The Department of Native Affairs (DNA) operated from 1936, taking over the Aborigines Department. It was responsible for Aboriginal matters in Western Australia. The head of the Department, the Commisioner for Native Affairs, was the legal guardian of all Aboriginal children, as stipulated by the Aborigines Act 1905. The Department of Native Affairs was replaced by the Department of Native Welfare in 1954.
The Department of Native Affairs (DNA) was formed on 1 January 1936 as the key government organisation responsible for Aboriginal matters, including the welfare of Aboriginal children in Western Australia. The State Records Office website provides an overview of the DNA's establishment:
' In 1936, following the recommendation of the Moseley Royal Commission and the subsequent amendment of the Aborigines Act 1905, functions of the Aborigines Department were considerably increased and its name was at the same time changed to that of the Department of Native Affairs. In 1947, the portfolio of the Minister for Native Affairs was created and a year later the Bateman Survey recommended drastic changes in the organisation of the department. These changes were duly carried out in the following year.
In 1954, the name of the department was changed to the Department of Native Welfare and its duties and functions were laid down by the Native Administration Act of that year. '
The head of the Department was known as the Commissioner for Native Affairs. Francis Bray held this position from 1940 to 1946 and Stanley Middleton was the Commissioner for Native Affairs from 1948 to 1954.