History

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1885

  1. John Batman negotiates a treaty with the Kulin people but this was declared invalid by the Governor of Victoria as it was carried out by a private citizen rather than the Crown. Little more was heard of treaties for nearly 100 years.

  2. Royal Commission appointed in Queensland to investigate the recruitment of South Sea Islanders for plantation work finds there have been widespread kidnappings. Queensland Parliament prohibits the recruitment of South Sea Islanders from the end of 1890. The Act is later suspended due to the economic depression and outcry from plantation owners.

  3. The Queensland Elections Act 1885 excludes all Aboriginal people from voting.

1886

  1. Western Australian Aborigines Protection Board is established.

  2. Men and women of the Coranderrk Aboriginal Reserve (60 kms north-east from Melbourne) fight the Aboriginal Protection Board which wants to break up the successful community that’s growing hops and doing better than neighbouring white farms. Walking to Melbourne, they deliver a petition to the Victorian government. But the majority of the residents are removed under the Protection Act which cripples Coranderrk as an enterprise. The government closes it in 1924.

  3. The Victorian Aborigines Protection Act excludes ‘half-castes’ from their definition of an Aboriginal person. As a result nearly half the residents of the missions and reserves have to leave their homes.

  4. Victorian Board for the Protection of Aborigines is empowered to apprentice Aboriginal children when they reach 13. Children require permission to visit their families on the stations.

1887

  1. 7 April

    The Parramatta Girls Home opens (also known as the Industrial School for Girls, Girls Training School and Girls Training Home). Closing in 1974, it became Australia’s longest operating state-controlled child welfare institution, located in Parramatta, NSW. The population of the girls home includes many Aboriginal girls, mostly those who belong to the Stolen Generations.

1888

  1. The phrase ‘White Australia Policy’ appears in William Lane’s Boomerang newspaper in Brisbane.

  2. Aboriginal population reduced by 220,000 Australia-wide to an estimated 80,000.

1889

  1. 3 April

    A judgement of the Lords of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council finds that New South Wales, at the time of the arrival of the British, was in fact "a tract of territory practically unoccupied, without settled inhabitants or settled law" and that it was "peacefully annexed". [1] The ruling goes on to become the skeleton of Australian law with no court daring to rule against it. [2]

1890

  1. Jandamarra, an Aboriginal resistance fighter, declares war on European invaders in the West Kimberley and prevents settlement for six years.

  2. For eight years the Western Australian conflict rages in Western Australia.

1893

  1. In an amendment to the Constitution Act 1889 Western Australia extends voting rights to include all British male subjects over the age of 21, but not Aboriginal males.

1895

  1. All adult females in South Australia, including Aboriginal females, win the right to vote.

1897

  1. Under the Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act 1897 (and subsequent laws until the 1970s), the Queensland government controls the wages and savings of Aboriginal Queenslanders working under these acts.

  2. The Aboriginal Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act (Qld) allows the ‘Chief Protector’ to remove local Aboriginal people onto and between reserves and hold children in dormitories. From 1939 until 1971 this power is held by the Director of Native Welfare; the Director is the legal guardian of all Aboriginal children, whether or not their parents are living, until 1965. The legislation is subsequently imitated by South Australia and the Northern Territory. Under the legislation, Aboriginal people are effectively confined to reserves and banned from towns. Reserves are administered by government agencies or missionaries and every aspect of life is controlled, including the right to marry, guardianship of children, the right to work outside reserves and management of assets.

  3. Jandamarra, Kimberley’s resistance fighter, is shot and 19 former Aboriginal prisoners, whom he had freed and were fighting with him, are also shot and killed.

1899

  1. 4 March

    Cyclone Mahina passes over Bathurst Bay, Cape York, far north Queensland, destroys more than 70 pearl luggers and kills 12 white men and more than 300 Torres Strait Islander people who were working on them. The novel The Devil’s Eye by Ian Townsend details the devastation which was “greater than Hurricane Katrina”. The storm remains the biggest natural disaster in Australian history.

1900

  1. July

    Part-Aboriginal man Jimmy Governor goes on a rampage killing 10 people. He was captured and hanged at Darlinghurst Gaol, NSW, on 18 January 1901.

References

View article sources (2)

[1] Cooper v Stuart (1889) 14 App Cas 286, 291 (Lord Watson), available at www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKPC/1889/1889_16.html, retrieved 8/9/2019
[2] 'In our land not yet won, who are we Australians?', SMH 26/1/2019

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2019, Timeline results for , <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/timeline/searchResults?page=6>, retrieved 21 November 2019

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