Legislation / Key Provisions
Industrial and Reformatory Schools Act 1865
Established and regulated industrial and reformatory schools for children under 15 who were 'neglected' or convicted of an offence. Missions were registered as industrial or reformatory schools. A constable may arrest without a warrant any child he considers to be neglected. A court composed of two or more Justices may order a child found to be neglected to be removed from his/her mother and placed in an industrial or reformatory school. Amended by Industrial and Reformatory Schools Amendment Act 1906 - removes reference to Aboriginal children and extends age of child to 17 years. Repealed by State Children Act 1911.
Orphanages Act 1879
A destitute child may be removed to an orphanage declared under this Act. Repealed by State Children Act 1911.
Guardianship and Custody of Infants Act 1891
Where a parent has abandoned or deserted an infant or 'allowed his infant to be brought up by any other person ... as to satisfy the court that the parent was unmindful of his parental duties', the court shall not make an order for the delivery of the infant to the parent unless the parent has satisfied the court 'he is a fit person to have custody'. Repealed by Children's Services Act 1965.
Children's Protection Act 1896
Applies to boys under 14 and girls under 16. An offence to 'ill treat, neglect, abandon or expose a child' in a 'manner likely to cause such child unnecessary suffering or injury to its health'. Court can deal with a child found to be ill treated, neglected, abandoned or exposed as the 'circumstances may admit and require'. Repealed by the Children's Services Act 1965.
Aboriginal Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act 1897
For the 'better protection and care of the aboriginal and half-caste inhabitants of the colony' and 'for restricting the sale and distribution of opium'. Established positions of regional Protectors and later Chief Protector. Repealed by Aboriginal Preservation and Protection Act 1939.
Infant Life Protection Act 1905
Any person wishing to adopt a child under the age of 10 may make application to the Director of the State Children Department for permission. The Director must obtain consent in writing of parent, parents or guardian. Repealed by State Children Act 1911.
State Children Act 1911
Replaced the 1865 Act. The Director of State Children Department is the guardian of all State children. The Director may place a State child in a receiving depot; detain him/her in an institution registered under this Act; transfer him/her from one institution to another; place out or apprentice him/her; or place him/her in the custody of some suitable person. This action may be taken without reference to parents or relatives of the child. Amended by State Children Act 1917 - a court may release a child on probation. Repealed by Children's Services Act 1965.
Protection of Aboriginals and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Amendment Act 1934
Extended the provisions of the 1897 Act and the powers of the Chief Protector. Every Aboriginal and 'half-caste' child who is an inmate of an institution registered under the State Children Act 1911 shall be under the control and supervision of the Protector'. 'The Minister may from time to time cause any aboriginal or half-caste ... to be removed to any reserve, institution, or district and kept there, or to be removed from any reserve, institution, or district to any other reserve institution or district, and kept there'. This does not apply to any 'aboriginal or half-caste who is lawfully married to and residing with any person who is not an aboriginal or half caste or otherwise subject to this Act'; or 'a half-caste child living with and supported by a parent of such child who is not subject to this Act'. A 'half-caste' may be exempted from the provisions of this Act (revokable). If the Minister is of the opinion that any 'aboriginal' or 'half-caste' is uncontrollable he may order the 'aboriginal' or 'half-caste' to be kept in an institution. 'Any such order is sufficient authority for the Chief Protector, or any Protector, or any person acting under the authority of the Chief Protector or of a Protector, or any officer of police to arrest such aboriginal or half-caste and remove to an institution'. Any 'aboriginal or half caste' who is convicted of an offence against the 1897 Act or this Act may be detained in an institution. Repealed by Aboriginal Preservation and Protection Act 1939.
Adoption of Children Act 1935
Provides for adoption of 'infants' under 21. The Director of the State Children Department is responsible for making an adoption order. Director may dispense with the consent of the child's parents or guardian if satisfied that a parent or guardian has 'abandoned or deserted the infant or cannot be found or is incapable of giving consent; has persistently neglected to contribute to support; or is a person whose consent ought, in the opinion of the Director and in all the circumstances of the case, to be dispensed with'. Repealed by Adoption of Children Act 1964.
Aboriginals Preservation and Protection Act 1939
Director of Native Affairs is the 'legal guardian of every aboriginal child under 21'. Director may 'execute agreements between or on the part of aboriginals in the State for the legal custody of aboriginal children by aboriginals or other persons who in his opinion are suitable persons to be given legal custody of such children'. Director may cause any 'aboriginals' who are camped near a town to 'remove their camp to such other place as he may direct'. Director may 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 does 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 made 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 Act 1965.
Torres Strait Islander Act 1939
Director may cause an Islander to be removed from any reserve to another reserve or to a reserve under the Aboriginals Act 1939 and kept there. 'No such removal shall be effected without the recommendation of the Island court'. Repealed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Act 1965.
Adoption of Children Act 1964
The Supreme Court is responsible for making an order for adoption. The welfare and interests of the child are the paramount consideration in making an order for adoption. Grounds for dispensing with consent similar to those in 1935 Act and include 'special circumstances by reason of which the consent may properly be dispensed with'. Amended by Adoption of Children Act 1983 - to dispense with consent the court must also be satisfied that the welfare and interests of the child will be promoted if the order is made.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Act 1965
- Pages 291-300 (PDF - 888 KB)
- Pages 301-310 (PDF - 922 KB)
- Pages 311-320 (PDF - 936 KB)
- Pages 321-330 (PDF - 909 KB)
Established position of Director of Aboriginal and Island Affairs in place of Director of Native Welfare. Director is no longer the legal guardian of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Director may order an assisted Aborigine or Islander who is not residing on a reserve 'to be transferred from any district to a reserve'; and upon the recommendation of an Aboriginal Court of a reserve on which the assisted Aborigine is residing, order the assisted Aborigine to be transferred from such reserve to another reserve for Aborigines. Similar provisions in relation to Islanders. Regulations may be made for the preservation, development, assimilation, integration, education, training and employment of assisted Aborigines and assisted Islanders; the care of children of assisted Aborigines or assisted Islanders other than such children who are in the care, protection or control of the Director of the State Children Department; and the employment and apprenticeship of children of assisted Aborigines or Islanders other than such children who are in the care, protection or control of the Director of the State Children Department. Repealed by Aborigines Act 1971 & Torres Strait Islander Act 1971.
Children's Services Act 1965
- Pages 517-531 (PDF - 1,252 KB)
- Pages 532-546 (PDF - 1,224 KB)
- Pages 547-561 (PDF - 1,247 KB)
- Pages 562-576 (PDF - 1,251 KB)
- Pages 577-589 (PDF - 1,117 KB)
Replaced the 1911 Act. Established Department of Children's Services. Missions and government settlements were licensed as institutions. A child found to be in need of care and protection may be admitted to the 'care and protection' of the director of the department if a court is satisfied that the child's care and protection cannot be secured by any other order it could make such as ordering a parent or guardian to enter into a recognizance or ordering the director to have 'protective supervision' over the child. The director has guardianship of a child admitted to his/her care and protection. Similar powers in relation to a child in 'need of care and control'. Once admitted to the care and protection of the director the child may be placed, in the best interests of the child, with the child's parents, a relative or friend, in an institution licensed under the Act or in a hostel. The director may grant financial assistance to a family to help care for a child.
Aborigines Act 1971
Abolished status of 'assisted Aborigine'. Established Director of Aboriginal and Island Affairs. An offence to be on a reserve unless entitled under the Act to be there. A permit may be revoked by the Aboriginal council established for that reserve or by the Director. Regulations may be made with respect to the development, assimilation, integration, education, training and preservation of Aborigines; the care of children (being Aborigines) other than those who are in the care and protection or control of the Director of Children's Services. Repealed by Community Services (Aborigines) Act 1984.
Torres Strait Islander Act 1971
Abolished status of assisted Islander. Similar provisions to the Aborigines Act 1971. Repealed by Community Services (Torres Strait) Act 1984.
Adoption of Children (Amendment) Act 1987
Amended the Adoption of Children Act 1965 to provide that the Director 'shall have regard to the indigenous or ethnic background and cultural background of the child'.
Protectors' reports lists
Annual Report of the Northern Protector of Aboriginals
- 1899 (PDF - 2,008 KB)
- 1900 (PDF - 1,264 KB)
- 1901 (PDF - 1,849 KB)
- 1902 (PDF - 2,276 KB)
- 1903 (PDF - 2,339 KB)
Annual Report of the Chief Protector of Aboriginals
- 1904 (PDF - 2,139 KB)
- 1905 (PDF - 9,882 KB)
- 1906 (PDF - 1,879 KB)
- 1907 (PDF - 1,941 KB)
- 1908 (PDF - 3,864 KB)
- 1909 (PDF - 3,121 KB)
- 1910 (PDF - 5,495 KB)
- 1911 (PDF - 2,952 KB)
- 1912 (PDF - 3,204 KB)
- 1913 (PDF - 2,417 KB)
- 1914 (PDF - 2,461 KB)
- 1915 (PDF - 2,612 KB)
- 1916 (PDF - 1,717 KB)
Reports upon the Operations of certain Sub-Departments of the Home Secretary's Department - Aboriginals Department - Information contained in Report for the year ended 31st December
- 1918 (PDF - 1,356 KB)
- 1919 (PDF - 1,583 KB)
- 1920 (PDF - 1,492 KB)
- 1921 (PDF - 1,128 KB)
- 1922 (PDF - 1,133 KB)
- 1923 (PDF - 1,105 KB)
- 1924 (PDF - 1,171 KB)
- 1925 (PDF - 1,121 KB)
- 1926 (PDF - 1,185 KB)
- 1927 (PDF - 2,407 KB)
- 1928 (PDF - 1,619 KB)
- 1929 (PDF - 1,816 KB)
- 1930 (PDF - 1,350 KB)
- 1931 (PDF - 1,799 KB)
- 1932 (PDF - 2,295 KB)
- 1933 (PDF - 1,825 KB)
- 1934 (PDF - 2,657 KB)
- 1935 (PDF - 2,736 KB)
- 1936 (PDF - 2,290 KB)
- 1937 (PDF - 2,097 KB)
- 1939 (PDF - 949 KB)
Native Affairs - Information contained in Reports of Director of Native Affairs for the Twelve months ended 30th June
- 1940 (PDF - 750 KB)
- 1942 (PDF - 860 KB)
- 1943 (PDF - 754 KB)
- 1944 (PDF - 1,013 KB)
- 1945 (PDF - 516 KB)
- 1946 (PDF - 3,044 KB)
- 1947 (PDF - 2,979 KB)
- 1948 (PDF - 3,106 KB)
- 1949 (PDF - 3,970 KB)
- 1950 (PDF - 4,458 KB)
- 1951 (PDF - 3,755 KB)
- 1952 (PDF - 4,422 KB)
- 1953 (PDF - 4,574 KB)
- 1954 (PDF - 4,641 KB)
- 1955 (PDF - 5,301 KB)
- 1956 (PDF - 5,404 KB)
- 1957 (PDF - 3,619 KB)
- 1958 (PDF - 7,626 KB)
- 1959 (PDF - 7,341 KB)
- 1861 – Report from the Select Committee on the Native Police Force and the conditions of the Aborigines generally 1861 (PDF - 22,567 KB)
- 1874 – Aborigines of Queensland: Report of the Commissioners for the purpose of taking into consideration certain questions opened up by a petition from a number of residents in the district of Mackay, relative to the employment and protection of the Aboriginal inhabitants of the District (PDF - 779 KB)
- 1876 – Report of Board of Inquiry appointed by the Secretary for Lands to inquire into and report upon the state of the Aboriginal Reserve at Mackay (PDF - 1,832 KB)
- 1896 - Report on the Aboriginals of Queensland (PDF - 3,191 KB)