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Protector of Aborigines

Wikipedia:
Concerns about the outcomes of interaction between Western Australian Aborigines and European settlers led to the creation of two Protector of Aborigines positions in 1839. One position was based in Perth, and the other in York.

Captain Gayner, Protector of Aborigines, 1839–1840
Charles Augustus John Symmons, Protector of Aborigines (Perth), 1839–1858
Peter Barrow, Protector of Aborigines (York), 1840–1841
Rivett Henry Bland, Protector of Aborigines (York), 1841–1848
Walkinshaw Cowan, Protector of Aborigines (York), 1848–1858
Thomas Newte Yule, Acting Protector of Aborigines (York), 1855
The two Protector roles were abolished at the end of 1858 because it was thought that there was then good concord between the Aborigines and the Europeans of the colony. In particular, the Europeans were now making less complaints.

In 1882, the concerns of people like John Gribble led to the WA Government commissioning the Fairburn Report into the welfare of Aborigines. This revealed slavery of Aborigines on European-run farms and other abuses.

The Aborigines Protection Act 1886 was passed in response. It made it illegal for employers to employ an Aborigine without there being an independently witnessed written contract. The contract could be no longer than 12 months. It also required employers to provide these contracted employees with food, clothing, blankets and annual leave. But there was no requirement for monetary payment. The act also aimed to greatly increase government control over the lives of Aborigines, particularly those deemed to be "half-castes". The Aborigines Protection Board was established in 1887 to achieve the act's aims. The board employed a number of local protectors across the state to afford protection. The Aborigines Act 1889 made further changes.

Malcolm Fraser, Chairman of the Aborigines Protection Board, 1887–1891
Octavius Burt, Acting Chairman of the Aborigines Protection Board, 1890
Tim Hooley, Chairman of the Aborigines Protection Board, 1891–1892
George Walpole Leake, Chairman of the Aborigines Protection Board, 1892–1896
Dr Alfred Waylen, Chairman of the Aborigines Protection Board, 1896–1898

The Aborigines Act 1897 replaced the board with a new Chief Protector of Aborigines and the Aborigines Department from 1 April 1898. The department was given further powers by the Aborigines Act 1905. The Chief Protector was the legal guardian of every Aboriginal child in Western Australia to the age of 16 years with the power to remove Aboriginal children from their families and place them in Homes or in "service" (work).

The Moseley Royal Commission was set up in 1934 to examine proposals to extend the powers of the Chief Protector, and the policy of removal of children from their parents. Agitation by critics, and the resulting media coverage in London, and locally, had drawn attention to the welfare of Aborigines in the state. A series of submissions detailed accusations of child slavery, abuse and mistreatment, and evidence was given by mothers of children who had been removed from them. The commission produced a report citing problems with the current policy, and concluded that the recommendations of Chief Protector Neville be followed.

In response, the Native Administration Act 1936 made changes. The department was renamed the Department of the Native Affairs, and the department's Commissioner was now the legal guardian of every Aboriginal person in Western Australia to the age of 21 years. The Child Welfare Act 1947 allowed for Indigenous children to be made "wards of the state" and be outside of these powers.

The Native Welfare Act 1954 evolved this department into the Department of Native Welfare. From 1963, the Commissioner ceased to be guardian of Aboriginal young people, and instead became responsible for their "custody, maintenance and education." The department became part of the multiracial Department of Community Welfare in 1972.

Henry Charles Prinsep, Chief Protector of Aborigines, 1898–1907
Charles Frederick Gale, Chief Protector of Aborigines, 1907–1915
Auber Octavius Neville, Chief Protector of Aborigines, 1915–1936; Commissioner of Native Affairs, 1936–1940
Francis Illingworth Bray, Commissioner of Native Affairs, 1940–1947
Charles Lewis McBeath, Acting Commissioner of Native Affairs, 1947–1948
Stanley Guise Middleton, Commissioner of Native Affairs, 1948–1955; Commissioner of Native Welfare, 1955–1962
Frank Ellis Gare, Commissioner of Native Welfare, 1962–1972


Henry Charles Prinsep was the first Chief Protector of Aborigines from 1 April 1898. This role was without any legal authority until the passage of the Aborigines Act 1905. Under the 1905 legislation, the position of the Chief Protector was formally established.

A. O. Neville was a notable Chief Protector of Aborigines and later Commissioner of Native Affairs in Western Australia, and was in office from 1915 to 1940.

The Chief Protector of Aborigines was an official role first held in 1898. The Aborigines Act 1897 abolished the Aborigines Protection Board, and created both the Aborigines Department and its head, the Chief Protector. The role was given legal authority by the Aborigines Act 1905. The Chief Protector was the legal guardian of every Aboriginal child in Western Australia to the age of 16 years with the power to remove Aboriginal children from their families and place them in Homes or in 'service' (work). The role Chief Protector became the Commissioner for Native Affairs in 1936.

The Commissioner for Native Affairs was an official role created by the Native Administration Act 1936, replacing the Chief Protector of Aborigines. The 1936 Act also created the Department of the Native Affairs, of which the Commissioner was head, and extended the powers of that role. The Commissioner was the legal guardian of every Aboriginal child in Western Australia to the age of 21 years. He had the power to remove all Aboriginal children, even if they had a 'legitimate' parent or relative, and place them in Homes as part of assimlation policies. The Commissioner for Native Affairs was replaced by the Commissioner of Native Welfare in 1954.

The Commissioner of Native Welfare was an official role created by the Native Welfare Act 1954, replacing the Commissioner for Native Affairs. The Commissioner was the head of the Department of Native Welfare, and the legal guardian of every Aboriginal child in Western Australia to the age of 21 years, except those children made wards of state by the Child Welfare Act 1947. He had the power to remove Aborignal children and place them in Homes or in 'service' (work). The Commissioner ceased to be guardian of Aboriginal chidlren from 1963, and became responsible for their 'custody, maintenance and education'. The role of Commissioner ended with the creation of the Department of Community Welfare in 1972.

The Department for Community Welfare was established in 1972, and was the key government organisation responsible for child welfare in Western Australia. It took over the Child Welfare Department and the responslbilities to Aboriginal children held by the Department of Native Welfare and Commissioner of Native Welfare. The Department for Community Welfare was replaced by the Department of Community Services in 1985.

The Department for Community Services (DCS) was the new name given on 1 January 1985 to the previous Department for Community Welfare. The DCS continued as the key government organisation responsible for child welfare in Western Australia until 1 October 1992, when it was replaced by the Department for Community Development.

The Department for Community Development was formed on 1 October 1992, and was the key government organisation responsible for child welfare in Western Australia. It ceased on 1 July 1995 and was followed by the Department for Family and Children's Services.

The Department for Community Development was formed on 1 July 2001 as the key government organisation responsible for child welfare in Western Australia. It was the second version of a department with that name, with the earlier department operating from 1992 to 1995. The Department for Community Development ceased on 30 June 2007 and was followed by the Department for Communities and the Department for Child Protection which were established on 1 July 2007.

The Department for Community Development was formed on 1 July 2001 as the key government organisation responsible for child welfare in Western Australia. It was the second version of a department with that name, with the earlier department operating from 1992 to 1995. The Department for Community Development ceased on 30 June 2007 and was followed by the Department for Communities and the Department for Child Protection which were established on 1 July 2007.The Department for Communities was established in 2007 in response to a review conducted by Ms Prudence Ford in 2006 which recommended the abolition of the Department for Community Development and the establishment of two separate departments, namely the Department for Communities and the Department for Child Protection and Family Support. The Department for Communities was responsible for administering the State Government's $114 million 'Redress WA Scheme' and holds records of applications and decisions made on applicants. It also ran the Country High School Hostels Ex-Gratia Scheme. In 2013, it became the Department for Local Government and Communities.

The Department of Local Government and Communities was established on 1 July 2013. It was previously known as the Department of Communities. The Department ran the Country High School Hostels Ex-Gratia Scheme until December 2013. On 1 June 2017, the Department of Local Government and Communities' functions were divided between two new departments - Department of Communities and Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries. ...

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