Reproduced with kind permission of Mr Hans Pearson

A Historical Overview of Aboriginal administration in Queensland

The context of the 1897 Protection Act

It must be understood that the slaughtering of the native races of Australia – the callous manner in which the natives were destroyed by the white settlers, or invaders, as they could be termed, is one of the blackest pages in our history – was actually due to misunderstanding. We often hear of the atrocities that were perpetrated by the natives, but in actual fact the natives of Australia were a very kindly people who were not by nature inclined to be cruel to anybody … The Aboriginals lived entirely by hunting and gathering native foods. The white people settled in Australia for the purpose of raising stock. That was the first industry that interfered with the natives … The Aboriginal was regarded as a nuisance and a destroyer of property and consequently was very badly treated by the white population…

Minister for Health and Home Affairs, E M Hanlon. 20.9.39 [1]

1. By the early 1870s several parcels of land in the settled areas of Queensland – on Fraser and Hinchinbrook Islands, on the Nerang and Noosa Rivers, and on Stradbroke Island – had already been reserved as refuges for surviving local Aboriginal groups. However these missionary efforts to convert people to christian beliefs and settled occupations had failed within a few years. [2]

2. Residents and planters in Mackay successfully petitioned in 1870 for land to be reserved for Aboriginal use as a means of protecting local Aboriginal workers from harassment and raids by Native Police, operating since 1853 as an adjunct to regular police to ‘disperse’ Aboriginal groups from newly occupied lands with lethal force. [3] Sugar planter George Bridgman, a leading member of the Mackay-based Association for the Employment and Protection of Aborigines, was appointed trustee of the reserve [4]. Mr Bridgman spoke several local languages, and encouraged self-sufficiency through employment, hunting and food cultivation. He operated a school where children learned basic reading, writing and counting during morning lessons. The Commissioners reported that local Aboriginal workers were: [5]

as good and reliable as that of any other colored laborers …The Natives in question are said to understand both the terms and period of an agreement, and faithfully to adhere to it, working diligently, and giving their employers little trouble.

3. The Commissioners recommended that Protectors of Aborigines be appointed in specified districts to report on cases of alleged cruelty, to ensure all contracts and agreements between Aborigines and Europeans were fair and equitable, and to monitor the interests and welfare of Aborigines ‘with power to sue for wages and enforce agreements on their behalf’. On the reserves schools should be established to ‘improve, educate and Christianise the young’.

4. Arguing for the gazettal of reserves ‘for the exclusive use of Aborigines’, the Commissioners pointed out that more than one-quarter of the colony’s revenue of £350,000 [6] annually was from the sale and lease of Crown lands ‘which the Aborigines originally occupied’. They argued it was only ‘just and reasonable’ that ‘some small portion of this large sum’ should be ‘held by the Government in trust for the benefit of those who are left of the tribes who formerly held these lands in possession.’ [7]

5. From 1875 government funds were committed to establish and maintain Aboriginal reserves [8] at Bribie Island, Durundur, Deebing Creek, Bowen and Townsville. But as European occupation expanded and intensified, the reserves were soon thrown open to selection, including the venture at Mackay.

6. While the density of European occupation in south-east and central Queensland had largely subdued Aboriginal resistance and stabilised ‘settlement’ by 1880, ongoing lawlessness and fierce resistance continued in the remote west and north of the colony. In this year, through multiple editorials and related correspondence, the Brisbane weekly newspaper Queenslander publicized the rampant activities of the Native Police Force. This press campaign [9] confirmed the atrocities of European expansion which many frontier writers rationalised as the inevitable consequence of occupation. Other correspondents, however, suggested that a civilising approach might prove less costly in both financial and human terms.

7. From the Cape River, one writer said he had employed Aboriginal labour for eight years on his property, with thirty men shepherding and doing all his sheep-washing at shearing time. He found they worked ‘as well as other men’ provided he released them for a break ‘after two moons’. [10] He suggested reserves of around 500 square miles [1,300 square kilometres] be established on good pastoral land, where Aboriginal families could work sheep or cattle as self-supporting ventures. [11] The reserves should be controlled by someone paid by the government who understood ‘the nature of the blacks’, with the assistance of missionaries to care for the inmates. [12]

8. Echoing recommendations of the Aboriginal Commission a decade earlier, one correspondent from the ‘newly settled’ Diamantina River region in the south-west suggested that ‘the blacks’ should be put to work, engaged on binding contracts like the South Sea Islanders. [13] One critic of this idea argued that forcing Aboriginals to work on ‘agreements for a term of years’ would be ‘slavery pure and simple, and on a scale the most gigantic perhaps the world has ever witnessed.’ [14]

8. In 1895 ex-parliamentarian and self-proclaimed Aboriginal ‘expert’ [15] Archibald Meston submitted to the government an essay entitled ‘Queensland Aboriginals: Proposed System for their Improvement and Preservation’. Echoing the economic argument advanced by the Aboriginal Commissioners twenty years earlier, Mr Meston urged the government to consider ‘our “debtor account” with the Aboriginals’. To date Queensland received ‘about six and a quarter millions in cash’ by alienating around 10 million acres of freehold land, plus a further almost £333,000 annually from 300 million acres of land leased for pastoral occupation. Yet since 1842: [16]

we have not expended £50,000 for the benefit of the Aboriginals, and have never since then, or before, paid them a single shilling in cash, clothes, or food, for even one acre of land. And why? Because they were too weak to compel justice, and we were too unjust to accord it without compulsion!

9. Mr Meston condemned the policy vacuum which left Aboriginal people, ‘from whom we have forcibly taken this country, without payment’, wandering homeless and destitute through the towns without support except for annual distributions of minimal rations and blankets. He contrasted the government’s absence of policy with the tight circumscription of the 8000 South Sea Islanders who were ‘guarded by inspectors [and] stringent special laws and regulations’. [17]

10. Commissioned to submit a full report [18] on Aboriginal conditions around Queensland, particularly the remote western and northern sectors, Mr Meston catalogued the appalling death rate at the hands of settlers and Native Police. While urging that remote tribes be left alone where land was not needed for settlement, [19] Mr Meston recommended inter-racial contacts in settled areas be controlled by ‘stringent legislation’ to prevent continuing abuses of women and children. [20] He warned that the scourge of opium, introduced by Chinese traders, was decimating Aboriginal groups because ‘many white men’ exploited addiction ‘as the only agent which will induce them to work’. [21]

11. Noting that all government expenditure ‘is determined by practical utilitarian calculation’, Mr Meston questioned the positioning of existing missions [22] on poor unproductive land incapable of producing a fraction of the food needed, which left the government with mounting costs to subsidise basic needs. [23] He also criticised the mission policy of training and educating Aboriginal children: girls sent to service were separated from potential partners both physically and intellectually, and would inevitably link up with white men, while Aboriginal men ‘isolated from their women’ would resent their position. [24]

12. In settled areas Mr Meston urged all survivors be collected onto suitable reserves in complete isolation, to protect them from ‘degraded’ whites. [25] He recommended the abolition of the Native Police, the abolition of all Aboriginal labour in any of the sea trades around Cape York, and the exclusion of all Aborigines from towns except those in regular employment, their ‘wages and good treatment guaranteed under stringent regulations.’ [26]

The 1897 Debates

13. Archibald Meston’s views were reflected in the debates on the 1897 Aboriginals Protection Bill. [27] As accountable minister, the Home Secretary J G Foxton argued a different policy approach to Aboriginal people in the north than in the south of the colony. For the estimated 15,000 living north of the Tropic of Capricorn the new legislation aimed to prevent the supply of alcohol, prevent the supply of opium, and prevent theft of blankets supplied by the government annually to Aboriginals in need. [28] He proposed that reserves in the north would operate as areas where Aboriginal families could ‘find a home’; centres to ‘improve the condition’ of local tribes, visited, perhaps, by a travelling doctor. [29] Despite objections that police had been ‘cruel oppressors of the blacks’, the Bill nominated the senior police officer in each district as a protector of Aboriginals, in addition to superintendents of existing mission stations. [30]

14. The main focus of the Bill was the approximately 3,000-4,000 Aborigines living south of the Tropic of Capricorn whom the Home Secretary said he currently had ‘no certain means of dealing’. [31] Proposed controls for those in the settled south would be minimal; prohibitions on alcohol and opium would pertain. The Home Secretary assured parliament there was neither the intention nor means to ‘gather the whole 3,000, with their tribal differences, and place them on a reserve’. Districts would be proclaimed and police would be appointed as protectors to keep safe the wives and children of workers; Aborigines would be excluded from towns for their own safety. As minister, the Home Secretary would have ‘absolute discretion’ regarding enforced removals to reserves, [32] but he assured parliament that interventions would be minimal for those in the south.

15. Police would ensure work contracts were no longer than twelve months, and not an avenue for sexual abuse. Work contracts would be flexible – not ‘in black and white’ as for ‘other races’. Wages were left to the discretion of the employer: [33]

when a man wants the services of Aboriginals the protector explains to them the agreement under which they are going to work. There will not be a single word in it attempting to interfere with the rate of wages or dictating whether they are to paid in gold, silver or copper … whatever form may be most suitable for the Aboriginal. Sometimes it may be clothing, sometimes food; but whatever the arrangement may be, the protector will see that they understand it, and that they get everything for which they contract.

16. Of particular concern was the plight of young girls, especially those ‘half-castes’ of whom ‘there were a large number all over the country’. [34] While any child of an Aboriginal or ‘half-caste’ mother was already a ward of the Home Secretary under the Reformatories law [35] and could be institutionalised until the age of 21, the government now aimed to extend controls over all ‘half-caste’ females by empowering protectors to oversee their employment. Only female workers already employed ‘by any trustworthy person’ were exempted from the new provisions. [36]

17. The matter of regulating Aboriginal workers in the sea trades around Cape York was deferred until the findings of a Royal Commission into the pearl-shelling industry was handed down (this Report was tabled in 1908). [37]

The Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act, 1897

18. Enacted in December 1897, the introductory Aboriginals Protection Act [38] applied to every Aboriginal inhabitant in Queensland, a category which included any ‘half-caste’ then husband, wife or child of an Aboriginal, and any other ‘half-caste’ who ‘habitually lives or associates with Aboriginals’ (S4).

19. Any portion of the colony could be declared a District under the Act, and land could be reserved from sale or lease ‘for the benefit of the Aboriginal inhabitants’ (S3), with access restricted to those authorised under regulations (S11). Protectors of Aboriginals and superintendents of reserves could be appointed to carry out the provisions of the Act (S8).

20. Mandatory twelve-month employment permits for all Aboriginals or ‘half-castes’ would be issued or revoked by a protector, permits for those currently in employment would be issued if the employer was ‘trustworthy’ (S12). Where permits were revoked, the protector could have the worker ‘removed’ to a reserve or re-employed with a trustworthy person (S13). It now became an offence to employ an Aboriginal person or female ‘half-caste’ on a premises without an official ‘agreement’ (S14). Work agreements listed wages and accommodation, and a duplicate of the agreement had to be forwarded to the nearest protector (S15).

21. It now became a punishable offence to possess a blanket issued to Aborigines or ‘half-castes’, or to supply them liquor or opium (SS18-25). Regulations could circumscribe a range of behaviours and procedural matters including (S31,ss5):

Apportioning amongst, or for the benefit of, Aboriginals or half-castes, living on a reserve, the net produce of the labour of such Aboriginals or half-castes …

22. Archibald Meston was named Southern Protector of Aboriginals in charge of all areas south of the Tropic of Capricorn, and answerable to the Home Secretary. The position of Northern Protector of Aboriginals went to Dr Walter Roth, previously government medical officer at Burketown, and an ethnographer of local tribes. Dr Roth reported to W. Parry-Okeden, Commissioner of Police.

23. Dr Roth’s first Report of the Northern Protector of Aboriginals [39] was tabled in July 1899, listing eight protectors under his supervision in the north of the colony. Appended to the Report were Regulations adjusting the line of authority to make both Northern and Southern protector accountable to the Minister, and requiring each to submit a Report annually.[40]

24. Several forms were included within the Regulations, including an ‘Application for Permit’ [41] to employ an Aboriginal or ‘half-caste’, to include ‘Name, sex, approximate age, district where born, nature of employment, period of proposed employment’ as well as the prospective employer’s ‘name, residence, occupation’. These forms were to be endorsed by the police protector and retained by him, as well as being recorded in the ‘Register of Employment’ [42] for his district which listed date of application, date of issue, number of permit, employer, occupation and residence of employer, name, sex and approximate age of worker, the worker’s home area (‘A Native of’), place and nature of employment.

25. A form for the ‘Memorandum of Agreement’ [43] for employment included date, name of employer and employee. The latter ‘agrees to serve’ the employer and ‘otherwise make him/herself generally useful, and obey all the reasonable commands’ of the employer for a set period of months. Wages were to be paid to the employee ‘or to a Protector or police officer… or other responsible person appointed by a Protector’. The employer was to provide ‘suitable shelter, blankets, rations (including tobacco), clothing and maintenance during sickness’ and was required to return ‘said employee to his native place’ at the end of the agreement period. Agreements could be terminated by the employer (if the worker deserted from service or refused to obey ‘lawful commands’), or by the worker if there was ill-treatment or failure to provide proper accommodation.

26. In September 1899, parliament was again debating legislation to protect Aboriginals in Queensland. Without specific proscriptions relating to Aboriginal employment in the sea trades under theNative Labourers Protection Acts 1884, [44] Aboriginal men, women and children continued to be exploited and abused, principally by the many ‘alien’ ship crews [45] which plied their trade around Cape York and down the eastern seaboard.

27. It was also argued that the inflexibility of the twelve month work agreements had penalised both potential white employers and Aboriginal workers to such an extent that the Home Secretary conceded ‘It had been necessary to wink at breaches’ of the employment provisions. [46] The problem of wage exploitation also remained unresolved, with many workers ‘frequently imposed upon in the matter of payment of wages.’ [47] Another exposed loophole was the number of ‘unscrupulous men’ who voided the legal protections by going through ‘a form of marriage’ with Aboriginal girls and women in their employment, rendering them exempt from legislative purview. [48]

28. The Legislative Council proposed an amendment deleting the clause requiring a permit or agreement for any female Aboriginal or ‘half-caste’ on a premises, not just for those employed. The Home Secretary saw this change as a ‘wholesale evasion of the provisions of the original Act’, and withdrew the Bill.[49]

29. In mid 1901, the Home Secretary again presented The Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act Amendment Bill for debate.[50] There was much opposition to the clause setting a minimum wage for all Aboriginal and ‘half-caste’ workers of 10 shillings monthly for maritime workers, and five shillings monthly for mainland workers. While some members argued that Aboriginal workers had often been worked ‘practically as slaves’, and employed ‘to save white men’s wages’, others argued that at only one-eighth the white wage there would be unfair competition with white workers. [51]

30. It was also argued that a minimum wage breached the principle of free commerce:[52]

What right have they to interfere with me as an individual employing labour and expending capital? Is it not an interference with the right of private enterprise to pay such wage as I may think fit? If they have the right to interfere and say what I shall pay the Aboriginal … have not they the right to step in and say I shall pay my white employee a minimum wage?

31. Contemplating the scope of proposed restrictions on Aboriginal movements and employment, the impact of the Bill on Aboriginal lives was also noted:[53]

… we shall take from them the only thing we have left to them, and that is the remnant of liberty they now have. Under the present law they are now being gathered together, and the little freedom they now have is being taken away from them.

32. Both the Northern and Southern Protectors were interviewed by the Legislative Council Committee. [54] Dr Roth said he had drafted the 1901 Amendment Bill largely to prevent widespread abuses of Aboriginal and ‘half-caste’ children claimed to be living with ‘respectable’ families . Where he lacked legal control under the Aboriginal Protection Act, at times he had invoked his powers under the Reformatory Acts to remove children at risk to northern missions for protection and education. Roth’s view was that ‘If they are taken to the mission station while young’ they could be ‘made useful to themselves and to the colony.’

33. Questioned on employment, Dr Roth said his ten local protectors only issued six-month agreements. It was his opinion that most northern Aborigines did not regard ‘heavy and continuous labour’ or agricultural work as a sensible option: [55]

The blackboy notices that by working for an hour he can get food for the day, and he will not go to work for a whole day, except under compulsion.

34. Dr Roth estimated there might be around 18,000 Aborigines in his northern protectorate, of whom around 6,000 were ‘known to the police’ through the annual distribution of blankets. Questioned about ’rounding them up into camps’, Roth insisted there was no plan of ‘shifting the blacks from their hunting-grounds on to reserves’, asking rhetorically ‘How can we keep 18,000 or 20,000 blacks on reserves?’ [56]

35. Speaking of the southern protectorate, Archibald Meston warned of the appalling and continuing death rate among Aboriginal families since white occupation, with opium addiction a major factor. He estimated the remaining number under his control at between 8,000 and 9,000: [57]

I place the period of their extermination at about fifty years ahead. When Queensland was first occupied the total population of Aboriginals was at least 200,000, whereas now it is about 25,000.

36. His policy was to leave groups undisturbed in areas where they were not abused and continued to live in the old ways. But those living in ‘degrading conditions’ were removed to settlements and were, where possible, contracted to work for surrounding settlers. [58]

37. Many of the young girls who were removed by Mr Meston were sent to Brisbane, either to the new Aboriginal Girls Home at West End or to the Magdalen Asylum at Wooloowin, a Catholic institution for destitute women and children. Mr Meston assured parliament that this option ‘cost the State nothing whatever’ since the girls were sent out to domestic work ‘for suitable mistresses’, receiving part of the wages in cash, with the balance ‘banked to their credit’. These ‘accumulated wages’ were then given to the girl if she married, or if she ‘preferred’ to live on a reserve. [59]

The Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act Amendment Act, 1901

38. The 1901 Amendment Act [60] tightened controls over Aboriginal sea-trade employment. It extended legal protections by declaring any boat or vessel, whether at sea or otherwise, to be a ‘premises’ under the original Act and thereby proscribed for any Aboriginal person except under written agreement (S4). No woman or child under puberty was permitted on a boat or vessel without permission from the protector, and all maritime employees had to be returned ‘to their native place’. Wages of workers who died or deserted had to be paid to the relevant shipping master (S10, ss1 – 6). A monetary bond was now mandatory for the removal of any Aboriginal or female ‘half-caste’ between Districts, with all costs of return to be covered by the employer (S7).

39. The proposed minimum wages now became mandatory (S12 ss1). These wages could now also be intercepted and controlled by the government: a protector could direct employers to pay ‘the wages’ directly to himself or to a nominated police officer (S12 ss2). Employers who failed to abide by this direction ‘shall be deemed to have not paid such wages’. Regarding intercepted wages (S12 ss2):

The Protector or officer of police who receives such wages shall expend the same solely on behalf of the Aboriginal or female half-caste to whom they were due, and shall keep an account of such expenditure.

40. Aboriginal property was now also controlled by protectors who were directed to ‘undertake the general care, protection, and management of the property of all Aboriginals’ in his district (S13). Primarily, protectors were accorded the right to ‘Take possession of, retain, sell, or dispose of any property of an Aboriginal, whether real or personal’ (S13 ssa); and to ‘sue for, recover or receive any money or other property’ belonging to an Aboriginal (S13 ssb). The regulations required Aboriginal consent for the exercise of these powers, except where necessary ‘for the due preservation of such property’ (S13).

41. Protectors were directed to ‘keep proper records and accounts of all moneys and other property and the proceeds thereof received or dealt with by him’ under the provisions, and in these dealings the protector was ‘deemed to be a public accountant within the meaning of The Audit Act of 1874‘ (S13).

42. Other interventions to control Aboriginal lives included the requirement for written permission from a protector or the minister for marriages involving female Aboriginals (S9). Under S14, proof of puberty would stand as a defence against any charge of sexual intercourse with an underage Aboriginal or ‘half-caste’ girl, given that current law relating to the age of consent (14 years) relied on proof of age, almost universally unavailable for Aboriginal families.

43. Reporting in October 1902, [61] Archibald Meston said that a further 410 Aboriginals were removed by his five protectors of Aboriginals ‘from their old environment’ and taken ‘under direct control of the Department’. This brought to around 550 men, women and children confined on the southern reserves at Fraser Island, Deebing Creek, Barambah and Durundur, from where many were contracted to local settlers to work on permits. With permission from the Home Secretary, Meston did not issue individual work agreements, which he described as ‘only an annoyance to the employer and no protection to the Aboriginal.’ Instead he had issued general permits to each station ‘which cover all the blacks employed’, about 1450 Aboriginals in total.

44. In northern Queensland, 1418 permits were issued by Dr Roth and his ten protectors.[62] Roth warned that Aboriginal and ‘half-caste’ children continued to be at great risk from single men in outlying areas who applied for work permits for girl children, and from individuals seeking to ‘adopt’ children as a way of exempting them from government control. Listing the children being schooled on the missions,[63] Dr Roth noted that all Aboriginal and ‘half-caste’ children were amenable to the Education Acts,[64] and their employers ‘as “guardians” of such children’ were responsible for sending children to school.

45. ‘In many cases’ in the north, Dr Roth said that Aboriginal employees were not being paid the wages as stated in their Agreements, and evasion was common in the sea trades. In August 1902, Dr Roth opened ‘a trust account’, the Aboriginals Protection Property Account (APP Account), which had in four months garnered over £200. He noted that ‘The very fact of so large amount being entirely made up of wages due to natives’, gave some idea of what would have happened without government intervention. ‘The account has been audited’, he added.

The 1904 Regulations

46. Regulations gazetted in March 1904 gave further details about the APP Account:[65]

Wages of aboriginals or half-castes absconding from service, and moneys of deceased aboriginals or half-castes, as well as moneys otherwise unclaimed, shall be forwarded to the chief protector and be placed by him to the credit of a trust account to be used in such manner as the Minister may direct, for the benefit of aboriginals generally.

47. Northern protectors reported that employment abuses continued with many uncontracted workers cheated of wages. [66] Some employers panicked workers, warning of ‘fearful consequences’ of signing agreements including deportation ‘to an island’ at any time. Dr Roth noted that the widespread hostility to paying part wages for domestics directly to protectors suggested that previously no wages had been paid.

48. By late 1903 several protectors were acting ‘as trustees’ for wages banked locally with the Government Savings Bank, at Cooktown (£69/13/-), Cairns (£187), Winton (£41/10/-), and at Normanton (over £205) where the protector expected to bank over £500 in 1904. [67]

49. For greater security, the protector for the Cloncurry region had introduced thumb prints: [68]

Where Aboriginals put their marks to agreements, documents, receipts &c, I also take the impression of the thumb: this, I think, might be followed up with advantage throughout the State.

Dr Roth noted that the ‘system of thumbprints’ would allow identification of each depositor, and also enable workers to be traced when they left employment.

50. The 1904 regulations amalgamated the positions of Northern and Southern protector under the single position of Chief Protector of Aboriginals, to which Dr Roth was appointed. [69] The regulations detailed applications for work permits, recognizances on removal of Aboriginals between police districts, operation of the APP Account, relief expenditure, and a requirement that all protectors and superintendents of missions and reserves forward monthly reports to the Chief Protector. Forms were provided, including an ‘Order for Removal of Aboriginals’ [70] generated and signed by the relevant Minister, listing the names, districts between which people were removed, and the ‘offence and cause for Removal’.

51. A minimum wage was now set for all female Aboriginal and ‘half-castes’ from ages under twelve years (1/3 per week), to fourteen years and older (2/3 per week), and details given for the practice of ‘ pocket-money‘ (R11):

The odd threepences of such rates of wages shall be paid to the female Aboriginal or female half-caste weekly as pocket-money, and where the wages agreed upon are greater than the above rates of wages, sixpence shall be paid …

The remainder of the wage of those ‘in permanent lawful employment’ was to be paid to the protector ‘every three or six months as may be arranged’.

52. R12 dealt with the banking by protectors of Aboriginal wages ‘or other moneys’ belonging to Aboriginals or ‘half-castes’. These

shall be deposited in the names of such Aboriginals or half-castes, respectively, in the Government Savings Bank with himself as trustee. The protector may expend on behalf of any Aboriginal or half-caste money held by the protector in trust for such Aboriginal or half-caste, and the protector shall keep an account of all moneys so expended by him.

Such accounts must be ‘produced on demand’ to the Chief Protector of Aboriginals or other authorised officer.

53. In 1904 Dr Roth cancelled the ‘general’ work permits initiated by Archibald Meston, deeming they contravened the principles of the Protection Acts.[71] Almost 1900 individual work permits had been issued, including over 400 to women and girls. Protectors reported that many outlying pastoralists preferred Aboriginal workers over white stockmen, [72] and they were often in high demand. In some areas wages reached 30 shillings a month all found. Aboriginal wages held in the Government Savings Bank by December 1905 totalled over £1,561 for twenty protectorates. [73]

54. Following Dr Roth’s resignation in mid 1906, acting Chief Protector Richard Howard took over the office, a position he held until January 1914. Mr Howard noted in his Annual Report for 1913 [74] that although 147 girls were contracted out from the Brisbane office, the demand for domestic servants far outstripped availability. Wages for these domestics totalled over £1578, producing an increase in the bank account of £1381 after allowances for pocket-money. The government now held almost £2358 across 170 accounts for domestics, including the savings of several recently married girls.

55. Across the state, 2861 permanent agreements were issued for men, and 505 for women. Over £34,078 in 3849 accounts was ‘held in trust for the natives’ [75] by thirty-four protectors. Deposits of almost £18,232 represented only around half the wages earned, according to the Chief Protector, and withdrawals by workers of over £8712 ‘represent indirectly a large saving to the Department’ in expenditure on relief, food and clothing ‘which would have been otherwise a charge upon the Government’. [76] Protectors’ accounts were regularly inspected by Audit officers, and were found to be satisfactory ‘in the majority of cases’.

56. When Richard Howard retired in January 1914, the position of Chief Protector of Aboriginals went to John Bleakley, who had served in the department for six years, the latter two as deputy to Richard Howard. Mr Bleakley held the office of Chief Protector until mid 1941.

57. John Bleakly was determined to exploit Aboriginal labour potential: [77]

The demand for all classes of Aboriginal labour has been keen, and very little difficulty has been experienced in finding suitable and remunerative employment for any man or woman willing to work.

With reference to the ‘absurd and unfair’ disparity in wage rates among Aboriginal workers, ranging from 2/6 per week up to £1 weekly for similar work, the Chief Protector introduced ‘a graduated minimum wage scale’ in late 1914, ‘based on the average payments in the majority of fair wages districts’. Many employers had protested, but demand for Aboriginal labour remained strong.

58. Employers were also notified that Aboriginal workers were entitled to benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Acts, leading employers to be ‘more careful in their treatment of servants’, according to the Chief Protector.[78] Compensation ‘was paid through, and the disbursement controlled by, the Protector of the district’.[79] Annual Reports from 1923 reveal in many cases Aboriginal claimants were compensated at a lower rate: [80]

As native domestic conditions differ so from those of more civilised workers, the question of dependency is frequently difficult to decide, and the friendly co-operation of the Insurance Commissioner and his Claims Department with this office in arriving at a just and suitable settlement is worthy of appreciative mention.

59. The 1914 wage scale dramatically increased the average amount ‘held in trust for the natives’ to almost £10 in the 4529 controlled accounts. [81] Deposits totalling almost £20,764 seldom represented more than half of earnings, with the balance ‘returned in various ways to the owners’. When account holders died, the balance was used to benefit close relatives who were either family members or dependents at the time of death. If neither of these categories pertained, the funds could only legally be used ‘to any purpose which may be for the benefit of Aboriginals generally’. [82]

60. Among young girls removed ‘from unhealthy surroundings’ into official control, ‘suitable employment was readily found for all young girls of sufficient age’, with others sent to homes or reserves. [83] ‘Sufficient age’ denoted those ‘over school age and under marriageable age’. [84]

61. The ‘great demand’ for domestic servants brought £1930 in wages collected and banked, of which around 75 per cent was distributed in advances and expenditure. At the end of 1914, accounts for the 164 domestic servants held a balance of £2852. [85] Of the 45 girls working in the city and 92 in rural areas, thirteen had returned pregnant with illegitimate children: [86]

A few have returned to service, taking their children with them, and ten such girls at present are in situations at reduced wages, where the child is allowed to be with them.

62. During 1915 a further 419 bank accounts were opened, increasing by almost £12,500 the total credit balance, which now stood at almost £57,000 for 15,351 workers.[87] At the same time almost £13,000 ‘was returned in various ways to the earners’, terminology which suggests much of this was not in cash. Workers were also denied full access to their savings, the Chief Protector describing the system thus:[88]

the portion banked varies from one-fifth to two-thirds according to circumstances, averaging less than half the earnings, and more than 50 per cent of that is again returned to the worker … The policy of the Department is not to pauperise or spoonfeed the Aboriginals, but to educate them and raise them to higher planes in the social scale.

63. Indeed John Bleakley was totally opposed to calls that workers should have ‘free control of all their wages’. He noted that the compulsory banking system was a ‘saving to the State’, given that much of the compulsorily saved portion was allocated in ‘clothing and relief’ to those who were unemployed, a cost otherwise borne by the department. He argued that private Aboriginal savings should be available for general Aboriginal needs:[89]

It is quite consistent with present-day ideas that the self-supporting members of a community should understand and bear their fair share of responsibility for the maintenance of the helpless and indigent class … At the present time between £1500 and £1600 a year is issued in regular relief, from about 40 centres, to old camp blacks, most of whom are aged or helpless relatives of men earning wages in employment. This relief represents the minimum allowance necessary to supplement supplies from other sources and sustain life…

64. To ensure the elderly and those ‘in need of relief’ received ‘a larger portion of the benefits they are entitled to from their own relatives’, Mr Bleakley suggested a fund be built on fixed contributions of ‘say, 10 per cent of the compulsory banking deduction’, a measure he calculated would bring about £2500 a year to cover costs of general relief (66 per cent more than current expenditure). ‘Contributors in distress’ would also benefit from such a fund. Mr Bleakley argued that a precedent for such a contribution existed in the Torres Straits, where a 7.5 per cent levy operated, and on the government settlements, where a 20 per cent maintenance levy was taken from the banked wages. [90] (A relief fund was subsequently incorporated in the Regulations of 1919 – below.)

65. From 1915 the Chief Protector’s office claimed the Maternity Allowance for the ‘large number of women’ described as ‘half-caste (semi-white)’. ‘As far as possible’ the department supervised ‘proper utilisation’ of this allowance. [91]

66. From 1917, after military authorities accepted ‘half-castes’ into the Army, the Chief Protector ‘took steps to extend its protection’ by gaining control of the wages of Aboriginal soldiers [92]

… as trustee for the dependents of such men, to receive and control the allotments of wages made, and act as executor under the will.

This ‘proved so successful’ that a similar arrangement by 1920 allowed the Chief Protector to ‘take custody’ of war gratuity bonds, which were paid to the district protector as trustee in 14 cases. In a further 24 cases returned soldiers were allowed direct access to their gratuity ‘after inquiry into their circumstances and fitness to manage for themselves’. [93]

67. By February 1919, 5993 Aboriginal workers were contracted in private employment, supervised by 75 protectors around the state who were answerable to the Chief Protector. Around half of their wage, or approximately £32,500 per annum, was banked as ‘trust moneys’ in the Savings Bank whose balance was £78,000. Around £27,000 per annum of this annual portion was ‘withdrawn and spent by these workers’. [94] Each protector received individual wages and banked them to the worker’s credit, and also handled individual withdrawals according to his judgement of a worker’s request. The Chief Protector said: [95]

These District Protectors work under my directions with regard to the rates of wages and the proportion which they shall deduct and handle. They refer to me in all matters of extraordinary expenditure or withdrawals from these moneys.

Apart from the rural accounts of individual workers, the ‘Aboriginal Trust Accounts’ of workers contracted in and around Brisbane were kept at the Home Office which handled deposits and withdrawals.

68. Mr Bleakley was also responsible for the three government-run settlements holding 1400 inmates and 27 staff, in addition to oversight of ten church missions of 2,500 inmates. Through a local District Protector, he also controlled 2,400 Torres Strait Islanders and their 25 communal fishing vessels, plus 669 men in the pearling industry earning £5000 per annum.[96]

The 1919 Regulations

69. Regulations gazetted in June 1919 established the Aboriginal Provident Fund (APF), described as ‘a fund for relief of indigent natives’: [97]

A deduction of 5 per cent in the case of single men, and 2½ per cent in the case of married men, of the total wages earned shall be made by the local protector from the wages collected for all employees, except such as are already contributing to settlement funds.

Protectors sent this money to the Chief Protector for deposit in the newly formed APF.

70. In the absence of regulatory working conditions, treatment by many employers suggested they regarded Aboriginal workers ‘as a part of the stock or working plant [rather] than as a human being.’ [98] The 1919 Regulations set minimum requirements for food and food preparation, accommodation, furniture for mealtimes, toilet facilities, etc. Living quarters were to be distant from cattle and horse stalls, piggeries or rubbish areas. Hours were limited to 48 per week, with a half-day off per week or one day per fortnight. [99]

71. Demands by the Australian Workers Union (AWU) for ‘rates and conditions similar to those for white men’ in the pastoral industry were excepted from the 1918 McCawley Award on the grounds, as Chief Protector Bleakley later explained:[100]

His value as a worker was inferior to that of the white hand, as he lacked the sense of responsibility. Although he was equally entitled to a fair chance of earning a living, on the other hand it should not be at wages that would give him an unfair advantage over men subject to the Station Hands’ Award.

After a ‘lengthy conference’ between the Chief Protector, the United Graziers’ Association and the AWU, the Chief Protector was delegated to frame wages and working conditions. He decided that ‘a reasonable rate of wages, assessed at two-thirds of the rate’ for white employees, was ‘likely to be congenial’ to controlled Aborigines. This arrangement was later described as a ‘Gentleman’s agreement.’ [101]

72. Minimum wages were set for domestic workers, and workers on sugar farms were to be paid according to the rate set in the 1918 McCawley award (R1 h). Child labour was continued, although the 1919 Regulations required permission of the Chief Protector for employment of children under 12 years (R10). The portion of wages to be paid direct to the protector ‘or some official nominated by him’ ranged from 75 per cent for single men, 80 per cent for boys under 18 years, and between 33 – 50 per cent for men with families and dependents ‘according to circumstances’ (R1 (k)). These deductions could be varied by the protector to a minimum of 50 per cent for single, and 25 per cent for married workers. Wages not paid ‘in accordance with the terms of the agreement … shall be deemed not to have been paid’ (R2(i)).

73. The 1919 Regulations established the procedure for accounting for the portion of the wage known as ‘pocket money’, paid directly to the worker according to the terms of the work agreement (R 2 (ii) to (v)). A ‘pocket money book’ was to be kept by the employer and each payment or deduction had to be acknowledged by the worker and witnessed ‘by a third disinterested person’. Full details had to be provided to the worker before deductions were made for purchases from station or local stores. The book, and copies of store accounts, were to be sent six-monthly to the protector for his inspection.

74. The Chief Protector reported in 1919 that workers were ‘daily understanding better the value’ of the banking system, although in 1921 he dismissed criticisms of the compulsory deductions and the ‘large amount of money held in trust’, then almost £190,000, citing ‘the native’s improvident disposition’ and how easily workers could be defrauded. Given ‘fair play, fair treatment’, he concluded that an Aboriginal was ‘capable of becoming quite a useful citizen.’ [102]

75. A report into the sub-department of the Chief Protector of Aboriginals by the public service commissioner in late 1922 revealed several administrative anomalies. [103] While 73 ‘native’ wage earners were listed on the accounts of the three government settlements, their allocated wages were ‘divided amongst a much larger number’ (p10). With reference to the 83 police protectors (p22), then in control of 4438 savings bank accounts totalling £167,719 (p12) for around 8000 workers, the commissioners found that ‘fully 50 per cent’ of their calculations relating to Provident Fund deductions were ‘wrongly made’. Protectors remitted quarterly statements to head office showing the wages earned and amounts deducted (p22).

76. The Aboriginal Provident Fund rates had recently been reduced from the 5% and 2.5% stated in the 1919 Regulations, to 3% and 1.5%, a change the Commissioners acknowledged was sanctioned by the Minister although not yet formalised by Regulation. (Indeed, men ‘maintaining large families or numbers of dependents’ were exempted from the charge. [104]) The Commissioners also suggested that APF benefits ‘are only payable to contributors who are employees in the Protector’s districts’, rather than expended for Aboriginals generally under current procedure. While the Fund was intended ‘for relief of indigent natives’, and despite ongoing crippling droughts, [105] in fact only £253 of the £3000 income for 1922 had been allocated to relief needs. The Commissioners recommended rules be formulated ‘for the distribution of benefits’ from the Fund, whose balance stood at £8101 (pp23, 29). In 1923 £8000 from the APF was invested in Treasury Inscribed Stock, yielding interest at 5.25%.[106]

77. The balance of the Aboriginal Protection Property Account (APP) could similarly be used ‘for the benefit of Aboriginals generally’, but the Commissioners found that the account had been used as a suspense account for refunds and transfers by the Chief Protector. This Fund had received over £7000 since December 1920, and expended £5735 of which only £487 was distributed as deceased estates, against outlays of £1651 for capital improvements at the government’s Barambah settlement, and a loan of £500 to Yarrabah mission (p21). Use of this Fund ‘for mission maintenance purposes’ was described as ‘unsound even if the circumstances were special’ (p25).

78. The three government settlements kept accounts for the 1368 inmates, totalling almost £1130. Part of each wage was paid as pocket money, part deducted as a levy for settlement maintenance, and the balance ‘credited to the native accounts’ (p17). A ledger reflected withdrawals, usually for purchases from settlement stores by way of an order issued by the superintendent. Each settlement ran a savings bank account ‘for these Trust monies’, in lieu of individual bank accounts (p18). Superintendents sent monthly statements of wages received by workers to the Home Department, with a cheque for total collections. Bank interest on settlement accounts – totalling £319 in 1921 – was not credited to account holders but distributed by the Chief Protector ‘on Christmas luxuries’ for inmates (p20).

Despite sub-standard conditions endured by settlement inmates, from 1923 the government invested a major portion from the accumulated funds of each settlement.[107]

79. The Thursday Island protector operated under control of the Marine Department, supervising approximately 20 islands with an estimated population of 5000. The 550 savings bank accounts held around £7000 (p12). Under regulations gazetted in 1912 and amended in 1914, an Island Fund was established ‘for the general benefit of the Aboriginals living on each island reserve’ (p23, emphasis in the original). The Island Fund comprised any fines, penalties and taxes, a levy of 5% from wages of married men and 10% from wages of single men, plus 7.5% of net earnings ‘of every reserve- or native-owned boat’ deducted according to the scale of each catch. Such funds were controlled by the Thursday Island protector ‘who keeps a separate account for each reserve’ (p23), and could be spent on ‘food, clothing, and medicines’ for Torres Strait residents, and towards costs of building and boat repairs, buildings, wells ‘or other things required for the welfare of the natives’, as well as maintenance of prisoners (p24).

80. In 1926, outlays from the Aboriginal Protection Property Account included payments for capital works on the government settlements of Barambah (£645) and Palm Island (£1125). Following the practice of investing APF funds for additional revenue, the sum of £6000 was transferred from the APP into Treasury Inscribed Stock. [108]

81. During the 1920s, lack of police manpower and time meant that ‘efficient supervision of the working conditions’ in rural areas continued to remain ‘an impossibility’. In his Annual Reports, the Chief Protector said that breaches of regulations were ‘boldly committed’: [109]

… there are still employers who seem to believe that the Aboriginal should be content with worse housing conditions than they would provide for their pet horse, motor car, or prize cattle.

82. The young girls and women contracted to domestic service were similarly open to abuse, the Chief Protector conceding they were exposed to ‘many moral dangers’.[110] Inspections of the many country domestics were not possible for several years during the 1920s, so that observance of regulations had to be taken ‘on trust’.[111] The Chief Protector described the plight of Aboriginal domestics in European service as ‘almost friendless’, frequently lonely and suffering home-sickness.[112]

83. In 1928 the Chief Protector noted that controlled workers, including some domestics, had their own ‘small private savings bank accounts’ from saved ‘pocket money and other earnings’. [113] Even where workers were granted exemption from the Acts, if they had large savings these were ‘retained under the Department’s control of the department for a while to protect them from exploitation’. [114]

84. In 1930 the Station Hands Award was suspended to support employment during the Depression, and Aboriginal rates were reduced ‘correspondingly’. [115] The Chief Protector reported that the greater number of people ‘removed’ to government settlements was due to increased unemployment and the inability of families to ‘maintain themselves on their savings of pocket money received direct, about 40% of their wages’, [116] a comment confirming procedural restrictions to controlled personal savings. Even so, a breakdown of the figures shows that 62 of the 105 ‘removals’ were ‘for disciplinary reasons’ [117] (usually refusal to take up, or continue, contracted employment). Mr Bleakley conceded that many ‘unemployables manage to subsist fairly comfortably’ from hunting, trapping and shooting. [118]

85. As state revenue reduced, the Aboriginal trust funds were increasingly used to replace the depleted Vote. In addition to the customary drawing of large amounts for capital works and expenses, Annual Reports between 1930 and 1935 list payments from both the APF and the APP ‘to subsidise the Vote’.[119] In response to a question in parliament about the extent to which Aboriginal savings had been used during the Depression to subsidise the Vote, the Minister replied: ‘nil’, [120] following advice from the Chief Protector that ‘although withdrawn from deposits’ the Trust funds ‘were actually deductions from earnings’. [121]

86. Following suggestions by the Chief Protector, an investigation by the Public Service Commissioner in 1932 recommended more effective controls and more efficient utilisation of Aboriginal earnings. [122] Currently the 95 district protectors controlled 3954 accounts worth almost £274,000, yet these accounts were only checked once yearly by government auditors (pp 23,24). The Chief Protector himself undertook no ‘systematic inspectorial work’ due to an overwhelming load of correspondence in dealing with the 17,706 people under department control (pp3, 1). This ‘totally inadequate’ level of supervision of banking transactions allowed corruption to flourish (p24):

As the native could not, in many instances, check his own earnings and spendings, the opportunity for fraud existed to a greater extent than with any other Governmental accounts … pilfering was not done in large sums but in small amounts spread less noticeably over the numerous withdrawals by means of alterations of receipts.

The Chief Protector conceded that ‘the inability of the native to check his own earnings and spendings leaves the way too open to dishonesty.’ [123]

87. It was decided to transfer all the savings bank accounts to the Commonwealth Bank in Brisbane, in a new fund named the Queensland Aboriginals Account (S 2127). Notwithstanding entrenched poverty, the accumulated savings total of almost £300,000 was described as confirmation that the savings were ‘in excess of ordinary requirements’ and ‘more or less idle’.[124] The sum of £200,000 was immediately invested in Inscribed Stock through Treasury, following the practice since 1926 to generate revenue from ‘surplus’ savings of inmates held by government settlements. [125] Around £40,000 would be left in the main trust account, leaving only £15,000 in the local accounts of protectors, who would send monthly statements of wage collections while transferring bulk deposits to Brisbane. [126] According to the Under Secretary: ‘This will go a long way to minimise fraud by members of the Police Force who are Protectors’. [127]

88. The Chief Protector argued that ‘as far as can reasonably be expected’ controlled Aboriginals ‘should, from their own funds, meet the cost of relief and protection’. However [128]

For sentimental reasons, they should not be expected to pay for the whole cost of the protection machinery as well as the relief and benefits received by taxation from their earnings and savings; portion should fairly be borne by the governing race that dispossessed them of their country…

89. New strategies to generate revenue were canvassed, including exploiting interest of £2250 from invested savings, withholding bank interest on savings accounts in the guise of an administrative charge, setting a 40% profit margin on goods supplied through settlement stores, and imposing a 5% ‘administration and relief deduction’ from settlement accounts over £20 (p29). According to the Home Secretary, these measures to make the settlements ‘as nearly as possible self-supporting’ would also ‘make a better race of them’: [129]

At practically all institutions all building development and mechanical work is done entirely by native tradesmen. The girls are also utilised in all domestic branches, often occupying responsible positions as dormitory attendants, cooks, hospital wardsmaids, and seamstresses.

90. In addition to the proceeds of sales of produce and artefacts from the settlements, the Aboriginal Provident Fund received deductions from earnings, now re-set at 5% from single and 2.5% from earnings of married workers, plus 20% from earnings of settlement workers with outside employment as maintenance for their dependants – the latter deductions continuing until accounts fell to £20. All ‘contributions’ to the APF were ‘eventually’ transferred into the Standing Account to cover costs of sickness, relief, and ‘conduct of the settlement’, and it was said that effectively, the APF ceased to operate as a separate Trust Fund. [130] The Standing Account now also received 50% of holdings in the Aboriginal Protection Property, leaving the remainder to meet possible claims.

91. Challenging the Home Secretary’s insistence that seizure of bank interest was merely an administration charge, the member for Cook, James Kenny, protested against the inequity of levying ‘industrious natives to maintain their lazy brethren’: [131]

…The taxation laws do not extract the whole of the interest earned by the white race, nor have we yet reached the stage in the incidence of taxation where the white race is deprived of the whole of his interest as well as the control of his capital. The native is not at liberty to operate upon his capital account … Not only do the Government control the capital of the native; they also confiscate his interest…

The Home Secretary insisted it was government policy ‘that Aboriginal inmates of these stations must be made useful members of society’. [132]

92. In November 1935 the cash balance of Aboriginal savings stood at £44,475, with a further £228,060 transferred to investments. [133] The balance in the APP was £18,581, the APF £6222, and the Standing Account £8471. Savings bank interest transferred to the Standing Account in the three years to 1936 totalled £26,645. [134]

The 1934 Amendment Act

93. From the mid-1920s an annual census was taken nationally to determine the ‘number and distribution of full-blood Aboriginals, also separately for half-caste Aboriginals,’ [135] whose growing numbers were a cause of ‘grave concern’ in all States. [136] The underlying philosophy of ‘absorbing’ part-Aboriginal people into the ‘white’ community was said to be problematic in Queensland where around 70% of part-Aboriginal people were not of European background, but were descendents of ‘Asiatic or Polynesian breed’ and thereby not under existing legislative controls. [137] By their ‘close association’ with Aboriginals it was suggested this part-Aboriginal population acted ‘as agents in the spreading of disease and vice.’ [138]

94. In late 1934 Queensland parliament debated an Amendment Bill intended to give ‘greater control’ over ‘half-castes’ and ‘quadroons’ who lived with Aboriginal tribes, by widening the definition of ‘half-castes’. [139] The wider sweep of government purview also resolved concerns about venereal and contagious diseases identified in a series of surveys conducted in North Queensland by Dr Raphael Cilento.[140]

95. The Aborigines Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act Amendment Act of 1934 [141] redefined a ‘half-caste’ as the child or grandchild with one Aboriginal parent who lived or associated with Aboriginals, as well as someone of Pacific Islander heritage who lived or associated with Aboriginals. An ‘Aboriginal’ under the new legislation included ‘half-caste’ partners of Aboriginals living or associating with them; anyone deemed by the Minister unable to manage his/her own affairs; and any ‘half-caste’ deemed by the protector to be under 21 years of age (SS4,6).

96. Powers were continued to remove to and keep on a reserve an Aboriginal or ‘half-caste’ defined under the Act (S7), excepting someone married or living with a person not defined as under the Act, or the ‘half-caste’ child living with a parent not defined as under the Act (S10). Any Aboriginal or ‘half-caste’ deemed by the Minister to be ‘uncontrollable’ could be institutionalised (S21). Aboriginals and ‘half-castes’ could now be ordered by a protector to undergo a medical examination, which was now mandatory for any worker returning from employment in the maritime trades (SS12, 14).

97. The Will of an Aboriginal or ‘half-caste’ person, or any transfer of land or property, was now invalid unless approved and witnessed by a protector (S16), and protectors were empowered to inquire into employment disputes, either cancelling the agreement or ordering the employee to return to work (S15). The practice initiated under the 1901 Amendment Act of designating protectors as ‘public accountants’ under current Audit Acts was continued (S16).

98. Controls were extended over the finances of exempted persons by giving the Minister power to impose conditions ‘as he shall think fit’ (S24):

including a condition that all money or property belonging to such half-caste and held in trust for such half-caste by a Protector shall remain subject to the control of a Protector.

It was again stated that people with ‘fairly large bank balances’ were likely to have their finances controlled by the department after exemption. [142]

99. Exemptions were granted for those ‘where intelligence, self-reliance, and ambition to uplift themselves to better living conditions is found’. [143] Exemption applications required personal information including habitually associating with Aboriginals, drinking alcohol, level of education, ‘intelligent enough to protect himself in business dealings’, being thrifty and understanding the value of money, balance in Savings Bank, living ‘in a civilised manner’ and associating ‘usually’ with Europeans, of good character, steady in employment, and ‘industrious’. [144]

100. Among those ‘half-castes’ who were not previously ‘legally regarded as Aboriginals’ were male ‘half-castes’ in employment, who were now subjected to work contracts and regulated wages and savings. [145] In 1935 1238 men and 402 women worked under controlled agreements, [146] with an increasing number of boys under 16 years contracted from the northern missions to be ‘successfully trained’ by local station owners. [147] A further 86 women and 80 children were removed to missions and settlements, along with 111 men – all listed as among ‘undesirable, old, and inefficient natives’ who were ‘combed out’ of country areas. [148]

101. Regarding the growing ‘half-caste’ population, the government aimed to ‘pursue policy that would mean their gradual decontrol’: [149]

those who are capable and willing to strike out for themselves outside the settlements should be permitted to do so.

While the stated purpose of maintaining control of personal savings and withdrawals was ‘to educate them to thriftiness’ by protecting the ‘native owners’ from exploitation and extravagance so that they and their dependents ‘enjoy the fullest possible benefit from their own earnings,’ [150] £5500 was advanced from the ‘country savings bank account’ to relieve the ‘financial difficulties’ of the Aboriginal Industries Board in the Torres Strait. [151]

102. There was a concerted backlash against the widened government powers which now defined ‘any cross-breed of Aboriginal or Pacific Island descent’ as a ward of the department. [152] Those who were previously ‘free men’ feared they could now be removed to a government reserve, a point taken up by the press after a deputation on Thursday Island protested to the visiting attorney-general. [153]

The 1939 Aboriginals Preservation and Protection Act

103. Where the 1934 Amendment Act designated ‘all our coloured people as Aboriginals in order to check their circumstances, irrespective of whether they were Torres Strait islanders, mainlanders, or half-castes’, it was found that only a few in the expanded category ‘should be treated as Aboriginals’.[154] In 1939 separate laws were enacted to differentiate mainland Aboriginals from people of the Torres Strait, who did not need the same ‘strict control’.

104. The 1939 Torres Strait Islander Act [155] gave Islanders the right of self-government in domestic affairs, in recognition of the fact that ‘each tribe has had its own system of government, tribal laws, and customs’.[156] Torres Strait Islanders already ran pearling fleets and a boat-building industry, and were share-holders in a co-operative trading organisation. [157]

105. The 1939 Aboriginals Preservation and Protection Act [158] was intended to preserve the Aboriginal race, rather than merely protect it to prevent ‘the white people from abusing or destroying the race’. [159] Unless in regulated employment, all people designated as ‘Aboriginal’ under the Acts were confined on missions and settlements where they could be trained and ‘uplifted’ to become ‘valuable citizens’. [160]

106. Approximately 18,000 Aboriginals and ‘half-castes remained under state control in 1939, while around 2,400 people had been granted exemptions over the years.[161] Employment controls continued although it was claimed that ‘protectors never interfere with the employment’ of workers in rural areas, apart from oversight to ensure the rate and payment of wages. [162] The stated aim now was to remove from control all ‘half-castes who are capable of looking after their own affairs’. [163] The newly-designated Director of Native Affairs declared that the 1939 Act ‘automatically conferred freedom and full citizen rights’ on ‘civilised half-castes’ whose circumstances and associations qualified them for this privilege.[164]

107. The 1939 Act replaced the term ‘half-caste’ with ‘half-blood’, defined as a person not an Islander where only one parent had a ‘strain’ of Aboriginal blood, or one where both parents ‘have a strain of Aboriginal blood’ but themselves have between 25% and 50% ‘of Aboriginal blood’ (S4).

108. An ‘Aboriginal’ subject to the 1939 Act (S5) was one who lived on the mainland; one who had a ‘preponderance of the blood of Aboriginals’ as per S4; a ‘half-blood’ declared to need protection by a judge or police magistrate; a ‘half-blood’ who lived or associated with Aboriginals; the child of an Aboriginal mother; or someone living on a reserve other than an official.

109. The Director of Native Affairs was designated the legal guardian of ‘every Aboriginal child in the State’ under the age of 21 years regardless of living parents or relatives, and could exercise any power of a guardian including consent to marriage (S18). Written permission of the Director or protector was required for all marriages between Aboriginals (S19). The power to remove Aboriginals to a controlled reserve continued (S22), and protectors could now order the removal from town perimeters of any Aboriginal camp with police assistance (S21). Aboriginal customs or practices considered injurious to health ‘or a menace to the peace and good order of the reserve’ could be prohibited (S23).

110. Under continuing employment controls, a protector could direct that the whole or portion of the wage be paid to himself (S14 ss6). A protector was directed to ‘undertake the protection and management of the property of all Aboriginals’ in his district, and to ‘keep proper records and accounts of all moneys and other property and the proceeds thereof received or dealt with by him’. Consistent with directives since 1901, in the exercise of this management a protector was ‘deemed to be a public accountant’ with the meaning of current The Audit Acts (S16).

111. In his Annual Report for 1939, the Director summarised the new Act as enabling ‘the upliftment of the civilised half-castes’, the option for ‘full-bloods’ to be granted exemption from controls, and the ‘consolidation’ of existing powers [165]

for administration of native estates, for more effective government and development of Aboriginal reserves, for control of native trust funds &c.

112. S12 allowed for the making of regulations ‘from time to time’ for the administration of the Act, including establishment of ‘trust funds’ for Aboriginal savings, deceased estates, funds of missing Aboriginals, and unclaimed moneys. The 1939 Act also provided for the establishment of ‘a welfare fund for the general benefit of Aboriginals’, to be maintained through payments from the sale of produce on reserves, as well as (S12 ss9)

contributions by Aboriginals as may from time to time be prescribed, unclaimed moneys, and such other moneys as may from time to time be prescribed: the management, control, and disbursement of such fund.

113. Regulations under the 1939 Act were not gazetted until 1945. [166] Meanwhile, as successive Audit Reports warned between 1940 and 1943, the continued lack of regulations under the 1939 Act meant ‘no authority exists’ for the many financial dealings on private Aboriginal wages and savings. In addition, auditors advised that ‘the scale of wages and the settlement maintenance were not even covered by the regulations under the repealed Acts.’[167]

114. From June 1941 Aboriginal mothers, excepting those who lived a nomadic lifestyle, were eligibile for the new commonwealth child endowment payments. Endowment for children under 16 years was controlled through the Native Affairs department, the director describing the five shilling payment as ‘an immeasurable benefit to mothers and children’.[168] Individual accounts for mothers or endowees were opened in head office and by each protector.[169]

115. The Anglican and Presbyterian missions successfully applied to the Commonwealth government to be recognised as ‘institutions’ so the quarterly total payment would be transferred directly to them. They passed the full amount to mothers except where children were maintained in the dormitories. The Queensland government then reduced it’s annual grants to the mission boards by the equivalent amount of endowment income. [170]

116. In July 1943 the Treasury department established the Aborigines Welfare Fund to operate in place of the Standing Fund which had been used questionably for receipts and expenditure for settlement stores and sales. £51,000 was allocated in the appropriations budget in the 1943/44 year [171] although regulations for operation of the Welfare fund were not gazetted until mid-1945 (below).

117. During the war years Aboriginal workers from missions and settlements filled manpower shortages harvesting peanuts, cotton, sugar and maize, with over 4330 men and women employed during 1944 including 2800 in the pastoral industry.[172] Those employed under the commonwealth Manpower Scheme were paid award wages, controlled through the department. [173] Their wages were around £60,000 in 1945, with further earnings of £210,000 for pastoral workers.[174]

118. Food crop production intensified on the government settlements and surpluses were supplied to state institutions and the Military. [175] To foster the financial development of the southern settlements, cattle herds and agriculture were also developed. Vocational training was introduced for boys in woodwork, joinery, leather work and sheet metal, and for girls in domestic science and machine sewing. [176] The aim was to make the settlements financially independent. [177]

119. In January 1945 the department acquired a property near Cherbourg settlement to operate as an Aboriginal Training Farm, so young men learned the skills necessary for the rural industry ‘either as workers or land holders’.[178] The Training Farm was purchased through a ‘loan’ of £6400 from the Queensland Aboriginals Account,[179] and development costs were charged against the Welfare Fund rather than Treasury, despite protests by the deputy director that this Fund was ‘neither competent nor eligible’ to meet these costs. [180]

120. In 1946 the department acquired a second property near Woorabinda settlement. ‘Foleyvale’ was bought with government funds but working capital of £10,000 was provided from the Queensland Aboriginals Account. [181] The Welfare Fund was used for receipts and payments, and carried Foleyvale’s losses for the first six years.

The Aboriginal Regulations of 1945

121. Comprehensive regulations under the 1939 Act were gazetted in April 1945[182] establishing procedures for deductions from ‘gross earnings’ to ‘a welfare fund’. Workers not based on missions or settlements were levied 5% if single and 2.5% if married with dependants (S6ss1), to be deducted by the protector or superintendent ‘and duly accounted for’ (S10).

122. The Aboriginal Welfare Fund, established by the Treasurer ‘for the general benefit of Aboriginals’, absorbed the ‘surplus’ between investment and savings bank interest, as well as funds raised from settlement stores and farm sales, from communal settlement enterprises, and from collected fines or fees. The Welfare Fund also absorbed unclaimed money of deceased or missing Aboriginals (S9).

123. Bank interest seized by the government since 1932 (see para 89 above) was again credited to individual accounts held in the trust fund at the Commonwealth Savings Bank. The Director delegated his authority to operate on the accounts to protectors and superintendents ‘in their respective districts or reserves’ and ‘a complete record’ of all money deposited for individual Aboriginals ‘shall be kept’. The Director’s permission was required for withdrawals over £10, and reasons supplied to head office for withdrawals over £2 (S12). Regulations gazetted in 1955 increased these amounts to £20 and £10 respectively. [183]

124. Funds of deceased Aboriginals were transferred into an account termed ‘The Aboriginals Estates Trust Account’, as were funds of Aboriginals declared missing. Here they were held for five years, gaining bank interest, before transfer into the Aboriginal Welfare Fund (SS14-16).

125. The 1945 Regulations continued controls of contracted employment, setting pocket money procedures, minimum wages and requirements for food and accommodation, and maximum work hours matching those in the Station Hands Award (SHA) (SS55-75). While the Chief Protector’s letter of November 1943 had asserted Aboriginal wages were ‘assessed at two-thirds of the rate applicable to white employees’, [184] comparison with the newly gazetted scale showed head stockmen in 1945 were contracted at 48% the SHA rate (£2.5.0 compared to £4.12.0), and general stockmen at 42% the SHA rate (£1.10.0 compared to £3.12.0).

126. The 1945 Regulations greatly intensified supervision of those confined on missions and settlements through a range of multiple offences: failure to observe ‘habits of orderliness and cleanliness’, prohibition of dancing or playing card games without a permit, or doing anything that might disturb the ‘good order and discipline’ of a reserve. It was an offence to leave or try to escape from a reserve, or to be on a reserve without a permit. Inmates had to ‘deliver’ to authorities any possession on demand, including private correspondence, and complete a minimum of 32 hours unpaid work per week as ordered. The 1945 Regulations established on the settlements Aboriginal courts, Aboriginal councils, Aboriginal police and Aboriginal gaols – all subject to control of the superintendent and Director (SS19-52).

127. During the five years to 1948 an average of 100 people annually were granted exemption from the Aboriginal Acts, while a total of 26 exemptions were cancelled. By 1956 exemptions rose to 286, bringing the number exempted over the years to ‘at least 20,000’. An estimated 9804 Aboriginals, 7123 ‘half-bloods’, and 5663 Torres Strait Islanders were based on missions, settlements and country reserves. [185]

128. From May 1945 the savings bank accounts of the Cape York missions were incorporated into the Queensland Aboriginal Account in Brisbane. All wages were remitted to Brisbane and no withdrawals were authorised until the thumb-printed form had been verified by the Criminal Investigation Branch. Two years later these accounts were transferred to the control of the deputy Director of Native Affairs on Thursday Island, along with control for work agreements, wages, deductions of 5% and 10% for those with or without families on the missions, and authority over pocket money and withdrawals.[186]

129. In 1949 the head office of Native Affairs, and the Director, relocated to Thursday Island to impose ‘a greater measure of control, direction, and management’ in the Torres Strait and the missions of northern Queensland, given that around 15,000 of the estimated 20,000 Aboriginal and Islander population lived north of Townsville. [187]

130. Part of the new policy to co-ordinate mission activities in northern Queensland was to advance the industrial development on these reserves to provide a better standard of living for inmates. The ‘most important’ aim was to create a population which could operate as ‘a defence unit for the far north’.[188] In the early 1950s the government increased its subsidies to the poorly funded northern mission communities from £14,464 in 1950 to £58,212 in 1952. [189] The better funded government settlements meanwhile were being developed as ‘townships’ with amenities such as water supply and electricity, along with modernised housing.’[190]

131. From 1952 funding was provided for amenities on country reserves, the only locations available to Aboriginal families when between work contracts or in need of outpatient treatment. An additional amount of £3000 was announced for suitable accommodation at Normanton and Cooktown. [191] Government files show that over £2300 was ‘voluntarily’ contributed in 1954 via a 5% levy on the savings accounts of workers based in the Normanton protectorate, with their written consent, to replace the two sub-standard iron sheds catering for a ‘floating population of at least 50’ waiting for medical treatment or transport to work.

In the words of the Normanton protector, workers currently ‘receive little benefit’ from their savings, then totalling almost £76,000. [192]

132. In almost every year in the decade from 1946, Annual Reports described the supply of controlled Aboriginal labour as essential to the continuation of the pastoral industry and maritime industries. Demand for domestic servant girls from settlements and missions continued to outstrip supply.[193] In 1954 4500 Aboriginals were contracted to the pastoral industry, 1000 Islanders worked on pearling and trochus boats, 1300 Aboriginals and Islanders worked on their home settlements, and around 800 worked in private enterprise as carpenters, plumbers, labourers, nurses and domestics. [194]

133. By 1955 around 800 people had left the Torres Straits to work in north Queensland, many in cane cutting and on railway and main roads projects, reducing the maritime workforce to 850. The Queensland government unsuccessfully sought Commonwealth approval to allow recruitment of Papuan labour to fill the shortfall. [195]


134. In the decade from 1946 total savings under government control more than doubled from £399,131 in 1946 (including £259,000 invested) to £835,330 in 1956 (including £638,950 invested). [196] These deposits were ‘entirely the property of the individual Aboriginal, the Director of Native Affairs being trustee of the accounts.’ The director held a separate account for each individual with duplicates kept by the local protector in the worker’s district. [197]

135. Child endowment of almost £56,000 was collected by the department in 1950 for mothers controlled on the settlements, in the Torres Strait, and in country protectorates. An additional £10,000 per annum was anticipated after eligibility was extended to the first child in 1950. [198] The Director stated that Institutional endowment was ‘utilised solely for the benefit of the children’ providing ‘luxury foodstuffs, better type of clothing’, sporting equipment and books.[199] Educational trips, refrigerators, wirelesses and pianolas were also listed as purchases, while approval was sought to use these ‘accumulated Institution Funds’ for ‘playgrounds, recreation halls, parks, swimming pools.’[200] Each private endowment account was ‘closely checked’ to ensure the money was correctly spent.[201]

136. In May 1951 £2000 from the ‘ample’ child endowment funds held for Palm Island was used towards construction of a Child Welfare Centre. [202] Annual institutional endowment paid to the department by 1956 was almost £87,000. [203]

137. In the mid-1950s country protectors were directed to identify older Aboriginals not residing on controlled reserves who might be eligible for the Aged Pension, and apply to have them exempted from the Acts, a pre-requisite for the commonwealth payment. Protectors were instructed to continue financial management ‘even though exempted and not under Departmental control’. [204]

138. In September 1956 the 1945 regulations were amended to extend the capacity of the director or treasurer to invest the trust funds in ‘any local body’ as well as to ‘any Crown instrumentality’. [205] By December 1956 investments from Aboriginal savings in the Queensland Aboriginals Account included a loan of £50,000 to the Toowoomba Hospitals Board in addition to £433,000 in Inscribed Stock. By 1960, accounts list six hospital investments totalling £292,521 plus £220,300 and £60,000 invested in Inscribed Stock and a loan to Southern Electric Authority respectively. ‘Surplus interest’ from the loans in excess of the bank interest credited to the savings accounts, was added revenue to the Aboriginal Welfare Fund. [206]

139. In 1958 Queensland government policy was stated as ‘the ultimate assimilation of all Aboriginals and half-bloods into the State’s community life through ‘education and training.’ [207] In parliament the Minister reported that over 1000 people had been granted exemptions between 1953 and 1958,[208] bringing the number of those said to be ‘outside the control’ of the department of Native Affairs to 20,300, of the 37,400 Aboriginals and ‘part-blood’ Aboriginals in Queensland. [209] (This assertion ignored the practice of revoking exemptions, and controlling exempted accounts.)

140. While most workers lived on the pastoral stations or in the homes of their employers, around 1000 of the exempted Aboriginals were categorised in 1958 as ‘fringe dwellers demanding special consideration. [210] In 1948 the government had acquired land near Townsville on which to ‘provide permanent accommodation’ for hospital out-patients and for those passing through to employment.[211] (Palm Island institutional child endowment funds were used for this project: £8000 in 1954 and £3100 in 1957. [212]) Hostels for travelling workers also operated at Cairns and Thursday Island. [213]

141. Government funding to the eleven more remote missions was a fraction of that for the four government settlements: £286,473 for the 1960 financial year for the 4166 settlement inmates (almost £69 per head), compared to £187,658 for the 4455 mission inmates (£42 per head). [214] In July 1960 the government took over the Anglican mission at Yarrabah, initiating an intensive program to upgrade housing and amenities. [215]

142. From February 1960, commonwealth aged, invalid and widow’s pensions were extended to Aboriginals controlled by the state. Much of the bonus was retained by the government by freezing mission subsidies to reflect the additional income, [216] levying pensioners for ‘clothing and incidentals’, reducing indigent relief in rural areas, and withholding two-thirds of institutional pensions. [217]

143. State budget stringencies in 1959 included cuts to department funding and the increased loading of expenditure against the Aboriginal Welfare Fund which ‘under happier conditions would have been paid from the Vote’. [218] The government pressured the department to reduce settlement populations through evictions and a refusal to allow exempted individuals and families to return to the settlements. The director also said ‘white and near white children’ should not be allowed to remain on settlements ‘at the cost of the taxpayer’: [219]

You have to educate coloured people to make the sacrifice to have their children adopted and so give them the chance to enjoy the privileges of the white community.

144. Investments from the Queensland Aboriginal Account provided vital income, and the investment portfolio increasing £55,000 between 1960 and 1963/64 when investments totalled reached £652,324. The cash total in the QAA dropped $84,000 in the same period. Audit Reports show that between 1961 to 1964 the ‘Brisbane and country natives’ account was in deficit from $27,000 to $38,000. [220]

145. In addition to the intensifying economic imperative, political pressure mounted against Queensland’s restrictive controls in the early 1960s. In debate to change the Commonwealth Electoral Act in 1962 to include Aboriginal constituents, Queensland’s Aboriginal legislation was described as ‘the most restrictive’ in Australia: [221]

…no Aboriginal can be absolutely free, even if he is granted exemption from the provisions of the Aboriginals Act … The director, by order over his own signature, and without any reason, may withdraw the exemption and have the Aboriginal concerned removed to a place chosen by the director … There is power to exercise complete control over the children of Aborigines and over the property of Aborigines, and to inflict taxes…

146. Anticipating new legislation, the Queensland government decided to replace rationing on missions and settlements with a cash economy as ‘an incentive for residents to advance in grading and status.’ [222] The superintendent of Yarrabah settlement suggested payment of the basic wage, then £16/4/6 per week, but director Patrick Killoran proposed a wage of £12/10/- comprising £3 wage plus £7 ‘in value’ plus a 25% margin ‘for encouragement’.[223] (The award wage at that time for carpenters was $48. [224])

147. Minister Jack Pizzey dismissed mounting protests about the use of ‘so-called cheap labour’ on the reserves, insisting no award wages were contemplated for the communities which he described as ‘transition refuges and training institutions’. [225] The director confirmed the government had never guaranteed award wages for community workers, whom he described as being on ‘a work to earn pattern’ based on ability and attitudes. [226]

The 1965 Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders Affairs Act

148. While maintaining the restrictive system, Queensland’s1965 Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders Affairs Act [227] reversed much of the terminology of control in order to alter the ‘atmosphere’: from missions and settlements as institutions to communities, from the police protector or ‘Great White Father’ to the District Officer, from superintendents to managers. [228]

149. Those who were subject to the 1965 Act included ‘full-blood’ descendants of ‘indigenous inhabitants’ and descendants with a ‘preponderance of the blood’ of Aboriginals; their ‘part-Aborigine’ spouses, or someone living on an Aboriginal reserve except those ‘having no strain of Aboriginal blood’. A ‘part-Aborigine’ was a person with one parent defined as ‘full-blood’ and the other having ‘no strain of the blood’ of Aborigines, or a person with both parents having a ‘strain of the blood’ but themselves having between ‘twenty-five per centum’ and a ‘preponderance’ of Aboriginal blood (S6 ss1,ss2).

150. The new category of ‘assisted Aborigines’ included Aborigines, part-Aborigines, and those with ‘a strain of Aboriginal blood’ who usually lived on an Aboriginal reserve or were declared by a magistrate to be in need of care under the Act, and all children of ‘assisted Aborigines’ (S8). For a 12 month period, the Director could declare anyone ‘having a strain of Aboriginal blood’ to be an ‘assisted Aborigine’, including any child under seventeen years habitually living with them (S18, S19).

151. ‘Districts’ under the 1965 Act corresponded to each magistrate’s court district (rather than police district), and clerks of court became district officers (S12). Superintendents of Aboriginal reserves were renamed managers and appointed as assistant district officers. All were subject to the Director and responsible for administering the Act in their district (S12ss5, S13). Aboriginal councils, and Aboriginal courts, were established on reserves by the Governor in Council (S44).

152. All Aborigines living on reserves at the commencement of the Act would be issued with a certificate of entitlement to live on the reserve (S16). Such certificates could be cancelled by the Director thereby rendering the recipient non-assisted (S24), empowering the Director to evict protesters or ‘troublemakers’. Effectively, an Aboriginal was required ‘to have permission to live on his own land’. [229] The Director maintained the power to transfer a person to a reserve or, on the ‘recommendation’ of an Aboriginal or Island Court, from one reserve to another. Such forced relocations were now termed ‘Transfer Orders’ in place of ‘Removal Orders’ (S34; Form 9).

153. Aboriginal property would continue to be managed by a district officer if so requested by an assisted Aborigine or if the district officer considered that continued management was in the best interests of the property owner. Management of property could cease if the director agreed it was in the best interests of the assisted person, or on request by the assisted person, who had the further option of challenging refusal in a magistrates court (S27, S29).

The practice initiated under the 1901 Amendment Act of designating protectors as ‘public accountants’ under current Audit Acts was continued (S28).

The 1966 Regulations

154. Regulations gazetted in April 1966 [230] continued existing controls of Aboriginal lives, labour and finances. ‘All wages, property, or savings of assisted persons’ were paid into a ‘trust fund’ controlled by the Director who was commanded to keep ‘a complete record and account of all such moneys’, to be credited to a separate account ‘to each particular assisted person to whom they belong’ (S5).

155. The estates of deceased or missing persons continued to be transferred into a ‘trust fund’ under the Director’s control (S6). A form was supplied for the Application for Cessation of Management allowing an assisted Aboriginal or Islander to apply to a magistrate if the district officer refused to relinquish controls of his/her account (Form No 8).

156. Employment agreements continued to be obligatory for ‘assisted persons’ in work, for whom the whole or part wage or allowance could be appropriated by the district officer or manager ‘as Trustee for and on behalf of such assisted person’ (S73). Employers were directed to ‘maintain an exact record of all wages, allowances and other moneys’, and make regular payments as stated in the Memorandum of Agreement (SS96-102).

157. Employment regulations continued departmental direction over wage rates, food and accommodation requirements, and weekly working hours (SS71-95). The Memorandum of Agreement included the ‘pocket-money’ provision, dividing the ‘Rates of Pay’ into a ‘cash payment’ and a ‘bank allotment’ (Form 14).

158. The 1966 regulations continued the close supervision of the behaviour and conduct of inmates of missions and settlements: they were required to ‘obey all lawful instructions’ of officials, to refrain from any act ‘subversive of good order or discipline’ on a reserve. It was now an offence to enter or remain on a reserve without authority, or ‘to disturb the peace, harmony, order or discipline’ of the reserve. To breach the regulations was to risk being ‘summarily ejected’ from the community (SS 6, 7). Forms provided for Certificates of Entitlement to live on a reserve, either as an existing resident or by order of a magistrate or circuit court. Cancellation or refusal of these certificates could be challenged by application to a stipendiary magistrate (Form No 7).

159. An Amendment in November 1967 constituted the director as ‘a corporation sole’ under the name The Corporation of the Director of Aboriginal and Island Affairs: [231]

capable in law of suing and being sued … and, as trustee or as beneficial owner, of acquiring, holding, letting, leasing, alienating, conveying and otherwise dealing in property…

160. The national referendum held in May 1967 amended Australia’s Constitution to empower the Federal government to make laws for Aboriginal Australians, effectively allowing State powers to be overridden. [232]

The 1971 Aborigines Act

161. According to Mr Neville Hewitt, Minister for Conservation, Marine and Aboriginal Affairs, the 1965 Act was always intended to be transitional.[233] The newAborigines Act of 1971 [234] was ‘of a social welfare nature’ and also short-term: [235]

The Bill is designed to cease to have effect on the expiration of five years from the date of its commencement, unless circumstances of the future indicate that it should be continued.

162. The 1971 Aborigines Act defined an Aborigine as ‘a descendant of an indigenous inhabitant’ of Australia, other than the Torres Strait Islands (S5), which the Minister described as ‘self-identification as such’.[236] The Act abolished the category of ‘assisted Aborigines’ (S6) and allowed those living on reserves the freedom to leave voluntarily. Prospective community residents applied to the relevant Aboriginal Council for a permit (S19), however the Director’s consent was also required (S21), and the Director could individually revoke the permit (S25).

163. Management of Aboriginal property could continue upon application by the Aboriginal (SS37,38), however application to terminate management of property was at the Director’s discretion (S45, S46). (In 1974 this was amended to remove the director’s intervention provided the Aboriginal ‘is competent in law’ to apply for the release. [237]) Resumption of management of property was also at the Director’s discretion (S47), as was the ‘supervision’ of any agreement made by an Aboriginal managing his own property (S43). The practice initiated under the 1901 Amendment Act of designating protectors as ‘public accountants’ under current Audit Acts was continued (S38).

164. As at June 1971 the Queensland Aboriginal Account held a total of $1.523 million, including savings of ‘Brisbane and country natives’ of almost $1.2 million, and deceased estates of almost $137,000. Investments totalling $952,370 generated ‘surplus’ interest of $14,424. [238]

The 1972 Regulations

165. The 1972 Regulations [239] detailed the authorised transactions on the Aborigines Welfare Fund. Income included the ‘surplus interest’ earned on investments of Aboriginal savings above the bank interest rate, and ‘all amounts’ of institutional child endowment received from the department of Social Services (S4 ss1). (For the 1969 year the AWF received child endowment of £44,551 and expended £30,882. [240]) AWF expenditure included purchases of livestock and equipment for the department’s farms, goods for sale in community stores, and ‘wages administration and running expenses’ relating to these ventures (S2). [241]

166. Regulations continued the close supervision of reserve inmates who were bound to ‘obey all lawful instructions’, ‘conform to a reasonable standard of good conduct’, and refrain from detrimental behaviour (S10, S11). It was an offence to do anything ‘subversive of good order or discipline’ or bring anything onto the reserve that might be thought ‘likely to disturb the peace, harmony, order or discipline’ of the community (S12, S15).

167. Two of the five-members of Aboriginal Councils were appointed by the director. Councils were ‘responsible to the Manager’, and their by-laws required ministerial approval (S18, S19).

168. Employment controls continued for those whose property was managed by the department. An official receipt issued by the district officer was proof that an employer had paid ‘the whole or any part of the wages allowances or other moneys required to be paid’ (S73).

169. The Queensland Aboriginal Account at the Commonwealth Bank continued to receive ‘all moneys, being wages, property or savings’ of Aborigines under financial management which the Director held ‘as Trustee’ (S5):

A complete record and account of all such money deposited to the credit of such fund or funds shall be kept and such moneys shall be credited in a separate account, to each Aborigine to whom they belong.

Management of the accounts of deceased or missing Aborigines was also continued (S6), the department holding $145,335 in the ‘Assisted Persons Estate Trust Account’ in June 1972. [242]

170. Management of private finances continued if an Aboriginal applied to the district officer and at the director’s discretion. Such applications were executed in triplicate on the official form, which included provision to list ‘all members of the applicant’s family who should be supported by the applicant’ (S82 ss2). One copy was returned to the applicant (S81).

171. At June 1972 the QAA held just over $1.4 million including $1.128 million for ‘Brisbane and Country’ natives. Of this amount, investments and loans totalled $918,000, and $18,711 was ‘interest undistributed’. [243]

172. The 1972 Regulations mandated that award wages be paid for all Aboriginal workers, excepting those declared to be ‘aged infirm or slow’ at the Director’s discretion (S69). People living and working on Aboriginal reserves were also excluded from the Award wages requirement (S68).

173. During debates on the 1971 Aborigines Bill, the member for Barron River had objected that meagre community wages prevented inmates from acquiring the financial independence mandated for inclusion in the wider community:[244]

No Aborigine anywhere can play his full role in society, or even work towards playing such a role, if he does not receive adequate wages … [A community worker] does not earn enough money to enable him to move … No Aborigine can accept full responsibility, and cannot be expected to accept it, until he receives [full] wages.

(In 1972 the average wage on Palm Island was $19.33, [245] the basic wage was $41, and the award rate for labourers was $48.50. [246])

174. Private savings controlled by government in the mid 1970s totalled $881,435.[247]

175. In 1974, when wages for skilled workers on Palm Island were 55% the award rate, the Federated Engine Drivers’ and Firemens’ Association (FEDFA) challenged the payments in Queensland’s Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. The department argued payment was a ‘training allowance’ rather than a wage, and the commissioner found that the state’s industrial laws were over-ruled by the specifics of Aboriginal regulation S68.[248]

176. In January 1978 the Australian Workers Union (AWU) took industrial action against the department for non-payment of award wages on behalf of a skilled Yarrabah labourer who was paid around half the award rate. [249] The department argued that work on reserves was ‘community aid’ rather than employment, and the Cairns Industrial magistrate declared that S68 invalidated his jurisdiction.

177. This finding was challenged and overturned, the Industrial Court ruling the government had no right to refuse award wages to community workers.[250] This decision was consistent with legal opinion already held by the government from Senior Counsel and the Crown Solicitor who advised that ‘the award is relevant and binding’ and the government had ‘a liability to pay the award rate of wages’.[251]

178. Forced to gradually increase wages, the government directed that costs be covered by adjusting the ‘financial and other benefits in cash or kind’ of community residents so that ‘the total cost to the State remains at the existing level.’[252]

179. By May 1978, the Queensland government was also under mounting pressure from federal anti-discrimination laws to cease underpayment of community workers. [253] The government budget for community wages was $3.6 million less than for the guaranteed minimum wage and $6.85 million less than for award wages. [254]

180. In mid 1981, amid constant challenges by a range of unions, that the government agreed ‘in principle’ to pay community workers the minimum wage. [255] At this time, private savings controlled by government in 1981 totalled $454,558. [256]

181. The Audit Report for the 1985/86 year listed private savings of $990,686 remaining under government control in the Queensland Aboriginals Account. [257]

Award wages

182. Mindful that ‘the Government stands in a position of extreme liability’ on the issue of under-paid wages, in March 1986 it directed that award wages be phased in over a six-month period, the cost to be ‘accommodated within present funding to the department of Community Services by adjustment to work force numbers’. [258] At that time, employee numbers across government controlled communities totalled 902, compared to 1500 workers in 1981 and 2500 in 1976. [259]

183. In 1996 the coalition government rejected a recommendation by the Human Rights Commission that compensation of $7000 be paid to six Palm Island workers who had brought action for compensation for wages paid by the government at less than the award rate in the period between 1975 and 1984 (when the claims were initiated). [260] Following lodgement of the case with the Federal Court, the government conceded the wage discrimination, made a public apology, and paid each of the six claimants $7000 compensation. Wage history records were not made available to the claimants. The government later conceded wage deficits ranged between $8500 and $21,000′.[261]

184. By 1999, and in the absence of personal wage history records, a further 15 claimants had settled actions against the government for between $4000 and $7000. Department records showed an estimated underpayment averaging $13,000, the highest loss being $27,000. [262]

185. In 1999, with an additional 380 claims pending in the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Queensland’s labor government made $25 million available to extend the payment to an estimated 3500 previously underpaid Aboriginal workers on government-controlled communities. No claim could be made for workers deceased prior to 31 May 1999, and payment was conditional on a government indemnity against further legal action. [263] As before, wage histories were not provided to claimants. Ultimately just over $40 million compensation was paid to around 5700 workers for under award wages.

186. In 2004 the government settled an action by two workers on mission-controlled communities, who each claimed around $100,000 as compensation for under award wages. [264]

187. In 2005 the Federal Court decided against residents of two former Lutheran missions who claimed they had been illegally underpaid by the government. Even so, the judge noted: [265]

At least after the decision in the Murgha case the Government was aware that indigenous workers on reserves were entitled to award wages. … it is of grave concern that the Government should have chosen to ignore breaches of both Queensland and Commonwealth legislation. This is particularly so when it was at the expense of vulnerable citizens.

188. In 2006 the decision was successfully appealed. [266] The government agreed to pay damages calculated according to each individual’s documented work history; payments ranged (including interest) up to $85,000.[267] Ultimately almost $6 million was paid out to former mission workers. [268]

The Stolen Wages

189. By May 2002 the Beattie labor government had spent over $1.5 million preparing its defence against 4000 potential litigants waiting to sue for Stolen Wages, being Indigenous wages and savings missing after decades of management by former Queensland governments under ‘legislative regimes that controlled virtually all aspects of their lives.’ [269]

190. Conceding it was ‘impossible to know how much people were owed’, the premier committed $55.6 million in compensation. Those older than 56 years would be paid $4000, those between 50 and 56 years would get $2000; claims could not be made for workers deceased before May 2002. There would be no admission of legal liability, and payments were again conditional on indemnifying the government against further legal action. Again, there was no suggestion that claimants might access government records generated in their names.

191. The government anticipated there would be around 16,400 claimants. After widespread disgust at the small payment and the demand to foreclose legal options, only 8761 claims had been lodged when the scheme closed in January 2006. Of these, almost 37 per cent were deemed ineligible, the department finding no surviving records to substantiate them. $19.1 million was distributed among the 5413 successful claimants. [270]

192. In August 2008 the scheme was re-opened and payouts increased to $7000 and $3500. When the extended offer closed in June 2010, 5779 eligible claimants had been paid $35.5 million. [271] Around $20 million remained unclaimed of the Stolen Wages offer of 2002.

193. In November 2008 $15 million of the unallocated Stolen Wages reparations was merged with $10.8 million remaining in the Aboriginal Welfare Fund (frozen since 1993) to establish the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Foundation, generating interest to provide education scholarsips.[272]

194. After intensive community lobbying, in December 2015 the Palaszczuk labor government re-allocated the unspent $21 million of Stolen Wages reparations, increasing payouts to $9,200 and $4,600 to those ‘who had been robbed of their wages by previous governments’. [273] Eligibility again depended on surviving government records of personal working lives. The scheme closes in September 2017. [274]

195. In 2009 Yarrabah labourer Conrad Yeatman lodged legal action in Queensland’s District Court to recover missing wages and savings. His case was dismissed in 2014, the judge granting a permanent stay on the grounds that almost no financial documentation could be produced against which the claims could be tested. [275]


[1] Queensland Parliamentary Debates [QPD] , 1939 Sep 20, p484.

[2] State Library of Queensland, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island missions and reserves in Queensland.

[3] In 1861 the Queensland government Select Committee reported on ‘charges of unnecessary cruelty’ in the dealings of the Native Police against Aboriginals. ( http:// p2); in 1883 colonial historian George Rusden described the force as ‘a mere machine for murder’ ( History of Australia , vol 3, p231).

[4] Queensland Votes and Proceedings [QVP] , ‘Aborigines of Queensland’, 1874, Vol 2, p 440.

[5] ibid.

[7] op cit, ‘Aborigines of Queensland’, 1874, p441.

[8] Kathy Frankland, Queensland Department of Communities, ‘A Brief History of Government Administration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Queensland’, p2.

[9] The Way We Civilise; Black and White; The Native Police: A Series of Articles and Letters reprinted from the ‘Queenslander’, G and J Black, 1880.

[10] ibid, p43.

[11] ibid, p44.

[12] ibid, p34.

[13] ibid, p31.

[14] ibid, 47.

[15] Meston, A, 1895, p3. (Attachment 1)

[16] ibid, p4.

[17] ibid.

[18] QVP , 1896 Vol IV, pp725-742, ‘Report on the Aboriginals of Queensland’.

[19] ibid, p727.

[20] ibid, p728.

[21] ibid, p736.

[22] Mapoon, founded 1891 on west coast of Cape York Peninsula; Cape Bedford (now Hopevale) founded 1886 north of Cooktown; Bloomfield River (now Wujal Wujal) founded 1886 south of Cooktown; Cape Grafton (now Yarrabah) founded 1892 near Cairns; Deebing Creek founded 1887 near Ipswich.

[23] ‘Report on the Aboriginals of Queensland’, op cit, p736.

[24] ibid, p737.

[25] ibid, p729.

[26] ibid, p737.

[28] ibid, p1541.

[29] ibid, p1628.

[30] ibid, p1626.

[31] ibid, p1539.

[32] ibid, p1630.

[33] ibid, p1541.

[34] ibid, p1630.

[35] Industrial and Reformatory Schools Act 1865 , 29 Vic No 8, S6 (7).

[36] op cit, QPD, 1897 Nov 18, p1630.

[37] op cit, QPD, 1897 Nov 15, p1548; Royal Commission to Inquire into the Workings of the Pearl-Shell and Bêche-de-mer Industries. Queensland Parliamentary Papers, Vol. II, 1908.

[39] QVP , 1900, Report of the Northern Protector of Aboriginals for 1899.

[40] ibid, p15, Appendix C.

[41] ibid, p13.

[42] ibid, p14.

[43] ibid, p13.

[44] 48 Vic No 20. (Attachment 2)

[52] ibid, p212.

[53] ibid, p218.

[55] ibid, p1138.

[56] ibid, p1139.

[57] ibid, p1142.

[58] ibid, p1143.

[59] ibid, p1142.

[61] QPP , 1902 Vol 1, Report of the southern Protector of Aboriginals . (Attachment 3)

[62] QPP, Annual Report of the Northern Protector of Aboriginals for 1902.

[63] Cape Bedford (later Hopevale) 22, Mapoon 28, Yarrabah 58, Weipa 36.

[64] In 1903 Dr Roth sought an opinion from the Crown Solicitor, who found that education was not limited to white children, and that all Aboriginal and ‘half-caste’ were included in provisions of the Education Acts.

[QPP, Annual Report of the Chief Protector of Aboriginals for 1905, p 18. ]

[65] Queensland Government Gazette [QGG], 1904 Regulations, Reg 14. (Attachment 4)

[66] QPP, 1903, Annual Report of the Northern Protector of Aboriginals for 1903, p2.

[67] ibid, p2.

[68] ibid, p2.

[69] QGG 26.3.04 op cit, Regulation 3. (Attachment 4)

[70] ibid, Form K.

[72] ibid, p2.

[75] ibid, p 7.

[76] ibid.

[77] ibid, p4.

[78] ibid.

[81] op cit, 1914, Annual Report, p6.

[82] ibid.

[83] ibid, p 8.

[85] op cit, 1914, Annual Report. p9.

[86] ibid, p9.

[87] op cit, 1915, Annual Report, p4.

[88] ibid, p5.

[89] ibid, p5.

[90] ibid, pp5, 6.

[91] ibid, p9. Commonwealth Maternity Allowances were initiated in 1912.

[92] QPP , 1917, Annual Report, p4 (Attachment 5); 1918, Annual Report, p 4.

[94] QPP, 1919-20 Vol 1, ‘Royal Commission on Classification of Officers of the Public Service’, Minutes in Evidence, John William Bleakley, p460. (Attachment 6)

[95] ibid.

[96] ibid, p459.

[97] QGG , 6.6.19, regulation 1 (l). (Attachment 7)

[98] op cit, QPP, 1918, Annual Report, p4.

[99] QGG 1919, op cit, Regulations 3, 4, 5.

[100] Bleakley, J W, The Aborigines of Australia, 1961, p171. (Attachment 8)

[101] Queensland State Archives (QSA) 1B/25 22.11.43 (Attachment 9). Director of Native Affairs to Under Secretary, Department of Health and Home Affairs, p2. ‘The majority of Aboriginals under agreement are employed in the pastoral industry. While the Station Hands Award – State specifically exempts Aboriginals from its provision, such exemption was agreed to by the Australian Workers’ Union conditional that a reasonable rate of wages, assessed at two-thirds of the rate applicable to white employees, being the relative assessment of earning value of white to black, was paid. The Department, with exceptions favouring the Aboriginal, abides by this “Gentleman’s agreement”.

[103] QSA A/69452, November/December 1922, Report on the office of the Chief Protector of Aboriginals. (Attachment 10)

[105] ibid, p3.

[107] QPP , 1926, Annual Report, p4: Barambah £3000, Palm Island £4000, Taroom £1000.

[108] ibid, p11.

[109] op cit, QPP, 1921, 1922, 1923, Annual Reports, p3; 1924 Annual Report p3

[110] op cit, QPP, 1919, Annual Report, p6.

[113] op cit, QPP, 1928, Annual Report, pp3,5.

[119] From the APF: £2584 (1930), £8173 (1931), £7977 (1932), £1949 (1933), £4189 ‘for development missions and settlements’ (1934). From the APP: £5288 (1931), £6473 (1932), £3230 plus £733 to the Standing Account (1933), £4726 (1934) and £2204 (1935) for development missions and settlements.

[121] QSA A/70627 6.11.35. (Attachment 11)

[122] QSA A/58856 ‘Report on the Office of the Chief Protector of Aboriginals’, August/September 1932. (Attachment 12)

[123] ibid, Appendix A, 24.8.32 letter to Home Secretary.

[124] ibid, 15.3.33 Under Secretary to Premier and Treasurer.

[125] ibid, 19.9.31. Current investments were Barambah £2000, Palm Island £4000, Woorabinda £1000.

[126] ibid, 24.8.32 Chief Protector to Under Secretary.

[127] ibid, 14.3.33.

[128] ibid, Appendix B, Chief Protector, Memorandum.

[131] ibid.

[133] QPP , 1935, Annual Report, p5. £200,000 from ‘country’ bank accounts, £12,000 from settlement bank accounts, £14,000 from the APP, £2060 from the APF.

[135] op cit, 1927, Annual Report, p3.

[136] op cit, 1932, Annual Report, p9.

[137] ibid, p10.

[138] ibid, p7.

[140] op cit, 1932, Annual Report, p7; op cit, QPD 1934 Nov 20, p1555.

[142] QPP , 1938, Annual Report, p11. (Attachment 13)

[143] op cit, 1935, Annual Report, p12.

[144] Application by Half-caste for Exemption from the Provisions of the Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act. [Lodged in 1930] (Attachment 14)

[146] op cit, 1935, Annual Report, p4.

[147] op cit, 1938, Annual Report, p4.

[148] op cit, 1935, Annual Report, pp11,7.

[150] QSA A/58638 11.5.38. (Attachment 15)

[151] op cit, 1938, Annual Report, p4.

[152] op cit, 1935, Annual Report, p4.

[153] The Courier-Mail , 6.7.35 ‘Whites become Blacks’. (Attachment 16)

[156] QPD, 1939 Sept 19, op cit, pp464,463.

[157] ibid, p465.

[159] op cit, QPD, 1939 Sept 19, p454.

[160] ibid, p455.

[161] ibid, p454.

[163] op cit, QPD, 1939 Sept 19, p462.

[165] ibid.

[166] QGG Vol 64, 23.4.45. (Attachment 17)

[167] QSA 1B/12 Audit Report 1940, p3. (Attachment 18)

[169] QSA 1B/23 Audit Report 1941, p4. (Attachment 19)

[170] Presbyterian Church Queensland Archives. Aboriginal Missions Committee, Correspondence Box 1942 (1); 29.6.42 Secretary for Aboriginal Missions Dan Brown to Mrs Balfour, Aboriginal Missions Auxiliary (Attachment 20);

[171] 1991, March The Consultancy Bureau, Final Report. Investigation of the Aborigines Welfare Fund and the Aboriginal Accounts , p21. (Attachment 21)

[175] op cit, 1943, Annual Report, p1.

[176] op cit, 1944, Annual Report, p2.

[177] op cit, 1945, Annual Report, p1.

[178] ibid, p2.

[179] QSA 1B/30, Audit Report 1944-45, p9. (Attachment 22)

[180] QSA 4H/10 23.6.47. (Attachment 23)

[181] QSA 1B/31, Audit Report 1946-47, p11. (Attachment 24)

[182] QGG Vol 64 23.4.45, op cit. (Attachment 17)

[183] QGG No 49, 9.6.55. (Attachment 25)

[184] QSA 1B/25 22.11.43 op cit, letter accompanying Audit Report 1943-43. (Attachment 9)

[186] QSA 1E/33 31.4.45, 22.7.47. (Attachment 26)

[188] op cit, 1948, Annual Report, p2.

[190] op cit, 1949, Annual Report, p2.

[192] QSA 7C/3 23.4.52; 8.4.54. (Attachment 27)

[196] QPP , 1946, Annual Report, 14; ;

op cit, 1956 Annual Report, p8.

[197] ibid, 1956, Annual Report, p8.

[198] Endowment of 5/- was paid for the first child and 10/- for each subsequent child.

[199] This misleading comment belied the deadly conditions on government settlements. In the years 1940-45 the neonatal (birth to 2 years) mortality rate on Palm Island was over 39%. Many overcrowded huts lacked furniture or kitchens, cooking was done in the open. The main diet was damper and meat. No refrigeration or safes to store food. No water for showers or washing; only untreated water from shallow wells for drinking. [QSA 3D/16 13.7.45 Dr A Fryberg, State Health Officer (Attachment 28)]

[200] QSA A/55329 30.5.49. (Attachment 29)

[202] QSA A/58865 1.9.52. (Attachment 30)

[203] op cit, 1956, Annual Report, p9.

[204] QSA 1A/97 8.11.56. (Attachment 31)

[205] QGG No 14, 15.9.56, p186. (Attachment 32)

[206] QSA 1B/45 Audit Report 1956 p 3; 1B/53 Audit Report 1960 pp2,3 (Attachment 33)

[210] op cit, 1958, Annual Report, p1; QPP, 1959, Annual Report, p8.

[212] QSA 1A/432 13.10.89 letter and summary. (Attachment 34)

[213] QPP , 1960, Annual Report, p2. (Attachment 35)

[216] QSA 1A/467 17.3.59. (Attachment 36)

[217] QSA 1A/467 6.4.65, 13.4.65 (Attachment 37a). Pension income going ‘direct to Revenue’ was £30,000 in 1960 [QSA 1C/88 12.10.60 Superintendents’ Conference p4 (Attachment 37b), £38,773 in 1962/63 and £42,323 in 1963/64.

[218] ibid, 11.10.60 p2.

[219] ibid, second session, p1.

[220] QSA 1B/55 Audit Report 1961/62 p1; 1B/59 Audit Report 1962/63 p1; 1B/63 Audit Report 1963/64 p1 (Attachment 38)

[221] Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates , 30.3.62, p 887. Labor MP Gordon Bryant, vice-president of the Federal Council for Aboriginal Advancement.;page=0;query=Id%3A%22hansard80%2Fhansardr80%2F1962-04-12%2F0150%22

[222] QSA 15A/101 13.1.65. (Attachment 39)

[223] ibid, 27.1.66. (Attachment 40)

[224] QSA 1C/110 15.3.66. (Attachment 41) Decimal currency was introduced in February 1966.

[226] QSA 15A/101 6.6.68. (Attachment 42)

[228] op cit, QPD 1964-65, April 1, p3155.

[230] QGG 30.4.66. (Attachment 43)

[232] op cit, QPD, 17.11.71, p1937.

[233] ibid, QPD, 17.11.71, p1916.

[235] ibid, p2153.

[236] ibid, p2154.

[238] QSA 1B/86 Audit Report 1970-71. (Attachment 44)

[239] QGG, 2.12.72. (Attachment 45)

[240] Consultancy Bureau Report , op cit, Attachment 2 The Aborigines Welfare Fund.

[241] The government continued to operate on the AWF until 1993, when it was frozen following community protests. Queensland Government Response to Stolen Wages Taskforce Report, pp 10, 11.

[242] QSA TR1821/1:398 Audit Report 1971/72, p A5. (Attachment 46)

[243] ibid.

[244] op cit, QPD, 17.11.71, p1928.

[245] QSA 3A/276 11.2.72. (Attachment 47)

[247] QSA TR1821/2:418 Audit Report 1974/75, Annexure 4. (Attachment 48)

[248] QSA 1C/110 5.12.74 The Australian; 5.12.74 Transcript of hearing. At that time the department’s community wages budget was almost $1.6 million less than if minimum wages had been paid. [QSA 1D/608 undated assessment, ca 1974] (Attachment 49)

[249] QSA 1C/110 5.1.78. (Attachment 50)

[250] QSA 1C/110 29.5.79. (Attachment 51)

[251] QSA 1C/110 2.2.79. (Attachment 52)

[252] QSA 1C/110 12.6.79. (Attachment 53)

[253] The Racial Discrimination Act (No 52, 1975)

The Queensland Discriminatory Laws Act (No 75, 1975), ;

and The Queensland Reserves and Communities Self-Management Act (No 11, 1978) .

[254] QSA 1C/110 2.5.78. (Attachment 54)

[255] QSA 1C/110 14.5.81. (Attachment 55)

[256] QSA TR1821:472 Audit Report 1980/81, Annexure 28. (Attachment 56)

[257] AWF Branch Box 05263 Audit Report 1985/86, Annexure 14. (Attachment 57)

[258] QSA 1C/110 6.3.86, 12.3.86. (Attachment 58)

[259] QSA 1C/110 27.2.86. (Attachment 59)

[260] The Commission concluded that the government had ‘intentionally, deliberately and knowingly’ underpaid the claimants. HREOC Decision No H95/74-80, H96/88, 24.9.96.

[261] Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Unfinished business: Indigenous stolen wages, 7.12.06, chapter 7 at para 7.8.

[262] DATSIPD, (year only given) 1999, Minister Judy Spence, Draft Policy Submission, paras 9, 12, 14, 32. (Attachment 60)

[264] Pollard v State of Queensland QUD 60/2002; The Courier-Mail 28.11.02. (Attachment 61)

[267] Queensland Government Response to the Stolen Wages Reparations Taskforce Report, ‘Reconciling Past Injustice’ , May 2016, p4.

[268] ibid.

[270] Unfinished business: Indigenous stolen wages, Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Report, op cit, chapter 7 at 7.20.

[273] Media Statement by Minister of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Parnerhips, 12.3.16.

[275] District Court of Queensland No 2309 of 2009; Judgment 28.5.14. (Attachment 62)

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