ‘murdu’) and the ngurlu of the north central Northern Territory. Ngurlu is used mainly north and north-west from near Newcastle Waters and Beetaloo, and literally means ‘taste, flavour’ (Gurindji) or ‘human scent, smell of a person’s sweat’ (Djamindjung) (Nash 1982).

The ‘Phratries’ of North-East Arnhem Land

Religiously linked patrifilial groups in north-east Arnhem Land—the Yolngu region—have some features in common with the Ashburton system. The local missionary and scholar Theodore Webb (1933) referred to these as mala (untranslated by him, but generally meaning ‘groups’) possessing common rangga (sacred ceremonies). He implied that the constituents of these mala were ‘hordes’ (patrilineal descent groups; Webb 1933, p. 406). The constituent hordes were not clustered geographically but could be ‘as widely separated as Elcho Island on the north coast and Blue Mud Bay on the Gulf of Carpentaria’ (Webb 1933, p. 408). On the matter of terminology for such scattered unities, he stated: ‘I leave it to be determined whether the term tribe, subtribe, or some other should be applied to these mala’ (Webb 1933, pp. 408–9).

Lloyd Warner (1958 [1937], pp. 9, 33–5) identified the same sets as ‘phratries’, an anthropological term from phratria, meaning ‘brotherhood’ in Greek. Each phratry in north-east Arnhem Land belongs to only one of the exogamous patrilineal moieties of the region and has a mythic basis for unity of its members. Its members have similar languages ideologically, but not dialectally. Likewise, there is a doctrine of phratry solidarity that is not borne out in practice, and in two cases, Warner found the phratries ‘too nebulous in their composition to give their clan membership’. Warner (1958 [1937], p. 35) regarded the phratries as ‘a weak attempt within the culture to create new and larger groups than the clan to control the intra-moiety antagonisms of the clans within it’.

In general, later anthropologists did not settle for Warner’s terminology. Ronald Berndt (1955, p. 96) preferred ‘parallel descent groups’ and referred to ‘clans’ comprised of linguistic groups that consisted of parallel sets of minimal patrilineal descent groups. Warren Shapiro (1981, pp. 23, 91, 97–8) called Warner’s phratries ‘totemic unions’ and pointed out more of their indeterminateness. Bernhard Schebeck (2001, pp. 46–9) included ‘phratry-like names’ among his schema of 10 types of collective names in the region but could not find rigid formalisation in their use. Nancy Williams (1986, p. 70) called the relevant entities manikay mala. Ian Keen (1994, pp. 65, 75) explicitly rejected ‘phratries’ and opted for ‘groups’ (mala), given the indeterminacies he described, and the presence of strings of links rather than sets marked by closures. Komei Hosokawa (2003) called Warner’s phratries ‘clans’.

Despite such differences, the agreed picture for the Yolngu region is one in which identities and sacra may be held in common by people whose local country interests are separated by often considerable distances, people who belong to the same moiety and therefore cannot intermarry, and who may share a common title or group name. The first feature is shared with the Ashburton, while the latter two are not.

The Ashburton District

The Ashburton district is distinctive within the gallery of Australian traditions concerning kin superclasses. Appropriately, Bates (1913, p. 394) commented on ‘how interesting the Ashburton tribes are’.

Bates (1913, pp. 393–5) reported the existence of ‘certain totem phratries’ in a district of Western Australia that she referred to as the Ashburton. She described the Ashburton district as an area running ‘from north of Onslow (Ashburton River), towards the Gascoyne River’ (Bates 1913, p. 393). It was identified by Bates (1913) as an area in which the Aboriginal people shared a distinctive cluster of key features of social and religious organisation: a four-section system that was subgrouped into two moieties whose members had prescribed ritual roles, the absence of circumcision, localised increase (thalu) ceremonies, a ban on cross-cousin marriages and totemic phratries. She cited no source here other than ‘Cornally’ and knowledge based on her own fieldwork, which seems to have principally been among the 77 Aboriginal women living at Dorre Island Isolation Hospital in late 1910 and early 1911 (Bates 1966, pp. 97–104; n.d., Notebook 7a: cover sheet). I have used Bates’s field materials to flesh out her published description. Bates (1966, pp. 97–104; n.d., Notebook 7a: cover sheet) also acknowledged that her manuscript contained ‘part of Cornally’s information on marriage laws’.1

Radcliffe-Brown (1931, pp. 38–42) acknowledged Bates’s 1913 published paper as one of the sources for his own discussion of the Ashburton peoples, whom he denoted as ‘Talaindji type’ in his taxonomy of Australian social organisation. He had also done fieldwork in the same region in the period from 1910 to 1912 (Radcliffe-Brown 1931, p. 42), and his notes from that work (Radcliffe-Brown n.d.) have been used in this chapter in addition to his published statements. He described the district as being on both sides of the Ashburton River for the lower two-thirds of its length, south to the Gascoyne River (Radcliffe-Brown 1931, p. 38).

Berndt et al. (1979, p. 32 [map], p. 35 [table]) identified a similar Ashburton-centred region of ‘traditional social categories and social groups’, which he denoted as the ‘Central-west coastal and inland’ area—subgroup ‘E’. Differences between the publication by Berndt et al. (1979) and that of Bates (1913) and Radcliffe-Brown (1931) suggest that Berndt was using his own and/or other unpublished field data as sources in this 1979 essay, which was brief. He did not mention in print the phenomenon that Bates called ‘phratries’. Unfortunately, Berndt’s field notes remain under a 30-year embargo at the University of Western Australia, and were not made available for this chapter.

The linguistic-territorial groupings indicated in print as component members of the Ashburton regional social organisational system by Bates (1913), Radcliffe-Brown (1931) and Berndt et al. (1979) are shown in Table 17. I have reordered the groupings to match as many as possible across the rows. Bates (1913) listed only six but added ‘&c’—implying that perhaps she had recorded more; Radcliffe-Brown (1931, p. 38) listed 11; and Berndt et al. (1979) indicated that there were 18.2

Table 17: Language groups of the Ashburton social organisation district.

Bates

Radcliffe-Brown

Berndt et al.

Tallainji

Talaindji

Djalendji

Burduna

Burduna

Buduna

Biniguru

Binigura

Binigura

Baiung

Baiong

Baiyungu

Maia

Maia

Maia

Targari

Targari

Dargari

&c

Noala

Noala

Tjuroro

Djururu

Djiwali

Djiwali

Tenma

Warienga

Warianga

Bandjima1

Inawongga

Nyanu

Malgaru

Yinigudira

Djungurdia

Gurama

Guwari

1 Radcliffe-Brown placed Pandjima in his ‘Kariera Type’ subgroup instead.

Source: Bates (1913), Berndt et al. (1979) and Radcliffe-Brown (1931, p. 38).

It is not the aim of this chapter to discuss the differences between these authors in any comprehensive detail; however, it is clear that they agree on a core regional set of six linguistic groups.

Additionally, from Bates (1913), Radcliffe-Brown (1931) and Austin (1992a–e, 2012) we may derive a largely parallel record of the names used in address and reference for the members of the patriclan subsets that we are considering (see Table 18).

Table 18: The subset members’ names.

Subset

Bates

Radcliffe-Brown

Austin

1

Male

Käjardu (Kagardu)

Kadjardu

Kajartu

Female

Ngajuri

Ngadjuri

Ngajuri ~ Ngaji

2

Male

Wariara

Wariera

Wariyarra

Female

Ngogodji

Ngogodji

Ngukuji

3

Male

Waliri (Wadiri)

Waleri

Walirri

Female

Wilari (Widari)

Wilari

Wilari

4

Male

Yaui(ji)

Female

Nyarlu

5

Male

Wiarrji

Wiardji

Marramalu, Yawiji

Female

Mambulu

Mambula

Mampulu

6

Male

Wilyaru

Wilyaru

Female

Ngwolyi

Ngulyi

7

Male

Yirrgun

Yirgu

Female

Yirbiji

Yerbidji

8

Male

Mirdir(ba)

Mirdirba

Murtirr

Female

Ngalguji

Ngalgudji

Ngalkuji

9

Male

Tambula

Female

Murdari

Source: Austin (1992a–e, 2012), Bates (1913) and Radcliffe-Brown (1931).

Note, though, that individuals were addressed and referred to by the ‘totem class names’. Such usage may well have implied a ‘totem class’ or shared higher order unit; however, but the names were not the names of the totem classes.

The Labelling of the Subsets by Scholars

While Bates (1913, p. 394) referred to ‘totem phratries’, Radcliffe-Brown (1931, p. 41) referred to the same phenomenon as ‘inter-tribal totemic divisions’ and avoided the term ‘phratry’. It is hardly conceivable that he did so lightly, and, in my opinion, it is a clear rejection of Bates’s term. Radcliffe-Brown (1931, p. 41) recorded that Aboriginal people of the region would often refer to their totem as their ‘eldest brother’. However, if there was an Indigenous cover term for what Bates called ‘phratries’, it is unlikely to have been ‘brother’ or ‘sibling’, because their members could belong to all four sections—that is, in the correct relationships, they could marry each other. However, it is possible, as suggested by an anonymous reviewer of this chapter, that a ‘sibling’ identification could be used as a metaphoric cover term.

The cover term in use for Bates’s ‘phratries’ in at least one case is most likely to have meant ‘mate’ or possibly ‘friend’ instead. I say this because in her unpublished manuscript (Bates n.d., Notebook 7a p. 98) under the heading ‘PHRATRIES’, she made a note that had been typed as ‘Jadiara = mate, Talainji’, followed by a listing of 13 marriages specifying language, section and ‘phratry’ for each partner and the totem of the male (see Tables 23 and 24). Given that the typist has rendered Payungu waliri as ‘wadiri’ on the same page, it may be that Bates actually wrote ‘Jaliara = mate’. These terms can be compared with the published terms from Austin’s (1992a, 1992b, 1992c, 1992e) work (see Table 19).

Table 19: ‘Mate’ terms in the region recorded by Austin.

Term

Gloss

Language

Source

jali

friend

Jiwarli

Austin 1992e, p. 3

jaliyarra

pair of mates

Jiwarli

Austin 1992e, p. 3

jaligurdi

mate

Thalanyji

Austin 1992a, p. 2

jaligurdi

friend

Payungu

Austin 1992b, p. 2

jali

mate

Tharrgari

Austin 1992c, p. 3

Source: Austin (1992a, 1992b, 1992c, 1992e).

Oddly, Bates (1913) used the term ‘phratry’ not to refer only to totemic groups, but also to pairs of sections. Hence, the Emu totem ‘phratry’ of the Burduna tribe was of ‘Paljari-Banaka Phratry’ (Bates, 1913, p. 394)—with Paljari and Banaka being section terms. As will be discussed, the patriclan subsets were not associated with a single section couple or moiety, as this might have implied.

Acquisition of Membership

Bates (1913) did not explicitly state the rule for acquisition of the ‘phratry’ totem; however, her list of four examples of possible marriages between members of different ‘phratries’ shows in all cases that the offspring of such couples belonged to the ‘phratry’ of the father—not that of the mother. If this was general practice, this would have meant that the rule was one of patrifiliation.

Radcliffe-Brown (1931, pp. 41, 42) was clearer and stated that ‘patrilineal clans’ of the region were ‘grouped together’ into ‘inter-tribal’ totemic divisions, and that ‘since the local clan is strictly patrilineal, it follows that the totemic divisions are also patrilineal’. This would imply, although it is not stated, that males in such divisions had the same divisional names as their brothers, sons, fathers, fathers’ brothers and so on, while females had the same divisional names as their sisters, brothers’ daughters, fathers’ sisters and so on.

Distribution

According to Radcliffe-Brown (1931), among the Ashburton-Gascoyne region’s nine totemic divisions, only one (Kadjardu/Ngadjuri)3 was ‘found in all the tribes’. The Wilyaru/Ngwolyi division was only found in the southern tribes, while the Yirgu/Yerbidji, Mirdirba/Ngalgudji and Tambula/Murdari divisions were absent in the south—namely among the Maia and Baiong tribes (see Table 18). What he suggested as universal among the Ashburton regional system is the totemic division as a structural and religious entity, not the actual and total set of divisional names or totemic associations per se.

The totemic divisions were scattered across the landscape—both between and within language territories:

In a list of seventeen local clans of the Baiong tribe, which is probably not complete, there are three Kadjardu clans, seven Waleri, one Wariera, three Wiardji, and three Wilyaru. (Radcliffe-Brown 1931, p. 41)

According to Radcliffe-Brown (1931, p. 42), this interdigitating system of commonly based distinctions that disregarded linguistic unities or differences gave rise to the use of divisional names—and not kin terms—as the predominant form of address between men and women. Gender was marked in the differences between the male and female ‘names’ that rested on divisional memberships (see Table 18). Austin’s (2012, p. 16) later work confirmed both points: ‘There are separate terms for male and female members of the totem groups, and the terms are often used to refer to or address people, much in the manner of personal names in English’.

In these three respects—supra-segmentary linkages, eliding of names or kin terms and the principle of amity among those who are akin—the speech etiquette of patriclan subset membership in the Ashburton resembled that of subsection usage in Central and north central Australia. Further, it was quite dissimilar to regions such as Cape York Peninsula where kin terms and clan-based names were among the main norms for address and reference. It was a system bigger and less personalised than putative genealogy, as it was one that flattened the carefully modulated distances and tensions of genealogically based relatedness into a subsection-like pan-regional set of a manageable number of likenesses and differences. It may also have added a rather emotionally light means of disambiguation of interpersonal reference. Such simple conversational functionality is not to be dismissed as a possibility.

Perhaps the most consistently noted and notable element linking members of the various descent-group subsets in the Ashburton case is the addressing of and referring to subset members using distinctive male and female names that reflect subset identity, in preference to the use of kin terms. Ideologically, at least, this was generally in recognition of the totems commonly held among members of the same identity. However, this system was by no means as neat as that would imply. It is the names that are most consistent and the totems less so.

The Totems and Descent Groups

Bates’s (1913, p. 394) brief published tabulation of ‘phratry’ names and totems presented a very simple picture of the relationship between the two. Table 20 retabulates the ‘phratry’ names and totems for clarity.

Table 20: Bates’s totems linked to ‘phratry’ names.

Totem

Male name

Female name

Tribe

Section couple

Emu

Wariara

Ngogodji

Burduna

Paljari-Banaka

Turkey & Fire

Waliri

Wilari

Burduna

Paljari-Banaka

Kangaroo

Käjardu

Ngajuri

Tallainji

Boorong-Kaimera

Snake

Wiarrji

Mambulu

Tallainji & Burduna

Paljari-Banaka

Source: Adapted from Bates (1913, p. 394).

This indicates that each ‘phratry’ was associated with one—occasionally two—totems. However, Radcliffe-Brown (1931, p. 41) reported more complexity:

[The Kadjardu/Ngadjuri division] represents water or moisture, and therefore such things as water birds, frogs, water plants, and grass-seed … are Kadjardu. Similarly Waleri has for its principle fire and heat, things that are especially associated with hot weather, such as snakes and lizards belong to this division. But for some of the other divisions it has not been possible to discover any simple principle by which things are classified under one or other. Different stars, or portions of the sky, are connected with the totemic divisions.

Indeed, Radcliffe-Brown’s unpublished field data (Appendix 1) held the fact that different descent groups whose members shared a common name were identified with widely distinct, if at times semantically related, entities.

In Radcliffe-Brown’s (n.d.) field notes, Kadjardu/Ngadjuri was the naming tag for members of clans with the following totems: Yungadji (lizard sp.), Rain, Pandura [Parturra? = Bustard], Galah, Turtle, Bandicoot, Red Ochre, Grass Seed, Kangaroo, Plum Tree, Bony Bream, Honey, Rainbow, Kadjura (mythic snake), Kulyu (edible root), Paljuwara (river sand?), Winter Rain and Thurna (snake). Bates’s (1913, p. 324) simple entry of ‘(Bungurdi) Kangaroo’ for this ‘phratry’ belied—or she had missed—a huge range of variation. The other clans and totems recorded as belonging to the seven ‘totemic divisions’ by Radcliffe-Brown (n.d.) provide further detail (see Appendix 1).

However, Radcliffe-Brown (1931, p. 41) was able to state firmly that:

Any local clan that has rain as its totem belongs to this [Kadjardu] division. Similarly any group that has the fire, sun, and hot weather totem belongs to Waleri (fem. Wilari). The Wariera (fem. Ngogodji) division includes all clans with an emu totem, and all the eaglehawk clans belong to Wiardji (fem. Mambula).

Thus, the correlations between totems and divisions worked best in a one-way direction. All Rain clans were members of the Kadjardu division, but not all Kadjardu division descent groups were Rain clans—a salient point omitted by Radcliffe-Brown (n.d.). He also left aside one apparent exception to the ‘all Rain clans are Kadjardu’ rule: a ‘Warunga’ [Warriangga?] tribe’s clan of ‘Yungo’ division was also a Rain clan (see Appendix 1; it could be Kadjardu). Radcliffe-Brown, like many others, apparently liked to see that the loose thrums of the warp and weft of the record were trimmed, and the descriptive picture reduced to something systemically rigorous through a little snipping along the fringes.

The patriclans’ totems had corresponding totemic centres at specific sites in the relevant clan estate generally, if not universally (see Appendix 1). These centres were established by mythic beings. Radcliffe-Brown (1931) considered the establishment of the totem centres ‘to have been affected by the existence of the inter-tribal divisions’; however, he was coy as to how. He then offered a solo example: ‘This Yauardamai (Burduna) or Kardamai (Baiong) seems to be the special culture-hero of the Kadjardu division’ (Radcliffe-Brown 1931, pp. 41–2). I suggest that the base evidence in Radcliffe-Brown’s (1931) paper is most likely fragmentary, rather than a richness pared down by way of example.

The relevant notes that Radcliffe-Brown took in 1911, tabulated in Appendix 1, are reorganised so that his intertribal totemic divisions are placed first and in alphabetical order.4

Table 21 shows Austin’s (2012, p. 17) record of totemic classes.

Table 21: Austin’s record of totemic classes.

Male name

Female name

Totem

Translation

Walirri

Wilari

Karla

Fire

Parturra

Bustard

Kajartu

Ngajuri

Yungu

Rain

Wariyarra

Ngukuji

Jankurna

Emu

Marramalu (in Jiwarli & Thiin), Yawiji in Warriyangka & Tharrkari

Mampulu

Warlartu

Eaglehawk

Mirtirr

Ngalkuji

Jiriparri

Echidna

Thampurla

?

Kurrumantu

Goanna

Source: Austin (2015, p. 28).

However, this apparently simple picture is tempered by Austin’s (2012, p. 17) comment:

It appears that the totems listed above for each group are prototypical for the local groups having that totem class name, however, evidence from Radcliffe-Brown’s card file suggests that for any given local group there could be many associated totems, not always the one typical of the totem class of the clan.

Marriage, Patriclan Subset and Section Membership

Bates (1913) stated that in the Ashburton, no marriages were permitted ‘within the totem phratry’, and followed this statement with four examples of ‘possible marriages’ between ‘phratry’ members. It is anomalous, then, that in her list of permissible weddings was the pair Wariara (Emu) marrying Wilari (Turkey). Prior to this, Bates had identified Wariara as a male ‘phratry’ name and Wilari as the equivalent female ‘phratry’ name—both of which belonged to the Paljari-Banaka section couple (both Burduna tribe in this instance). If there had been a rule of exogamy for these patriclan subgroups, Bates’s use of the label ‘phratry’ for them would be justified. However, exogamy did not apply as a strict rule so much as a common pattern. Further, Bates’s assertion that Wilari/Wariara people belonged to the Paljari-Banaka section couple mistakenly implied an alignment between the two sets of categories. In fact, the patriclan subsets and the section terms associated with members of their constituent descent groups were not exclusively aligned with each other. Men of all four sections could be named Kadjardu, Waliri, Wiardji, Yauadji and, probably, Yirgu; female equivalents of these are few in the record but can be assumed to also have been applied. Table 22 shows evidence of this.

Table 22: Patriclan subsets and sections.

Subset name

Sections

Source

No. of examples

Kadjardu (m)

Boorong-Kaimera

Radcliffe-Brown

8

Kadjardu (m)

Paljari-Banaka

Radcliffe-Brown

1 + (1?)

Kajardu (m)

Boorong-Kaimera

Bates

1

Waleri (m)

Boorong-Kaimera

Radcliffe-Brown

3

Waliri (m)

Wilari (f)

Paljari-Banaka

Bates

1

Wariara (m) Ngogodji (f)

Paljari-Banaka

Bates

1

Wariera (m)

Paljari-Banaka

Radcliffe-Brown

2

Wiardji (m)

Boorong-Kaimera

Radcliffe-Brown

2

Wiardji (m)

Paljari-Banaka

Radcliffe-Brown

1

Wiarrdji (m) Mambulu (f)

Paljari-Banaka

Bates

1

Yanadji (m)

Nyalu (f)

Paljari-Banaka

Radcliffe-Brown

1

Yauadji (m)

Boorong-Kaimera

Radcliffe-Brown

2

Yaui (m)

Nyarlu (f)

Boorong-Kaimera

Bates

1

Yirgu (m)

Paljari-Banaka

Radcliffe-Brown

2

Yugu? Kadjadu

Boorong-Kaimera

Radcliffe-Brown

1

Yungo [‘Rain’]

Paljari-Banaka

Radcliffe-Brown

1

Source: Bates (1913) and Radcliffe-Brown (n.d.).

Bates (1913) did not publish her list of 14 female–male relationships, plus a few other people, together with their linguistic group names, section names, ‘phratry’ memberships and totems. These are my terms as the columns containing these data lacked identifying headers. This list was located in Bates (n.d., Notebook 7a pp. 98–9) and is tabulated in Tables 23 and 24.

Table 23: Bates’s unpublished data on marriages.

H lg

H section

H ‘phratry’

H totem

W lg

W section

W ‘phratry’

W totem

Burduna

Paljari

Wariara

Kajalbu [Emu]

D,argari [sic]

Banaka

Ngogoji

Bauingu [Baiungu?]

Paljeri

Wariri

Pardura [Bustard]

Burduna

Banaka

Wirdari

Talainji

Boorong

Kajarda

Bungurdi

Kaimera

Ngajuri

Talainji

Banaka

Kajardu

Bilarra

Paljeri

Ngajuri

Burduna

Kaimera

Mirdirba

Kangaldha [Wild Potato?] and Jiruwari [Echidna]

Boorong

Ngalguji

Talainji

Banaka

Yirrgun

Yeerrgu, roots on buln

Paljari

Yirbiji

Talainji

Paljari

Wiarrji

Warnda or waraueru

Binigura

Banaka

Mambalu

Burduna

Kaimera

Waliri

Jirdara, iguana

Boorong

Wirdari

Burduna

Kaimera

Yaui

Kaju (snake) and seed

Boorong

Nyarlu

Baiungu

Paljeri

Wadiri

Pardura [Bustard]

Banaka

Widari

Pardura [Bustard]

Burduna

Kaimera

Yaui

Kardan etc. seed & kadurdu seed

Boorong

Nyardu

Talainji

Kagardu [sic]

Kagardu

Wong-nguru [Bandicoot]

Ngajuri

Mad, a wilaguru

Burduna

Boorong

Yaui

Madarongu (seed and rain)

Kaimera

Nyardu

Burduna

Kaimera

Mirdir

Jiribardi [Echidna]

Boorong

Ngalguji

Jiribardi [Echidna]

Source: Based on Bates (1913), with headers added by Sutton.

Below this list (Bates n.d., Notebook 7a pp. 98–9) fell an extension (see Table 24).

Table 24: Extended Bates data.

Father and son

Dargari

Yauiji

Bongana (duck)

Nyarlo

Nganmari

Talainji

Banaka

Kajardu

Baurda

Paljeri

Ngajuri

Kardan

Source: Bates n.d., Notebook 7a, pp. 98–9.

It is not entirely clear what this list was meant to represent. However, the heading above the list is as follows:

PHRATRIES

Nidi and ngallariju relationships, cannot marry. (marginal note) Jadiara = mate, Talainji. (Bates n.d., Notebook 7a p. 98)

Given that the sections of the couples listed by Bates all form impermissible relationships according to the section system, it would seem that this is perhaps a list of actual wrong marriages or a list of imagined wrong marriage possibilities between people who ‘cannot marry’. Here, Bates’s ‘nidi’ is most probably the nyirdi recorded by Austin as follows: ‘wife’s parents’ (Thalanyji, 1992a, p. 19; Tharrgari, 1992c, p. 15); ‘wife’s father, daughter’s husband’ (Payungu, 1992b, p. 27); ‘son-in-law, daughter’s husband’ (Warriyangga, 1992d, p. 14); and ‘wife’s mother, daughter’s husband’ (Jiwarli, 1992e, p. 33). Bates’s (1913, p. 395) list of Burduna kin terms includes ‘Nidi-I—father’s sister’s son’. I have been unable to identify ‘ngallariju’; the ‘ngal-’ segment suggests a possible first-person dual inclusive pronoun as the stem.

All 14 marriages in Table 23 where the partners’ sections are identified are between men and women of the same patriclan subsets, as identified by names—that is, the patriclan subsets shown here are endogamous. This is the opposite of the rule propounded by Bates (1913), who stated that they were exogamous.

The section memberships of the spouses recorded here are also the opposite of the prescriptive marriage rules published by Bates (1913) and Radcliffe-Brown (1931). Bates (1913, p. 393) gave the rule for the Ashburton people as:

Male

Female

Offspring

A. Boorong

= D. Paljari

C. Kaimera

B. Banaka

= C. Kaimera

D. Paljari

C. Kaimera

= B. Banaka

A. Boorong

D. Paljari

= A. Boorong

B. Banaka

[= means marries by rule]

Similarly, Radcliffe-Brown (1931, p. 39) wrote:

Banaka = Kaimera

Burungu = Paljeri

In the 14 marriages recorded by Bates (n.d.) and illustrated in Tables 23 and 24, the relationships are:

Banaka = Paljeri (seven cases)

Boorong = Kaimera (seven cases)

An anonymous reader for this chapter suggested that the marriage evidence gathered by Bates (n.d.) may have been from people who had married wrongly as a result of the massive impact of colonisation, and whose marriages would not have otherwise been representative of precolonial or classical norms or behaviours. However, I would also make the following points. Bates worked anthropologically in Western Australia for 12 years prior to her publication on ‘phratries’ of the Ashburton (Bates 1913, p. 400)—so, from 1901. The peak of this activity in the Pilbara perhaps occurred in 1911, and the commencement of pastoral and pearling impacts on the region date from the 1860s. Roughly speaking, this impact had begun to take form some 40 years before Bates’s records. Anyone aged over 40 who worked with Bates (e.g. at Dorre Island) would have had parents who married before the old system was impacted. Assuming some of these people described their parents to Bates, those descriptions can be expected to reflect precolonial norms. Bates’s list of marriages shown in Table 23 are all within patriclan subsets; further, in every case, the sections of the marriage partners are given as a father/child pair. This adds to its appearance of being an artifice emphasising patriclan subset exogamy as a rule. However, this was apparently not the rule because Bates also recorded permissible marriages between members of the same ‘phratry’.

Bates (n.d., Notebook 7a p. 99) made a list of permissible marriages between females of particular totems and males of other totems for these same Ashburton people. The intertribal permissible marriages she recorded were presumably given by a woman, as they are all from the woman’s point of view. Bates did not attempt to associate particular section couples with the totemites, who in this case may be understood as standing for particular patriclans. She also made no record of which totems were associated with which ‘phratries’. In Table 25, I have used Bates’s and Radcliffe-Brown’s data to deduce what these may have been. The numbers in Table 25 correspond to the patriclan subset numbers in Table 18. In instances where I have no data, the entry is marked by ‘–’. Bates’s list was also in Aboriginal language and offered no translations. I have provided translations using Austin’s dictionaries of relevant language varieties (various dates) and also alphabetised Bates’s material by the first column.

Table 25: Bates’s field data on permissible ‘phratry’ marriages.

Wife’s totem

Wife’s ‘phratry’

Husband’s totem

Husband’s ‘phratry’

Bilana Rain

1

Wor-ngura Bandicoot

1

Bilana Rain

1

Wong-nguru Bandicoot

1

Bungurdi Red Kangaroo

1, 7

Pardura Bustard

3

Jirdara Black Goanna

3

Pardura Bustard

3

Jiribardi Echidna

8

Nganmari

4

Jiriwari cf. Echidna jiribarri

8

Kajalbu Emu

2

Kajalbu Emu

2

Wongana Black Duck

4

Kaju Snake

1, 4, 5

Pardura Bustard

3

Kaju Snake

1, 4, 5

Yirrgu Root

7

Kaju Snake

1, 4, 5

Bilana Cloud

1

Kaju Snake

1, 4, 5

Kajalbu Emu

2

Kardandu [cf. kardan Ranji bush (Acacia pyrifolia)]

4

Bauerda Tree [sp?]

-table 2

Kardandu [cf. kardan Ranji bush (Acacia pyrifolia)]

4

Nganmari Snake

4

Madaronga [seed type?]

4

Kagalbu [probably kajalbu] Emu

2

Pardura Bustard

3

Bungurdi Red Kangaroo

1, 7

Warrida Eaglehawk

5

Yanga t,adu [sic] [thalu?], rain N of Bilbingi

1?

Wong-nguru Bandicoot

1

Nganmari Snake

4

Wong-nguru Bandicoot

1

Bauerda Tree [sp?]

-

Yirrgu Root

7

Wong-nguru Bandicoot

1

Source: Bates (n.d.).

Although somewhat disordered, this evidence again indicates that women and men of the same patriclan subset could, under certain circumstances, marry permissibly. It also makes clear that the invariable patriclan subset endogamy shown in the 14 marriages of Tables 23 and 24 was not a result of a prescriptive rule.

Conclusion

While they were elementally structures that rested on local religious and other rights in estates and totemic descent-group membership, the Ashburton patriclan subsets emphasised pan-territorial and pan-linguistic commonalities and cloaked or elided territorial distinctions. As far as the record allows us to say, they emphasised an emotionally positive pattern of interpersonal address and reference based on this kindred of some among the many. At the same time, the Ashburton patriclan subsets also elided precise reference to the actual inter-kin status, and to differences of seniority versus juniority that otherwise obtained between interlocutors and the people they spoke to or spoke about using the patriclan subset person terms. Unlike many kin terms, the names did not structurally mark senior or junior persons. They were sociocentric rather than egocentric in basis—although the ‘groups’ they yielded had no proper names that have been recorded. In principle, they were not each identified with only a single father/child section couple. However, they distinguished terminologically between the genders—something one finds often among subsection systems, and at times among section systems, but rarely among the terminologies for sociocentric, geopolitical and religious alliances, including the ‘phratries’ or wider mala of north-east Arnhem Land.

In short, this system and its associated social etiquette shared several of the key features of universalist kin superclass systems, while at the same time being rooted in patrifilial localism.

I make this suggestion, not to advance a theory of evolutionary relationships between such a patriclan subset system and a section system, but merely to imply that some of the common cultural logics and achieved outcomes of ostensibly different social institutions resulted in some of the same ends being accomplished by similar—at times different but cognate—means. The Ashburton patriclan subsets rather look like an experiment in this domain that was shattered by the colonial avalanche, while still on the way to becoming.

Acknowledgements

Those from whom I have learned most about kinship studies due to personal mentoring were the late Kenneth Maddock (Macquarie University lectures 1970); the late Alfred Gell (ANU lectures c. 1975); the late Hal Scheffler (when he was a visiting scholar at the University of Queensland c. 1976); and Bruce Rigsby, my PhD supervisor (1975–78) and long-term interlocutor since.

For the supply of some of the most helpful unpublished information, I also thank Peter Austin, Kingsley Palmer (2007), Dennis Gray (1978) and Patrick McConvell.

References

Ash, A, Giacon, J & Lissarague, A 2003, Gamilaraay, Yuwaalaraay, & Yuwaalayay dictionary, Alice Springs: IAD Press.

Austin, P 1992a, A dictionary of Thalanyji, Western Australia, Bundoora, Victoria: La Trobe University, Department of Linguistics.

Austin, P 1992b, A dictionary of Payungu, Western Australia, Bundoora, Victoria: La Trobe University, Department of Linguistics.

Austin, P 1992c, A dictionary of Tharrgari, Western Australia, Bundoora, Victoria: La Trobe University, Department of Linguistics.

Austin, P 1992d, A dictionary of Warriyangga, Western Australia, Bundoora, Victoria: La Trobe University, Department of Linguistics.

Austin, P 1992e, A dictionary of Jiwarli, Western Australia, Bundoora, Victoria: La Trobe University, Department of Linguistics.

Austin, P 2015, A Reference Grammar of the Mantharta Languages, Western Australia. Unpublished draft version 3.7.

Bates, D n.d., Manuscripts and papers of Daisy Bates (MS 365 and MS 2300), Canberra: National Library of Australia.

Bates, D 1913, ‘Social organization of some Western Australian tribes’, Report of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, 15, pp. 387–400.

Bates, D 1966, The passing of the Aborigines. A lifetime spent among the natives of Australia, 2nd edition, Melbourne: William Heinemann.

Berndt, RM 1955, ‘“Murngin” (Wulamba) social organization’, American Anthropologist, 57, pp. 84–106. doi.org/10.1525/aa.1955.57.1.02a00100.

Berndt, RM, Douglas, W, Kaldor, S & Hallam, SJ 1979, ‘The First Australians’, in NT Jarvis (ed.), Western Australia: an atlas of human endeavour 18291979, Perth: Education and Lands and Surveys Departments of Western Australia, pp. 32–7.

Biblioteca versila 2015, viewed 21 October 2017, digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/handle/2440/88701.

Gray, D 1978, ‘Identity’ amongst the Carnarvon Reserve mob, MA thesis, University of Western Australia.

Hercus, LA 1989, ‘The status of women’s cultural knowledge. Aboriginal society in north-east South Australia’, in P Brock (ed.), Women, rites and sites: Aboriginal women’s cultural knowledge, Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

Hosokawa, K 2003, Yolngumatha ethnographic lexicon: with particular reference to toponyms associated with creation stories and related cultural and environmental terms, Endangered languages of the Pacific Rim series A1-002, Kyoto: Osaka Gakuin University.

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Keen, I 1994, Knowledge and secrecy in an Aboriginal religion, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Mathews, RH 1897, ‘The totemic divisions of Australian tribes’, Journal of the Royal Society of New South Wales, 31, pp. 154–76.

Nash, D 1982, ‘An etymological note on Warlpiri kurdungurlu’, In J Heath, F Merlan & A Rumsey (eds), Languages of kinship in Aboriginal Australia, Oceania Linguistic Monographs No. 24, Sydney: University of Sydney, pp. 141–59.

Palmer, K 2007, Jurruru Native Title Application WC00/8 W6007/00, Anthropological Report. Unpublished.

Radcliffe-Brown, AR n.d., Field notes, University of Sydney Archives.

Radcliffe-Brown, AR 1931, The social organization of Australian tribes, The ‘Oceania’ Monographs, No. 1, Melbourne: Macmillan & Co. Limited.

Schebeck, B 2001, Dialect and social groupings in northeast Arnheim [sic] Land, Munich: Lincom Europa.

Shapiro, W 1981, Miwuyt marriage: the cultural anthropology of affinity in northeast Arnhem Land, Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues.

Warner, WL 1958 [1937], A black civilization: a social study of an Australian tribe, New York: Harper & Brothers.

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Williams, NM 1986, The Yolngu and their land: a system of land tenure and the fight for its recognition, Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

Appendix 1: Radcliffe Brown’s 1911 Field Data on Totemic Divisions in the Ashburton District

Divisions

Totems

Sections

Clans

Estates/Places

Lgs

Kadjadu

yungadji lizard

Yirdibura?

Tjuroro

Kadjadu

[also:] Waleri? Yagarang

rain

Mangai?

Burduna

Kadjadu

pandura

Burong

Kalgalgara1

Tjuroro

Kadjadu

totems: —kobirt, galah; wanguru, bandicoot; bidjura, red ochre; tanbadji (?tarbadja) a tree (plum)

Kai-Bur

Mandari

Territory stretching from Mandarara on the Yannarie R. to Uaroo Station on Rouse Creek. Eastern part of country on beds of Ashburton Series low rocky hills and intervening flats. Western part in granite country. Includes Uaroo and country to west of Rouse Creek.

Talaindji

Kadjardu

rain

Ngalzaramai

NE of Wining?

Kadjardu

djigura fish

Ma:rdawa:ra2

Tjuroro

Kadjardu

djigura fish

Ma:rdawa:ra?

Tjuroro

Kadjardu

Ngarbali

Tjuroro

Kadjardu

tjunguradji honey

Nyirawara?

Tjuroro

Kadjardu

yungadji lizard

Yirdibura

Tjuroro

Kadjardu

rain

Balurda

On Lyndon R?

Burduna

Kadjardu

bungundi (?bungurdi)

Bulara or Kabidjera

Burduna

Kadjardu

bungundi (?bungurdi)

Kabidjera or Bulara

Burduna

Kadjardu

bilana rain

Mangali

Burduna

Kadjardu

kundjarga rain

Wundubaia

Extends from N. side of Minilya R. as far as Mugulu Hill + including Barnabarnong Hill to NW of Wandagu Stn.

Baiong

Kadjardu

bimara rainbow, kadjura a mythical snake, kulyu an edible root, paldjuwara sand (?) ?river sand, waniu wanyu a bush

Walzunmadi3

Maia

Kadjardu

bilana4 rain

Kanmara

At Bibindji, rugged schistose hills with intervening flats; well grassed and with numerous creeks; Uaroo series of Ashburton beds includes Murabandala, Palir creek on road from Uaroo to Towera

Talaindji

Kadjardu

rain above

Tjundalya

Globe still on the Ashburton

Talaindji

Kadjardu

rain

Kunagari

Yannarie Station

Talaindji

Kadjardu

rain

Mandari

Talaindji

Kadjardu

rain

Mindigara

Near Mand’s Landing

Talaindji

Kadjardu

rain

Nyagun

Binigura

Kadjardu

bungurdi

Tjalyali

Burduna

Kadjardu

kundjarga = rain

Birgalyiwadu

Level or slightly undulating country with occasional sand hills

Baiong

Kadjardu

madjun—turtle; ?winter rain ?Waleri warabidi, red ochre

Warura

Baiong

Kadjardu

rain

Bigalana

Noala

Kadjardu

bilana, rain

Wambun

Level grassy flats with a few sand hills; gum trees

Noala

kadjardu

bilana talu—rain totem

Mangala

Noala

Kadjardu

bilana, rain

Tjaualyaburu

Sand plain with slight sand-hills—of recent origin with corals and shells

Noala

Kadjardu

rain

Yuweri

Noala or Tal.

Kadjardu

bilana—rain

Mangala

Noala

Kadjardu

djigura5

Yirda

Talu at Kandang, at a stone near a pool. creek off \pl Ashburton R. below Kurara. Territory includes following pools on Ashburton R. above Hardey Junction—Mazanyi, Midjalmidjala, Yirda, Kandang or Kandangu. — this is in order passing upstream. [Next sentence crossed out:] Beyond Yibidji [\?Yilidji] the next pool is Wirdadji of another local horde which is said to [be] half Binigura half Tjuroro. In the Yirda territory there are also 2 clay-pans Djundalya to the west of the river and Kurara or Kurarda to the east. At Madandji there is a wanamangura (mythical snake). At Kandang is the totem centre of djigura. Ngulyaguru [male]; Wandjaring [male]? he makes ngurawari at Yirgu.

Binigura

Kadjardu

kobirt—galah; wan.guru—bandicoot; bidjura—red ochre; tarbadja—a bush (native plum)

Mandari

Rugged schistose hills and level flats with numerous creeks. Near Yannarie R. the country is of granite formation.

Talaindji

Kadjardu

rain

Mugulu

Burduna

Kadjardu

wandjoain—a bush? a snake? (sulky fellow.)

Wanarainy

Talaindji

Kadjardu

rain

Ban. Palj

Marries Bungara, Binguda [local groups]

Wagula

At Bibindji6 on Cameron’s Station

Talaindji

Kadjardu

tintabi

Burong.

Mindangara7

Tjuroro

Kadjardu

bungurdi

Int. Amy. ?Walgubadu K.B.8

Walyidala

At Walgadazara on Duck Creek includes Nogunmara, Walzainmara, Bilarabuga, Walgadazara

Binigura

Kadjardu

bungurdi

K.B.

Walgubadu

Binigura

Kadjardu

totems rain, at Bibindji; tjintabi

Kai.Bur.

Maianu

At Bibindji; tjintabi; granite hills and grassy flats; Station, Mugeriara (dry country) Maianu; Bilyarbilyarjaga; Bidjura; Bolaru Bangaberi; Maianu; Nanyuthara Stn; Ngamaribila

Talaindji

Kadjardu

rain

Kai-Bur.

Bibindji Midari

Small granite rocky hills and flats covered with grass and in places with gum trees. The edge of the coastal plain River running between high banks. Includes Yabangula, Mezering, Darduradji, Bibindji, Ngaralya, Midari. Djibara; Yabungala, Mezering (bilana talu), Darduradji, Bibindji (bilana talu), Daralya, Manadjimandera. Midari rock hole.

Talaindji

Kadjardu

bungurdi—kangaroo

KB

Pidiza

At junction of Henry R + Ashburton R. pools belonging to the group are Irawal, Wambu, Yidiri, Pidiza, Wagurang, Kalgany, Bindaning, Maludji; Irawal; Wambu, Pidiza; [side branch] Wagurang; [main branch] Kalgany; Bindaning; Maludji. Bungurdi talu at Ngurin-ngurin.

Binigura

Kadjardu?

Djigura [Bony Bream]; See Yirda

Kandang?

Binigura

Kadjardu?

rain?

Tubirdji [\? Tubindji]

Noala or Talaindji?

Kadjardu; [in pencil] ?Yirgu

djigura—fish

[in pencil] ngarawari K.B.

Kurara

Binigura

Kaiadu (Ngaiuri) [i.e. Kadjardu (Ngadjuri) M and F terms, same phratry, PS]

thurna—snake

Yulura

Thargari

Mirdir

waila yam see Pindarar Wan.guda? Waleri padura

Wanguda?

On Wan.guda Creek evidently

Burduna

Mirdir?

waila—root

Ngogarbuga

Includes Yulmanidjang. S.W. of Bigali

Burduna

Mirdirba

kangkala

Tjandiyanu

Burduna

Mirdirba

kangalha9 —root (?kangadha)

?is this really Wariera emu

milawizi is Mirdir

Bigali

Burduna

Mirdirba

wailu or kangkala—root

Bugaianu

Burduna

Tambula

wiluru

Pa:da:ri

Tjuroro

Tambula

wiluru

Pa:da:ri?

Tjuroro

Tambula

pirbidjangura snake

Palga10

Tjuroro

Tambula

pirbidjangura snake

Palga?

Tjuroro

Tambula

warara

Warara

Tjuroro

Tambula

kalzandira

Wiriura

Tjuroro

Tambula

kalzandira

Wiriura?

Tjuroro

Tambula

punai snake

Kadjawain

Kulangaranu11

Kulangaranu is the talu place for punai. There is a tree near to the water-hole which is the head-spring of Budangana Creek.

Tjuroro

Tambulu

wagura crow [scribbled out:] male. tuogane, tagata

Nganyanamuga?

Burduna

Wairdji

wabargu—eaglehawk, maiu baby’ kadjura—snake? Rainbow? yirabalu—cockatoo

Mo:iurgan

Baiong

Wairera

emu

B.P.

Wadura

On Henry R. between Pidiza and Mumurba (Baiangula)

Binigura?

Waleri

manbi pigeon

Yirigali?

Tjuroro

Waleri

manbi pigeon

Yirigali?

Tjuroro

Waleri

madanma euro, djidara lizard, mungurgura grub (found in sand and clay pans)

Bin.garba

Baiong

Waleri

kala

Yardi

Talaindji

Waleri

Panduzini

Nor N.E. of Wining. Tea-tree Flat—Big lake?

Talaindji

Waleri

kurai

Kuiarai

Burduna

Waleri

mangurgura—grub

Wining

Burduna

Waleri

djarbadi

Bungara?

Burduna

Waleri

pandjuna

Midandjing?

Burduna

Waleri

kala

Malianu

On Yannarie R. above Tjeani

Burduna

Waleri

Mirdalyu

?same as Mumurba

Burduna

Waleri

djambali

mirdir [div name?] manandhanu

Mangeri

On Lyndon R

Burduna

Waleri

malu—kangaroo, mogudi—snake; wadowuru—a small mamal ?lizard; mandari—a bush; walyadji—a small mammal (?mouse)

Kulgilya

Country was to S of Minilya R. including Wandadji Hill. Hard plain [—] for Wandadji Hill. Sand ground Abundance of plains kangaroo. Includes Kulgilya, Bulgurdu, Tulbadji, Karamada, Wan.gu, Kulgabulza (clay pan), Kardalgo.

Baiong

Waleri

?tan.gura—frog; ?tangura; minindja centipede kanba = spider

Badjera

Country of low flats flooded during rain

Baiong

Waleri

tjurogo. Varanus sp.

Maia-maia

Baiong

Waleri

kala—fire; djindalba—the sun; padura—bustard

Kwo:ialybadu

Baiong

Waleri

tjurogo, Varanus sp (?same as pandjuna)

Maia-maia

Baiong

Waleri

djidara = lizard

Kardabaia

N of Birgalyiwadu

Baiong

Waleri

kundjalga—a bush

Yalabaia

On coast N of Warura

Baiong

Waleri

yagarang—hot weather; malga—a lizard; ?padura—bustard

Mamurba

(Includes Baiangula); Baiangula horde on Henry River, includes 3 pools, Mamurba (?Mamarba) Baiangula and Mirni (called Minnie Spring) also a claypan Kanberidji or Pundiring and two creeks Madharing and Wan.guda. Mamurba is the totemic centre for yagarnag and ma:lga.

Burduna

Waleri

padura—bustard at Wan.guda?; ?yagarang (yanda)

Pindarara (Wan.guda?)

Includes Tjiari, Bindaining, Kuldjan, Ngurawaia, Wan.guda, Pindarara, Pindarangara. Wan.guda is totemic centre of padura.

Burduna

Waleri

kalbany—black opossum; tjudungadji – honey; ?bali—dingo

Mardangu

Kalbany totem centre is at Nanyutara Station. The country included Mardanga rockhole N of Ahburton, Ngadjungarina, Ko:iangulera [ or Ko:iangulua?]

Binigura or Talaindji

Waleri

yagarang, ?padura

K.B.

Pididji

Burduna

Waleri

djarbadi

Kai-Bur

Bungarra

Talaindji

Waleri

pandjuna12

Kai-Bur

Binguda, Bingudu?

Talaindji

Waleri

manbi [bronze-winged pigeon]

Wurbulain (?section)

Bandima Widani

Widani, a round hill near the Yirigali Creek (Irregully Ck) is the totem centre for manbi

Tjuroro

Waleri manbi

Wurbulain

Yirigali13

On Irregully Creek; map of sites: Kulabu, Birikuru, Widani hill manbi talu; Bandima, Bundaringu, Banamita, yagarang is also the talu of this clan

Tjuroro

warara, yam see gen[ealogy]. of Kumbangara horde Kari.

?

Tenma

Warier

kadjalbo emu

Mugubalga

Tjuroro

Warier

kadjalbo emu

Mugubalga?

Tjuroro

Warier

yalibiri emu

Yalgazara

Maia?

Warier

kadjalbi

Nyingulu

Pt. Coates

Talaindji

Wariera

yalibiri emu

Bulazana

Maia

Wariera

emu

Madariri

In De Pledge’s country

Talaindji

Wariera

emu

Balidjangu

Binigura

Wariera

kadjalbo emu

Ngaragulhu (Ngaragulzu)

S or S.W. of Bigali

Burduna

Wariera

emu

Bigurgura

Near Nyanyeraddy Station

Burduna

Wariera

kadjalbo—emu

Pirganu

A creek running into Yannarie R. near Tjiari Pool

Burduna

Wariera

yalibiri14

Wuruwaia

Talu on Lyons R. (near Minmi Creek?) Wuruwaia or Parar near Minmi Creek

Thargari

Wariera

ngalibiri—emu

Ngabariera

Grass flats flooded during rain.

Baiong

Wariera

emu

BP

Pidan

Miran is the totem centre

Binigura

Wariera

emu

see genealogy of Budjurding

Wirumanu

(Batthu—axe)

Talaindji

Wauadji

ngaurara? a sea bird

Kurdalguwadu

East of Yardi Creek

Talaindji

Wiardji

wabargu eaglehawk, yirabalu cockatoo

Wurd.

Baiong

Wiardji

warida

Waridawazara

Burduna

Wiardji

kulyiri

Nguridji?

Burduna

Wiardji

wabargu, eaglehawk; maiu, baby; kadjura, snake (?)

Mo:iurgan

Includes Nyindirbulu

Baiong

Wiardji

wabargu—eaglehawk; yirabalu—cockatoo (or kigili) also kobodju (child)?

Nyingulo:ra

Mand’s Landing on coast

Baiong

Wiardji

eaglehawk

Wirdinya

Noala

Wiardji

warida—eaglehawk

Ban. Pal.

Widindja

Noala or Talaindji

Wiardji

Kulyiri15

K.B.

Mardulu

Binigura

Wiardji

warida16—eaglehawk

K.B.

Bululu

Binigura

Wilyari

mulgarda, kala

Nyandu

Maia

Wilyaru

wirgura lizard, ngudjeri spirit, mundjederi, nanaradji mountain devil, tuni snake, nyabaru black ant

Tungari

Maia

Wilyaru

mauari, pandjuna, nyabara, ?kala fire; same as tungari + barubidi

Yiribadi

Maia

Wilyaru

waiuda opossum, maradjongo a small marsupial (opossum?), mardjuru a small mammal (lapostrophus?17

Djulaburu

Includes probably Djulaburu,18 Kuro:ialing, Bugabugara, Kulirbandi, Midalia

Baiong

Wilyaru

wura dingo, tjalbira native cat (?), kundawa a bush

Manduzara

Maia

Wilyaru

totems: tjararu jackass, maradjong animal now extinct (?opossum)

Walgadawara

Maia

Wilyaru

kabalo—dingo wadjari baldjuwara

Minilya

Baiong

Wilyaru

kabalo, dingo (or wura) wadjari; baldjuwara

Minilya

Country includes Muduguru—Buraguri (—Booreeoorilya), level sandy plains with good grass

Baiong

Wilyaru

bari—snake; yindidja, a sp. of marsupial. ?wallaby

Buraura

Country includes Buraura (Boorawoora) Coolkalyu and Yambetharra; country of level sandy plain and low sand hills

Baiong

Wilyaru (Ngolyi)

tjaruru, kalabulzara

Tindinygara

Maia

Yanadji (Nyalu)19

nganmari—snake sp.; pardjeda—a mammal; tiredu wild cat; wuzada a bush

Ban. Palj.

Nganyu or Bauarazalu

Barradali Pool of Yannarie R. Bauarazalu = Barradali, Nganyu—Nganyon, Barbandjang—Babbanjung; The talu is (at Bamama?) in the bush some distance E of Yannarie R. other totems tarduradji—fresh water turtle; djalgonung—a red grub; The country includes the following pools on the Yannarie River: —Bauarazalu (Barradali), Nganyu (Nganyon), Barbandjang (Babbajung)

Talaindji

Yargangu

yindidja, wallaby; tarabadja, a bush

Tjaminyu

Noala

Yargangu

yindidja—wallaby?; tarabadja—a bush

Tjaminyu

Noala

Yargangu

madjun—turtle

Windhu

At Mundunu; near Mardu [\? Mardii]. N.E. from Minderoo

Noala

Yargangu

ngurawari—fish; bali—dingo

Djibara

Noala

Yargangu

wongala

Mardi

Noala

Yargangu

wa:gura—crow; tuganu

Walzu

Level grassy flats with gum trees near the river [in blue, ‘HI’, circled]

Noala

Yargangu?

yagarang—hot weather

Baguraindji

Flat sandy country

Noala

Yauadji

ban.ga

Kari.Bur

Wirabara

Warienga

Yauadji20

dhodho,21 dingo

Bur.Kari

Kaguara

Warienga

Yaui

bali dingo

Doyibadu?

Burduna

Yaui

bali—dingo

Kweal

Burduna

Yaui

mogudi22—snake

Kalyu

Burduna

Yawaji

wangana—duck? ?wagura—crow

Wilyambari

Thargari

Yirgu

kabardina

Yenigudi

?(‘belong sea’)

Talaindji

Yirgu

bungurdi—kangaroo; djigura—fish; ngurawari—fish

Ban. Pal.

Wuramalu

Granite hills with intervening flats, often stony. River has several large permanent pools incl Ngamanda; The neighbourhood of Globe Hill Station [etc.; many place names omitted here]

Talaindji

Yirgu

?Kadjardu

bungurdi? (emu?) bungurdi?23

Ban. Palj.

Warida

East of Nan.gutara

Talaindji (?Binigura)

Yirgu. ?Kadjardu

ngurawari; see yirda.

Yaribidi or Yirgu24

talu at Yirgu?

Binigura

Yugu ?Kadjadu

bungundi kangaroo; bandura, magaran dagura badjarang; bandura—bandicoot

Kai-Bur.

Kurdaman

Ngalalangka (hill) talu for bungundi, magaran and dagura. Kundaman (clay-pan) talu for bandura and badjarang. includes claypans Kundaman, Mangalandi, Pindagara. Open flats and granite hills—abundance of kangaroos. includes the hills Walgadazara (Mt. Alexander) and Ngalalangka. granite country

Talaindji

Yungo

rain see gen. War.lx.

Ban.

?

Warunga? [cf. Warriyangga]

Upstream of Hardey junction: Wirdadji (pool), beyond Yibidji [?Yilidji] [strikethrough original]

Half Binigura half Tjuroro

Totems same as Tungari ?same clan, ?totem kurianara a ?seed, ?totem pandjuna

Barubidi

bilungu grub

Tala.

Maia?

rain

Kwinywadu

Maia, ?Ingarda

Baniazuni

Talaindji

ngurawari.?

Kalgalgara

At junction of Hardey—Ashburton

Binigura

kadjalbo—emu

Yuramari

On south of Robe River, near Warambu Flat

Noala

wongada

B.P.

Wongadamuga

Binigura

kadjalbo25

Ban.

?

See gen. of Waiamba horde

Targari

kurbili, plains kangaroo

Ban. Palj.

Kumbangara

Warienga

wandaikura, an edible grub See gen[ealogy] of Kaguara

Bur.

?

Warienga

moro, a root

Bur.

Yiridini

Warienga

walaindja, wallaby [rock wallaby]

Bur.

Maluwara

Warienga

tungo (?)

tintabi

Burong Kurgabidi [female] Burong. marr. Birgabidi (Tjuroro) Paljeri

?

Djiwali

kanma26, a fish

Kari.

Puanbari

Warienga

ngalgu, a root; See gen of Waiamba.

Kari.

?

Warienga

kanma, a root; ?same as Puanbari

Kari.Bur

Waiamba

Warienga

walardu27, eaglehawk; See gen of Wirbara horde

Palj.

?

Warienga

kurbili, kangaroo [plains kangaroo]

Palj.

Waribungara

Warienga

baba rain

Palj.Ban.

Tjiala?28

Baba at Tjiala tintabi—grass-seed; at Mindangura bigurda—euro; purnai or punai (?snake) at Kulugaranu

Tjuroro

?

kigili—cockatoo

Bangudja

Binigura

?

emu

Yirbira

Wamaguru [male] Yirbira Mangidi Bularu Kurdilya [these four names linked by a sloping line]

Binigura

?

bungurdi [punggurdi red kangaroo]

?Tjugurgu

Burduna

1This is the Kalgalgare of Palmer (2007): para 186 said to be at the Hardey River junction at a claimants’ meeting in 2007.

2This is the Marduwara of Palmer (2007): para 186 and cited there as site 51 but on the claim map as site 62.

3The character transcribed /z/ here is probably /Ʒ/ in the original, as in ‘beige’ /beyƷ/.

4Thalanyji = cloud, thunder (Austin 1992a, p. 22).

5Cf. Jiwarli = bony bream (Austin 1992f, p. 5).

6See also Kanmara group.

7This is the Minangara of Palmer (2007): para 186 and cited there as site 17 but shown on the claim map as site 68.

8K.B. = Kaimara-Burong or Karimera-Burung depending on language (see Radcliffe-Brown 1913, p. 159).

9Cf. Payungu = wild potato (Austin 1992b, p. 7).

10Probably the Palga of Palmer (2007): para 186 where it is given as site 24 and also the Balga(na) of the claim map where it is given as site 2.

11This is the Kulangaranu of Palmer (2007): para 186 said to be on the Hardey River upstream from Jila at a claimants’ meeting in 2007.

12Thalanyji = racehorse goanna (Austin 1992a, p. 21).

13This is the Yirigali of Palmer (2007): para 186 in the area of the Irregully Creek of the maps. Not on claim map.

14Cf. Yinggarda = emu (Austin 1992d, p. 44).

15Cf. = budgerigar, shell parrot in Thalanyji (Austin 1992a, p. 8).

16Cf. = wedge-tailed eagle in Thalanyji (Austin 1992a, p. 30).

17 is on Google but rare; mostly what comes up is —the banded hare-wallaby restricted (in the past) to offshore island Bernier and Dorre.

18Same as clan name; may be focal site in that estate.

19These are probably the equivalents of Bates’s (1913, p. 394) phratry terms ‘Yaui’ (misprint for Yani?) and ‘Nyarlu’ (male and female).

20Cf. ‘yaui’, a male totem phratry name (Bates 1913, p. 394).

21Warriyangga = dog (Austin 1992e, p. 22).

22Cf. = type of snake in Payungu (Austin 1992b, p. 3020).

23Thalanyji = red kangaroo (Austin 1992a, p. 24).

24I think Yirgu is a phratry term, PS.

25Thargari = emu (Austin 1992c, p. 4).

26 = fish (generic) in Warriyangga (Austin 1992e, p. 4).

27 = eaglehawk in Warriyangga (Austin 1992e, p. 24).

28Probably the name R-B also wrote as Ciala in his genealogies and which is rendered Jila (site 69) in Palmer (2007): para 186 and Jirla (site 57) on the claim map.


1 James Cornally, a shepherd, was a resident in the Gascoyne and Ashburton River districts for about 20 years (Biblioteca versila 2015).

2 Here, as elsewhere in the chapter, I have retained the original spellings of the Aboriginal words by the source authors.

3 The first term is the male name and the second is female for members of the same division.

4 The raw text material in Appendix 1 was originally keyboarded from Radcliffe-Brown’s field notes at the University of Sydney Archives, by Brett Baker, then of the University of Sydney, in 1998. This work was funded by the New South Wales Land Council and the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement of South Australia in a transcription project organised by myself.


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