Assimilation Policy

  • 1937

    At a conference of state and federal officials called by the Federal Government, assimilation for some Aboriginal people is adopted as official policy. Part Aboriginal people are to be assimilated into white society whether they want to be or not. Aboriginal people not living a tribal life are to be educated and all others are to stay on reserves. June, William Ferguson, launches in Dubbo, NSW, the Aborigines Progressive Association, in opposition to the Aborigines Protection Board, after offi
  • Period: to

    Assimilation Policy

  • 1938

    On 26 January, 150 years after European occupation, the Aboriginal Progressive Association declares a Day of Mourning. An Aboriginal Conference is held in Sydney. These are the first of many Aboriginal protests against inequality, injustice, dispossession of land and protectionist policies. For the Europeans 'celebration' of 150 years of "settlement" in NSW, Aborigines are trucked to Sydney to take part in the re-enactment of the British landing on 26 January 1788. Aboriginal people are threat
  • 1939

    Protest at Cumeroogunga, NSW, over malnutrition and ill treatment. The Aborigines Protection Board in South Australia is established. As a result of the 1937 conference Queensland passes legislation allowing Aboriginal people to receive workers' compensation. Also as a result of this conference a Native Affairs Branch is set up in the Northern Territory.
  • 1940

    Amendments to the NSW protection legislation results in the replacement of the Aborigines Protection Board with the NSW Aborigines Welfare Board. Responsibility for the education of Aboriginal people is transferred to the Department for Education, which takes control of reserve buildings and starts to provide trained teachers. The Aborigines Progressive Association campaigns to bring about reforms to the NSW Protection Board. In the 1940s most Federal social security benefits are extended to
  • 1941

    The Child Endowment Act is passed but no endowment is paid to nomadic or dependent Aboriginal people.
  • 1943

    A further amendment to the Aboriginal protection legislation in NSW, gives two Aboriginal people, one 'full-blood' and one 'half caste', representation on the Aboriginal Welfare Board. Walter Page and William Ferguson, both Aboriginal Progressive Association members, take up the positions.
  • 1944

    2 October, Education Gazette, NSW, states "children of any Aborigine securing an Exemption Certificate are to be admitted to the ordinary public school".
  • 1945

    Aboriginal cattle station workers in the Port Hedland district, Western Australia, strike for a pay increase. They are getting 10 shillings a week and are supplied with blankets. The Aboriginal people then formed a co-operative to mine alluvial wolfram which was successful. An investigation shows Aboriginal people on Lord Vestey's Northern Territory cattle station are getting poor rations, inadequate housing, water and sanitation facilities, and are paid less than the 5/- a day minimum wage, w
  • 1946

    Aboriginal children need a medical certificate to attend public schools. Aboriginal pastoral workers in the Pilbara, Western Australia, strike over pay, conditions and ill treatment.
  • 1948

    The Commonwealth Citizenship and Nationality Act for the first time gives a category of "Australian Citizenship" to all Australians, including all Aboriginal people. However, at state level Aboriginal people still suffer legal discrimination. The Coranderrk Lands Act alienates Victoria's only 'permanent reservation'. In 1951 the remainder of Lake Condah reserve is revoked despite Aboriginal resistance.
  • 1948

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • 1949

    The Commonwealth Electoral Act extends the franchise to Aboriginal ex-service men only. Douglas Nicholls, an Aboriginal pastor is unsuccessful in petitioning the King to have an Aboriginal representative in the Victorian Parliament.
  • 1954

    The Australian Capital Territory Aboriginal Welfare Ordinance is passed. Before this, Aboriginal people in the ACT come under NSW law. Most Aboriginal people in the ACT are living at Jervis Bay. The ordinance is repealed in 1965.
  • 1957

    The Federal Council for the Advancement of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders is set up. This group combines a number of civil rights and Aboriginal welfare organisations. The work of this group plays a large part in bring about the 1967 Referendum. Formation of the NADOC - National Aboriginal Day Observance Committee.
  • 1961

    December, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies is formed in Canberra.
  • 1962

    The Commonwealth Electoral Act is amended to give the vote to all Aboriginal people. The Aboriginal Affairs Act in South Australia reconstituted the Aborigines Protection Board and South Australian Department of Aboriginal Affairs. The Act also limited mining on reserves by people other than Aboriginal people. Aboriginal people in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory are given the right to vote in Federal elections. Aboriginal people are not made to register but once they
  • 1963

    The Western Australian Native Welfare Act repeals the 1905 Act and alters the definition of an Aboriginal person and eligibility for aid.
  • 1965

    Integration Policy replaces Assimilation Policy.