"Clean, Clad and Courteous" Revisited: A Review History of 200 Years of Aboriginal Education in New South Wales

By Reynolds, Richard J. | The Journal of Negro Education, Winter 2009 | Go to article overview

"Clean, Clad and Courteous" Revisited: A Review History of 200 Years of Aboriginal Education in New South Wales


Reynolds, Richard J., The Journal of Negro Education


The state of New South Wales has, over a period of two centuries, tried policies ranging from indifference, segregation and protection, through assimilation and compensatory programs to the present era where some believe self-determination and self-management will provide answers to education problems due to lack of consultation, inappropriate curriculums, unsupportive environments, racial stereotyping, and discrimination. This article reviews the 200-year history of aboriginal education in New South Wales.

The "clean, clad and courteous" criterion for many years was the rule of thumb for the admission of aboriginal children to government schools. Clean, Clad and Courteous is also the title of a book by J. J. Fletcher (1989) on the history of aboriginal education in New South Wales.

INTRODUCTION

There are two distinct groups of indigenous peoples in Australia: Aborigines, who inhabit rural and remote regions of Australia some of whom have, more recently, settled in the suburbs of the larger cities that dot the coastline, and Torres Strait Islanders, who live on a series of islands off the Northeast coast and the adjoining mainland. This latter group played little or no part in the early history of White attempts to educate indigenous Australians.

Without an examination of the historical context of aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education it is difficult to fully appreciate the current state of affairs. The history of the "Stolen Generation," treated at the end of this article, helps one to put in context the aboriginal resistance to 'Western' education. To this day, the educational needs of aboriginal children are still affected by the vestiges of history. Additionally, they are influenced by their culture and a heritage of disadvantage and alienation.

THE EARLY DAYS

For 60,000 years or more, before the arrival of Europeans in Australia, Aborigines had a form of education that enabled them to successfully transmit their culture and way of life. This was a nonliterate society; therefore, knowledge about the land and survival, kinship, and religious matters was not written down. There was no formal schooling; education took place and was designed to enable the Aborigines to survive as hunter/food gatherers and maintain their social and religious traditions. Knowledge was held and transmitted by the elders and treasured by the recipients. Learning was a matter of observation and imitation and to a lesser extent of verbal instruction (Select Committee on Aboriginal Education, 1985).

Aboriginal society was disrupted and almost destroyed by the arrival of Europeans in the latter years of the 18th century. From that arrival, the settlement of Eastern Australia by Europeans led to conflict among the indigenous population, the settlers and the convicts (Keneally, 2007). Working from the British legal principle of terra nullius - meaning, no one's land - settlers erroneously assumed that because the land was neither used for grazing nor agriculture, it was unclaimed and, therefore, available for settlement. British sovereignty was proclaimed and Aborigines were dispossessed (Keneally, 2007).

Early hostilities developed, leading Arthur Phillip, the first governor of the colony of New South Wales (NSW), which at that time covered all of Eastern Australia, to attempt some form of pacification. Because there was violence on both sides, harsh punishments for recalcitrant natives were not favored by Phillip or the colonial administration in London. In 1814, when the uproar again flared in the colony, Governor Lachlan Macquarie entertained the idea of establishing "a native institution or school for Aboriginal children" (Fletcher, 1989, p. 14).

From their early experiences with Aborigines, the colonists came to differing conclusions. There was considerable ideological speculation of 'nature vs. nurture': Was aboriginal nature inherited or environmentally determined?

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

"Clean, Clad and Courteous" Revisited: A Review History of 200 Years of Aboriginal Education in New South Wales
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.