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Glossary Term Protector of Aborigines (1832 - 1954)
- Government Department and Stolen Generations
- Alternative Names
- Aborigines Protection Board (1887 - 1897)
- Chief Protector of Aborigines (1897 - 1936)
- Commissioner of Native Affairs (1936 - 1954)
- Commissioner of Native Welfare (1954 - 1972)
- Guardian of Aborigines (1849 - 1857)
- Guardian of Aborigines and Protector of Settlers (1857 - 1887)
- Protector of Aborigines (1839 - 1849)
- Superintendent of Natives (1832 - 1838)
Please note that this page reproduces the original language used in the historical sources drawn upon to compile this entry. This language includes offensive and derogatory terms which are today considered unacceptable. We apologise for any offence caused by such language.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that this website may contain images and names of people who have passed away.
The 'Bringing them Home Report' shows that an Aborigines Protection Board was set up in 1886 to be 'responsible for the care, custody and education of Aboriginal children.' From 1905 to 1963, the 'Chief Protector' and later the 'Commissioner of Native Welfare' became 'the legal guardian of all Aboriginal children (except State wards after 1954)'. The 'Aborigines Department', until 1963, was responsible for the 'custody, maintenance and education' of Aboriginal children. p.226
'Protection' included the power to remove and 'confine' children. 'After 1909 the removal power in relation to 'half-caste' children under eight years [was] delegated to police protectors and Justices of the Peace.' By making the Chief Protector or Board their guardian, 'they were not in law guilty of wrongful imprisonment of Indigenous children' p.220-221.
There was a significant divergence between the imported British notions of fairness and liberty and the treatment of Indigenous peoples in Australia. The major components of forcible removal were,
Bringing Them Home Report, p.218
- 1. deprivation of liberty by detaining children and confining them in institutions;
- 2. abolition of parental rights by taking the children and by making children wards of the Chief Protector or Aborigines Protection Board or by assuming custody and control;
- 3. abuses of power in the removal process; and
- 4. breach of guardianship obligations on the part of Protectors, Protection Boards and other 'carers'.
- Jacobs, Pat, Mister Neville: a biography, Fremantle Arts Centre Press, Fremantle, 1990. Details
- van den Berg, Rosemary, 'Aboriginal protectors', in Gregory, Jenny and Jan Gothard [editors] (eds), Historical Encyclopedia of Western Australia, University of Western Australia Press, Crawley, W.A., 2009, pp. Pages 36-37. Details
- 'Government Gazette', The West Australian, 7 January 1887, p. Page 3. Also available at http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3763896. Details
- 'Long Service Ending', The West Australian (Perth), 6 February 1940, p. Page 8. Also available at http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article46354099. Details
- White, Isobel, 'Mister Neville: A Biography [Book Review]', A review of Pat Jacobs' 1990 biography of the long-serving Chief Protector of Aborigines in Western Australia., Aboriginal History, vol. 16, 1992, pp. 155-156. Details
- 'The Late Mr. Charles Symmons', The West Australian, 26 October 1887, p. 3, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3114376. Details
- 'The Treatment of Aborigines', Western Mail, 14 October 1905, p. 44, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37807591. Details
- 'The Roth Report', Sunday Times, 12 February 1905, p. 12, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57199142. Details
- 'The Aborigines Question', Western Mail, 18 February 1905, p. 12, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37384000. Details
- 'The Aborigines Report', Western Mail, 21 March 1935, p. 6, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38390514. Details
- 'Perth, June 11, 1843', The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal, 17 June 1843, p. 4, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article644375. Details
- 'The History - Western Australia', in Bringing Them Home: Human Rights Education Resources for Teachers, Australian Human Rights Commission, 2010, http://www.hreoc.gov.au/education/bringing_them_home/8_historyWA.html. Details
- 'Aboriginal Records', in Archive Collection of Western Australia, State Records Office of Western Australia, 2012, http://www.sro.wa.gov.au/collection/aboriginal-records. Details
- 'Prinsep, Henry Charles (1844-1922)', in Trove, National Library of Australia, 2012, http://nla.gov.au/nla.party-643395. Details
- 'Neville, A. O. (Auber Octavius) (1875-1954)', in Trove, National Library of Australia, 2012, http://nla.gov.au/nla.party-629021. Details
- 'Gale, Charles Frederick (1860-1928)', in Trove, National Library of Australia, 2012, http://trove.nla.gov.au/people/1463855?q=Charles+Gale+protector&c=people. Details
- 'Aborigines Department , State of Western Australia (1898-1908) Agency Detail (State Records Office)', in Archive Collection of Western Australia, State Records Office of Western Australia, 2012, http://aeon.sro.wa.gov.au/Investigator/Details/Agency_Detail.asp?Id=67. Details
- Department of Native Affairs, State of Western Australia (1936-1954) Agency Detail (State Records Office), Archive Collection of Western Australia, with State Records Office of Western Australia, State Records Office of Western Australia, 2012, http://aeon.sro.wa.gov.au/Investigator/Details/Agency_Detail.asp?Id=47. Details
- Bringing Them Home: The 'Stolen Children' Report (1997), 2011, http://www.hreoc.gov.au/social_justice/bth_report/index.html. Details
- Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, 'Western Australia Protectors Reports', National Library of Australia, 1899-1959, http://www.aiatsis.gov.au/collections/exhibitions/remove/wa/protrepo.html. Details
- Cohen, B.C., 'Waylen, Alfred Robert (1833-1901)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online [website], Australian National University and Melbourne University Press, 2006, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/waylen-alfred-robert-4817/text8033. Details
- Dorgelo, R, The Chief Protector Returns: Textual Representations of A.O. Neville, University of Tasmania, 2007, http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/4036934. Details
- Foster, Darren J, 'Submission No. 347 Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care: Submissions', in Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care - Submissions received by the committee as at 17/3/05, Senate Community Affairs Committee, Commonwealth of Australia, 3 April 2004, http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=clac_ctte/completed_inquiries/2004-07/inst_care/submissions/sublist.htm. Details
- Haebich, A., 'Neville, Auber Octavius (1875-1954)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/neville-auber-octavius-7821/text13575. Details
- Manne, Robert, 'The Stolen Generations: A Documentary Collection', The Monthly, Online document only, 3 September 2006, http://www.themonthly.com.au/files/stolen.pdf. Details
- State Records Office of Western Australia, of Western Australia, 'An Index to the Chief Protector of Aborigines Files, 1898 -1908', 1998, http://www.sro.wa.gov.au/aboriginal-records/index-chief-protector-aborigines-files-1898-1908. Details
- Williams, J.G., 'Gale, Charles Frederick (1860-1928)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online [website], Australian National University and Melbourne University Press, 2006, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/gale-charles-frederick-6268. Details
- Aborigines Protection Act 1886 (WA)
- Long Service Ending: Mr AO Neville to Retire
- 6 February 1940
- National Library of Australia
Sources used to compile this entry: Bringing Them Home: The 'Stolen Children' Report (1997), 2011, http://www.hreoc.gov.au/social_justice/bth_report/index.html.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 4 January 2012, Last modified: 22 March 2012