Aboriginal Act 1800-1970s

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Tasmania

1804

Two years after the British flag is raised in Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania) settlers are authorised to shoot Indigenous Australians.

NSW

1840

Indigenous Australians forbidden to use firearms without permission of a Justice of Peace.

NSW

1843

Governor Gipps unsuccessfully proposes legislation allowing Indigenous Australians' evidence to be accepted in court.

Victoria

1869

The Board for the Protection of Aborigines is established. The Governor can order the removal of any child to a reformatory or industrial school. The Protection Board can remove children from families be housed in dormitories. From 1886 the Victorian Board had been empowered to apprentice Indigenous Australians' children when they reach thirteen. Children require permission to visit their families on the stations.

NSW

1876

Evidence from Indigenous Australians accepted in the courts for the first time.

NSW

1883

NSW Aborigines Protection Board set up and legislated control over the lives of around 9 000 Aboriginal people.

NSW

1890

As early as 1890 the Aborigines Protection Board is developing a combined policy of 'segregation' and 'assimilation'. In a denial of human rights the Aborigines Protection Board can now forcibly take the children off the reserves and 'resocialise' them 'for their own good'.

'The Board reasoned that if the Aboriginal population, described by some as a 'wild race of half-castes' was growing, then it would somehow have to be diminished. If the children were to be de-socialised as Aborigines and re-socialised as Whites, they would somehow have to be removed from their parent'.

NSW

1893

On Warangesda station, between 1893 and 1909, around 300 female Indigenous children are removed from their families and placed in a girls dormitory for 'resocialisation'.

Western Australia

1905

Under the Aborigines Act (WA) the Chief Protector is made the legal guardian of every Indigenous person and "half-caste" child under 16.

Commonwealth

1908

Invalid and Old Age Pension Act (Cwlth) excludes Indigenous Australians from receiving pensions.

South Australia

1911

Aborigines Act (SA) empowers the Chief Protector to be legal guardian of every Indigenous and "half-caste" child under 21 with control over the child's place of residence. The Chief Protector is replaced by the Aborigines Protection Board in 1939. Guardianship power is repealed in 1962.

Northern Territory

1911

Northern Territory
Northern Territory Aboriginals Ordinance (Cwlth). The Chief Protector is made the legal guardian of every Indigenous and 'half-caste' child under 18. Any Indigenous person can be forced into a mission or settlement and children can be removed at will. These powers are repealed in 1957.

Northern Territory

1928

Coniston massacre - settlers and police admit to shooting 31 Indigenous Australians after a white dingo trapper is killed.

Tasmania

1930

Tasmanian Indigenous Australians are forcibly settled on Flinders Island. Conditions are appalling and many die. Later the community is moved to Cape Barren Island.

Western Australia

1934

Pinjarra massacre. Governor Stirling leads 25 mounted police against Indigenous Australians. Official records say 14 Pinjarra are killed. Pinjarra accounts suggest a whole tribe is wiped out in the attack.

NSW

1939

By 1939 there were over 180 reserves in NSW. These reserves are either managed, providing some form of education and ration supply; or unmanaged, and under the control of the police with no basic services.

Northern Territory

1942

Evacuation of the NT missions. Indigenous children evacuated after the bombing of Darwin are transferred to Victoria, South Australia or NSW. Some never return.

Commonwealth

1949

The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1949 (Cwlth) allows Indigenous Australians the right to vote in federal elections only if they are enrolled in state elections or have been members of the defence force . The Convention on Genocide is ratified by Australia. It comes into force in 1951.

Victoria

1957

Indigenous Australians gain the right to drink, buy and sell alcohol after changes to the Licensing Act (Vic.) and Police Offences Act (Vic.).

Commonwealth

1959

Social Services Act (Cwlth) allows Indigenous Australians allowances, previously held by a government official, to be paid to a third party.

Commonwealth

1960

Social Service benefits are paid directly to Indigenous Australians for the first time.

Commonwealth

1961

oe McGinness elected first Aboriginal president of FCAATSI.

Northern Territory

1964

Northern Territory Legislative Council passes legislation removing many of the discriminatory practices against Indigenous Australians.

Northern Territory

1966

26 August: The Gurindji people walk off Wave Hill and Newcastle Waters cattle stations, beginning the successful seven-year struggle to obtain title to their land. This is later seen by Indigenous Australians elsewhere as the birth of the land rights movement.