State of Western Australia
The Royal Commission to Investigate, Report and Advise upon Matters in Relation to the Condition and Treatment of Aborigines undertaken by Magistrate H.D. Moseley: 'considered, among other matters, the administration of Indigenous affairs, native settlements, town camps, employment, disease and the trial procedures for Indigenous people…Like Roth, [Moseley] believed that a protection policy was in the best interests of Indigenous people and that [their] treatment by pastoralists and missionaries was satisfactory…the living conditions at the government Moore River native settlement and in the many camps across the state were deplorable…Because he favoured a protection policy rather than reform, Moseley's recommendations, when written into the Native Administration Act 1936 placed even greater authority in the hands of the Chief Protector, now referred to as Commissioner.' (Green, p.781).
WA historian Neville Green has remarked that royal commissions and inquiries into Indigenous matters in Western Australia have generally been motivated by one of two themes: either to identify problems and improve legislation and/or policy; or to 'address concerns of abuse and injustice'. As outcomes from the Mosely Royal Commission show, problems and injustices can continue after the findings and recommendations have been made even when certain improvements do come about.
Tilbrook, in Nyungar Tradition (p.76) reported that the '1905 Aborigines Act strongly encouraged Nyungar families to turn to each other for marriage partners, particularly Section 43 which made residence or cohabitation between an Aboriginal and a non-Aboriginal illegal. The restrictions of this Act relating to marriage were not fully lifted until the Native Welfare Act of 1963 came into effect, although moves in this direction began with the Moseley Royal Commission into Aboriginal Affairs in 1935. See also p.120 for another reference to Moseley.
Sources used to compile this entry: Chate, A.H; Graham, Bruce; Oakley, Glenda, Date it!: a Western Australian chronology to 1929, Friends of the Battye Library (Inc.), Northbridge, Western Australia, 1991; Green, Neville, 'Royal Commissions and Inquiries, Indigenous', in Gregory, Jenny and Jan Gothard [editors] (eds), Historical Encyclopedia of Western Australia, University of Western Australia Press, Crawley, W.A., 2009, pp. Pages 780-782; Tilbrook, Lois, Nyungar Tradition : glimpses of Aborigines of south-western Australia 1829-1914, Online version published by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies in 2007, University of Western Australia Press, 1983, http://aiatsis.gov.au/sites/default/files/catalogue_resources/m0022954.pdf.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 26 January 2012, Last modified: 23 June 2014