The Aboriginal Orphans Act (No 12 of 7 and 8 Vic, 1844) was passed and commenced on 28 August 1844. Its full title was: An Ordinance to Provide for the Protection, Maintenance, and Up-Bringing of Orphans and other Destitute Children of the Aborigines. It was repealed by the Aborigines Act 1911 on 7 December 1911. The Aboriginal Orphans Act 1844 allowed the Protector of Aborigines to apprentice out orphan Aboriginal children and, with parental consent, other Aboriginal children until the age of 21. It gave the Protector of Aborigines the right to visit children and to penalise employers who mistreated the apprentices.
Key provision: The Protector of Aborigines made the legal guardian of every 'aboriginal and half-caste child' whose parents are dead or unknown, or one of whom agrees, until the age of 21. Any two Justices, with the consent of the Governor and one of the parents, may apprentice 'any half-caste or other aboriginal child having obtained a suitable age' until the age of 21 provided that 'due and reasonable provision is made for the maintenance, clothing and humane treatment of any apprentice.' Repealed by Aborigines Act 1911.
1844 - 1911 Aboriginal Orphans Act 1844
1911 - 1937 Aborigines Act 1911
1934 - 1963 Aborigines Act 1934
1962 - 1972 Aboriginal Affairs Act 1962
1972 - Community Welfare Act 1972
Sources used to compile this entry: To Remove and Protect, South Australian Legislation, AIATSIS, 2009, http://aiatsis.gov.au/collections/collections-online/digitised-collections/remove-and-protect/south-australia;
Swain, Shurlee, History of child protection legislation., Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse; Australian Catholic University, Commonwealth of Australia, Sydney, 2014, 91 pp, https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/sites/default/files/file-list/Research%20Report%20-%20History%20of%20child%20protection%20legislation%20-%20Institutional%20responses.pdf;
Law Research Service, Melbourne Law School, Law Library, The University of Melbourne. 'Find and Connect Project - South Australia Legislation', 13 December 2013, held in the project files at the University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre.
Prepared by: Melissa Downing, Christine Moje
Created: 21 February 2011, Last modified: 16 January 2023