Aboriginal rights an freedoms pre 1965

Events

White Australian Policy

1901

Indigenous people are excluded from the vote, pensions, employment in post offices, enlistment in Armed Forces, maternity allowance and the census.

Assimilation Policy

1937

Official Policy for some Aboriginal. Aboriginal people of mixed descent are to be assimilated into white society whether they want to be or not, those not living in a tribal are to be educated and all others are to stay on reserves.

Day of Mourning

1938

Day of Mourning held by the Aborigines League (est 1932) and the Aborigines Progressive Association (1937). It is the first major protest by Indigenous people. 26th January: 150 years after European occupation the Aboriginal Progressive Association declares a Day of Mourning. These are the first of many Aboriginal protests against inequality, injustice, dispossession of land and protectionist policies.

Aboriginal Protection Legislation

1943

A further amendment to the Aboriginal protection legislation in NSW gives to Aboriginal people - one 'full-blood' and one 'half-caste' - representation on the Aboriginal Welfare Board. An Exemption Certificate is introduced, exempting certain Aboriginal people from restrictive legislation and entitling them to vote, drink alcohol, and move freely but prohibiting them from consorting with others who are not exempt. Their children are allowed to be admitted to ordinary public schools.

Aboriginal children

1946

Aboriginal children need a medical certificate to attend public schools.

The Commonwealth Citizenship and Nationality Act

1948

The Commonwealth Citizenship and Nationality Act for the first time makes all Australians, including all Aboriginal people, Australian Citizen. But at state level they still suffer legal-discrimination. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is adopted by the newly formed United Nations and supported by Australia.

Australian Citizenship Act

1949

Australian Citizenship Act gives Indigenous Australians vote in Commonwealth elections if they are enrolled for State elections or have served in the Armed Forces.

The Federal Government

1951

The Federal Government convenes the Australian Conference for Native Welfare, with all the states and territories represented except Victoria and Tasmania, which claim to have no Aboriginal 'problem'. The conference officially adopts a policy of 'assimilation' for Aboriginal people.

National Aborigines Day Observance Committee

1957

National Aborigines Day Observance Committee (NADOC) formed with support from Federal and State Governments, churches and major Indigenous organisations.

The Federal Council

1958

The Federal Council for the advancement of aborigines (later the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Isanders) begins a ten year campaign to end Constitution's discrimination against Indigenous people.

Margaret Williams

1959

Margaret Williams is the first Aboriginal university graduate with a diploma in physical education

The Western Australian Department

1960

The Western Australian Department of Native Affairs ceases forcefully taking Aboriginal children from their parents and sending them to missions

Aboriginals given voting rights

1962

Integration policy

1965

Integration policy is introduced, supposedly giving Aboriginal people more control over their lives and society