Aboriginal Timeline

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    aboriginal timeline

  • The capture and English education of Bennelong

    Governor Arthur Phillip organised the capture of Bennelong. Phillip attempted to teach Bennelong about English language and culture and to learn about Aboriginal people from Bennelong.
  • Attempts to educate individual Aboriginal children

    Convict George Bath ‘adopted’ and provided a European style education for ‘James’ whose parents were shot by non-Aboriginal people near Toongabbie (Sydney).
  • An early Aboriginal experience of a NSW school

    Reverend Samuel Marsden attempted to provide a British education for ‘Tristan’ and sent him to school in Parramatta. ‘Tristan’ was one of the earliest known Aboriginal people to attend a NSW school. The Marsden family attempted to train him as their house servant but he ran away from them in Rio while travelling to England in 1807. He eventually boarded a ship back to Sydney and died soon after arriving home.
  • Parramatta Native Institution (Sydney)

    The Native Institution was an ‘experiment’ in education established by Governor Lachlan Macquarie and former missionary William Shelley. Aboriginal children (who educators thought were more easily influenced than adults) were taught to be labourers and servants for colonists. They were instructed in basic literacy skills, agriculture and craft and encouraged to convert to Christianity. Some students were brought to the school by force, and students were
  • Student achievement

    An Aboriginal student at the Native Institution and Sunday school received top marks in her examinations, ahead of non-Aboriginal students.
  • Native Institution at the Black Town (Sydney)

    The Native Institution was relocated to Black Town, on one of the earliest land grants to Aboriginal people assigned to Nurragingy-Colebee by Governor Macquarie. Problems with the Parramatta site including epidemics, partly contributed to the decision to relocate the school. Proximity to the Blacktown Aboriginal community and access to farms for practical teaching also influenced the move. Approximately 12 students attended.
  • Aboriginal students at Liverpool Orphan School (Sydney)

    Several students from the Blacktown Native Institution were moved to the Liverpool ‘Orphan’ School as part of a mixed schooling trial. Governor Brisbane wanted to see if mixed schooling at the Orphan School would lead to the assimilation of Aboriginal children.
  • Black Town Aboriginal School closed

    Remaining students were sent to Liverpool to complete their education with Reverend Cartwright as their teacher. Cartwright wanted the children to remain segregated from the rest of the colony. Students ran away frequently.
  • Aboriginal children enrolled in public schools

    Some Aboriginal parents enrolled their children in schools around the state. Population growth, the expansion of public schools, and increasing Aboriginal employment on rural properties contributed to higher Aboriginal student enrolments. Several parents wanted their children to learn skills to improve their children’s economic and social prospects.
  • Gulargambone protests result in separate schools (central west NSW)

    Non-Aboriginal parents withdrew their children from the Gulargambone Public School after Aboriginal students attended. Various education officials visited and found the children to be acceptable for school attendance, yet the Department still decided to exclude the Aboriginal students. The separate Gulargambone Aboriginal School was built.
  • Federation

    The six self-governing colonies collectively become the states of the Commonwealth of Australia. The Commonwealth Constitution states "in reckoning the numbers of people... Aboriginal natives shall not be counted". It also states that the Commonwealth would legislate for any race except Aboriginal people. The states therefore retain their power over Aboriginal Affairs.
  • he Aborigines Protection Board Act is passed

    The Victorian Aborigines Act permitted the Board for Protection of Aboriginal people to help 'half castes' by licensing needy persons to live on stations. An inquiry is held into the Forest River Massacre in which gives the Protection Board 'legal' control over Aboriginal people on stations and reserves but not missions, in the Northern Territory.
  • Petitions

    Victorian William Cooper, petitions the King to have an Aboriginal representative in the Lower House of Federal Parliament. A similar attempt is made in NSW. They are unsuccessful. In the 1930s clashes occur between Aboriginal and Japanese fishermen on the coast of Arnhem Land. Several Japanese are fatally speared. Gradual change occurs in attitudes of non-indigenous people. Passive policies become more positive. Welfare organisations and anthropologists become more active.
  • Darwin is bombed by the Japanese.

    Many Aboriginal people are relocated to 'control camps' and restrictions are places on Aboriginal movement, especially women. In Arnhem Land Aboriginal people make up special reconnaissance unit in defence against the Japanese. The United Church in North Australia set up an Aboriginal mission on Elcho Island, Northern Territory.
  • Intergration policy is introduced

    meaning Aboriginal people are supposed to have more control over their life and society. Northern Territory patrol officers 'bring in' the last group of Aboriginal people - the Pintubi people - living an independent life in the desert. The Pintubi people are relocated to Papunya and Yuendumu. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders' Affairs Act, passed in Queensland, gives the Director of Aboriginal Affairs considerable power over 'assisted' Aboriginal people. For example, an assisted Abo