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A range of laws applying to or of specific relevance to Indigenous Australians. A number of laws have been passed since the European settlement of Australia, initially by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, then by the Governors or legislature of each of the Australian colonies and more recently by the Parliament of Australia and that of each of its States and Territories, these laws, arranged chronologically, include:

Title Jurisdiction Focus Notes
Aboriginals Fire Arm Regulation Act 1840 New South Wales Control [1]
Aboriginal Orphans Act 1844 South Australia Control [2]
Aboriginal Witnesses Act South Australia Control [3]
Supply of Liquors to Aborigines Prevention Act 1867 New South Wales Control [4]
Aboriginal Protection Act 1869 Victoria (colonial) Control
Aborigines Protection Act 1886 (WA) Western Australia Control [5][6][7]
Half-Caste Act 1886 (Vic) Victoria Control [8]
Half-Caste Act 1886 (WA) Western Australia Control
Act to provide certain matters connected with the Aborigines 1889 (statute 24/1889) Western Australia Control
Aboriginal Protection and restriction of the sale of opium act 1897 Queensland Control
Aborigines Protection Act 1909 New South Wales Control
Aborigines Act 1910 Victoria
Aborigines Act 1911 South Australia Control [9]
Aborigines (Training of Children) Act 1923 South Australia Control [10]
Aborigines Act 1934 South Australia Control [11]
Aborigines Protection (Amendment) Act 1940 New South Wales Control
Pitjantjatjara Lands Act 1956 South Australia First native title legislation in the country [12]
Aboriginal Affairs Act 1962 South Australia Control [13]
Aboriginal Lands Trust Act 1966 South Australia Land rights
Aborigines Act 1969 (NSW) New South Wales Control [14]
Aboriginal Lands Act 1970 Victoria Land rights
Aboriginal Affairs (Arrangements with the States) Act 1973 Commonwealth of Australia Inter-governmental administration
National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NSW) New South Wales Heritage
Aboriginal Relics Act 1975 (No. 81 of 1975) Tasmania Heritage protection
Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976 Commonwealth of Australia Land rights
Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Rights Act, 1981 South Australia Land rights
Maralinga Tjarutja Land Rights Act 1984 South Australia Land rights
Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 (SA) South Australia Heritage
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Act 1989 Commonwealth Control
Native Title Act 1993 Commonwealth Native title [15]
Native Title (South Australia) Act 1994 South Australia Native title
Aboriginal Lands Act 1995 Tasmania Land rights
Living Marine Resources Management Act 1995 (No. 25 of 1995) Tasmania Protection
Hindmarsh Island Bridge Act 1996 Commonwealth Development [16][17]
Native Title Amendment Act 1998 Commonwealth Native title [18]
Burial and Cremation Act 2002 (No. 4 of 2002) Tasmania Control
National Parks and Reserves Management Act 2002 (No. 62 of 2002) Tasmania Protection and Control
Nature Conservation Act 2002 (No. 63 of 2002) Tasmania Protection
Aboriginal Lands Parliamentary Standing Committee Act 2003 South Australia Land rights
Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 (Qld) Queensland Heritage
Commission of Inquiry (Children in State Care and Children on APY Lands) Act 2004 South Australia Investigatory/
Child protection
Aboriginal Land Council Elections Act 2004 Tasmania Elections
Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 Victoria Heritage [20]
Stolen Generations of Aboriginal Children Act 2006 Tasmania Compensation for people of the Stolen Generations
Northern Territory National Emergency Response Act 2007 (No. 129, 2007) Commonwealth Land control, protection, Control [21]

See also


  1. ^ An Act to prohibit the Aboriginal Natives of New South Wales from having Fire Arms or Ammunition in their possession without the permission of a Magistrate (No.13a/1840)
  2. ^ An Ordinance to Provide for the Protection, Maintenance, and Up-Bringing of Orphans and other Destitute Children of the Aborigines (No.12/1844)
  3. ^ To facilitate the admission of the unsworn testimony of Aboriginal inhabitants of South Australia and parts adjacent (No.8/1844)
  4. ^ An Act to prohibit the supply of Intoxicating Liquors to the Aboriginal Natives of New South Wales
  5. ^ For records relating to the WA Aboriginal Protection Board see the WA States Records Office accessed 20 March 2008 Archived 29 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ An Act to provide for the better protection and management of the Aboriginal natives of Western Australia, and to amend the law relating to certain contracts with such Aboriginal natives (statute 25/1886)
  7. ^ "Aboriginal Protection Board at the State Records Office of Western Australia, accessed 20 March 2008". Archived from the original on 10 March 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
  8. ^ Act to amend an Act entitled "An Act to Provide for the Protection and Management of the Aboriginal Natives of Victoria
  9. ^ An Act to make provision for the better protection and control of the Aboriginal and Half-Caste Inhabitants of the State of South Australia (No.1048/1911)
  10. ^ An Act to make Better Provision for the Care, Control, and Training of Aboriginal Children, for placing Aboriginal Children under the Control of the State Children's Council, to amend the Aborigines Act, 1911, and for other purposes (No.1565/1923)
  11. ^ An Act to consolidate certain Acts relating to the protection and control of the aboriginal and half-caste inhabitants of South Australia (No.2154/1934)
  12. ^ Barrass, Tony; Victoria Laurie (27 September 2006). "From Terra Nullius to Noongar (in 'Long road home')". The Australian. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  13. ^ An Act to repeal the Aborigines Act, 1934-1939, and to promote the welfare and advancement of Aborigines and of persons of Aboriginal blood in South Australia and for other purposes (No.45/1962)
  14. ^ Aboriginal Affairs in NSW: A Short History, NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs, accessed 20 March 2008 Archived 20 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Native Title Act 1993
  16. ^ Bills Digest 50 1996-97, Hindmarsh Island Bridge Bill 1996, Australian Parliamentary Library Archived 2008-12-01 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ See Hindmarsh Island bridge controversy
  18. ^ Native Title Amendment Act 1998
  19. ^ Ted Mullighan is the Commissioner
  20. ^ Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006
  21. ^ Northern Territory National Emergency Response Act 2007 (No. 129, 2007)

Further reading