Protection and Segregation

The protection and Segregation era occurred due to the The Aboriginal Protection & Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act of 1897 and officially heralded an era in British law that allowed non-Aboriginal people to legally impose authoritarian control over Aboriginal people.

Queensland was portioned into districts. Missions/reserves were set up within these boundaries and government-appointed non-Aboriginal people, i.e. District Protectors and Mission Superintendents. These people were accorded the powers to execute the duties prescribed in the Act.  Some Missions had been set up prior to this date, predominantly by church organisations.

As a result of policies associated with the Act, Aboriginal people no longer had any control over any aspect of their lives. The Colonial Government representatives of the day (i.e. Minister, Protector or Superintendent) decided:

  • where and how Aboriginal people were to live
  • where Aboriginal people were to work
  • when Aboriginal people could practice their cultural ceremonies
  • who Aboriginal people could marry

The “Act” was not the first nor was it the only piece of legislation to dramatically alter the lives of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

•1881  Pearl Shell and Bêche-de-mer Fisheries Act
•1884  Native Labourers Protection Act
•1897  Aboriginal Protection and Restriction of Sale of Opium Act
•1939  Aboriginals Preservation and Protection Act
•1939  Torres Strait Islanders Act
•1965  Aborigines’ and Torres Strait Islanders’ Affairs Act
•1967  Aboriginal Relics Preservation Act
•1971  Aborigines Act
•1971  Torres Strait Islander Act
•1974  Aborigines Act and Torres Strait Islander’s Act Amendment Act
•1975  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (Queensland Discriminatory Laws) Act (Cwlth) 
•1975  Racial Discrimination Act (Cwlth)
•1984  Community Services (Aborigines) Act
•1984  Community Services (Torres Strait) Act
•1991  Aboriginal Land Act
•1991  Torres Strait Islander Land Act
•1993  Native Title Act (Cwlth)
•1998  Native Title Amendment Act (Cwlth)

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