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Aboriginal Protection Act 1869

The Aboriginal Protection Act, enacted in 1869 by the colony of Victoria, Australia gave extensive powers over the lives of Aboriginal people to the government's Board for the Protection of Aborigines, including regulation of residence, employment and marriage.[1]


Victoria enacted the Aboriginal Protection Act 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 people could live and work, what they could do and who they could meet or marry.[2] They removed Aboriginal children from their families, starting the process that created the Stolen Generation.

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 the 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 of 1910 and Aboriginal Lands Act of 1970, which abandoned this policy.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Aboriginal Protection Act 1869 (Vic)". Documenting Democracy.  
  2. ^ Victoria Government Gazette (15): 338. 1871-02-24. 
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