Academic journal article Australian Aboriginal Studies

Collection Report-Library

Academic journal article Australian Aboriginal Studies

Collection Report-Library

Article excerpt

Having been established in the 1960s, the AIATSIS Library has 'gaps', particularly in its nineteenth-century collections. Although collection management staff members have been able to acquire rare books at auctions, many gaps still remain. Helping to address this need, the Library has received grant funding for 2008-2011 to digitise a range of materials for access, and a major part of these funds has been used to digitise collections not held by the Library, or to complete its holdings. Initial focus has been on the State Government laws used to justify the forced removal of children from their families and communities, and the 'Protectors' Reports'. Together, these have been formed into an online resource called 'To Remove and Protect'. Shortly, the Library will add Parliamentary and Government Inquiries and Royal Commissions, thus increasing the historical research value of this resource.

The AIATSIS Library acknowledges the cooperation of the National Library of Australia in allowing the digitisation of much of this material.

To Remove and Protect

This online resource documents State Government involvement and treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from the nineteenth century onwards. There are two parts to date: all the State Government legislation cited in the Bringing Them Home Report and the 'Protector's Reports' from each State's government agency responsible for the control of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


The State and Territory Government legislation on this website was originally compiled for the Bringing Them Home Report, and documented 'the strength and struggles of many thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by forcible removal' (HREOC 1997:1, Dedication). The laws commenced in the early nineteenth century and continued through to modern times, and were either applied specifically to Aboriginal children or were general child welfare/adoption laws.

Many of the specific laws cover far more than forced removal of Aboriginal children. The Acts gave a Board or Agency (the Government Protector) comprehensive powers to regulate every aspect of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's lives--from whether they lived on reserves, worked, had wages and entitlements withheld (now known as Stolen Wages) or owned land, to their personal relationships and contact with family and community. …

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