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Commonwealth Government Records about the Northern Territory

8 Aboriginal People of the Northern Territory

When the Commonwealth assumed responsibility for the Northern Territory in 1911, there was a belief that Aboriginal people were an inferior and doomed race. Some held the view that full blood Aboriginal people would die out in within a few generations, and the best thing that government policy makers could do for them was to provide a comfortable existence until that happened. Children with both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heritage (often referred to as half-caste) were another matter.1 Policies were developed in the early years of the Commonwealth era that would have a traumatic effect on many Aboriginal people and, for many, the legacy of those policies continues.


Chapter notes | All notes

1 The terms 'half-caste', and sometimes 'quadroon and 'octoroon' were used at the time to describe a person of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heritage. These terms appear regularly in item titles and in correspondence. They have been retained where they appear in the original item titles in accordance with the usual archival practice and because, in themselves, they give information about the attitudes of the time and the context in which the records were created.


Chapter 8
Aboriginal People of the Northern Territory