Aboriginal Scandals

1912, Thursday 16 May Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1889-1915), p.2

SYDNEY, Wednesday.-A deputation re-presenting the Aborigines' Protection Board was introduced to the Acting Chief Secretary by the Inspector-General of Police, urging several alterations and improvements in the condition of aborigines. The deputation advocated the appointment of an inspector to visit and supervise the fourteen existing aboriginal stations, and the 2000 camps ; also that an alteration be made in the law in the direction of making the apprenticing of children more practicable ; also that special provision be made for the pro- portion of children in camps who , were nearly white.

It was scandalous that these children should remain in the society of aborigines, where they were only an incubus on the State. Mr. Scolte, M.L.A., referred in strong terms to the present deplorable state of the aboriginal communities; particularly from the point of view of the children, who were exposed to all sorts of dangers at the hands of the low-class white population in the vicinity of the camps. He had seen in these camps girls as white as bis own carrying babies as white as his own children. The Board wanted to prevent such evils. Mr. Donaldson, M.L.A. declared that the aboriginal camps had drifted into breeding camps for white children. It was on record that it was an unusual thing for one of these girls to reach the age of sixteen without having a child. They were the prey of all the half-caste youths and low-class whites. Unless the system was altered there would be an indefinite continuance of what was a grave and disgraceful scandal. The children ought to be taken away from the camps at the age of five years. The Government spent £30,000 a year on these aboriginal settlements and had nothing to show for it.

Mr. Flowers said the disclosures, surprised him. 'They must not treat these people like savages. There was no doubt that the whole matter as disclosed was becoming a menace to the State. The suggestion that octoroons and quadroons in the aboriginal camps should be absorbed into the general community could do no harm, and would probably do much good. Regarding the proposed alteration of the Act that would be a matter for the Cabinet's consideration. He could not understand how the Board had managed to get along all this time without an inspector.