Australia History: 'Protection' of Aboriginal People

By the early 1900s, legislation designed to segregate and 'protect' Aboriginal people was passed in all states. The legislation imposed restrictions on the Aboriginal people's rights to own property and seek employment, and the Aboriginals Ordinance of 1918 even allowed the state to remove children from Aboriginal mothers if it was suspected that the father was not an Aboriginal.

In these cases the parents were considered to have no rights over the children, who were placed in foster homes or childcare institutions. Many Aboriginal people are still bitter about having been separated from their families and forced to grow up apart from their people.

An upside of the ordinance was that it gave a degree of protection for 'full-blood' Aboriginal people living on reserves, as non-Aboriginal people could enter only with a permit, and mineral exploration was forbidden.