Aboriginal Protection Board

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Aboriginal Protection Board refers to a number of historical Australian State run institutions with the function of regulating the lives of Indigenous Australians. They were also responsible for administering the various Half-caste acts where these existed and had a key role in the Stolen generations. The Boards had nearly ultimate control over Aborigines' lives.



The Victorian Central Board for the Protection of Aborigines, established by the Aboriginal Protection Act of 1869 (replacing the Central Board Appointed to Watch Over the Interests of the Aborigines),[1][2] made Victoria the first colony to enact comprehensive regulations on the lives of Victorian Aborigines. The Board for the Protection of Aborigines 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.

New South Wales[edit]

The New South Wales Board for the Protection of Aborigines was established in 1883, gaining legal power under the Aborigines Protection Act (1909) with wide ranging control over the lives of Aboriginal people, including the power to remove children from families because their parents were Aboriginal, as was written on many of the files, and the power to dictate where Aboriginal people lived to ensure protection from violent colonialists and provide education in the face of European opposition (McCallum, 2008). It also controlled their freedom of movement and personal finances. In particular, Aboriginal children could be removed from their homes and families and taken into care to be raised like white children, thus starting the stolen generation. The 1911 amendment to the Aboriginal Protection Act established Kinchela Boys Home and Cootamundra Domestic Training Home for Aboriginal Girls. Aboriginal children were removed from their homes for various welfare reasons and transported to Kinchela and Cootamundra, where they were often abused and neglected while being taught farm labouring and domestic work, many of them ending up as servants in the homes of wealthy Sydney residents.

The Board was renamed the Aborigines Welfare Board in 1940 under the Aborigines Protection (Amendment) Act (1940), which stipulated that Aboriginal people should be assimilated into mainstream white society. The Board consisted of 11 members, including two Aboriginal people, one full-blood and one having a mixture of Aboriginal blood. This essentially meant that Aboriginal culture should evaporate, and Aboriginal people should eventually become indistinguishable from Europeans. The Aborigines Welfare Board was abolished under the Aborigines Act (NSW) 1969.[3]

Western Australia[edit]

The Western Australian Aborigines Protection Board operated between 1 January 1886 and 1 April 1898 as a Statutory authority under An Act to provide for the better protection and management of the Aboriginal natives of Western Australia, and to amend the law relating to certain contracts with such Aboriginal natives (statute 25/1886); An Act to provide certain matters connected with the Aborigines (statute 24/1889).[4][5] In 1898 it was abolished and the government created a Department - the Aborigines Department.

Other states[edit]

There were also Aboriginal Protection Boards in Queensland and South Australia.


By the late 1960s, all states and territories had repealed the legislation allowing for the removal of Aboriginal children under the policy of 'protection'.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

  • Documenting Democracy at the National Archives of Australia
  • [1] History of the NSW Aborigines Protection Board
  • [2] History of Aborigional Affairs in NSW