Australia and the Stolen Generation

Timeline created by thealextreme
In History
  • Victorian Board for the protection of Aborigines established

    The Governor can order the removal of any child to a reformatory or industrial school. The Protection Board can remove children from station families to be housed in dormitories.
  • 'Chief Protector'

    The Aboriginal Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act (Qld) allows the 'Chief Protector' to remove local Aboriginal people onto and between reserves and hold children in dormitories. From 1939 until 1971 this power is held by the Director of Native Welfare; the Director is the legal guardian of all Aboriginal children, whether or not their parents are living, until 1965. The legislation is subsequently imitated by South Australia and the Northern Territory.
  • Another new law

    The Western Australia Aborigines Act is passed. Under this law, the Chief Protector is made the legal guardian of every Aboriginal and 'half-caste' child under 16 years old. Reserves are established, a local protector is appointed and rules governing Aboriginal employment are laid down.
  • Legal Guardian?

    The South Australian Aborigines Act makes the Chief Protector the legal guardian of every Aboriginal and 'half-caste' child under 21 years old. The Chief Protector also has control of where the child lives. The Chief Protector is replaced by the Aborigines Protection Board in 1939 and guardianship power is repealed in 1962.
  • No court hearings

    The NSW Aborigines Protection Board is given powers to remove Aboriginal children without a court hearing. This power is repealed in 1940, when the Board is renamed the Aborigines Welfare Board.
  • 'Going Home'

    Going Home Conference in Darwin. Over 600 people removed as children, from every state and territory met to share experiences, and expose the history of the removal of Aboriginal children from their families and the effects of this policy on Aboriginal people
  • National Inquiry

    The National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families is established to examine the effects of separation, identify what should be done in response, find justification for any compensation and look at the laws of that time affecting child separation.
  • New recommendations...

    Publication of the Report Into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families, more commonly known as the Bringing Them Home Report. An abbreviated version is called 'Bringing them Home - Community Guide'. The inquiry made 54 recommendations, e.g. reparations and an apology to Indigenous peoples.
  • Sorry Books campaign

    Australians for Native Title (ANT) launches the Sorry Books campaign where Australians can sign who want to do something in response to the federal government's refusal to make a formal apology to the Stolen Generations.
  • Social Justice Report

    HREOC releases the Social Justice Report 1998, which includes a summary of responses from the churches, and non-Indigenous community to the inquiry's recommendations plus an Implementation Progress Report.
  • Regrets and apologies

    Federal Parliament issues a statement of deep and sincere regret over the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families.
  • United Nations

    Australia appears before the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The Committee criticises the Commonwealth Government's inadequate response to recommendations of the Bringing Them Home Report:
  • Apologies from the Vatcian

    Pope John Paul II issues a formal apology on behalf of the Vatican to the affected Aboriginal families for the actions of any and all Catholic authorities or organisations in connection with the Stolen Generations.
  • 'Restoring Identity'

    The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) releases Restoring Identity - the follow up report to the Moving Forward Conference. The report presents a proposal for a reparations tribunal.
  • Critisizing the Government

    The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner publicly criticises the failure of governments to provide financial and social reparations for members of the Stolen Generation, a national apology, or the appropriate mechanisms for individuals that were forcibly removed to reconnect with their culture.
  • Memorial

    The Commonwealth Government establishes a memorial to the Stolen Generations at Reconciliation Place in Canberra.
  • 'Stolen Generations Victoria'

    Stolen Generations VictoriaThe organisation 'Stolen Generations Victoria' is set up as a result of the 2003 report of the Stolen Generations taskforce. Its purpose is to establish a range of support and referral services that will assist Stolen Generation peoples to reconnect with their family, community, culture and land
  • Compensation Scheme

    The first Stolen Generations compensation scheme in Australia is set up in Tasmania by the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal Children Act 2006 (Tas). The Tasmanian government allocated $5 million to Aboriginal people who qualified for the compensation package.
  • Landmark Court Case

    In a landmark court case a member of the Stolen Generations has been awarded $525,000 in compensation by a South Australian court for a liftetime of sorrow and pain . Bruce Trevorrow was taken from his father aged 13 months. He was given to a white family where he grew up until he was ten, unaware of his Aboriginality. He then saw his mother again, but at this stage was a rebellious boy not belonging to either culture.
  • Declaration

    Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States are the only countries that oppose the UN declaration for the rights of Indigenous peoples worldwide. 134 countries vote for the declaration, 11 countries abstain. The declaration has no legal bindings. Canada initially was in favour, but changed its mind after lobbying of John Howard.
  • More apologies

    Kevin Rudd wins the national election and promises to apologise to the Stolen Generations.
  • Australian Parliament Apologises

    The Australian Parliament apologises to the Stolen Generations. Both the government and the opposition support the apology and say 'sorry' to Aboriginal people who were taken away from their families from 1900 to the 1970s. The apology has no legal effect on the ability of Aboriginal people claiming compensation.
  • Stolen Generation Compensation Bill introduced

    Senator Andrew Bartlett introduces the Stolen Generation Compensation Bill into the Senate. The bill calls for ex gratia payments (i.e. without any liability or legal obligation) to be made to the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal children. The Senate rejects the bill.
  • Foundation Established

    The Australian government promises to establish the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation which will deal with the "trauma experienced by all Aboriginal people as the after-effect of colonisation" [8], but with a particular focus on the Stolen Generations.
  • Government loses appeal

    The South Australian government loses an appeal against the $775,000 payout to a member of the Stolen Generations. The Full Court of the SA Supreme Court ruled that the government had been negligent in its treatment of Bruce Trevorrow, who was taken from his parents as a child more than 50 years ago.