Aborigines of Victoria


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[Among the Victorian tribes of Australia] a stupid custom existed, which they called "knal-oyne." Whenever a female child was promised in marriage to any man, from that very hour neither he nor the child’s mother were permitted to look upon or hear each other speak nor hear their names mentioned by others; for if they did they would immediately grow prematurely old and die.4

On one of the Solomon Islands

individuals are betrothed while still young. . . . On one occasion, when assisting the medical officer to make an examination of the whole population, I summoned a boy and his betrothed at the same time, to see what would happen. They came, but it would be impossible to picture two individuals more uncomfortable. The rest of the people were intensely amused, and some of them begged me to call up all the other betrothed couples in the same way. The fact that people were so amused and not shocked would seem to indicate that the avoidance is purely a question of individual shyness and not an express social convention. This is further borne out by the playful custom of calling betrothed people by one another’s names, which embarrasses them and never fails to make other people laugh.1

4Parker, J.n/an/an/an/an/a, in R. B. Smyth’s , 2: 156.

1 Hogbin, H. I., "The Sexual Life of the Natives of Ontong Java (Solomon Islands)," Jour. Polynesian Soc., 40: 27–28.

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Chicago: R. B. Smyth’s, ed., Aborigines of Victoria in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed June 20, 2024, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=AU38J9M4TMP8987.

MLA: . Aborigines of Victoria, edited by R. B. Smyth’s, Vol. 2, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 20 Jun. 2024. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=AU38J9M4TMP8987.

Harvard: (ed.), Aborigines of Victoria. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 20 June 2024, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=AU38J9M4TMP8987.