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Assimilation Policy

The assimilation policy was a policy of absorbing Aboriginal people into white society through the process of removing children from their families. The ultimate intent of this policy was the destruction of Aboriginal society. When Aboriginal Protection authorities around Australia adopted assimilation as a policy, there was a substantial increase in the already established practice…

Scatter Cottage

Scatter Cottage was a term used in Western Australia to describe a model of out of home ‘care’ where a group of children lived in a cottage with houseparents. Scatter cottages were run by institutions but were not located on the same property as main institutional buildings.

Records of the Stolen Generations

The fact that a child was Aboriginal was not often recorded in official welfare records. Aboriginal children came into ‘care’ under legislation specifically related to Indigenous people, as well as the broader child welfare legislation. Unlike some other states, in Victoria there was no separate institution for Indigenous children (although some places, like the Ballarat…

Declaration of the Rights of the Child

The Declaration of the Rights of the Child set out ten principles related to children’s rights. The Declaration was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 November 1959.

Adoption in Victoria

Adoption in Victoria was regulated by the state for the first time with the passage of theAdoption of Children Act 1928 which became law in July 1929. The first legal adoption in Victoria was registered in October of that year. Before that time unofficial, de facto adoptions, which were not recognised in law, were sometimes…

Stolen Generations

The Stolen Generations are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who, when they were children, were taken away from their families and communities as the result of past government policies. Children were removed by governments, churches and welfare bodies to be brought up in institutions, fostered out or adopted by white families. The removal of…

Law in the Northern Territory

Law in the Northern Territory (NT) needs to be understood in light of the history of the territory’s governance. From 1863 until 1911, the territory was known as the Northern Territory of South Australia, having been annexed to the Colony of South Australia by the British Government. The position of Government Resident was responsible for…

Adoption in the Northern Territory

Adoption is the legal transfer of guardianship of a child, relinquished by its natural parent(s), to another person. The first legislation to provide for legal adoption of children in the Northern Territory was the Adoption of Children Ordinance 1935 (Commonwealth). In 2019, adoption is governed by the Adoption Act 1994.

Commissioner of Native Welfare

The Commissioner of Native Welfare was an official role created by the Native Welfare Act 1954, replacing the Commissioner for Native Affairs. The Commissioner was the head of the Department of Native Welfare, and the legal guardian of every Aboriginal child in Western Australia to the age of 21 years, except those children made wards…

Commissioner for Native Affairs

The Commissioner for Native Affairs was an official role created by the Native Administration Act 1936, replacing the Chief Protector of Aborigines. The 1936 Act also created the Department of the Native Affairs, of which the Commissioner was head, and extended the powers of that role. The Commissioner was the legal guardian of every Aboriginal…