Aboriginal Protection Act 1869

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The Aboriginal Protection Act 1869 was an Act of the colony of Victoria, Australia that established the Victorian Central Board for the Protection of Aborigines, to replace the Central Board Appointed to Watch Over the Interests of the Aborigines.[1][2] The Act gave the Board extensive powers over the lives of Aboriginal Victorians, including regulation of residence, employment and marriage.[3]

The Act made Victoria the first colony to enact comprehensive regulations on the lives of Aboriginal Australians. The Board exerted an extraordinary level of control over people's lives including regulation of residence, slavery as employment, marriage, social life and other aspects of daily life.


Victoria enacted the Aboriginal Protection Act 1869 while democratic reforms were being introduced for the population, such as the extension of the franchise from the wealthy to all adult males and the provision of free public education. In contrast, Aboriginal people were losing their freedom. In 1871 the Board developed controls over where Aboriginal people could live and work, what they could do and who they could meet or marry.[4] They removed Aboriginal children from their families, starting the process that created the Stolen Generations.

In 1886, Victoria's parliament passed what became known as the Half-Caste Act and started to remove Aboriginal people of mixed descent, known as "half-castes", from Aboriginal stations or reserves to force them to assimilate into white society. These expulsions separated families and communities, causing distress and leading to protest. Nevertheless, the Board refused to assist the expelled people. It was assumed that the expulsions would lead to the decline in the population of the reserves and their eventual closure.

The failure of this policy and its inhumanity led to Victoria's Aborigines Act 1910 and Aboriginal Lands Act 1970, which abandoned this policy.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Broome, Richard (2005). Aboriginal Victorians: A History Since 1800. Allen & Unwin. pp. 130–131. ISBN 978-1-74114-569-4.
  2. ^ O'Neill, Cate (28 October 2011). "Central Board for the Protection of Aborigines - Organisation". Find & Connect - Victoria/Public Record Office Victoria/National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Aboriginal Protection". Documenting Democracy. National Archives of Australia. Archived from the original on 5 June 2007. Retrieved 27 May 2007.
  4. ^ Victoria Government Gazette (15): 338. 24 February 1871.CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)

Further reading[edit]