Queen Victoria’s Ordinance of 21st May, 1839

Standing Orders to the Border Police, 22nd May, 1839

The Crown Lands Unauthorised Occupation Act, 2 Vict 27 (1839)


GOVERNMENT: Sir George Gipps  (Governor; 24/2/1838-11/7/1846)

 (Caught in the Act, Chapter 2)

1. Queen Victoria's Government and His Excellency the Governor proclaim the subject and possessory rights of Aborigines of New South Wales


Colonial Secretary’s Office, Sydney, 21st May, 1839.

(The following notice was published at the time of its date.)

“His Excellency the Governor desires to draw attention of the owners of stock throughout the colony, and of the public in general, to the extensive powers which by an Act passed in a recent extraordinary session of the Legislative Council (2 Vict., No 27,) are now vested in the commissioners of lands acting beyond the boundaries of location, as well as to the fact that these commissioners are now magistrates of the territory; and as one of the principal objects which the Council had in view in passing the Act referred to, was to put a stop to the atrocities which have of late been so extensively committed beyond the boundaries, both by the aborigines and on them, His Excellency deems the present a proper occasion to notify to the public, that he has received distinct instructions from Her Majesty’s Government, to cause an inquest or enquiry to be instituted in every case wherein any of the aboriginal inhabitants may have come to a violent death in consequence of a collision with the white men; and that His Excellency is determined to make no distinction in such cases, whether the aggressors or parties injured be of one or the other race or colour, but to bring all, as far as may be in his power, to equal and indiscriminate justice.-As human beings partaking in our common nature-as the aboriginal possessors of the soil from which the wealth of the country has been principally derived - and as subjects of the Queen, whose authority extends over every part of New Holland-the natives of the Colony have an equal right with the people of European origin to the protection and assistance of the law of England. To allow either to injure or oppress the other, or to permit the stronger to regard the weaker party as aliens with whom a war can exist, and against whom they may exert belligerent rights, is not less inconsistent with the spirit of that law, than it is at variance with the dictates of justice and humanity. The duties of the commissioners of crown lands, in respect to the aborigines, will be to cultivate at all times an amicable intercourse with them, to assist them in obtaining redress for any wrong to which they may be exposed, and particularly to prevent any interference on the part of white men with their women. On the other hand, they will make known to them the penalties to which they become liable by any act of aggression on the persons or properties of the colonists. They will endeavour to induce the chiefs in their respective districts to make themselves responsible for the good conduct of their tribes, and they will use every means in their power to acquire such personal influence over them, as may either prevent aggression or ensure the immediate surrender of the parties who may be guilty of it.-His Excellency thinks it right further to inform the public, that each succeeding despatch from the Secretary of State, marks in increasing degree the importance which Her Majesty’s Government, and no less the Parliament and the people of Great Britain, attach to the just and humane treatment of the aborigines of this country, and to declare most earnestly and solemnly, his deep conviction that there is no subject or matter in which the interest as well as the honor of the colonists are more essentially concerned.

2. Standing Orders for the Border Police

22nd May, 1839

Orders read the Border Police 22 May 1839 (HRA)

[This was a copy of the “Government Gazette” dated 22nd May, 1839.]

1. Every individual employed in the Border Police is expected to pay implicit obedience to the orders of the Commissioner, in the same way as troopers of the Mounted Police or soldiers in any regiment of the Line are bound to obey the orders of their Commanding Officer.

2. Non-commissioned Officers and troopers of the Mounted police are in an equal degree bound to pay implicit obedience to the Crown Commissioner during the time they are placed under his orders.

3. The Commissioner of each District will keep a very accurate register of the conduct of every man, who is attached to him, and will report monthly the behaviour of each individual for the Governor’s information.

4. The governor will consider good conduct of the Border Police to constitute the greatest recommendation, which any man can have in this country to His favourable notice; and He will be happy to grant the highest rewards which is in His power to bestow, and at the earliest periods which He is by law or regulation empowered to grant them.

5. On the other hand, the Governor desires it to be perfectly understood that He will instantly remove from the Border Police any man of whom he receives an unfavourable report; and that any person removed for his misconduct will be retained in Hyde Park Barracks, or in Government employment at some other station, for the whole of the time he may have to serve in the Colony.

6. The means, by which every Border Policeman will have it most in his power to obtain the approval and favourable consideration of the Governor, will be by behaving in a kind and humane manner to the natives, and by endeavouring to gain their confidence and esteem, as well as to civilise and improve them.

7. The offences, on the other hand, which the Governor will never overlook or forgive, are any harsh or unkind treatment or ill usage of the natives, any attempt to teach them bad language, or to lead them into vicious practices, or to mock or laugh at them.

8. Any person whatsoever giving or offering to give spirits to a native, or encouraging in any way a native to drink spirits, will be immediately dismissed.

9. Any person whatsoever having improper intercourse, or attempting to have improper intercourse with a female native even with her own consent or the consent of her friends, will in like manner be immediately dismissed, and otherwise be punished to the extent of the Governor’s power.

10. The troopers of the Mounted Police attached to the Border police will for the first three months act as non-commissioned officers.

11. The Commissioners will subsequently recommend the best behaved men to succeed them, and, should there be none whom they can recommend, they will report the circumstances in order that deserving men from other districts may be sent to them.

12. These orders are to be read at least once a month to every man in the Border Police by the Commissioner of the District.”

NOTE: chase up Report referred to. (London?)

3. "... any malicious injury or offence committed upon or against any aboriginal native"

Crown Lands Unauthorised Occupation Act, 2 Vict 27 (1839);

"An Act further to restrain the unauthorized Occupation of Crown Lands and to provide the means of defraying the Expense of the Border Police [ 22nd March, 1839 .]

Whereas the unauthorized occupation of the unalienated Lands of New South Wales is derogatory to the Rights of the Crown and conducive to many illegal and dishonest practices and whereas an Act was passed by the Governor and Council of New South Wales in the seventh year of the reign of his late Majesty King William the Fourth intituled (sic) "An Act to restrain the unauthorized occupation of Crown Lands" which has been found beneficial in its operation and whereas another Act was passed in the second year of Her Present Majesty intituled "An Act to continue and amend an Act intituled 'An Act to restrain the unauthorized occupation of Crown Lands' and it is expedient to repeal the same ...and to provide the means of defraying the expense of a Border Police ...

5. And be it enacted That it shall be lawful for any Justice or Justices before whom any person holding a license for any of the purposes aforesaid shall be convicted on the oath of any one or more credible witnesses of any felony or of illegally selling fermented or spirituous liquors or of wilfully harbouring any convict or felon illegally at large or of any malicious injury or offence committed upon or against any aboriginal native or other person or of any other offence which shall actually endanger the peace and good order of any district or tend to obstruct the due provisions of this Act to declare the license of any such person so offending to be null and void ..."