During 1900-1972, thousands of Aboriginal children and children with one non-indigenous parent in Australia were taken away from their homes by policemen and station managers. They were sent to institutions, orphanages or adopted by white people. These children are referred to as “The Stolen Generations”The children were taken away because of “Paternalism” which meant that the government thought that Aborigines were dirty and couldn’t even look after themselves and thought it was the best interest for the children. Also the federal government hoped that this would improve Aboriginal Living Standards and assist in the Assimilation Policy. The Assimilation Policy expected the Aborigines to give up their Aboriginal life and to “think white, look white, act white”. This policy allowed the Aborigines to leave the missions, obtain a job and be permitted to enter public places such as cafes and hospitals.
Many Aboriginal parents faced many hardships as they were forbidden to see their children ever again, also it was difficult to trace them due to the children were given new names and new birthdates and the letters and presents were destroyed by the station managers. Another reason why it was hard to trace the children was due to the fact that there were little records on which children were sent where.
Not only did the Aboriginal parents faced hardships, but the children did too. They were told that they were orphans, also they were referred to as servants for the Australians, their living conditions and food were considered to be very poor. They received little education and were placed in a low grade also had to do farming work. When the children grew up into young adults, many felt that they have lost identity as they didn’t know who their families were, also many turned to drugs and suicide.
An Aboriginal organization was established in the early 1980s called Link-Up, it was to solve the issue of The Stolen Generation. It assisted the stolen generations to trace their families.
This event was significant for the changing rights and freedoms of the Aboriginal people of Australia because it indicated that Aborigines didn’t receive any rights until the early 1980s, also states how cruel and racist the Australians were to the Aborigines during the 20th century. The Stolen Generation became Australia’s history and there is even a novel and movie called “Rabbit Proof Fence” which tells the true story of 3 Aboriginal girls escaping the institutions.
1. Title of Book: Retro Active 2Author: Maureen Anderson, Ann Law, Jeffrey Conroy, Ian KeesePublisher: Jacaranda PressPlace of publication date: Sydney2. Title of Book: A History Of Australia Since 1901Author: Robert Darlington & John HospodarykPublisher: HeinemannPlace of publication date: Melbourne