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Aborigines Act 1905 (WA)

Category: Legislation
Date: 23 December 1905
Date To: 1 July 1964
Sub Category:Legislation
State/Country:Western Australia, Australia
Subject Matter:Law - Policy and Justice
Summary Information:

The Aborigines Act 1905 (WA) governed the lives of First Nations people in Western Australia for over 60 years and created the role of the 'Chief Protector of Aborigines' who became the legal guardian of any Aboriginal child under 16 years of age.

The Act permitted authorities to send Aboriginal children to institutions and workplaces, as well as introducing a permit system which allowed employers to employ Aboriginal workers.

Detailed Information:

The Aborigines Act 1905 (WA) (the Act) remained a key piece of legislation in the governance of Aboriginal people in Western Australia for over 60 years, re-validating most of the provisions contained in the Aborigines Act 1897, and extending the reach of the State into nearly every aspect of life for Aboriginal people in Western Australia.

The effects of the Act were particularly intrusive for children and families under s 8, which provided:

The Chief Protector shall be the legal guardian of every aboriginal and half-caste child until such child attains the age of sixteen years.

This allowed the Protector to remove, relocate, or place any Aboriginal child into employment in Western Australia.

As well as this, the Act gave the Protector broad responsibilities and powers, including land management, access and control of reserves (including the abolishing of reserves), control of employment and conditions for Aboriginal workers, and control over the movement of Aboriginal people within and out of the state.

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  • References

    General Reference
    Government of Western Australia (23 December 1905) Aborigines Act 1905


    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Australia) | Legislation | Policy/Strategy

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