Australian Dictionary

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Australia Decoded

Aboriginal Skirmish

Aboriginal kinship system—The kinship system allows each person in Aboriginal society to be named in relation to one another. This is seen when a non-Aboriginal person goes to live in an Aboriginal community, and proudly tells their friends that they have been adopted by the group, being called a "mother/father", "daughter/son" or "brother/sister" to someone. When Aborigines accept an outsider into their group, they have to name that person in relation to themselves, to allow that person to fit into their society. This is because they need to have in their own minds the kinship relation of that person to themselves, and that person must have a defined social position. The kinship system allows individual naming for up to 70 relationship terms in some tribes. It is also the system where brothers of one's father are also called, in one sense, "father", and cousins may be called "brother" or "sister.. A person knows, of course, who their real mother and father are, but under kinship laws, they may have similar family obligations to their aunts and uncles, the same as they would to their mother and father, and this is reciprocated. The common terms of endearment amongst modern urban Aborigines, "brother" or "sister", used when talking to people, are derived from these kinship terms and associations.

Aboriginal land—areas of land made available for the use, benefit and residence by and of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. With the exception of Western Australia, all Australian states and territories have introduced some form of statutory land rights for Aboriginal peoples and/or Torres Strait Islanders. The process by which land is acquired varies both across and within jurisdictions, depending upon the particular legislative regime. Aboriginal land may be freehold, leasehold or Crown reserve. Such lands are held in unalienable fee simple, held by Aboriginal Trusts and managed by Aboriginal Land Councils.

Aboriginal Land Act 1970 (VIC)—vested the nominated lands (Framlingham in western Victoria, and Lake Tyers in Gippsland) in the Framlingham and Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trusts. Title was later granted to Lake Condah and Framlingham Forest through the Aboriginal Land Act, 1987 (VIC). A number of native title claims have since been registered in Victoria, as there is no general land rights legislation in that state.

Aboriginal Land Act 1987 (VIC)—granted inalienable freehold title over Lake Condah and Framlingham Forest to the traditional owners of the lands involved.

Aboriginal Land Act 1991 (Qld)—revokes specified existing reservations and Crown grants, and authorises the grating of that land for Aboriginal cultural and burial purposes. Other vacant Crown land outside towns and cities can become available for claim under the act, if so gazetted by the government. National parks can also be claimed if gazetted as available for claim, but must be immediately leased back to the federal government, in perpetuity. Should a claim be successful, the land may be transferred and held in trust. Upon the granting of land, a land trust under that act automatically arises. This land trust is a corporate body with a chairperson and a corporate seal with the grantees as members of the land trust. The land trust becomes the owner of the land. The act sets out comprehensive provisions for dealing with the claim, transfer and grant of land. The Torres Strait Islanders Land Act, 1991 makes the same provisions for Torres Strait Islanders. A transfer of land under these acts does not affect the right of anybody to make a native title claim, nor does it extinguish any existing native title. Lands that can be transferred under this act include: Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander reserve land; Land in a Deed of Grant in Trust for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people; Aurun Shire lease land; Mornington Island Shire lease land; and land declared by a regulation to be transferable land.

Aboriginal Land Act 1995 (TAS)—establishes an Aboriginal Land Council to use and sustainably manage Aboriginal land; enables Indigenous people to make claims to land based on its traditional and economic importance to them; and acknowledges the dispossession of Tasmania's Indigenous people and recognises certain rights of Tasmanians of Aboriginal descent. It is the first such legislation in Tasmania, where the assumption that no Aboriginal people remained after the first 50 years of the colony meant the issue of reconciliation in law was ignored.

Aboriginal Land Commissioner—hears the evidence of traditional relationship to the land under claim. This involves extensive research by anthropologists and the claimants providing evidence. The Commissioner determines whether or not the claimants are the traditional owners, according to Aboriginal law. The Land Commissioner then makes his recommendation to the Federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, who in turn advises the Governor General. Aboriginal Land Council—a native title representative body that is made up of elected Aboriginal people. The councils determine policy and employ expert legal, anthropological and land management staff to assist Aboriginal people in the claiming and management of their land, the protection of their sacred sites, and the financial management of income received under provisions of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (ALRA). There are four land councils: the Northern Land Council (NLC), covering the top half of the Northern Territory; the Central Land Council (CLC), covering the southern half of the Northern Territory; the Tiwi Land Council (TLC), covering Bathurst and Melville Islands north of Darwin; and Anindilyakawa Land Council, covering Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The Aboriginal Land Councils were defined by, and created under, the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act, 1976. Aboriginal Land Fund Commission—the first Commonwealth-funded land acquisition program for Aboriginal people, established in May 1975. It had its origins in the 1973 recommendation by Justice Woodward that the Commonwealth establish a fund to buy land for Aboriginal groups in all parts of Australia. However, it was beset with conflict and controversy, and in 1980 it was abolished, its functions taken over by the newly created Aboriginal Development Corporation.

Aboriginal Land Grant (Jervis Bay) Act, 1986 (Cth)—legislated a small land grant made in favour of the Wreck Bay Aboriginal community.

Aboriginal Land (Lake Condah and Framlingham Forest) Act 1987 (Cth)—vests ownership of the respective areas in Aboriginal Corporations. Half of a square kilometre of land at Lake Condah is vested in the Kerrup-Jmara Elders' Aboriginal Corporation and 11 square kilometres of land at Framlingham Forest is vested in the Kirrae Whurrong Aboriginal Corporation. The Corporations can transfer land to another Aboriginal Corporation but it cannot be otherwise disposed of.

Aboriginal land management—what we perceive as 'natural' landscapes in Australia (at least with regards to their plants and animals) are to a substantial degree cultural landscapes that have been (at least in part) created by and sustained by Aboriginal peoples. Aboriginal land management practices helped to maintain high levels of species diversity by establishing and maintaining complex mosaics of communities in different stages of succession. Where Aboriginal fire regimes have been absent from the landscape, biodiversity generally has been reduced, and some species have been put at risk of extinction by the massive wildfires that occur there in the absence of regular small-patch burning—often devastating huge areas and thus depriving animals of both feed and cover—and by other ecological changes associated with the loss of the mosaics of vegetation systems that were sustained by small-patch burning.

Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976 (NT)—(ALRA) the first, and most significant, land rights legislation in Australia. The purposes of the Act were: to grant traditional Aboriginal land to Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory; to recognise traditional Aboriginal interests in, and their relationships to, land; and to provide Aboriginal people with effective control over activities on their land. By this Act, Land Councils were established in the Northern Territory as statutory authorities; the roles and responsibilities of the Land Councils were set out; government-owned Reserves were granted to Aboriginal ownership; and a right to traditional hunting was defined (it may be proscribed where species are particularly endangered, after consultation with the Land Council). In effect, the ALRA ensures that all the decisions concerning Aboriginal land are made by traditional Aboriginal owners in accordance with Aboriginal law. The Commonwealth government retains the power to make laws for the Northern Territory, and can override laws of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly. However, the Act carried a provision to extinguish the right of the Mirrar people to withhold their consent to mining of uranium at Ranger.

Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (NSW)—was established to provide a mechanism for compensating Aboriginal people for loss of their land. The Act states that land was traditionally owned and occupied by Aboriginal people and that it is accepted that as a result of past government decisions, the amount of land set aside for Aboriginal people has been progressively reduced without compensation. The Act attempts to redress the progressive loss of land to Aboriginal people through the creation of Aboriginal land councils, establishing a system whereby land councils can claim land. The Act granted freehold title to the Aboriginal Land Councils over existing Aboriginal reserves. Furthermore, the Act allows for claims over unalienated Crown lands, and for the right to negotiate terms and conditions of agreements to allow mining or mineral exploration on Aboriginal land. The Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 has recently been amended to make it more accessible to Aboriginal people in NSW and to increase accountability within Aboriginal land councils.

Aboriginal Land Tribunal (Queensland)—established under the Aboriginal Land Act 1991 (Qld) to hear and make recommendations on claims by Aboriginal people to land that has been made available for claim.

Aboriginal Lands Act 1970 (Cth)—the first act to recognise Aboriginal people’s entitlement to land in the state of Victoria. Under this Act the deeds of reserve land at Lake Tyers and Framlingham were transferred to the communities under trusts established for this purpose. In the 1980s, land rights claims were issued for 1000 acres of the Framlingham Forest surrounding the Lake Tyers reserve. This continued from 1980 through to 1987 when land was handed over to the A Kirrae Whurrong Aboriginal Corporation at Lake Condah and Framlingham, in Victoria’s Western District.

Aboriginal Lands Act 1987 (Cth)—grants inalienable freehold title over Lake Condah and Framlingham Forest to the traditional owners. The Victorian government requested the Commonwealth to legislate on its behalf, and the Act was made under the Commonwealth’s races and acquisitions powers in the Australian Constitution. Ownership is vested in an Aboriginal Corporation for each area, with powers over mining and community government.

Aboriginal Lands Act 1991 (VIC)—authorised three grants of inalienable freehold title over burial grounds in former mission cemeteries at Coranderrk, Ebenezer, and Ramahyuck. These grants are subject to the condition that the land must be used for Aboriginal cultural and burial purposes.

Aboriginal Lands acts—the legal basis for Aboriginal lands claims. Each state or territory has its own Act, detailing the management of the lands that are successfully claimed.

Aboriginal lands claim—a legal claim to unalienated Crown land that can be made by the various Aboriginal tribes, on behalf of an entire group or tribe of Aborigines. Such a claim is examined in the light of two critical criteria: the unbroken inhabitation of the land under claim, and the preservation of traditional Aboriginal ties to that land. At the Commonwealth level, the Kakadu management of Aboriginal land was the first model developed. Under the Kakadu Plan of Management, traditional hunting is preserved but may be proscribed where species are particularly endangered, after consultation with the Land Council. Each state has affected similar measures to balance preservation of native flora and fauna against ownership rights.

Aboriginal Lands Trust—(ALT) a body corporate comprising a board of members, all of whom are Aboriginal. The Trust is empowered to take, instigate or support any action that may be required to ensure the most beneficial use of the land. Where land is granted following a traditional land claim, the title is held by an Aboriginal Land Trust 'for the benefit of Aboriginals entitled by Aboriginal tradition to the use or occupation of the land concerned'. Aboriginal land is held by a land trust in fee simple, and it cannot be sold by the land trust holding title to it. The land held is for the benefit of all the traditional owners as inalienable freehold title. The minerals and petroleum on or under land vested or held by the Aboriginal Lands Trust remain the property of the Crown. Explorers and miners seeking to enter these reserves, if not themselves Aboriginal people, are required to obtain a permit from the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority. The Aboriginal Lands Trust was formed by the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972 (WA), Section 23. Land trusts act on the direction of the local land council, and they are responsible to the Minister for Indigenous Affairs. Each land trust has an overall responsibility to ensure that it acquires and holds land for the benefit of Aboriginal people.

Aboriginal language group—all Aboriginal languages can be classified as either Pama-Nyungan or non-Pama-Nyungan. The Pama-Nyungan language group covers nine-tenths of the continent. All languages in this group can be shown to be related. The non-Pama-Nyungan group exists in a relatively small area in northern Australia, and is made up of some twenty distinct language families. The language someone spoke was the main way of telling which group they belonged to. Many people use the word 'tribe' to describe the language groups, but each language group did not all live together in the same place at the same time, because they shared their country, or their traditional land. They travelled and hunted in traditional family groups, coming together with other people for ceremonies. Marriages and promised marriages would be arranged with other clans and language groups. Prior to European settlement, it was common for a husband and wife to speak different languages, and most people would speak three or four languages as well as their own.

Aboriginal languages—before European settlement, there were between 200 and 250 Aboriginal languages spoken, with many different dialects, producing up to 700 varieties. This makes Aboriginal Australia one of the most linguistically diverse areas on the planet. Within the space of 80km you can still pass through the territories of three languages 'less closely related than English, Russian and Hindu.' (The Oxford Companion to Australian History, 1998). The Australian Aboriginal languages comprise up to twenty-seven language families and isolates native to the Australian Aborigines of Australia and a few nearby islands, but by convention excluding the languages of Tasmania and the eastern Torres Strait Islanders. The Tasmanian people were nearly eradicated early in Australia's colonial history, and their languages were lost before much was recorded. Tasmania was separated from the mainland at the end of the last ice age, and the Tasmanian Aborigines apparently remained isolated from the outside world for around 10,000 years. Too little is known of their languages for classification, though they seem to have had phonological similarities with languages of the mainland. In the late 18th century there were between 350 and 750 distinct Aboriginal social groupings, and a similar number of languages or dialects. In the year 2000, it was estimated that more than 100 languages had become extinct since European settlement. At the start of the 21st century, fewer than 150 indigenous languages remain] in daily use, and all except roughly 20 are highly endangered. Of those that survive, only 10% are being learned by children and those languages are usually located in the most isolated areas.

Aboriginal law—traditional rules of social conduct based upon the knowledge of, and ritual pertaining to, the sacred sites. All aspects of the welfare of Aboriginal society depend on this preservation of sacred sites through traditional ritual. Knowledge of correct behaviour is preserved and passed down through Dreaming stories. Because the Dreaming underlies every aspect of the universe, it defines the framework of human action, linking people and place. Indigenous people living in Australia have, since time immemorial, observed a variety of systems of law, which were not recognised by Australian law until relatively recently. In June 1992, the High Court, in the Mabo Case (Mabo v Queensland (No. 2) [1992] HCA 23), held that other systems of law could co-exist with the Australian legal system. The court said that the common law recognised a legal system, dealing with land ownership, which was created before British sovereignty by Murray Islanders in the Torres Strait. Indigenous legal systems were not necessarily wiped out or extinguished at or after British sovereignty. Those legal systems may give rise to rights and interests in land and waters across Australia, which are called native title. Governments must take it into account in making land use decisions.

Aboriginal missions—(hist.) an Aboriginal settlement that may or may not have been a religious institution. Aboriginal missions were promulgated as a way of “saving” the Aboriginal people, but their ultimate purpose was assimilation. People were sent compulsorily to missions at places such as Doomagee, Yarrabah, Mona Mona, Palm Island and Woorabinda. In many instances, the attempts to aid and protect Aboriginals were genuine, but the consequence was the near-destruction of Aboriginal culture. Native languages died out, tribal traditions were lost and family ties were disrupted. The name derives from the original purpose of many Aboriginal settlements, i.e., as a mission of one of the various Christian denominations. The name was often retained when management was assumed by the government (or later, the community). The appellation of 'mission' was also applied to Aboriginal communities that had never had any church affiliation. These institutions have been very significant as places both of oppression and of cultural survival. Within missions, people were offered refuge from the violence of the frontier; often, however, the price of safety was cultural oppression, especially of aspects of culture such as language and ceremony. Missions often provided the place where numbers of Aboriginal people were congregated together, thus unintentionally preserving cultural and community identity against the assimilationist intentions of the majority society.

Aboriginal moieties—a system that divides all the members of a tribe into two groups, based on a connection with certain animals, plants, or other aspects of their environment. A person is born into one or other group, which does not change throughout their life. A person belonging to one moiety has to marry a person of the opposite moiety. This is called an "exogamous" system, meaning that marriage has to be external to the group. For example, in the northern Kimberley, the two moieties are represented by the two birds, Wodoi the Spotted Nightjar, and Djungun the Owlet Nightjar, who fought in Lalai, the Dreamtime. Wodoi is associated with certain plants such as the edible Cabbage Palm (Livistinia species) and the Kandiwal tree used to make spear throwers. Djungun is associated with the Baler Shell, Rock Cod, Flying Fox and Corella.

Aboriginal nation—an Indigenous Australian people or tribe, as distinguished by the language groups to which they belong. There are about 250 Aboriginal nations in Australia. All the tribes within a nation share a common language and similar culture. The special relationship between a particular tribe or clan and its land was recognised by other tribes or groups within the relevant local native system and was reflected in differences in dialect over relatively short distances. Most tribes are small of necessity, due to the scarcity of food, and generally consist of family members. As a result of this genetic closeness, marriage is possible only outside the tribe, and often only outside the tribal group. Relationships within the tribe are very clearly defined and strictly controlled. Also, it is largely as a result of this cross-tribal marriage that most Aboriginals could speak two or three languages.

Aboriginal people—(see: Aboriginal Australian).

Aboriginal people and the cattle industry— during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, many cattle stations employed only a handful of white people—all the essential tasks and services were performed by local Aboriginal men and women. Many station lessees conceded that the stations could not survive without Aboriginal labour. Aborigines became sought-after workers, especially as stockmen and as mounted messengers. Motivation varied among clans: from a desire to stop fighting, to ensure community survival, to maintain access to their land, to acquire new products, or to 'help out' the lonely white man. In Queensland, around 55% of the pastoral workforce was black in 1886 and by 1901 at least 2000 Aborigines were employed as stock workers and domestics, with many more working in the industry. By around 1937, 3000 Aboriginal people were employed on Northern Territory cattle stations. Aboriginal men and women worked in every aspect of stock work. Before World War II, Aboriginal workers in the Northern Territory and Western Australia were usually paid only in clothing, equipment and rations, with occasional pocket money. Up to 1968 it was against the law to pay Aboriginal workers more than a specified amount in goods and money. They were housed in corrugated iron humpies with iron shutters for windows, without floors, lighting, sanitation, furniture or cooking facilities. Social welfare payments were paid to the pastoral company together with a Federal Government subsidy for the worker's dependents. In March 1966, the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission handed down a decision which put Aboriginal employees in the NT on the same basis as non-Aboriginal employees. However, the Commission also accepted the argument put by pastoralists that introduction of award wages should be delayed until December 1968 to allow them to prepare for the change. Aboriginal stockmen and domestics on Newcastle Waters station were upset by the delay and went on strike in May 1966. Soon after 200 people, mainly Gurindji, left the Wave Hill station and camped on traditional land at Wattie Creek (Daguragu). The strikes and walk-offs by the Gurindji supported not only the equal pay case but also voiced concern over the importance of land rights and the exploitation of women by white employees. The Gurindji strike was not the first demand by Aborigines for the return of their lands, but it was the first one to attract wide public support within Australia for land rights. However, the substantial loss of employment arising from equal pay in the pastoral industry was devastating to many Aboriginal communities. Whole communities were forced or 'persuaded' off the stations. Many pastoralists refused to employ them under the changed conditions and a large number of Aboriginal workers not only lost their jobs but also the right to stay on their own. The displacement was made worse by diminishing employment opportunities due to rural recessions, low beef prices, increased fencing and technology and the introduction of road-trains and helicopter-mustering. hard work. Despite the dislocation associated with this major change, and the often exploitative nature of their employment, many older Aboriginal people look back with pride on their work in the cattle industry and sadness at the loss of much of this sort of work.

Aboriginal Preservation and Protection Act, 1939 (Qld)—repealed the Aboriginal Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act legislated in 1897, and its 1934 Amendment Act. These two Acts had established, respectively, the position of the Chief Protector and an increase in the powers accruing to that office. Those powers were transferred to the Director of Native Welfare, under Queensland’s Protection Act of 1939. This Act remained in place until 1965, when repealed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Act.

Aboriginal Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act 1897 (Qld)—established the positions of regional Protectors, and later, Chief Protector of Aborigines in the colony of Queensland. The Chief Protector was empowered to remove Aboriginal people onto and between reserves, and to hold children in dormitories. Repealed by the Aboriginal Preservation and Protection Act, 1939 (Qld).

Aboriginal skin groups—the Aboriginal system of skin groups is a way in which some Aboriginal societies order themselves into kinship groups, and dictates how each member of the society conducts themselves, e.g. who can marry whom. Members of groups are usually blood relations, however even those from outside these blood relations are allocated a skin group. The classification groups vary between different Aboriginal tribes with some having only four groups and some up to sixteen. These groups are also sometimes broken up between males and females. The skin groups system of organizing societies is thought to have begun in the Daly River area of The Northern Territory, but spread throughout Central, Western and Northern Australia.

Aboriginal Protection Board (NSW)—established by the State in 1883 to manage the Aboriginal reserves into which some 9000 Indigenous people had been herded, up to that time. By the 1890s, the Aboriginal Protection Board had developed a policy of segregation. Armed with growing legal control over the lives of Indigenous people, the Board sought to remove children of 'mixed-descent' from their families. The Aborigines Protection Act 1909 gave the Board power 'to assume full control and custody' of the child of any Aborigine, if the court found the child to be neglected. It also allowed the Board to send Indigenous children aged between 14 and 18 years to work. Five years later, the Board told all station managers that all 'mixed-descent' boys over 14 years must leave the stations to work. Girls over 14 years either had to work or be sent to the Cootamundra Training Home where they were trained in domestic service. In 1937, the state governments met with the Federal Government to discuss a national assimilation policy. The New South Wales government responded by replacing the Aboriginal Protection Board with the Aboriginal Welfare Board. Assimilation would now take place under welfare laws.

Aboriginal Protectorate—a legal scheme under which Protectors (of Aborigines) in different States controlled their individual Aboriginal populations, as they saw fit. The Protectorate both acquired and yielded its near-absolute power by means of individual protectors, as appointed under the Aboriginal Protection boards empowered by the laws of each state.

Aboriginal quarry—a site where Aboriginal people took stone from rocky outcrops to make chipped or ground stone tools for many different purposes. Not all types of stone were suitable for making tools, so an outcrop of good stone that could be easily quarried was a valuable resource. Aboriginal people quarried different types of stone, each with its own special value and use. Stone tools were made from greenstone, silcrete, quartz, quartzite, basalt and chert. Pigments were made from quarried ochre, and grinding tools were made from sandstone. Some quarries are small, consisting of just a single protruding boulder. Other quarries incorporate many outcrops and areas of broken stone that cover thousands of square metres.

Aboriginal rangers—preserve cultural as well as natural values of parks and wildlife reserves. Practical skills are taught in the TAFE Caring for Country program. These include map reading, site surveys, animal and plant field skills, visitor facility management, first-aid and office management. An ecological component includes vegetation management and feral animal control, as well as traditional knowledge. Archaeological and anthropological knowledge and techniques are gained in class as well as in the field. The diploma-level course runs for four years. Aboriginal rangers now work for Aboriginal communities and in some government agencies, such as the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, looking after rainforest and sea country.

Aboriginal reserves—places of confinement set up in the 1920s by government and mission authorities in South Australia, Western Australia and Northern Territory. There were two types of reserves. 'Managed reserves', also called stations, were usually run by a manager and provided education, rations and housing. 'Unmanaged reserves' were under police control and only provided rations. In effect, this came to little more than the institutionalised confinement of an Aboriginal population, and control over every aspect of their lives. Aboriginal reserves still exist in most Australian states, where they have served as a basis for making and granting land right claims. The reserves are increasingly being managed by Aborigines on behalf of their own communities. The largest of these are in Central Australia and Arnhem Land, the last strongholds of traditional Aboriginal life. Upon the enactment of the ALRA in 1976, former Aboriginal reserves were converted to Aboriginal control, and Aboriginal people could make claims to unalienated Crown land on the basis of their traditional relationship to that land. After more than twenty years, approximately forty-two percent of the Northern Territory is Aboriginal land. This land is held by Aboriginal Land Trusts for the benefit of all the traditional land-owners as inalienable freehold title.

Aboriginal rights—from 1869 right up until the 1970s the Australian Government operated a policy of forced assimilation, now known as as 'The Stolen Generations'. The Federal and State Governments, along with many church agencies, were responsible for systematically removing children from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders families. It was official government policy to do so, the idea being that the children would be better off growing up as modern, white Australians. Quite why they felt this was necessary is unclear. One unlikely theory is that the government was trying to save the younger generation from the smallpox epidemic that was expected to wipe out the Aboriginal population. Others say it was for child protection (presumably from a 'savage' life), and other theories point to 'assimilation' of the indigenous peoples into a 'superior' western lifestyle. Whatever the reasons, up to 100,000 children were forcibly taken from their families during that period and placed with white adoptive families. The 1960s really brought Aboriginal rights to the forefront when indigenous people were granted the right to vote in 1962. Then, in 1966, there was a strike of Aboriginal workers from the Wavehill Station, in protest about poor pay and working conditions that applied only to them. In 1967 there was a landmark referendum when the Commonwealth was given the right to make laws with respect to Aboriginal people, and to ensure that their votes and opinions were counted in electoral representations. After mounting pressure from the people of Australia, in February 2008 the Aboriginal people finally received a formal apology from then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Previous Prime Ministers had refused to apologise, and had even contested the usage of the term 'stolen'.

Aboriginal settlement—the term now used for what were previously known as Aboriginal reserves and missions.

Aboriginal smoking ceremony—(see: smoking ceremony).

Aboriginal stockmen—when white settlers took up land for grazing, the Aboriginal people who lived there eventually were employed on the station. The men proved to be excellent as stockmen and drovers. Originally hunters, their tracking abilities were legendary—and ability that proved to be very useful in finding strays. Nowadays, there are Aboriginal-owned stations. The seasonal mustering of cattle on horseback is still very important in the bush. A newer method is racing around with a "bullcatcher", usually a battered Toyota four-wheel drive without a roof but with reinforced bumpers all around, and used to nudge stray bulls in the right direction. On some larger stations even helicopters may be used. But the essence of stockwork is still the stockman on his horse, driving a large herd of cattle in the bush. (See also Aboriginal people and the cattle industry.)

Aboriginal Stockmen's Strike (Pilbara, WA)—on 1 May, 1946, 800 Aboriginal pastoral workers from 27 stations in Western Australia walked off the job for better pay and conditions. This was the first industrial action by Indigenous Australians since colonisation in 1788 and predates the famous Wave Hill strike in the Northern Territory by 20 years. The Pilbara strike lasted until 1949, making it the longest strike in Australia's history. From the 1890s to the 1920s it was common for Aboriginal workers to be paid only in rations of food and clothing. During the 1920s some workers began to receive minimal wages. The 1936 Native Affairs Act legally compelled pastoralists to provide shelter and meet the medical needs of their workers, but this was never enforced by the government. Aboriginal stockmen were housed in corrugated iron humpies, without floors, lighting, sanitation, furniture or cooking facilities. It was illegal for the Aboriginal people to leave their place of employment, and it was even illegal to pay them wages equal to the white people's. In 1942, there was a secret Aboriginal law meeting to discuss a strike proposal, an idea first discussed by white labourer and prospector Don McLeod and the Aboriginal people, Clancy McKenna, Dooley Bin Bin and Nyamal Elder, Peter "Kangushot" Coppin, from the Pilbara community who were instrumental in calling together the 1942 meeting. However, the strike was postponed until after the Second World War had ended. On the stations there were no phones or radios and the Aboriginal workers couldn't read or write English. Dooley was responsible for spreading word of the strike. He visited each station pretending to be a "visiting relative just passing through" to avoid any suspicion. On 1 May hundreds of Aboriginal workers left 20 stations, affecting 10,000 square kilometres of sheep farming country. They gathered at strike camps where they would spend much of the following three years. At its height, at least 800 people were on strike. The sheep stations were paralysed without Aboriginal labour. In order to survive, the strikers coordinated the collection of bush food and pearl shells and hunted kangaroos and goats to sell the skins. However, many Aboriginal strikers were jailed for their participation in the strike, some even put in chains for several days. Although the striking stockmen won award rates in 1949, many never returned to the stations. Measured against the workers' initial demands, the 3-year Pilbara strike was not a complete victory. But the strike was of great historical significance, providing a powerful example of Aboriginal people's resolve to struggle against their slave-like conditions. The struggle for equal wages was finally won in the wake of the 1966 Gurindji strike in Wave Hill, Northern Territory.

Aboriginal tracker—As more and more European settlers came to the new British colony, the demand for land for farming and housing became greater. To meet the demand, some British settlers became explorers7 and it was common for such groups to include Aboriginal people as guides8. The guides would use their knowledge of the land and their tracking skills to lead the party through unfamiliar country, find horses and party members who had strayed, and locate food and water. The Aboriginal guides would also take on a diplomatic roles. They acted as ambassadors for the travellers as they passed through different tribal areas9 and making the group's passage as peaceful as possible, sometimes handing over their responsibilities at tribal border areas. Explorers who worked with Aboriginal guides as part of their expeditions included Major Mitchell10, who relied on the services of the Bathurst man known to the party as 'John Piper' to cross the Great Dividing Range11. Another well-known explorer was Edward John Eyre12 (1815-1901) who, together with his Aboriginal friend Wylie, was the first man to cross southern Australia from east to west, travelling across the Nullarbor Plain from Adelaide to Albany. About 1000 km short of Albany, Eyre and Wylie survived near starvation after seven days by finding a native waterhole and killing and eating kangaroos. Wylie was rewarded with a pension and returned to his country in Albany. In contrast, the party led by Robert Burke and William Wills13, from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria14 in Australia's far north, did not include Aboriginal guides. The account from the sole survivor, John King, records the explorers' hostility at offers to trade food for handkerchiefs from Aborigines along the Darling River. Oral history from Aboriginal descendents records the horror of the tribespeople at the expedition's caravan of oxen, bullocks, camels and horses drinking waterholes dry and removing all the heavy grinding stones from camp sites. Both the leaders of the expedition, and many others, died on this ill-fated expedition. The Native Police forces By the early 1800s, Aboriginal guides were also used to track down convicts and other criminals who had escaped into the bush, known as 'bushrangers15'. It was a natural progression to use Aboriginal guides to track down Aboriginal people as well. W.S. Smith, Horsemen including black trackers. Image courtesy of the State Library of New South Wales16. The first experiments with Native Police commenced in Victoria in 1837. In 1842, the Port Phillip Native Police Corps17 was established. The Corps included white officers and black troopers. The Corps provided a deterrent to Aboriginal attacks on pastoral properties as well as later policing the gold diggings and escorting gold to Melbourne. However, the Native Police also used violence to settle conflicts with other Aboriginal people. By 1851, many Aboriginal people were killed by the Native Police in Western Victoria and Gippsland. The Corps operated for eleven years until it was disbanded. When it was disbanded, some of the Native Police were absorbed as trackers into the Victorian police. A similar Aboriginal force was established in New South Wales in 1848 by Governor Charles Fitzroy18. This force was under New South Wales' control until 1859, when Queensland became a separate colony and took over command. The Queensland force19 continued until 1900. Although the activities of the Native Police forces were often kept secret, its brutality toward Queensland Aborigines has been able to be documented (see Reynolds, 1990 and Elder, 1998 under our Print References section). They were ordered to 'disperse' any large numbers of Aboriginal people which meant 'nothing but firing at them' according to a contemporary police source20. The force was also implicated in several massacres21. This brutality was provoked by the Queensland police constables who, according to Walter Roth22, Northern Protector of Aborigines (1897-1906), would engineer a series of tribal killings, creating bloodshed until the deaths were avenged (Richards 199923). Many police forces established unofficial relationships with Aboriginal trackers. The most famous use of trackers was the party who assisted Victorian Police to track down the notorious bushranger Ned Kelly24 in 1878 and 1880. Ned Kelly was said to be more afraid of the Aboriginal trackers than anyone else. The volunteer 'black trackers' from Fraser Island and Cape York, employees of the Queensland Native Police who tracked Ned Kelly, were lured by a promise of a cut in £8,000 reward offered for Kelly's capture. After the Glenrowan showdown with Kelly and his gang in 1880, Jack Noble (Wannamutta) and Gary Owens (Werannabe)25, along with 92 others, applied for the reward. Sums were set aside for Noble and Owens and paid to the Queensland Government, but despite repeated requests the men never received their money. The men were placed in confinement camps with their families because they could not show visible means of support when they retired.

Aboriginal trade routes—European Australians have long assumed that Aboriginal people in pre-European times lived in discrete tribes and had little communication with distant groups and minimal interest in technology, trade, money or exchange. This is simply not the case. Aboriginal people were extensive traders, and with various media of exchange or money equivalents, they traded goods over long distances. 'Roads' or trade routes have existed for probably thousands of years, with centres of exchange growing up at key locations long before Europeans arrived. In fact, it was the very existence of these trade centres that attracted the early mission settlements at places such as Kopperamanna in the north-east corner of South Australia. Early settlers were sometimes surprised to find that prized items such as steel axes had been introduced long before the arrival of Europeans, having been exchanged for other goods at various centres along the trade routes. Because trade on the continent was overland and on foot, the key centres of exchange tended to be well inland at sites where fresh water was plentiful, and access and movement were facilitated along periodic watercourses or between suitably spaced water-holes. Definite patterns of movement were established between these trading centres, and individual people did not travel the whole distance. Rather, goods—and associated stories and ideas—came with traders to a centre, and were exchanged for others. The more valuable items—those that were scarce or found in only a few localities—were traded over very long distances. The rare melo shell, from the east coast of Cape York in Queensland, was traded right down into South Australia, becoming progressively more valuable the further it travelled from its source. A particularly valuable form of ochre was mined at Parachilna on the western edge of the Flinders Ranges. This was traded north, via the exchange centre at Cooper Creek, right into central Queensland. Pituri, the source of a much sought after psycho-active drug, was collected in western Queensland and traded far into South Australia. In return for pituri, ochre from Parachilna found its way to Boolyo (Boulia) in Queensland by way of a number of exchange posts and different carriers. Important ceremonial goods such as pituri and ochre served as currencies in payment for other items. There is evidence that the trade routes were highly significant in religious-mythological terms and that they followed the 'dreaming trails' (the routes travelled by ancestral beings) over long distances. While its no longer possible to study the transfer of pre-European trade items, it is still possible to follow the story-lines of mythological ancestors across many areas. Thus, the route to the Flinders Ranges ochre mines was an emu dreaming path, used by people who traded with other groups who shared this dreaming and with whom they held combined ceremonies on their journey. These trade routes illustrate the high degree of interaction between people from different areas, and the extent to which cultural ideas as well as material goods were transferred. Trade and exchange routes criss-crossed the entire continent, linking Aboriginal groups into a complex social and economic network. In many cases, reciprocal gift-giving would also take place. Stories and songs, often with an accompanied pantomime accompaniment, were performed by each group. It has been postulated that during the summer Bogong moth feast, when groups gathered together in Ngunnawal and Ngarigo land, a great deal of trade and exchange took place. Trade provided an avenue for settling disputes between fractious groups, meeting to discuss Dreaming laws. Trade also enabled members from different languages to share aspects of the Dreaming. Specific cultural knowledge and practices were shared and reinforced during meetings.

Aboriginal tribal lands/grounds—the defining of exact tribal grounds can be quite complex, and the rules vary from tribe to tribe. For example, when a child was born amongst the Yuin, its father pointed out geographical boundaries to the men and women there present as being the bounds of his child's country: i.e., the boundaries of the tribal area. A girl-child amongst the Yuin inherited her mother's country as well as that into which she was born (as defined by her father's tribal affiliations). Additionally, however, the father of a boy-child was entitled to claim as his own the country in which his child was born, if different from his own; and likewise the mother took that of a girl-child (i.e., that of her husband). Such an inheritance brought rights and duties: the right to water and food available within an area, as well as the duty to maintain the region in which he/she was permitted to live/hunt/ fish and access water supplies.

Aboriginal tribes—at the time of European contact there were about 126 "tribal" groups who had all or most of their territory in the Northern Territory, with an estimated total population of 35,000. These people were hunter-gatherers who lived in small family groups of 15 to 30, this being the basic economic unit. Groups of bands formed larger social units, often referred to as "tribes" and "clans". Within these social networks, people frequently co-operated to exploit abundant resources during good seasons or to share scarce resources during drought or flood. The links between groups were based on kinship and marriage ties, common ceremonial affiliation and shared ownership of, or responsibility for, sacred sites and objects. The geographic distribution, density and mobility of the Aboriginal population were closely related to the availability or water, food and other resources. Generally, the size of the bands did not vary as much as the extent of the tract of land (called the range) needed by each group for its survival. In the desert regions of the Centre, population densities as low as one person per 100sq km reflected Aboriginal adaptation to a far harsher environment.

Aboriginal Trust—(see: Aboriginal Lands Trust).

Aboriginality—1. the quality of being an Aborigine. 2. the culture of the Aboriginal people.

Aboriginals Ordinance 1911 (NT)—granted the Chief Protector greater powers in the care, custody or control over Aboriginal 'half-castes' wherever and whenever he judged it necessary. Administrators were empowered to declare any place a prohibited area for Aborigines and half-castes. In 1932 this power was used to require fingerprinting in the Darwin area, and to require Aborigines to carry an Identification disk with them to allow them into picture shows and to withdraw money from trust accounts.

Aboriginals Preservation and Protection Act 1939 (Qld)—repealed the 1897 and 1934 Acts. Established the position of Director of Native Affairs in place of Chief Protector, with increased powers. The Director of Native Affairs became the ‘legal guardian of every aboriginal child under 21’. Director could ‘execute agreements between or on the part of Aboriginals in the State for the legal custody of aboriginal children by ab originals or other persons who in his opinion are suitable persons to be given legal custody of such children’. Director could cause any 'Aboriginals’ who are camped near a town to ‘remove their camp to such other place as he may direct’. Director could cause any ‘Aboriginals’ to be ‘removed from any district to a reserve and kept there for such time as may be ordered’ or to be removed from one reserve to another. This power did not apply to ‘a half-blood child living with and supported by a parent of such child who is not subject to this Act’. Regulations could be made for the ‘care, custody and education of the children of Aboriginals’ and prescribing the conditions on which ‘Aboriginal’ children may be apprenticed or placed in service. Repealed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Act 1965.

Aborigine—the indigenous peoples of Australia. Australian Aborigines descend from the same lineage as the first modern humans to migrate from Africa, DNA analysis has confirmed. DNA from people in New Guinea and Aboriginal Australians can be traced back to early branches of the human phylogenetic tree, associated with the first humans to leave Africa 50,000 - 70,000 years ago (U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012). The DNA analysis also revealed very little gene flow into Australia and New Guinea in the 50,000 or so years since the initial migration. Australians evolved in relative isolation compared to other parts of the Indian Ocean. This in turn suggests that developments in language and tool use were not influenced by outside sources. At the time of first contact with the European colonists in the late 18th century, most Aboriginals were hunter-gatherers with a complex oral culture and spiritual values based upon reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime. There were a great many different Aboriginal groups, each with their own individual culture, belief structure, and language (approximately 200 different languages at the time of European contact). These cultures overlapped to a greater or lesser extent, and had evolved over time. Lifestyles varied a great deal. In Victoria, for example, there were two separate communities with an economy based on fish-farming in complex and extensive irrigated pond systems (one on the Murray River in the state's north, the other in the south-west near Hamilton), and trade with other groups from as far away as the Melbourne area. The Aboriginal population was decimated by British colonization which began in 1788. A combination of disease, loss of land (and thus food resources) and outright murder reduced the Aboriginal population by an estimated 90% during the 19th Century and early 20th Century. A wave of massacres and resistance followed the frontier. The last massacre was at Coniston in the Northern Territory in 1928. In spite of the decline in their numbers throughout the 19th century, Aboriginal men, women and children became a very important source of labour to the large sheep and cattle stations which came to dominate northern Australia. They were also employed in other northern industries, such as pearling. Aborigines in northern Australia were often forced to work, and the term slavery has been used in regard to their employment. They were usually paid only in food and other basic items. This labour system lasted until the pastoral industries began to decline in the late 20th century. During the first half of the 20th century, native welfare boards were established in the various states. These instituted a policy of separating children from their parents based upon racial stereotyping. Pale-skinned children were forcibly removed, and Aboriginal parents often darkened their children to keep them. This aspect of Aboriginal history is often referred to as the "Stolen Generation". Many Aborigines now live in towns and cities around Australia, but a substantial number live in settlements (often located on the site of former church missions) in what are often remote areas of rural Australia. The health and economic difficulties facing both groups are substantial (for instance, life expectancy of Aboriginal people is often 20 years shorter than the wider Australian population).

Aborigines Act 1897 (WA)—abolished the Aborigines Protection Board, and removed the requirement to spend 1% of gross revenue on benefiting Aborigines. Established the Aborigines Department to replace the board.

Aborigines Act 1905 (WA)—established legal guardianship over all Aboriginal children and 'half-castes' under the age of 16 to the office of Chief Protector, and prohibited co-habitation of Aborigines and non-Aborigines.

Aborigines Act 1910 (VIC)—addressed some of the problems created in Victoria by colonial policies and laws affecting Aboriginal people. John Murray, a grazier from the Western District who had been very critical of the inhumane measures implemented by the Board for the Protection of Aborigines, initiated it in 1909. Murray was State Premier and Chief Secretary and, in his role of Chief Secretary, he chaired the Board for the Protection of Aborigines. He insisted that assistance be given to Aboriginal people outside the reserves and in this Act ensured that the differentiation of Aboriginal people of partial European parentage was abandoned. With the Aborigines Act 1910, Victoria took a step away from the extreme control over Aboriginal people established in the 19th century. The Act represents a major step in the constitutional shaping of society in Victoria, affecting the relationship between government and people. In this sense the legislation sits midway between the Aboriginal Protection Act 1869 (Vic) and the Aboriginal Lands Act 1970 (Vic).

Aborigines Act 1971 (Qld)—abolished the ‘assisted person’ designation; established the Director of Aboriginal and Island Affairs; made it an offence to be on a reserve unless entitled under the Act to be there; made provision for a permit of residence to be revoked (thereby ejecting Aborigines from reserves) either by the Aboriginal council established for that reserve or by the director; and ordered visits by justices once every 3 months to reserves to be followed by reports to the Director of Aboriginal and Island Affairs. Further constraints by means of regulation were made under the Act, with respect to the development, assimilation, integration, education, training and preservation of Aborigines, and the care of children other than those placed with the Director of Children’s Services. The Aborigines Act 1971 (Qld) was repealed by the Community Services (Aborigines) Act 1984 (Qld).

Aborigines Act 1984 (Qld)—short name for the Community Services Act 1984 (Qld).

Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (Land Holding) Act 1985 (Qld)—This document, enacted on 24 June 1985, introduced a new regime of land dealings and services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with another law, the Community Services (Aboriginal] Act Amendment Act 1986. Under this Act, not even the Crown had power to grant leases of Deed of Grant in Trust (DOGIT) land to unqualified persons, thus reversing a long-standing colonial process of segregation, surveillance and exploitation. During the 1960s and '70s, the Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Islander Affairs (DAIA) had remained the most intransigent against reform of any of the government agencies dealing with ‘native affairs’ issues in Australia. By the early 1980s, the mounting tide of protest against paternalistic racial legislation, emanating from Aboriginal activist groups and white supporters, had forced a reassessment of the situation whereby Aboriginal reserves and missions remained under authoritarian white control. In 1982, the Queensland Government decided that Aboriginal reserve and mission land should be handed over to the control of Aboriginal councils in the form of a Deed of Grant in Trust (DOGIT). This granted an estate in fee simple to local Aboriginal councils who could operate as trustees for the Aboriginal inhabitants of that settlement. The Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (Land Holding) Act became law in June 1985 and the first deeds were issued in October. Initially these were granted to all 15 of the Torres Strait Islands where people lived, save for Murray Island, the subject of the case being fought by Eddie Koiki Mabo and others before the High Court. Granting DOGITS to Aboriginal settlements (as reserves and missions were now called) on the mainland proved more problematic. Considerable difficulties over policing the settlements also occurred, with the Queensland Police pleading budgetary restraints to law enforcement servicing (under the guise of self-management) to many of these regions. This made worse the already pressing problems of crime, violence and domestic instability in these impoverished communities.

Aborigines Protection Act 1869 (VIC)—established the Aborigines Protection Board in Victoria. It contained very few substantive provisions, but instead authorised the making of regulations on a wide range of subjects. As regulations do not attract the kind of Parliamentary scrutiny and publicity that occurs with proposed statutes, major decisions about the treatment of Indigenous children went unnoticed. One of the regulations made under the act allowed for the removal of any Aboriginal child found to have been neglected by its parents, or ‘left unprotected'. They were removed to a mission, an industrial or reform school, or a station. Another regulation allowed the board to remove any male child under 14 years and female child under 18 years living on reserves and relocate them elsewhere. These regulations were used to separate Indigenous children from their parents and house them in dormitories on the reserves at Lake Hindmarsh, Coranderrk, Ramahyuck, Lake Tyers and Lake Condah. If families refused to consent to the removal of their children, they were threatened with expulsion from the station and the denial of food rations. Victoria was the first colony to enact a comprehensive scheme to regulate the lives of Aboriginal people.

Aborigines Protection Act 1883 (NSW) - established the Aborigines Protection Board in New South Wales, which remained in effect until repealed in 1969.

Aborigines Protection Act 1886 (Qld)—established the Aborigines Protection Board in Queensland, which concerned itself primarily with employment relations.

Aborigines Protection Act 1886 (VIC)—often referred to as the 'half-caste' Act, as it required all 'part-Aborigines' aged 34 and younger to leave the stations and their families. This was largely accomplished through the control of the Board for the Protection of Aborigines. Copies of the act were posted at police stations throughout the state, and police were regularly requested to remove so-called half-castes from reserves. The children of mixed descent were forcibly placed into schools or work. When an Indigenous child turned 13 they were sent to work or apprenticed—the males usually worked as farmhands, the females as domestic servants. Once they left the reserve, they were not allowed to return without official permission, nor to communicate with their families. This policy was justified by the widely held belief that the Aboriginals were a ‘dying race’ and in this way, the children would be saved. In fact, the board was seriously short-funded, and the plan was to reduce expenses by reducing the numbers of people left on reserves. The aim was to ultimately close down all reserves. Between 1886 and 1923, the number of reserves in Victoria dropped from six to one. After 1924, all Aboriginal people who still qualified for subsistence-level assistance from the board had to move to the Lake Tyers Reserve.

Aborigines Protection Act 1909 (NSW)—reconstituted the Aboriginal Protection Board, which had operated since 1883 without any legal basis. The Inspector General of Police acted as ex officio Chairman presiding over not more than ten other members appointed by the Governor. Their stated duty was 'to exercise a general supervision and care over all matters affecting the interest and welfare of Aborigines and to protect them against injustice, imposition and fraud'. The Act empowered the board 'to assume full control and custody' of the child of any Aborigine if the Court found the child to be neglected. It also allowed the Board to send Indigenous children aged between 14 and 18 years to work. The Protection Board was abolished in 1936, but re-constituted under the Aborigines Protection (Amendment) Act of 1940, and its name altered to the Aborigines Welfare Board. Its ultimate goal was the assimilation of Aboriginal people. The Act was again amended in 1963. The sections amended were those pertaining to the powers to remove Aboriginal people to reserves and from the vicinity of townships or to expel them from New South Wales, along with the prohibition of alcohol. The 1909 Aborigines Protection Act was repealed in 1969.

Aborigines Protection (Amendment) Act, 1915 (NSW) - made legal provision for the removal of Aboriginal children from their parents, a practice which had started in the 19th century. Under the changes of 1915 it could be carried out because the children were being neglected or determined by the Court to be in the interest of their moral and physical welfare.

Aborigines Protection (Amendment) Act, 1936 (NSW)—expanded the invasive nature of the the Aboriginal Protection Board, enabling it to: inspect the residence of any Aborigine; order Aboriginal people to return to their home state, if they were living in unsanitary or undesirable conditions; deny medical examinations and treatment, or if provided, to determine where it was to be provided; and to summarily terminate the employment of any Aboriginal.

Aborigines Protection (Amendment) Act, 1940 (NSW)—reconstituted the Aborigines Protection Board, its name being altered to the Aborigines Welfare Board. The Under Secretary of the Colonial Secretary's Department was appointed Chairman, and provision was made for ten other members, of whom one was to be a full-blooded Aborigine and one either a full-blooded Aborigine or having an admixture of blood, to represent their people. The policy of the Board was to encourage the assimilation of Aborigines into the general community.

Aborigines Protection (Amendment) Act, 1943 (NSW)—granted the Aborigines Welfare Board two important new powers: to acquire and dispose of land, and to exempt selected Aborigines from provisions of the Act. It also provided for the inclusion of two persons of Aboriginal descent (one full-blood, one mixed) on the Welfare Board. Their duty would be to assist with the cultural assimilation of the various Aboriginal communities.

Aborigines Protection Boards—in 1886 the administration of Aboriginal affairs was removed from the Colonial Secretary and entrusted to an Aboriginal Protection Board in each State. These boards oversaw the activities of the Protectors of Aborigines, individuals appointed by the Governor or by the board under the various Aborigines Protection acts.

Aborigines Welfare Act 1957 (VIC)—replaced the Central Board for the Protection of Aborigines with the Aborigines Welfare Board. For the first time in Victoria’s Aboriginal affairs legislation, the board was given no specific power in relation to Aboriginal children. However, the stated goal remained the same: the destruction of Aboriginal communities and assimilation of Aborigines into the general community. The people at Lake Tyers resisted all attempts to close their community under this law, and one result of their campaign was the formation of the Victorian Aboriginal Advancement League. The campaigns of the people for community control at Ramahyuck and the work of the league were eventually successful. In 1971, this act granted the 4000-acre reserve to about 40 members of the community under communal freehold title. The Framlingham community also received communal title to 500 acres under the act.

Aborigines Welfare Board (NSW)—replaced the Aborigines Protection Board and was the main NSW state government agency responsible for implementing and administering the legislation and policy affecting Aboriginal people throughout the state. The Welfare Board comprised six members appointed by the Governor of New South Wales, with the Inspector General of Police as chairman. Beginning in June of 1883, the Welfare Board held weekly meetings at which recommendations concerning the general protection of the state's Aboriginal population were considered. This Board functioned without any statutory power until 1909, when the Aborigines Protection Act was passed. The records of the Board are important because its activities had a major impact on the lives of the state's Indigenous population, in particular the 'Stolen Generations', who were removed from their families and communities. The Board's principal expenditure was for rations, clothing, and huts for the accommodation of Aborigines. The Board held its final meeting on 29 April 1969 and was replaced by the Aborigines Welfare Directorate, Department of Child Welfare and Social Welfare (later the Aboriginal Services Branch, Youth and Community Services).

Aborigines Welfare Board (VIC)—resulted from the McLean Report, which recommended the assimilation of Aborigines into the wider community. One of the first steps taken by the new board was a survey of the Aboriginal population, which concluded that Victoria had a population of 1,400 Aborigines, of whom less than 20 were full-blood. The Aborigines Welfare Board existed for only 10 years. In its final report, it claimed that although the number of part-Aboriginals whom it had identified in Victoria had grown to 3,500, it claimed that there were not more than 12 river bank shacks, pickers' huts or other rural slums still occupied by Aborigines.

Aborigines' protection legislation—the key statutes are: Aborigines’ Protection Act 1909 (NSW); Aborigines Protection Act 1869 (Vic); Aborigines Protection Act 1886 (Vic); Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act 1897 (Qld); Aboriginals Preservation and Protection Act 1939 (Qld); Cape Barren Island Reserve Act 1912 (Tas); An act to prevent the enticing away the Girls of the Aboriginal Race from School or from any Service in which they are employed 1844 (WA); Aborigines Protection Act 1886 (WA); Aborigines Act 1905 (WA); Aborigines Act 1911 (SA); Northern Territory Aboriginals Act 1910 (SA); Aboriginals Ordinance 1911 (NT).

abortion—total failure: e.g., The architect designed an abortion of a house.

above ground—alive; not dead: e.g., Any day above ground is a good day.

above (oneself)—1. conceited; smug; e.g., He's a bit above himself since he made his fortune. 2. extremely excited or elated: e.g., He's going to be above himself when he hears about his big win in the lottery.

ABS—Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia's official statistical organisation.

abso-bloody-lutely—positively; emphatically yes.

absolute majority—in Parliament, 50% plus one of the total formal votes cast.

absolute pardons, 1791-1846—(hist.) were generally granted to convicts who had long sentences (14 years or life), exempting them from serving out the remainder of their sentence. These convicts then enjoyed the same rights as free people, including the right to return to the or Ireland. There are two sets of records relating to absolute pardons, covering the period 1791-1846 (though there are some gaps): Registers of absolute pardons include name, number and date of pardon. After 1810, details such as place and date of trial, sentence, year of birth, physical description and general remarks (which may include date and number of previously issued conditional pardons) are also included; and Registers of recommendations for absolute pardons that usually include details of the convict recommended for absolute pardon and the name of the person who recommended them.

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