The functions of the Aborigines Protection Board included submitting proposals to the Governor relating to the care, custody or education of the children of 'Aboriginals' and exercising a general supervision and care over all matters affecting the interests and welfare of the 'Aboriginals'. Under the Protection Act, the Board could appoint 'honorary local protectors' to oversee rationing and medical care of Aboriginal people and report on the condition of Aboriginal children.
The Act gave Resident Magistrates, acting under instructions of the Board, the power to apprentice any 'Aboriginal' or 'half-caste' child of a 'suitable age' until the age of 21 years, provided that 'due and reasonable provision is made for [the child's] maintenance, clothing and proper and humane treatment'.
Aboriginal matters played an important role in achieving representative government. Battye, in his (1924) history of colonial Western Australia (p.397), reports that the existence and funding of an Aboriginal Protection Board was a requirement of the Constitution of the Colony of Western Australia. The British government was concerned that, without this provision, authorities in the colony would not put money aside to meet the needs of the Aboriginal people who were being displaced from their traditional lands and ways by the settlers.
06 January 2017
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/wa/WE00589
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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