Chapter 10.  


May 1965 January 1975




"Referendum - Aborigines now officially exist for the 


Census, but remain Wards of State"



Work in progress. Updated 09/03/2006

Liberal (?) Country Party Coalition: Robin William ASKIN, Premier, 13.05.65 - 03.01.75



Legal status

"Under the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948-1966, all Aborigines are British subjects and Australian citizens." [1]


The Aboriginal population of Australia

"Aborigines have been enumerated in all censuses of the Commonwealth, but the degree of coverage and information obtained has varied substantially since 1911. Since the census taken in 1933 the adequacy of the particulars obtained has improved progressively as a result of tan increasing number of Aborigines coming into contact with more populated areas. ... At the 1966 Census extensive arrangements were made to obtain as full a coverage of aborigines as possible and to enumerate fully those Aborigines 'out of contact'. Throughout Australia the assistance of Aboriginal welfare bodies, mission superintendents, station owners, patrol officers and police was sought in an effort to include all Aborigines and to obtain complete information about them." [2]



A referendum in May 1967

"A referendum in May 1967 led to the repeal of Section 127 of the Constitution which provided that in reckoning the numbers for census purposes, Aborigines should not be counted; and to the deletion of the words 'other than the Aboriginal race in any State' from Section 51 (xxvi) which relates to the power of the Commonwealth Parliament to make laws with respect to people of any race. The Federal Government, whose aim is to help Aborigines to become an integral part of Australian community life, while at the same time developing and preserving their own distinctive culture, languages, traditions and arts now shares with the States power and responsibilities for the advancement of Aborigines. The Commonwealth Government has created an Office of Aboriginal Affairs, in Canberra ... (with) two functions: to advise in the framing of national policies for the Aboriginal citizens of Australia; and to consult with Aborigines and with Commonwealth and State Departments and other authorities whose activities have a bearing on Aboriginal welfare." [3]  


The Australian Workers' Union and Aborigines

"The Constitution of the Australian Workers Union excluded ... Aborigines, and half-castes from membership. So by ... discrimination the aim of Australia for the white men was to be achieved."[4]


"Removing all discriminatory legislation ..."

"In recent years the Commonwealth, State and Northern territory legislatures have been active in progressively removing all discriminatory legislation from the relevant Acts of the Commonwealth and State Parliaments and from the relevant Ordinances of the Northern Territory, and therefore a number of benefits received by Aborigines are no longer readily identifiable. In the legal and formal sense none of the opportunities open to Australians generally is closed to Aborigines. However the States continue to maintain a number of programmes specifically for the welfare and advancement of Aborigines, and since 1968 the Commonwealth Government has increased its involvement following the establishment of the Office of Aboriginal Affairs." [5]



The structure of reserve control and management remained largely undisturbed until 1963, and powers of removal and confinement remained in effect until that time. New South Wales was slow to implement the policy of supervised "assimilation". Despite the fact that the Aborigines Welfare Board continued its policy of assimilation to allow Aborigines to "attain the same manner of living as other Australians" the mission stations continued to operate. [ Miller J, Koori: A Will to Win (Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1985), 176.] It was not until the Aborigines Protection (Amendment) Act 1963 that the most draconian aspect of the Aborigines Welfare Board control were repealed. The 1963 legislation repealed the power allowing removal to reserves or from the vicinity of townships, the exemption certificate provisions and the offences relating to the provision of liquor to Aborigines or wandering with Aborigines. However, the provisions relating to the care of Aboriginal children remained in force, as did the power enabling the Governor to make regulations "for the control of Aborigines residing upon a reserve". (Law Book Co Digest Page 146] Under the Act, the Minister was declared trustee of the reserves in New South Wales. The Aborigines Act 1969 abolished the Aborigines Welfare Board and created an Aborigines Advisory Council to advise the Minister on Aboriginal issues. [LBC Page 146]

Act 38: Aborigines Act repeals previous Acts

Aborigines Act 1969 (No. 7 of 1969): repealed 1909 Protection Act; comprehensive legislation in lieu.

Elizabeth II Reginae

An Act to make provisions with respect to matters concerning Aborigines, to repeal the Aborigines Protection Act, 1909, and certain other Acts; to amend the Attachment of Wages Limitation Act, 1957; and for purposes connected therewith ... 3. The Acts specified in the Schedule are hereby repealed. 4. The Board is hereby dissolved ... 5. The Governor may ... appoint and employ a Director of Aboriginal Welfare and such other officers and employees ... 6. (1)There is hereby constituted ... a corporation sole which shall represent the Crown ... (2) The Corporation ... shall be capable of purchasing, holding, granting, demising, disposing of and alienating real and personal property... 7(1) (a) all lands (other than reserves ...) shall vest in the corporation ... (b) shall be Crown lands ... reserved from sale or lease generally for the use of Aborigines ... (c) all personal property and all right and interest therein, and all management and control of any land or thing ... shall belong to the corporation ... (k) all wards under the Acts repealed by this Act shall be wards admitted to State control ... (Child Welfare Act, 1939) ... 8(1) There shall be an Aborigines Advisory Council consisting of nine Aborigines appointed by the Governor ... 9. The Council shall (a) report to the Minister on such matters relating to Aborigines as may be referred to it by him; (b) advise the Minister on matters relating to Aborigines ... 10A (1) There is hereby constituted a corporation ... "The Aboriginal Lands Trust" ... (14) The Chairman and other members of the Trust shall ... be paid from the funds of the Trust ... fees and allowances 10G. (1) The Trust shall open and maintain in the name of the Trust an account or accounts ...10H. (1) The Trust may acquire property by grant from the Crown or by purchase, exchange, gift, devise or bequest 10I may sell, exchange, lease, mortgage ... improve ... explore for and exploit mineral resources, or other natural resources ... 12(1) erection of buildings ... 14. (b) the reserve ... for the purposes of the Police Offences Act, 1901 ... be deemed to be a public place ... 15(1) No person shall ... erect a building ... alter a building that is on a reserve .... without the approval of the corporation ...16(1) The Minister may make a grant of moneys for the benefit of Aborigines ... the corporation may make a loan ... purchase a home ... alterations, renovations ... 17(1) The Minister may arrange with the Minister administering the Crown Lands Acts ... to grant, or otherwise dispose of, a reserve, or a part of a reserve, to an Aboriginal ... 18 (1) the cases in which The Housing Commission shall acquire land ... relating to the housing of Aborigines ... &c., &c." [6]


National Parks and Wildlife Service 'Aboriginal areas'

National Parks and Wildlife (Amendment) Act 1969 (No. 78 of 1969): dedication of 'Aboriginal areas'; Relics Advisory Committee.


Regulation, Enrolment of Aborigine children in schools

... "Regulation, Enrolment of Aborigine children, states "It is the policy of the Department to encourage the assimilation of aborigine children as members of the Australian community by permitting their attendance at public schools. Nevertheless, if the principal of a school is of the opinion that there are circumstances in the home conditions of the aborigine children, whose enrolment is sought, which justify refusal or deferment of enrolment or if he is aware that substantial opposition to such enrolment exists in the local community, he should inform the district inspector of schools and await the departmental decision on the matter ..." Regulation National Aborigines Day, states that "National Aborigines day is celebrated during the month of July ... This day has been set aside to remind the Australian Community of its responsibility to assist the descendants of the original inhabitants to become useful citizens. Both Federal and State Governments have adopted "assimilation" as their policy towards the aborigines, and look especially to educational bodies for assistance in the advancement of this aim." [7]



"Individual and collective alienation"

"Two leading Marxist scholars discuss the causes of individual and collective alienation ... They argue that alienation is not an eternal condition of humanity and explain how it can be overcome."[8]


"Lack of adequate records"

"The removal of children continued for many generations with governments ensuring rigid control over their lives ... due to the lack of adequate records the actual number of Indigenous children removed from their families is impossible to calculate. It is approximated that between 1910 and 1970 ... and estimated 25,000 to 100,000 children (were forcibly removed from their families) ... "[9]


Mr Windschuttle and Aborigines

" ... until 1970 almost all Australian historiography was written in terms of 'settlement' and 'development' of the country by Europeans. Even those left-wing historians who criticised the process did so on the grounds that the local white working class had not got a fair share of the spoils. The Aboriginal perspective and the often shocking and disgraceful story of how Aborigines were treated, was omitted entirely." [10]



1971 Census of Population and Housing

"... an attempt was made for the 1971 Census to design a question which would obtain more meaningful data on the Aboriginal population. The advice of expert bodies approached was that such data would be obtained by asking each respondent to indicate the race to which he considered himself to belong. In addition the repeal of Section 127 of the Constitution in 1967 removed the need for the question on racial origin to identify 'Aboriginal natives'. ("Aboriginal natives", the term used in the Constitution, was interpreted as those persons possessing more than 50 per cent Aboriginal blood." [11]



Advancement of Aborigines: Commonwealth Policy

26 January 1972 "The objectives of Commonwealth Government policies relating to Aboriginal people are:

(a) that they should be assisted as individuals and if they wish as groups, at the local community level, to hold effective and respected places within one Australian society with equal access to the rights and opportunities it provides and acceptance of responsibilities towards it. At the same time they should be encouraged and assisted to preserve and develop their own culture, languages, traditions and arts so that these can become living elements in the diverse culture of the Australian society.

(b) That the Government recognises the rights of individual Aborigines to effective choice about the degree to which, and the pace at which they come to identify themselves with that society; and believes that they will do so more readily and more happily when they are attracted to it voluntarily and when their membership of it encourages them to maintain and take pride in their identity, traditions and culture. The concept of separate development as a long-term aim is utterly alien to these objectives.

(c) The Government also believes that programmes to give effect to such a policy must evolve in accordance with the effects of action so far taken and the needs of the times. They must take into account the expressed wishes of the Aboriginal Australians themselves. Programmes will prove ineffective unless Aboriginal Australians are voluntarily involved. The role of governments should increasingly be to enable them to achieve their goals by their own efforts.

(d) The Government considers that a balanced strategy directed at the essential problems facing many persons of Aboriginal descent requires a programme of action worked out and administered in collaboration with the States which would:

(i) encourage and strengthen their capacity increasingly to manage their own affairs as individuals, as groups, and as communities at the local level;

(ii) increase their economic independence;

(iii) reduce existing social and other handicaps facing them in health, housing, education and vocational training; and

(iv) promote  their enjoyment of normal civil liberties and eliminate remaining provisions in law which discriminate against them." [12]


1972 Commonwealth-State Ministers' Conference "The Urgent Need for Increased Financial Assistance from the Commonwealth Towards State Programmes for Aboriginal Services Such as Health, Housing, Education and General Welfare"

22-23 June 1972 Conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers Held at Canberra, (NSW Askin, Coalition, Qld Bjelke Petersen, National (?Country Party), SA Dunstan, Labor, Victoria Bolte, Coalition (?) WA Tonkin, Labor, Tas. Reece, Liberal (Country Party?)

Mr Dunstan- "South Australia is trying to make a dramatic impact in the field of Aboriginal welfare ... It is an area which requires a considerable expansion in funding, and which ... is beyond us at present."

Mr Tonkin- "...the question of Aboriginal housing ... Under the terms of the States Grants (Aboriginal Advancement) Act 1969 your Government was to provide $9.2 m to the States for Aboriginal advancement ... it falls far short of the sums that need to be spent to alleviate the appalling living conditions that hundreds of Aboriginal families have to suffer ... the standard of housing of our Aboriginal population is something of which we as a nation have no cause to be proud ... As governments we are attracting increasing criticism at home and overseas for our failure to tackle the problem effectively ..."

Mr McMahon- "... because of the fundamental nature of the problems raised we have not been able as yet to complete our examination ..."

Mr Bjelke-Petersen- "Mr Prime Minister ... One very important issue is the way in which our share has been eroded to the extent of 6.5 percent ... That is more or less our submission ... apart from the Northern Territory, Queensland has the problem of the highest density of Aboriginal people of any state. We have approximately one Aboriginal to 30 Europeans. Another very real problem ... is the increasing number of Aboriginal people coming from the Northern Territory to Mt. Isa. They present the real problem of fringe dwellers living in slum conditions. About 300 aboriginals are involved in this regard. Then the drought conditions in the far western areas are causing many Aboriginal people to come to Brisbane ... we have between 50,000 and 60,000 Aborigines at present in Queensland ..."

Mr McMahon- " ... The matters raised cover a very wide range from housing, health, education, employment, special work projects to regional projects ..."


Parliamentary Proceedingss, Select Committee Reports


Government Gazette references, Select newspaper reports, notes, Secondary sources.



"Under the 1973 legislation the Minister retained considerable powers through the control of finance and the fact that the Aboriginal Lands Trust retained title to all lands granted, rather than giving the title over to tribal groups or Aboriginal communities" [LBC Page 147]

Government political allegiance

Liberal-Country Party Coalition: Robin (later Robert) William ASKIN, Premier, 13.05.65 - 03.01.75


Incorporation of the Aboriginal Lands Trust.

Aborigines (Amendment) Act 1973 (No. 35 of 1973);


Act 41: accounts of Trust subject to examination and audit

Trustees Audit Act 1912-1973:.


Act 42: Trust exempted from water, sewerage and local rates.

Local Government Act 1919-1973:


Act 43: non-business Trust lands exempted from rates.

Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Act 1924-1973;


Act 44: non-business Trust lands exempted from rates

Hunter District Water, Sewerage and Drainage Act 1938-1973;


Act 45: non-business Trust lands exempted from rates

Broken Hill Water, Sewerage and Drainage Act 1938-1973;


Act 46: Trust lands exempted from rates

." Land Tax Management Act 1956-1973;



Liberal- Country Party Coalition: (XXXX) Robin William ASKIN, Premier, 13.05.65 - 03.01.75


Act 47: State recreation areas exclude any Aboriginal area under NPWL Act.

Crown Lands and other Acts (Reserves) Amendment Act 1974 (No. 37 of 1974);


Act 48: Aboriginal areas and relics protected; Advisory Committees established.

National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (No. 80 of 1974);

"This Act contains provisions for the protection and preservation of  Aboriginal relics and places of cultural and historic significance. Lands containing Aboriginal relics or sites may be designated as either Aboriginal areas, historic sites, protected archaeological areas or Aboriginal places


Any unoccupied Crown lands on which Aboriginal relics or Aboriginal places are situated may be dedicated as Aboriginal areas to preserve, protect and prevent damage to relics or Aboriginal places. Crown lands

Lands of the Crown and land acquired under the Act may be declared historic sites. This declaration will not affect the terms and conditions of any existing mining interest affecting those lands.

Any Crown land (with the consent of the Minister administering the Crown Lands Consolidation Act 1913 and the holder and occupier) and other lands (with the consent of the owner and occupier) on which Aboriginal relics or Aboriginal places are situated may be declared protected archaeological areas. No declaration may be made about unoccupied Crown lands.

Any place of "special significance with respect to Aboriginal culture" may be declared an Aboriginal place. Declarations are effected by the publication in the NSW Government Gazette of orders or proclamations by:

        the Governor of NSW  with the concurrence of the Minister administering

        the Crown Lands Consolidation Act 1913 (in the case of Aboriginal


        the Governor alone (in the case of historic sites); or 

        the Minister (in the case of Aboriginal places and protected

        archaeological areas).

Aboriginal areas and historic sites

It is unlawful to prospect or mine for minerals in an Aboriginal area or historic site unless authorised by an Act of Parliament or authority, authorisation, permit, lease, licence or occupancy existing at the time that land is declared to be a historic Aboriginal site or an Aboriginal area or any renewal of these interests. Subject to these exceptions, the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 excludes the application of the Mining Act 1992, the Offshore Minerals Act 1999, the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 and the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1982 to lands in an Aboriginal area or historic site. The Minister may approve prospecting for minerals subject to certain terms and conditions. Before granting consent to any prospecting for minerals, the Minister must state an intention to approve this prospecting before both Houses of Parliament. Any prospecting must be carried out on the government's behalf and by a person nominated by the Minister responsible for the Mining Act.

The Director-General of National Parks and Wildlife (the Director-General) is vested with the care, control and management of Aboriginal areas and historic sites.

Plans of management

The Director-General must have a plan of management prepared for each historic site. The Director-General may have a plan of management prepared for any Aboriginal area. The plan of management must contain a written scheme of the operations proposed for the Aboriginal area or historic site in order to carry out the purpose and objects of the Act. In preparing a plan of management, regard must be had to preserving each historic site and preserving any historic structure or object or any relic or Aboriginal place on each historic site or Aboriginal area. When a plan of management has been prepared for a historic site, any interested person may make representations to the Director-General within one month's notice of the preparation of the plan. The plan and representations are considered by the Director-General and the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council. The plan is then submitted to the

Minister together with the Council's comments and suggestions. The Minister must consider these comments and suggestions before adopting the plan. The Minister may:

adopt the plan;

refer it back to the Director-General and council for further consideration;

amend the plan; or 

cancel the plan completely and substitute a new plan. 

If the plan is to be amended, altered or cancelled, the Minister must instruct the Director-General to prepare the amended or new plan.

CHECK REFERENCE "The procedures for making representations about a plan of management for a historic site do not appear to apply to Aboriginal areas. The Act simply provides that the Minister may on recommendation of the Director-General adopt, amend or cancel a plan of management prepared for an Aboriginal area. When the Minister has adopted a plan of management, the Director-General must carry it out. No operations may be carried out in relation to the lands affected by the plan unless the operations comply with the plan. This restriction applies despite the provisions in this or any other Act.

Aboriginal places, archaeological areas and Aboriginal relics

 While there are no specific prohibitions on mining in archaeological areas or Aboriginal places, the Director-General of National Parks and Wildlife is empowered to regulate entry onto and use of land in archaeological areas. He or she is responsible for the care, preservation and protection of an Aboriginal place or relic on any Aboriginal area, historic site or archaeological area. There are also a number of offences under the Act concerning the damage, destruction and removal of Aboriginal relics.

Breaches of the legislation

Breaches of the Act are punishable by a maximum fine of $4,400. Damage, destruction or defacement of a relic or Aboriginal place without the consent of the director is punishable by a maximum fine of $5,500 or six months' imprisonment, or $25,000 in the case of a corporation. xxxxxxxxxx find cases if any) Directors and corporations may both be proceeded against if one or the other commits an offence under the Act. If a director, a person concerned in the management, an employee or an agent of a corporation either commits, directs, consents to or agrees with another person to commit a breach of the Act,  then the corporation is deemed to have breached the same provision. Alternatively, if a corporation breaches any provision of the Act, each director or person involved in the management of the corporation is deemed to have contravened the same provision if they knowingly authorised or permitted the contravention. If any damage or loss is caused to a protected area, or the Minister or Director-General incurs charges or expenses as a result of the breach, these sums may also be recovered in

compensation from the offender.[13] wrong citation



[1] Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics; Official Year Book of the Commonwealth of Australia (Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics, No. 58, 1972, page 957)


[2] Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics; Official Year Book of the Commonwealth of Australia (Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics, No. 58, 1972, page 140)



[3] Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics; Official Year Book of the Commonwealth of Australia (Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics, No. 58, 1972, page 409)


[4]  Manning Clark  see Note  xx


[5] Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics; Official Year Book of the Commonwealth of Australia (Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics, No. 58, 1972, page 410)



[6] Repealed by: Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983, No. 42, Sch. 2.


[7] NSW Department of Education Handbook: Instructions and Information for the Guidance of Teachers (Second Edition, Revised Edition-1969)


[8] See: Novack, George; The Marxist Theory of Alienation Three Essays by Ernest Mandel and George Novack. (Pathfinder Press, 1970


[9] Colin Markham MP 'a notable exception' NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Aboriginal Affairs Native Title and the Impact of the Stolen Generations -25 August 1999, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, 25th Australian and Pacific Regional Conference. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 23-25 August 1999.


[10] Windschuttle, Keith; The Killing of History (McLeay 1994) Page 35)


[11] Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics; Official Year Book of the Commonwealth of Australia (Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics, No. 58, 1972, page 409)



[12] Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics; Official Year Book of the Commonwealth of Australia (Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics, No. 58, 1972, page 141)



[13] McQueen, Humphrey; Aborigines, Race and Racism (Penguin Education, 1974). Page