Some people may find content on this website distressing. Read more
New South Wales - Legislation

Aborigines Protection Act 1909 (1909 - 1969)

  • An Act to provide for the protection and care
of aborigines [20th December, 1909.]

    An Act to provide for the protection and care of aborigines [20th December, 1909.], 20 December 1909, courtesy of NSW legislation.
    Details

From
1909
To
1969
Categories
Principal Act
Website
https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/acts/1909-25.pdf

The Aborigines Protection Act 1909 (25/1909) was 'An Act to provide for the protection and care of aborigines; to repeal the Supply of Liquors to Aborigines Prevention Act; to amend the Vagrancy Act, 1902, and the Police Offences (Amendment) Act, 1908; and for purposes consequent thereon or incidental thereto.' It provided the Aborigines Protection Board, which had existed since 1881, with legal powers to 'provide for the protection and care of Aborigines.' It was the first piece of legislation that dealt specifically with Aboriginal people in New South Wales. It applied to all Aboriginal people but contained particular provisions for children, including the right of the Protection Board to remove youths from Aboriginal Reserves and place them into service. The Act was amended in 1915, 1918, 1936, 1940, 1943 and 1963. It was repealed by the Aborigines Act 1969.

Details

The Act outlined the duties of the Protection Board, gave it the right to control Aboriginal reserves and to appoint staff. It also provided the foundation for the Board's policies of removing youths from Aboriginal stations and setting them to work.

The new legislation gave the Board the right to apprentice 'the child of any Aborigine, or the neglected child of any person apparently having an admixture of Aboriginal blood in his veins', so long as the child was between the ages of 14 and 21 years of age. The Aborigines Protection Act stated that the Board was to act in accordance with the Neglected Children and Juvenile Offenders Act 1905 and the Apprentices Act 1901, but the Board developed its own policies that were quite different to those applied to non-Aboriginal children and adults.

In stages from 1915 until 1939 the Board changed the Act to strengthen its powers to remove children and to control the movements of adults. In 1943 the Act was amended to change the name of the Aborigines Protection Board to the Aborigines Welfare Board. The Act was repealed by the Aborigines Act 1969 which is when the Welfare Board was abolished.

Publications

Journals

  • New South Wales. Aborigines Protection Board (ed.), Report of the Board, Government Printer, 1881-1941. Also available at http://nla.gov.au/nla.aus-vn1447508. Details
  • New South Wales. Aborigines Welfare Board (ed.), Annual report of the Aborigines Welfare Board for the year ended …, Government Printer, 1949-1968. Details

Online Resources

Photos

An Act to provide for the protection and care
of aborigines [20th December, 1909.]
Title
An Act to provide for the protection and care of aborigines [20th December, 1909.]
Type
Document
Date
20 December 1909
Source
NSW legislation

Details

Sources used to compile this entry: New South Wales. Aborigines Protection Board (ed.), Report of the Board, Government Printer, 1881-1941. Also available at http://nla.gov.au/nla.aus-vn1447508; New South Wales. Aborigines Welfare Board, Annual report of the Aborigines Welfare Board for the year ended 1940, Government Printer, 1941; New South Wales. Aborigines Welfare Board (ed.), Annual report of the Aborigines Welfare Board for the year ended …, Government Printer, 1949-1968; Parry, Naomi, 'Such a longing': black and white children in welfare in New South Wales and Tasmania, 1880-1940, Department of History, University of New South Wales, 2007, 361 pp, http://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/fapi/datastream/unsworks:1369/SOURCE01?view=true; Radi, Heather, ''Ardill, George Edward (1857-1945)'', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, Melbourne University Press, 1979, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/ardill-george-edward-5048; Thinee, Kristy and Bradford, Tracy, Connecting Kin: Guide to Records, A guide to help people separated from their families search for their records [completed in 1998], New South Wales Department of Community Services, Sydney, New South Wales, 1998, http://nma.gov.au/blogs/inside/files/2011/02/connectkin_guide1.pdf.

Prepared by: Naomi Parry