Category Archives: The “Stolen Generations”: things not as they seem

What Keith Windschuttle’s archival research has actually found about the “stolen” children

The boy “stolen” from an ants’ nest

The boy “stolen” from an ants’ nest

by Tony Thomas

May 24, 2010

The Pocket Windschuttle: Why the Cubillo-Gunner Case was lost

Tony Thomas: This essay tells of the origins of the important test cases in the Northern Territory in which two ‘stolen generation’ claimants sought and failed to win damages against the Commonwealth. It describes the crucial evidence which helped convince the judge that the claims lacked validity.

[Note: All page references are to The Fabrication of Aboriginal History – Volume Three: The Stolen Generations 1881-2008 by Keith Windschuttle (Macleay, 2009)]

Barbara Cummins was a one-time inmate of the Retta Dixon Home in Darwin and a member of the advisory council of the Human Rights Commission (“Bringing Them Home”).

In 1994 she helped convene a Darwin conference of ‘stolen’ generations with 600 attendees. Melbourne barrister Ron Merkel, soon to be appointed by the Labor federal government a Federal Court judge, told them they had a similar case for compensation as German Jews after WWII. This bore fruit via 550 claims in Darwin by the ‘stolen’ against the Commonwealth.

Lawyers picked the claims of Lorna Cubillo and Peter Gunner as the best test cases to run, alleging wrongful imprisonment and negligence in duty of care. p518

Sorry, folks, but you’re now going to have to follow a bit of detail about these two cases.

Lorna Cubillo in 1947 was picked up with 15 other children from Phillip Creek Native Settlement and taken to Retta Dixon Home in Darwin.

Peter Gunner in 1956 was taken from Utopia Station by a patrol officer to St Mary’s Hostel, Alice Springs.

Via their lawyers, neither denied that the Native Affairs Branch had the legal power to do so, regardless of half-cast parents’ wishes. The issue was whether the Director had used his powers properly, in the interests of the children, or whether he was just rounding them up for racist reasons, regardless of their best interests. p518

The Director, Frank Moy, wrote a letter in 1951 to the Administrator F.J.S. Wise which went public at the time. It said, among other things:

Patrol offices are sometimes asked to remove certain half-caste children, after doing their best to persuade the mothers and tribal husbands of the benefit to the children of education compared with camp life. If the parents don’t like the idea, the officer goes away and returns later for another try at persuasion. Eventually, maybe even after two years, the parents agree.

This approach, Moy said, left no-one in distress, and improved confidence of Aborigines about the patrol officer. Some mothers had given up their half-caste children immediately and willingly. That year, 1951, one mother had even made a trip to Darwin to ask that her two children be admitted to local institutions.

“All mothers are given the opportunity of accompanying their children to Darwin or Alice Springs…In this way they get some insight into the conditions and surroundings of the future life of their offspring, and they invariably return to their country satisfied.” p519
Justice Maurice O’Loughlin then had to decide, given that Moy was dead, if this letter was honest or pious hypocrisy to mask racism. He noted that the then Minister for Territories, Paul Hasluck, had written in 1951 that half-castes would be better off being boarded out for education, rather than staying in camps where they were not accepted by tribespeople.

The judge tested the issue by checking just how many NT half-castes were removed in 1949 and 1950, i.e. was this a mass racist removal? Answer: in two years, only 42 removals. Of those, 12 were at parents’ request, and two were neglected children. p520

The Judge rejected the ‘racist roundup’ theory. In any event, he said, there was simply not any NT infrastructure (institutions, patrol officers, funding) to enable big roundups.

It was important to know what was in the minds of the patrol and welfare officers as they did their job of half-caste removals. Some of them offered evidence to the Bringing Them Home inquiry: that inquiry declined to call them as witnesses. p521

But Judge O’Loughlin did call them and did examine their views. Their evidence and archives largely decided the case, Windschuttle says. p521

Colin Macleod, patrol officer, said of his 1955 to 1958 work:

“Never, however, were children taken from their families with a mother and a father. They were always {his emphasis) from very young and unprotected single mothers, often young girls between 10 and 13 with no family member to properly care for them.

On the occasions that I recommended the removal of children from their families, it appeared the alternatives were pretty shocking.” p521

The Judge found that the calibre, education and intelligence of these young officers were ‘exceptionally high’, and ‘all of them denied the existence of a general or widespread policy of removal of part-Aboriginal children and most of them insisted that no child was removed without the consent of the mother of that child.’ p522

“Stolen Generation”: huh?

The former Assistant Director of Welfare, Ted Milliken, rejected that in his time from 1955 there was either a general removal policy or that removed children were isolated from their Aboriginal parents or prevented from going home during holidays. Or prevented visits from families. p523

Another patrol officer, Harry Kitching (1953-60) said he had never heard of a child being removed forcibly or without consent of the mother. He had only twice recommended removal of a half-caste.

Another official said that in 30 years, he had never been involved in a half-caste child’s removal, but was aware there was such a practice, as common knowledge. Patrol officers viewed it as a most detested part of their duties. p524

From 1957, patrol officers had to get tangible evidence, e.g. a thumb-print, of a mother’s consent. From 1957, according to a welfare officer, no child came in except by request of the mother.

The applicant Peter Gunner’s mother Topsy had provided such a thumb-print.

The removal documents about the applicant Cubillo were lost. p525.

But Windschuttle says that the accumulated evidence of the patrol officers was decisive.

The half-caste as outcast

Lawyers for Cubillo and Gunner claimed it was a myth that half-castes in camps were also outcasts. The Judge disagreed.

Two patrol officers provided the following cases:

“You’d find one of these kids running around a camp. Then you’d find out where the mother was – and she’s probably got broken arms, broken fingers, she’s been mutilated for having this half-caste kid – who in certain cases was belted as well.” – Les Penhall, 1946-55.

“Half-caste kids would now and again turn up at missions with spear marks and signs of horrific beatings. Babies were occasionally abandoned and young children left to fend for themselves. ‘Yella fellers’ could find themselves in a no-man’s land and a no-win situation.” – Colin Macleod, 1955-58.

But the applicants’ case really collapsed when applicant Peter Gunner accepted that his mother Topsy Kundrilba had put him on an anthill to die. p526

This item arrived via an affidavit by Dora McLeod, co-owner of the lease on Utopia Station in central Australia, where Topsy gave birth to Peter.

Topsy was then a house-girl at the station. Dora McLeod wrote:

“I didn’t see the baby after Topsy gave birth. I was quite shocked when she turned up to start work at the house one morning and had obviously given birth since the previous day. I said, ‘Which way picanniney?’ Topsy definitely understood what I meant – what happened with the baby, where is it? She just giggled at me as she always did when I asked her a question. When I asked her again she told me the baby had gone, that it had been put down a rabbit burrow. I understood this to mean that the baby had been killed…I was quite shocked but I considered it was tribal business, their way of life and I never interfered in those things.”p527

Strangely, Peter Gunner had been interviewed by a social worker Eileen Mosely long before this court case. Mosely had tape-recorded it and this recording was provided to the judge. Peter said his mother

“wanted to kill me. She wanted to let the ants eat us alive and apparently my mother’s sister was the one that went back and got me from the ants’ nest and kept me and grew me up.” p527

Mrs McLeod explained why Topsy wanted to kill her baby Peter. She was a half-caste and outcast in the camp, with no husband, no help, and living wholly off rations.

Peter thereafter became shockingly neglected in the camp and ill, almost starving. Only Flying Doctor aid saved him. Finally Topsy agreed for Peter to be admitted to a hostel at Alice Springs. p528

There was further evidence about killings of half-caste babies. One part-Aboriginal woman Rosalind Kunoth-Monks, who grew up on Utopia Station, was interviewed in 1994 and said,

Up this way, if they had half-castes, they killed them…The children killed were from white men passing through, abusing an Aboriginal woman for one-night stands or for two-night stands…Grandmothers stepped on (the babies’) chests and smothered them, crushed their chests. p529

Patrol officer Les Penhall in 1994 told of half-caste girls how,

Once they reached the age of puberty the man or the consort (could) sell that girl to anyone in the camp – she became an economic asset..exchanged in the earliest days for tins of jam, a few sticks of tobacco, and later for bags of sugar and a bit of money. p530

Colin Macleod, in his book Patrol in the Dreamtime, wrote:

“Young part-coloured girls became playthings of the outback, to be used and swapped like currency. At the drovers’ camps I sometimes caught a glimpse of these girls, who were hidden away when our curiosity became obvious…’Yella fella’ girls were talked of as ‘studs’, so that a girl might even be known as ‘Old Jack Riley’s stud’, for instance. Who would ever know they existed, let alone how they were treated, or what happened to their babies? There were many successful cases of part-coloured girls being removed for their own protection by the welfare authorities of the time.” p530

Let us know quickly deal with the applicant Lorna Cubillo’s case.

In 1947 she was in the Aboriginal camp at Phillip Creek, managed by missionaries. She was 8. In July a truck came and took 16 of the children and put them into Retta Dixon home in Darwin, three days’ drive distant.

Her mother had died when she was a baby. She never knew her white father, and was cared for by her grandmother until she too died. Then a woman called Maisie looked after her. Lorna was not destitute or neglected at the time the truck came. p531

There was sad evidence from Eileen Napanangka, a daughter of Maisie at the camp at the time. She and Maisie were both crying, as were all the mothers and children. Maisie suffered deep emotional hurt. p531

But the Judge found there was not enough evidence to find for Lorna, given faded memories and lost documents. Maisie might have consented to removal. Frank Moy the Director, might have had Lorna’s best interest at heart. There was also evidence that although the adult women were distressed, they were also appreciative of the children being given a chance for good education. p532

I would end by noting that of 550 potential ‘stolen generation’ claims in the NT, the Gunner and Cubillo claims were selected by their lawyers as the best ones to pursue. They both failed. Peter Gunner was certainly lucky to be ‘stolen’ from the ant-heap.

The tragic life of Bruce Trevorrow

by Tony Thomas

May 18, 2010

The Pocket Windschuttle: The only successful “Stolen Generation” claimant

Tony Thomas: Although this is a pocket essay, I hope you have a big pocket. Some nitty-gritty about this landmark court case can’t be avoided. The case clarified that in SA, the law was against any ‘stealing’ of half-castes, and that the authorities cracked down when they discovered informal ‘adoptions’ had been taking place.

[Note: All page references are to The Fabrication of Aboriginal History – Volume Three: The Stolen Generations 1881-2008 by Keith Windschuttle (Macleay, 2009)]

Prime Minister Rudd apologized that there were “up to” 50,000 children stolen. Bringing Them Home thought it was up to 100,000. Many – a huge number – must still be alive. All have suffered legal wrongs.

Their plight has been known since 1981. There are lawyers by the hundred keen to work with them, and Aboriginal legal services would be eager to fund these cases. p571

But how many of them so far have won a full court case over their ‘stealing’? Just one, the late Bruce Trevorrow, who won $525,000 damages plus $250,000 interest in SA. p571 What an incentive for other genuine claimants to get redress! Windschuttle makes the obvious point: “On its own, the absence of any other successful court claim is enough to seriously question whether there ever were any Stolen Generations.” p572

Academic historians and lawyers have struggled to refute Windschuttle’s point, even claiming that the legal system which made land rights claims possible via the High Court’s Mabo and Wik judgements, must have been shrouded in racism when it happened to deal with Stolen Generations cases. p572

Windschuttle catalogues 19 significant court cases and reviews, mainly via the High Court, Federal Court and Supreme Court, involving Stolen Generations. Apart from Trevorrow’s Supreme Court case, there was one award of $35,000 ‘victim’s compensation’ in NSW, over a sexual assault after a woman was removed and placed with a family as a domestic.

In Victoria, there were some successful claims with $4000 awards each, under the state’s criminal injuries compensation scheme. Another case against the NSW government was settled out of court. In other words, these latter successes were all via compensation tribunals dealing with injuries after removal, not dealing with the removal as such. p573-575

Bruce Trevorrow, the successful claimant

Bruce Trevorrow, a part-aboriginal, in August 2007 in the SA Supreme Court before Justice Thomas Gray, was awarded $525,000 damages for having been separated from his parents when a baby, and for unlawful removal and false imprisonment. In February 2008 he won a further $250,000 in lieu of interest. p575

The Stolen Generations activists took this as vindication of their cause, and Lowitja O’Donoghue AO [but not ‘stolen’] wanted the Federal Government to scrap court hearings and just set up a compensation tribunal to hand out compensation to all ‘stolen’ children. p576

So what actually happened to Bruce Trevorrow?

On Christmas Day, 1957, a couple Mr and Mrs Evans, relatives but not Bruce’s parents Joseph and Thora, drove up to Adelaide Hospital with 13-month-old Bruce, and the hospital records put him as a ‘neglected child – without parents’. He suffered from ‘malnutrition’ and ‘infective diarrhoea’. The hospital notes said, “Mother {Thora} has cleared out and father {Joseph} is boozing. Apparently father is nourishing the children {Bruce and three siblings} with alcohol (could almoner please investigate).” p576

Joseph lacked a car and therefore had asked the Evans to do the hospital trip. The Evans provided the information the hospital recorded.

The Judge decided to reject the Evans’ view, in favor of the view of a local police sergeant, F.E. Liebing, and a local welfare officer, both of whom reported that Bruce was actually not neglected, that his father was not a drunkard and his mother had not abandoned him, merely decamped for a week after a domestic argument. p577

The Judge decided the family was poor but loving, and parenting was satisfactory. Moreover, the paediatrician who diagnosed Bruce on arrival as malnourished was wrong, the judge said, and other medicos who diagnosed merely gastro, dehydration and weight loss, were correct. Bruce’s treatment for gastro was successful and he was fit for release from hospital after 12 days. p578

However, things then went pear-shaped. A white couple from Adelaide, Martha and Frank Davies, had responded to an ad seeking foster parents for Aboriginal babies in the hospitals. The Aborigines Department advised them to see about Bruce. At the hospital they were told Bruce was neglected and abandoned, and they took him home on the same day, without paperwork. The arrangement was endorsed by a newly-appointed and inexperienced welfare officer for the Aborigines Department, Marjory Angas. Proper paperwork and licences for the transfer were done six weeks after the handover.

Angas apparently had been emotionally convinced of the need for the adoption. p579

Bruce’s true parents Thora and Joseph did not visit him in the 12 days Bruce was in hospital. Angas lied to them during the next six months about Bruce’s health and earlier transfer to white adopters.

The lying and obfuscating to Bruce’s mother continued over two years, to prevent her regaining custody of Bruce. It was not until Bruce was ten that he was finally re-united with his mother in the department’s offices in Adelaide. p580

Mrs Angas died well before the court case and was found to have been well-intentioned but prejudiced against the Trevorrow family, thinking their lifestyle was worse than it was. Angas had in fact become Bruce’s case officer for 20 years or so. p581

Bruce, despite the care of his adoptive parents, developed progressive health and psychiatric problems, on top of mild cerebral palsy and other conditions. By eight he was stealing from the family and showing other disorders. His foster mother herself needed hospitalization for psychological problems. The adoption arrangement began breaking down. The department began making efforts to reunite Bruce with his mother Thora (whose de facto marriage to Joseph had since broken down). Officers took Bruce, now 10, to her at Victor Harbor twice for holidays, and then transferred him back to his mother Thora. p583

He didn’t adapt very well to his natural home either. Within a year he was arrested at Victor Harbor for housebreaking, and severely beaten by Thora. She then threw him out of her house. For the next ten years of his youth he was in reformatories, mental homes, and centres for disturbed youths, punctuated by brief spells back with his mother Thora and foster care with his grown-up Aboriginal siblings. At 13, he was also briefly fostered to another white mother. All these episodes ended the same way, with medical and behavioural disasters. p583

His law-breaking got worse and when he gained adult status, he was sentenced to 28 days prison but treated leniently and let off with a bond. He even got work as a prison officer-trainee and prison officer at Pentridge. p584

His adult life and relationships/marriages continued as dysfunctional, including domestic violence.

Justice Gray attributed the prime cause of Bruce’s sorry history to his enforced removal as a baby from his parents.

Windschuttle appears a little skeptical and comments that Bruce’s siblings, who were not separated from their parents, had their own share of social and behavioral problems. p585. Two half-brothers spent time in institutional care, one of them in prison. Two half-sisters also got involved with police and one was sent to a home for ‘wayward girls’. p586 Two siblings were never removed for any reason. p589

As for Bruce’s full siblings with Thora and Joseph, Thora five months after baby Bruce was first (and unlawfully) adopted out, left her three children with Joseph and went away with another man. Joseph in turn passed the two boys to his sister to look after, although the sister was both elderly and mentally disturbed. p586

The sister within a year sought to commit the boys to the Aborigines Board, but Joseph refused to consent and sent them back to Thora, whose current marriage was now ‘turbulent and violent’. Her husband bashed her so badly while he was drunk that he served time in prison for it. The two brothers then went back to Joseph.

Thora’s marriage and lifestyle kept deteriorating and her riverbank home was a damp and drafty shack with no toilet. She was ill and also had a new baby. Finally she left her husband and Marjory Angas, who long ago had ‘taken’ Bruce, arranged for her a house and welfare payments at Victor Harbor. Even so, in 1967 she was convicted of failing to send one of Bruce’s brothers to school and he was sent to a youth home for six months. p587

Windschuttle remarks that had Bruce not been ‘taken’, his life would have shared some of that subsequent mayhem, combined with his palsy and epilepsy. But none-the-less, his ‘adoption’ had been illegal and the judgement reflected this. Bruce received the payout. p588

On June 20, 2008, five months after the payment, Bruce died aged 51 of heart and lung problems. p588

Was Bruce Trevorrow one of the Stolen Generations?

The facts of the case above are analysed by Windschuttle against the ‘stolen generation’ thesis of permanent wholesale official removal of half-castes to destroy their Aboriginality.

He finds the exact opposite – the case disproves the thesis.

Bruce’s half-caste siblings were not ‘taken’, even despite their torrid home background. One did spend six months in a ‘home’ as a result of truancy but like Bruce, was re-united with his mother by the same welfare officers who removed him.

Welfare and police officers wrote separate and independent reports declining to remove the siblings on welfare (let alone ‘aboriginality’) grounds. They obviously hadn’t heard of the over-arching genocidal policies that latter-day historians insist was then prevailing. p590

The judge noted that Aboriginal parents involved had the right to be consulted about removal of their children and the right to refuse such proposals. The father Joseph twice made such refusals. p590

Once Bruce was removed, there was no attempt to turn him away from his Aboriginal heritage. He and others, via government policy, were officially encouraged to retain contact with their Aboriginal families. Official evidence was given in the case about how Aboriginal parents of children in institutions and foster care were encouraged to visit, and one officer said policy was to return them to their natural parents where possible, i.e. unless the home circumstances were too hazardous. p591

The big issue in the Trevorrow case was that the actions of the Protection Board in ‘taking’ Bruce without his parents consent, were illegal at that time. The officials knew it. One of them said flatly that in his whole career as a welfare officer, he knew he had no power to remove Aboriginal children from their parents. p593

As far back as 1949, the SA Crown Solicitor had affirmed that the Protection Board in SA could not legally remove children. Removal could only be authorized by the Children’s Welfare Department, which in turn had to convince a judge or magistrate that removal was in the child’s best interests. p593 “Stealing” of Aboriginal children had been made legally impossible since an Act of 1911. p594
Windschuttle suggests that Aboriginal welfare officers were at times so concerned at conditions under which children were living in shacks and camps, that they took some children illegally into institutions and foster homes. In October 1958 the Board’s secretary ‘confessed’ in a confidential note, that since about 1939 , some 300 such children had been removed. p600 Bruce would be one of them.

Others of the 300 may have been removed with their parents’ consent, but still illegally. A new Act in 1962 totally ended the SA Government’s paternalistic powers over Aborigines. p602

Windschuttle concludes that SA provides no support for the ‘stolen generation’ story, even allowing for the successful Trevorrow lawsuit. He concludes:

“One of the great ironies of the history of Aboriginal child welfare is that (South Australia) the state most reluctant to remove Aboriginal children from their parents turned out to be the only one that did so illegally.” p602

Preface: On The Pocket Windschuttle

by Tony Thomas

January 8, 2011

SPECIAL OFFER: Macleay Press are offering a FREE copy of The Pocket Windschuttle to purchasers of The Stolen Generations by Keith Windschuttle.
Details here…

Preface to Stolen Generations: The Pocket Windschuttle by Tony Thomas:

In a net cafe in Prague on the evening of Friday, September 3, 2010, I found an email from Keith Windschuttle. He was asking me to write a preface to this pocket edition of his debunking of the “Stolen Generation” story and its explicit overtones of genocidal government policies.

I had spent that Friday in the Czech walled town of Terezin (Theresienstadt). During World War II, Himmler’s SS had converted the town to a holding camp for Jews and others pending their further transport east to the gas chambers in Poland.

In Terezin the SS separated about 11,000 child­ren from their parents. Many children died there of hunger and disease. But the children still left behind them in Terezin many lovely drawings, poems and notes, before they were sent to Auschwitz to be gassed.

In Australia, the rather immature academic his­torians who have so successfully promulgated their Australian “genocide” thesis, are welcome to dis­pute and correct Keith’s research, if they can. So far, they have kept their heads down and no doubt quietly hope that Keith’s research will not be much noticed.

Meanwhile, why am I mixed up in this contro­versy? Because, as a journalist, I want to make Keith’s rigorous and magisterial research on the “Stolen Generation” accessible to the public and especially, to students. Our students have been inundated with third-rate “Stolen Generation” material, with no guidance or access until now to the archival facts of the matter.

I read Keith’s volume last April but it took me three weeks of slow and serious work (I mean, when I was not busy with my trivial daily affairs). A reading requires prolonged mental juggling of argument and counter-argument, following a forensic trail through thickets of documentation. There is nothing unclear about Keith’s prose style but the material is just very complex. To sum up, Keith’s main volume will never reach a mass audience.

I had the brainwave to try condensing an inter­esting chapter myself, to the length and readability of the newspaper features I had spent my life writ­ing. The no-frills essay looked OK for a general reader.

My admired friend Andrew Bolt, the trenchant Herald Sun columnist, agreed to run my condensed essays online daily, like a Charles Dickens serial. In this way the essays reached his mass audience of 300,000-plus online readers. I then wrote more essays which Quadrant published online.

Keith and I realised the advantage of bundling these essays back into a cheap, handy booklet called The Pocket Windschuttle. Those who want the real thing, that is, Keith’s full research, can check any point in the essays by referring to page references to the main volume.

The “Stolen Generations” story is an illustration of how axe-grinding historians, a credulous media and an uncritical education system can combine to brainwash a whole nation into a miasma of guilt about child-stealing policies that never existed and “child-stealing” that never happened – that is, removing Aboriginal children from their families for purely racist, as distinct from welfare, reasons.

At Terezin, the names of 8000 children stolen – and murdered – by the Nazi regime are perma­nently inscribed on the walls of the memorial hall.

In Australia, the entire justice system has discov­ered to date just one name of a stolen child, Bruce Trevorrow. But ironically, Bruce was stolen not because of any official policy but in defiance of official policy against such removal.

You can read the Trevorrow story (our Chapter 13), and many others, in this pocket book. I claim no originality as “author” – the research work is all Keith’s. Please enjoy his terrific forensic work, at least via this humble pocket edition.

Turning saving into “stealing”

by Tony Thomas

May 16, 2010

The Pocket Windschuttle: Why the WA missionaries ‘stole’ young half-caste girls

Tony Thomas: In northern WA, old tribal men acquired retinues of wives, assigned to them at birth. From as early as five years old, and normally from about eight years old, these ‘wives’ were penetrated. Sometimes this was preceded by genital incision using broken glass. Thereafter the girls were often prostituted by the old men around the tribe, especially to Asian lugger crews. The young girls’ first baby usually died at birth. If the mother survived, she commonly died young from venereal disease. This situation, and not racism, drove to the missionaries to ‘steal’ girls, especially half-castes, to safety.

[Note: All page references are to The Fabrication of Aboriginal History – Volume Three: The Stolen Generations 1881-2008 by Keith Windschuttle (Macleay, 2009)]

Keith Windschuttle notes that last-century’s missionaries to WA Aborigines are not admired by the historians of the ‘stolen generations’, who prefer to demonise and caricature them. The missionaries are viewed as having worked in tandem with WA authorities to grab half-caste girls from their parents to be ‘whited-out’ and Christianised.

As historian Anna Haebich put it:

Missionaries needed a flock of young children – they were the ‘putty’ for creating a strong Christian community – and the government subsidies they brought with them. To this end they actively encouraged families and pressured the government to send in ‘half-caste’ children to their care. p461

Here’s a few examples of what actually worried the missionaries:

A five-year-old half-caste girl was ‘taken’ by the Chief Protector in 1905 from the upper Fitzroy River. The local telegraph operator C.J. Annear had reported:

A few days ago she was out with the old woman, Mary Ann, when a bush black took her away for two nights during which time the blacks here said he made use of her. Such actions as that of Polly and the man are very common among the natives. 443

In 1900 at La Grange Bay, another postmaster F.W. Tuckett reported how girls under ten years had been cohabiting with Asiatics for many months. The half-caste girls commanded the best prices and enabled the mother and so-called father to live without any exertion whatsoever on the proceeds of tucker received fortnightly in the creeks, where from 20 to 40 boats come in for food and water. 443

Anglican lay missionary Mary Bennett in 1934 testified:

“The practice to which I refer is that of intercision of the girls at the age of puberty. The vagina is cut with glass by the old men, and that involves a great deal of suffering … If they (the girls) get wind of it they come to the mission till the danger is passed … I remember my old aboriginal nurse speak with horror of the suffering which she had been made to undergo.” 464

In 1929 at Drysdale River, Pallotine monks were still appalled by families prostituting their daughters. One couple had been trafficking with their young daughter ‘in a big way’; she “must go wherever the father calls her. If only we had Sisters [nuns], she and the other girls could be saved from this life of perdition!” 444

A constable at La Grange Bay reported that a quarter of 400 Aborigines in his remit had venereal disease caught from Asian lugger crews, and of one group of 30, 17-18 had died – mainly young women. 445

Boys of 10-12 were being lured or forced onto Malay pearling boats for sexual use. 445

In one graphic account, postmaster Tuckett reported in 1904 that at Cowan Creek mooring grounds, more than 50 Aboriginal females were mating with Asian crews on elaborate beds in the sand hills. He complained this was just one of many such mooring grounds, and VD was rampant. 445-6
The Protectors, far from being obsessed with ‘stealing’ children, were in fact obsessed for decades with the health crises. For example, annual reports in 1928 and 1935 spent 30-40 times as much space on health as on removals. 448

Windschuttle comments dryly: “It is very difficult to reconcile this with the purported objective of eliminating the Aboriginal race.” 448

The mission stations rather than the state government took the lead in rescuing young girls from sexual squalor and early death.

The dormitories for girls were part of this exercise. Historian Christine Choo wrote of how the dormitories split children from their families and eroded their knowledge of traditional life. 466

In fact, the dormitory system made it easier to educate children, improve their often-appalling hygiene, and protect them from abusers. In fact, the children’s relatives typically lived on the mission as well, separately. During the day families had the ability to intermingle. 473

The risk of predators at night was serious. Young Aboriginal men were deprived of wives by the polygamous old men. Sometimes they even broke into the girls’ dormitory at night. Old men, annoyed at being deprived of so many girls, sometimes coerced the mothers into bringing girls back to the camp. 474-5

Historians sneer at missionaries for trying to enforce their ideas of gentility onto the children, including modesty, cleanliness and individuality; it was cultural arrogance and maybe even cultural genocide. 476

For a start, missionaries had no power whatsoever to force Aborigines to come to their missions and stay there (apart from a few neglected half-castes, officially sent).

Some missions tolerated repugnant practices among full-blood groups, even child brides, mutilations, sorcery and ‘payback’ killings. Other missions defied the traditions.

But the common thread was for missions to collect half-caste, orphaned, fringe-dwelling and destitute children, involving less connection and conflict with tribal ways.

An unfortunate side-effect of mission life was creating a hand-out mentality, or as Windschuttle puts it more tactfully, ‘a culture of dependence’. Few missions succeeded with vegetable farming (although food supplies were scarce indeed), and able-bodied males were happy to laze around.

Windschuttle quotes a poignant report from Hermannsburg Mission in 1935. It described how mothers with small children were allotted goats for milk, but wouldn’t look after the goats. Men had to muster them into a corral three kilometres away. But the mothers would rather see their babies go without milk than walk across. 477

On the other hand, missions had great success in selecting the brightest kids and setting them on the path to advancement. These one-time mission kids and their offspring are now heavily represented in academia, politics and the arts. 477

For all that, don’t imagine the WA missions either saved or harmed great numbers of children. Windschuttle’s usual meticulous count found that in 1932, the total in WA’s ten missions was just under 400, in a state with more than 20,000 Aborigines. The biggest mission, at Beagle Bay, had the equivalent of three classrooms-full. p459

Windschuttle concludes that the missions in WA did a far better job than the state officials did.

The missions educated children to a good primary standard, and rescued many females from horrific sexual fates. They lifted health standards and saved Aborigines from dysentery and other hygiene-related diseases.

“The notion that to accomplish these ends they contributed to the Stolen Generations is manifestly untrue, and the historians who make such a claim should not be believed,” Windschuttle says. 478

“Stolen Generations”: The facts from the Northern Territory

by Tony Thomas

May 12, 2010

The Pocket Windschuttle: The Northern Territory and the “Stolen Generations”

Tony Thomas: Data from the Commonwealth-run Northern Territory fails to back up any theory about ‘Stolen Generations’.

[Note: All page references are to The Fabrication of Aboriginal History – Volume Three: The Stolen Generations 1881-2008 by Keith Windschuttle (Macleay, 2009)]

The Northern Territory until the 1967 referendum was the only area where the Commonwealth had direct responsibility for Aborigines.

In 1993 the Australian government sponsored an exhibition about Aborigines compiled from records in the Australian Archives. This exhibition compiled by no fewer than 12 researchers. It opened in Sydney, toured Australia and was seen by half a million people.

There was such demand from schoolteachers that the exhibition was bundled as a book titled “Between Two Worlds”, authored by exhibition curator Rowena MacDonald.

MacDonald when first looking for an exhibition theme, came across then-ANU historian Peter Read, the originator of the “Stolen Generation” thesis (see part 1 of our series). Read was appointed ‘curatorial advisor’ and he successfully advised MacDonald to make the Stolen Generations the whole focus of the show. p480

Unfortunately adopting Read’s own methods, Windschuttle says, MacDonald cherry-picked snippets from documents that backed Read’s thesis, and ignored evidence to the contrary. She took apparently embarrassing quotes from early-day officials out of context, and ignored statistics on child removals in the NT that would have questioned her case. She grossly distorted the extent of removals, the climate of the time, and the intentions of those who removed children. p481

For example, she quoted a Chief Protector in 1913 saying, “No half-caste children should be allowed to remain in any native camp.” Thus he appeared to support permanent removal of half-castes from other Aborigines. In fact, he was concerned that whites and Asians were supplying the camps with grog and opium, and fornicating there. He wanted the half-castes put on segregated reserves with full-blood Aborigines, where they would be trained and schooled and encouraged to inter-marry in that community. p481

She also wrote of police from 1927-39 doing sweeps of kids across the territory, removing them for government and church missions. The reason, she claimed, was white fears that they would be swamped by half-castes unless the half-castes – or at least the females – intermarried with whites. Otherwise half-castes might ‘resort to savagery’ and become a ‘menace to society’. p482

She ignored readily available data about how many kids were rounded up. The reality was that in 1928, there were 21,000 Aborigines in the NT, including 800 half-castes. The white population was 4500, and unlikely to be swamped by half-castes. p482

Of the half-caste children, only 132 were in government or mission quarters. During the 1930s, the ‘homes’ increased their half-caste child populations, but not greatly. For example, half-castes in the government ‘home’ in Darwin rose from 76 in 1928 to a peak of 153 in 1938, of whom 121 were female. p482

The government ‘homes’ were poor standard, in fact, appalling, and MacDonald got that correct. But the government took action in the later 1930s to improve the homes, and in the wartime defence of Darwin, the ‘home’ there was good enough for billeting of our troops. p483

Why were some Aboriginal children removed from NT camps? In the early 20th Century, partly to get them into jobs in Darwin, but largely to protect the girls from sexual predators of all races, and disease. p486 Note that mothers and children jointly went to the ‘home’ in Darwin; there was not ‘removal’ from mothers. Destitute and orphaned kids were also put there.

The NT camps were hotbeds of vice and assault. Old men had multiple young wives, and these, often half-starving, were preyed on by passing white ruffians wanting drink and sex orgies. The station owners had no powers to prevent this trafficking. p488

In 1915, the NT Chief Protector, J.T. Beckett, provided this harrowing account of the fate of half-caste girls in camps.

“The half-caste girl who remains with the tribe anywhere in the vicinity of a civilized settlement has one inevitable destiny, and that the most degraded,” he wrote.

“That the half-caste girl without proper protection is more likely to become degraded than a white girl goes without saying, for she runs the risk…of being actually sold by her tribal relatives for prostitution or taken away by force by some unscrupulous man who keeps her just as long as he cares to do so. When half-caste girls have been given a fair chance and kindly treatment they do not go wrong; in fact, they exhibit a plain repulsion to follow any such sort of life.” p489

Unfortunately, only the half-caste girls were ‘taken’ to save them from such degradation. Full-blood girls by policy had to be left to their fate in the tribe, because policy was to preserve Aboriginal traditional life. p489

Thus there was certainly a ‘racist’ policy: half-caste girls were rescued, full-blood girls were not. But overall, how could this be a villainous exercise in child stealing?

The NT Missions

In 1928 the seven missions housed 419 children, many more than the government homes. Most were full-bloods, and almost all of them came with at least their mothers (i.e. they were not stolen from their family). p491

Mothers came readily to missions to escape tribal ‘husbands’ assigned them at birth, to escape violence, or just to get food and schooling for their children. Commonly, kids overnighted in dormitories while their adults lived closed by. p491

The concern of the Roper River Mission was about very young girls being raped (in our terms) by their old betrothed husbands. If the girls were attracted to young men, the young men could be speared. One missionary, Father Francis Xavier at Bathurst Island, even ‘bought’ 150 of these child ‘wives’ from their ‘husbands’, in order to protect and educate them in a Christian setting, and to allow them to later marry young men. p492

The ‘stolen generations’ story included that half-caste girls were ‘taken’ to be married off to whites, to ‘breed out the color’. The Commonwealth position, adopted publicly by the Lyons government in 1934, was in fact that half-castes were free to marry whom they wanted. The Commonwealth was quite relaxed about them marrying back into the full-blood community. p494

Post-War Removals

Bringing Them Home reported that post-war, Patrol Officers prowled the camps seeking out half-caste children for forcible removal. It said that by the early 1950s, the NT missions cared for 360 children, i.e. most if not all of the NT half-castes, it said.

Academic historian Tony Austin claimed the NT was doing ‘social engineering’ on half-castes until 1969. p502

Windschuttle examines the data from the archives. In the 1954 NT census, the NT half-caste population was put at 1,955. Lacking data, he then estimates by ratio analysis that the half-caste children totaled about 850, of whom only 353 or almost 60% were not in mission homes. p503

And overall, 74% of Aboriginal children (half and full-blood) were not in either government or mission homes. p506

Remember also that most of the half-caste children in homes were there for reasons including parental desire for their education, or genuine welfare for orphans, neglected kids, and destitution. p506.

Amazingly, all the stolen generation historians refrained from counting or publicizing how many NT half-caste kids were being removed per year, in those early post-war years. The government data, Windschuttle finds, were that such removals between 1946-51 averaged just 18 per year – removals for all reasons. p506

The data expose Bringing Them Home’s summary of the NT situation as alarmist work. If you don’t believe Windschuttle, believe Justice Maurice O’Loughlin, who wrote,

“Even though one forced removal would be regarded today as one too many, the numbers in the Administrator’s report, if accurate, do not support an argument that there was a large scale policy of forced removals occurring in this period.” [early post-war] p507

My Place: a betrayal of trust

by Tony Thomas

May 17, 2010

The Pocket Windschuttle: The fictions of Sally Morgan

Tony Thomas: Autobiographies by Stolen Generation claimants often contain harrowing narrations and a deliberately naïve prose style that adds to the apparent authenticity. But readers should not take at face value assertions that the stories are factual.

[Note: All page references are to The Fabrication of Aboriginal History – Volume Three: The Stolen Generations 1881-2008 by Keith Windschuttle (Macleay, 2009)]

What gives the ‘stolen generations’ story traction are Aborigines’ own written accounts about being stolen. Some, like Sally Morgan, have become national celebrities, academic icons and earned huge media attention.

Sally Morgan’s best-seller My Place (1987) was made a compulsory text in countless high schools across the nation. This helped lift sales to 600,000 plus, an astronomic number by Australian publishing standards.

Students and teachers assume My Place is factual. It is not.

The book is a personal-discovery narrative where Sally in Perth gradually persuades her mother Gladys, grandmother Daisy and great-uncle Arthur to reveal their life stories. Sally and her mother recognise their true Aboriginal identity and find their inner lives transformed.

Sally Morgan approached Ray Coffey, managing director of Fremantle Arts Centre Press, with the germ of a book project. Coffey was a class warrior and keen to counter the early WA biographers such as Mary Durack (Kings in Grass Castles, 1959).

Coffey and Morgan workshopped the shape of her autobiography, as publishers do. Together they found ways to work into the book some fashionable melodramatic topics:

A rich, sexually predatory white pastoralist not only seduces his female Aboriginal workers but commits incest with their offspring

Aboriginal workers are paid in rations not wages, and treated like slaves

A wealthy white socialite in Perth ruthlessly exploits her perpetually loyal black servant (Sally’s mother)

Three relatives are forcibly removed to become Stolen Generations.
The villains of the supposedly factual book were the real-life old-time pastoral family the Drake-Brockmans.

Long chapters appear as if they are tape-recorded life memories of Morgan’s grandmother Daisy Corunna, her mother Gladys Milroy and her grandmother’s brother Arthur Corunna. All three claimed to have been stolen children.

Daisy’s account was that she was the daughter of Howden Drake-Brockman and a full-blood mother Annie Padewani. Daisy was removed from the station camp to gruelling life as the homestead’s domestic, deliberately cut off from her tribal mother and clan.

At 15 Daisy was taken by Howden Drake-Brockman and his wife to Perth, purportedly for schooling but really to continue domestic servitude.

Daisy is given the lines:

Why did they tell my mother that lie?…God will make them pay for their lies. He’s got people like that under the whip. They should have told my mother the truth. She thought I was coming back…When I left, I was cryin’, all the people were cryin’, my mother was cryin’ and beatin’ her head..I called, ‘Mum, Mum, Mum! She said, Don’t forget me, Talahue!’ 309

Daisy’s brother Arthur was also claimed to be the child of Howden and Annie Padewani, and he too was stolen and taken to Swan Native and Half-Caste Mission near Perth:

They told my mother and the others we’d be back soon…I cried and cried, calling out to my mother, ‘I don’t want to go, I don’t want to go!’…I never saw her again. 309

Daisy’s first child was, in turn, taken/stolen. The rich and cruel Drake-Brockmans took her second child Gladys from her and sent Gladys, aged 3, to the Parkerville Children’s Home near Perth. Daisy was too overworked and confined at night to see Gladys more than a couple of times a year.

Daisy fails to explicitly identify who was the father of her daughter Gladys. But the book drops a very big hint immediately, by describing how Howden Drake-Brockman, Daisy’s own father, was fascinated by Daisy’s daughter Gladys:

‘Bring her here, let me hold her’. He wanted to nurse Gladdie before he died. 311

In blunter language, Sally is claiming that Howden fathered both Daisy and Daisy’s daughter.

The popular edition of My Place had a photo of Sally but strangely, none of her grandmother Daisy.

Judith Drake-Brockman, daughter of Howden, published her own memoir, Wongi Wongi, in 2001. In it Windschuttle finds six photos of Daisy, from Daisy’s teenage years to middle-age. Daisy has thick fuzzy hair, in ‘Afro’ style, very much like Melanesians or Fijians.

Sally Morgan’s memoir dismisses the idea that a Torres Strait Islander and station cook, ‘Maltese Sam’, fathered Daisy. But Judith Drake-Brockman says that ‘Maltese Sam’ claimed to be Daisy’s father. He had a ‘marvellous head of thick fuzzy hair’. Daisy, says Judith, also had the facial features of the Islanders. 313

This is the photograph that disproves the central allegations of Sally Morgan’s book My Place: Daisy Corunna (foreground) is shown working as a nanny to the Drake-Brockman children on the family’s north-west pastoral station in the early 1920s. At right is Howden Drake-Brockman, who Morgan falsely claimed was Daisy’s father. Daisy’s Melanesian heritage is clearly visible in her thick fuzzy hair, unknown among Aboriginal people. 314-315

Judith’s book Wongi Wongi contests all the family melodrama written by Sally Morgan.

The three ‘stealings’ of Daisy, her brother Arthur and Gladys were just melodramatic invention.

Daisy’s brother Arthur left the station at 14 to look for work, not to be taken to a mission for natives.

Daisy’s allegedly forced and permanent move from Corunna Downs to Perth in 1920 was followed by Daisy’s return to Corunna a year later. The Drake-Brockmans summered annually in Perth and in the early 1920s took Daisy back with them each year to Corunna. Daisy regularly spent months of her teenage years on the same station as her mother Annie. 313

Daisy’s full-blood mother Annie was happy for Daisy to go with the station owners to Perth, because Maltese Sam had been threatening to take his daughter overseas.

Far from being a wealthy socialite, Howden’s wife Alice Drake-Brockman became an early widow in 1928. For much of Daisy’s life-long service with her, Alice lived by renting out rooms in her home because the family was bankrupt. 314

Daisy stayed with Alice and Alice’s four children for 30 years as nanny, co-worker and companion, rather than tyrannised domestic servant. Indeed Judith, Alice’s daughter, viewed Daisy as her second loving mother. Judith co-dedicated Wongi Wongi to her ‘beloved nanny, Daisy Corunna’. 314

Far from being overworked from dawn to late night, Daisy’s main role was caring for the children. Daisy, Alice and the children themselves shared the household chores.

This was the Depression era. “On these days when Daisy washed, Mum cleaned and polished the floors…Mum and Daisy were great cooks and enjoyed sharing the cooking…Daisy invented several recipes.” 315

When Howden the patriarch allegedly begged to hold Daisy’s daughter Gladys (thus suggesting paternity), he was half-paralysed, comatose and unable to speak, let alone hold new babies. He died six weeks after that birth and never knew of Gladys’s existence. 315

Daisy’s daughter Gladys was not forcibly sent to a half-castes’ Home at Parkerville. Alice Drake-Brockman and a nun enrolled her there because Parkerville was a charity boarding school for dependent, often illegitimate, children.

It was not an institution for Aboriginal children, who were a small minority among the 100 white children there. The normal practice in those days was that illegitimate children, especially children of teenagers, were institutionalised.

Moreover, Daisy and the family made regular visits to see Gladys, most Sundays in winter for picnics, and every second Sunday in summer. 318
As Judith’s sister June put it:

We used to have wonderful picnics, go with Daisy with cakes for Glad. I used to go up and stay at Parkerville Home {in the nearby Darling Ranges} with her. Daisy and I would pack a hamper…and we’d walk up, trudge up the hill to Parkerville Home, Sister Kate’s, as they called it, with all this – absolutely laden with food – and then we’d meet Gladdie, and that happened regularly. 319

Judith considered My Place a vicious farrago:

“It hurt me to think that she (Sally Morgan) could write such absolute, fabricated tripe about our family. Of course it hurt.” 315

Judith knew Daisy for 63 years and also resents the caricaturing of Daisy in the book as a ‘poor fella black’, speaking in lower-class accents. In fact Daisy spoke as well as Judith did and in reality trained Judith.

Sally Morgan and her publisher Ray Coffey declined to answer the Drake-Brockman’s accusations of fictional writing. Neither Sally nor her mother responded to Drake-Brockman urgings that a DNA test would resolve the issue of Daisy’s and Gladys’s paternity. 319

Morgan is now a full professor of the Graduate Research School at the University of WA and Director of its Centre for Indigenous History and the Arts. Her only formal qualifications are in psychology and she has no other major work of scholarship to her credit than My Place, Windschuttle says.

“She clearly gained her academic appointment primarily on the strength of the impact made by My Place,” he says.

She has a publicly funded position, and many thousands of students are required to read her book in high schools, and write essays on it unaware of its dubious factuality. The paternity issue in particular is not a mere dispute between two families.

“Morgan’s public position obliges her to accept the responsibility to defend her work,” he says. 320

He also forcefully requests Morgan to make public to other researchers her original tapings of her mother, grandmother and great-uncle, for accuracy checking.

“Morgan clearly has a case to answer,” he says. 320

Summing up, he says that Sally’s grandmother Daisy gained from the Drake-Brockmans both a long-term job during the Depression and protection and care for her daughter Gladys – including protection from WA’s Chief Protector of Aborigines A.O. Neville.

Gladys gained a good education and a career in small-business retailing. And two of Gladys’ daughters became senior academics. Not a bad outcome for a grandmother whose origins were from a black’s camp on a remote station.

Windschuttle concludes:

Rather than a tragedy of white racists stealing children and exploiting Aboriginality, the real Daisy’s story was one of fulfilment within white society.

Read The Pocket Windschuttle by Tony Thomas here…

The pocket Windschuttle: his case against Peter Read

The pocket Windschuttle: his case against Peter Read
79 Comments | Permalink Andrew Bolt Blog
Andrew Bolt
MAY
09
2010
(12:02pm)

The “stolen generations”
Reader Tony Thomas, a retired journalist and the chief typo spotter of this blog, rightly believes there are few more important books on Australian history than Keith Windschuttle’s latest – a demolition of the “stolen generations” myth.

Indeed, Thomas considers The Fabrication of Aboriginal History – Vol 111: The Stolen Generations 1881-2008 to be so important that to spread the word he is considering writing a series of precis of its central arguments and revelations.

Here is his first – a summation of Windschuttle’s devastating assault on the scholarship of Professor Peter Read, the man who invented the “stolen generations” phrase. Page references are given as a number (page) and decimal point (approximate location on that page – eg 46.3 indicates page 46 and a third of the way down). Let Tony know if you’d appreciate more where this came from:

The “Stolen Generations” tag originated from a 1981 pamphlet of 21 pages by historian Peter Read, now Professor of History at Sydney University, who argued that children were removed to separate them permanently from the rest of their race. 43.4

He claims to have written this pamphlet ‘at white heat in a single day’. 62.6 And he urged the political follow-through that led to the “Bringing Them Home” inquiry and report. 74.1
He first wanted to call his pamphlet The Lost Generations, but his wife Jay Arthur thought that was too bland and suggested the tougher word, “Stolen” generations. 73.8
He wrote: “…Welfare officers, removing children solely because they were Aboriginal, intended and arranged that they should lose their Aboriginality, and that they never return home.” 44.2
Read in other publishings drew an explicit analogy between the Holocaust of World War 11 and the Stolen Generations 52.3 He also compared the Nazi use of terror in controlling Jewish victims, to the child-stealing policies of the NSW Aborigines Protection Board. 52.6
Other academic historians such as Paul Bartrop of Deakin, and Dirk Moses of Sydney University, used the same Holocaust analogy. 52.6 and 53.3
Read wrote his 1981 pamphlet when a postgraduate student at ANU. 55.6 He based it on his interviews with Aborigines about their experiences with the welfare system, and on his own research into the NSW official records. 56.1
Over time, he hardened up his thesis to even maintain that the authority’s desire was not just to end Aboriginal culture 60.8 but to eliminate Aborigines themselves 61.1:
“Their extinction , it seemed, would not occur naturally after all, but would have to be arranged.”
Read claimed to have read “all” the thousands of childcare records of the NSW Aborigines Protection Board. That is, 800 detailed files on wards, and 1500 other references to wards. 61.4 He said the total stolen children in NSW from 1883-1969 was 5625. 61.7
From this research, he claimed one in six or seven NSW Aboriginal children had been ‘taken’ in the 20th Century, with intent of permanent removal from their culture 77.4 and every present-day NSW Aboriginal would know or be related to a ‘taken’ person. 61.7
Sir Roland Wilson’s “Bringing Them Home” report went even further, and said that nationally, not one Indigenous family has escaped the effects of forcible removal. 61.9

Windschuttle says that Read’s research and pamphlet, the two foundation props of the Stolen Generations national scandal, were filled with errors and distortions. Windschuttle studied all the 1200 pages of records that Read claimed to have studied, which cover more than half of all NSW’s ‘stolen’ children to 1938. 76.4
Strangely, Read has published little analysis of these files, eg tabulations of reasons for removal, age, sex, parents and other circumstances. 76.9
But Read himself concedes that from 18 years, stolen children were free to go home to their community, and indeed many did. 79.4. Hardly, ‘permanent’ removal.
Windschuttle follows up, and calculates that in NSW from 1907-32, more than half the wards returned to their family and communities. The real proportion was probably a lot higher because of gaps in the forms. 80.4
Read claimed that children were often taken when very young – babies, infants, primary school age kids. The SBS series First Australians, claimed that nationally, ‘most’ of ‘50,000’ children allegedly taken from their families were ‘under five’. 81.2
Case studies profiled in Bringing Them Home were all of these types – babies, youngsters. 81.3
The reality: NSW, 1907-32 – Separations: 0-5 years, 10.6%; 6-12 years, 22.6%; 13-19 years, 66%. 82.1
In actual numbers, in that quarter of a century, only 25 children out of 700 were under two years. 82.6
The bulk were teenagers, and the board ‘took’ two-thirds of these teenagers because it had found jobs for them, as domestics, farm workers, and other four-year apprenticeship work. 84.6
The jobs weren’t usually where the kids home was, so naturally they were found board as well. (Don’t get snobbish: in that era, many white country kids sought the same jobs under the same apprenticeship rules).
Bottom line: this dominant group of ‘stolen’ kids spent their whole childhood in their community, then boarded out for four years as teenagers with a job provided – often returning home during holidays- and were then free to return to their community.
Peter Read claimed that ‘the vast majority’ of the childen removed, were neither orphans nor neglected. Instead, they had mothers, fathers and other caring relatives.87.5
Windschuttle’s analysis of archives on 631 NSW families in the Ward Registers, 1907-32, shows orphans totalled 134 or 21%, – and 99 of them appeared to be completely alone without even a living granny. 88.3 and 90.2.
Another 33% were from single parent families, and 46% had two parents known to the authorities, though not necessarily cohabiting. Only 29% of the 800 separated childen had known relatives (grannies etc) who could have cared for them, although bureaucrats might have failed to note some other instances.
More than half the families had no male breadwinner, suggesting a high degree of welfare dependency and dysfunction. 88.2-9
Peter Read claimed that bureaucrats ‘welfare’ and ‘neglect’ reasons for child removals were a cover-up for “a violent and premeditated attack not only on Aboriginal family structure but on the very basis of Aboriginality itself”. Some officials, he said, gave as reason for removal, simply ‘for being Aboriginal’, ie they were heartless monsters. 90.6
Windschuttle tirelessly checked the files, finding 674 files that gave ‘reasons’. Of 800 children, only three or four files used “for being Aboriginal” or similar terms. 90.9
Instead, the officials gave a big number of reasons, reflecting the complexities of human life.
Among the ‘negative’ reasons were
Neglected – 113; Orphan – 73; no proper parental care, 52; moral danger, 28; uncontrollable, 26; and poor/undesirable surroundings, 21. A long string of other negative reasons followed, eg ‘parents alcoholics’, ‘crime’, ‘homeless’, ‘abandoned’and indeed, ‘For being Aboriginal’ (4 cases). 93.1-9.

Another category was health reasons, about 80 cases.
And a third category was positive reasons. Here we find the biggest single reason for separations – to go into apprenticeships or jobs – 173 cases. Other large categories here were to improve living standard (62 cases), schooling (52), parent’s request (30), and child’s own welfare (13).
Read and Co., faced with those records, claimed the officials were faking the records to disguise their racist goals. 92.5
That would have to be the mother of all conspiracies, lasting 25 years and involving scores of varied officials.
The conspiracy theory collapses further when Windschuttle examines the removals by age grouping. In the 0-5 year old category, 17 were removed by the State Children’s Relief Board (involving a case before a Children’s Court), compared with only 12 by the supposedly villainous Aborigines Protection Board. (Read, without supporting evidence, also accused the magistrates and judges of cultural insensitivity and racism 109.4). Ten were orphans, and 16 had parents ill, dead or incapable. Another six removals were at parent’s request. 96.1
In the 6-12 year old group, 45 were deemed neglected by the Aborigines Board, 10 by the Children’s Relief Board, and 25 were orphans or with no fit parents. 96.5
Read claimed that his national estimate of 45-50,000 stolen children, included 5626 stolen in NSW. 97.6
Windschuttle checked Read’s NSW figures , and found they involved some complete fiction, exaggerations, double counting, errors, creative accounting and guesswork. 98.9-99.1.
Windschuttle’s own estimate for NSW removals from 1912-68 was only 2600. They were not ‘stolen’ – far from it. Of those, two-thirds were simply teenagers boarded out for apprenticeships, just like white kids. 103.5
The other third were largely orphans, neglected, destitute, in moral danger, or abused, in other words, rescued not stolen. As a percent of all NSW Aboriginal children in those 56 years, the annual separation rate was 1 to 2 percent, hardly the ‘genocide’ claimed by the Human Rights Commission, or backing its claim that ‘not one Indigenous family’ was escaping the effects of forcible removals. 103.5
Windschuttle is careful to note that some individual police or officials were harsh and racist, while others went out of their way to nurture their wards. 123-124. But to tar the whole system with a racist brush was contrary to the evidence. The data tells the real story – how the ‘stolen generations’ story that arose from NSW data, was in fact fabricated.

UPDATE

Reader Arthur:

Having been born at Cherbourg in 1949 and lived and been educated there until 1964, I knew and was acquainted with some of the children that went to Melbourne with the holiday scheme. I have visited and lived at Cherbourg over the later years . Also I met Harold Blair shortly before his passing in 1976 when I was living in Melbourne.I must say that I have NEVER heard of anyone being kept there against their will under the said scheme, even from Harold ! More of the Aboriginal Victim Industry (AVI) ie People with a vested interest in promoting and perpetuating the victim status and mentality of Aboriginal people. ( The Dodson brothers are board members )

The pocket Windschuttle – the sliming of Harold Blair

18 Comments | Permalink Andrew Bolt Blog
Andrew Bolt
MAY
10
2010
(12:02am)

The “stolen generations”
Reader Tony Thomas, a retired journalist, rightly believes few books on Australian history need wider dissemination today than Keith Windschuttle’s latest – a demolition of the “stolen generations” myth.

For this blog, Thomas is writing a series of precis of the central arguments and revelations of Windschuttle’s The Fabrication of Aboriginal History – Vol 111: The Stolen Generations 1881-2008 .

In this, his second essay, he tackles the defamation of Aboriginal tenor Harold Blair. (Factual material unless indicated, is all from Vol 111. Page citations: “243.4” indicates p243 and 40% from the top of the page.)

Perhaps the most loathsome example of all the cases of child removal described in the Human Rights Commission’s inquiry into the Stolen Generations was said to have occurred in Victoria in the 1960s.

Welfare authorities, in a scheme conceived by famed Aboriginal lyric tenor Harold Blair, invited Queensland Aboriginal parents to send their children for free holidays by the sea in Victoria. But when these kids got to the holiday homes, many were adopted out to white families and never saw their parents again.
The Commission’s source for this claim was Professor Colin Tatz, who called it ‘direct adoption kind of by mail order and by phone call.’ 554 and 555.1

{Tatz is the director of the Australian Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the Shalom Institute, University of New South Wales, and Visiting Fellow, School of Politics and International Relations, College of Arts & Social Sciences.

Blair in 1976, shortly before his death, was awarded an AO for services to music and the welfare of the Aboriginal people. 555.9

Blair was born to an unmarried teenager on Cherbourg Mission in Qld, and became suddenly famous in 1945 with a record vote on the radio talent quest Australia’s Amateur Hour.

He became a concert singer and activist, and in 1957 was appointed one of two Aboriginals on Victoria’s Aboriginal Welfare Board. 555.5. In 1964 he stood for the ALP in the Victorian State elections, campaigning on Aboriginal rights. He came first on primaries but was defeated after DLP preferences.

Blair initially was impressed by the visit to Melbourne of a girls’ marching team from Cherbourg Mission, his birthplace, and he decided to expand the scheme into a holiday program. The Queensland and Victorian governments backed it, and Melbourne families rushed to offer to billet the outback Aboriginal kids. Planes had to be chartered to meet the demand, and the program spread to NSW. In the following decade, about 3000 Aboriginal kids got a holiday this way. 556.7

Yet according to Tatz, it was all a scheme to steal kids from their parents. 556.8

The Bringing Them Home report relied on Tatz’s uncorroborated claim, and featured it prominently on page 10 of its 689-page report. 557.1

The report’s one piece of actual evidence was one confidential submission from one un-named woman who claimed she had been stolen via the program when aged 7, in the late 1960s. She said that while boarded in Victoria, initially for the Christmas holidays under the Blair scheme, her mother at Coomealla Mission, NSW, died and although her father was alive for the following three years, she was made a foster-child here on the strength of an official phone call. 557.5.

Windschuttle says that whether or not this woman’s claim was true, it was hardly sufficient to condemn an entire scheme involving 3000 kids, three State governments and thousands of welcoming holiday-parents. 557.9

All the 3000 children in the scheme were known officially or via the mission records. The commission made no check on whether any parent of these children ever complained, ‘My child has not returned’. 558.2. No complaints are cited.

In 2005, historian Richard Broome claimed that the Melbourne Herald of 25/6/1968 quoted the Victorian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Ray Meagher, as saying that some people boarding the kids were not sending them back. Windschuttle checked the Herald, The Age and the Sun and says flatly that Broome’s claim is untrue – Meagher never mentioned the ‘Blair’ scheme or anything like it. 557.10 (footnote).

The press flurry at that time was over the general issue of informal adoption of Aboriginal kids. The Director of Aboriginal Affairs (Vic) noted three cases where unofficial foster parents had initially refused parents’ requests to return their children, and in all three cases the children were returned without the need for any police action. 558.footnote.

Windschuttle concludes that the late Harold Blair now stands publicly condemned in Bringing Them Home for a holiday scheme that used false promises and lies to steal Aboriginal children. The charge was made on the basis of no substantial evidence whatsoever.

Windschuttle says ,”He is one Aborigine who genuinely deserves an apology.” 558.9.

The pocket Windschuttle: the dodgy NT data

The pocket Windschuttle: the dodgy NT data
39 Comments | Permalink Andrew Bolt Blog
Andrew Bolt
MAY
11
2010
(12:02am)

The “stolen generations”
Here’s the third of reader Tony Thomas’s summations of the key arguments of Keith Windschuttle‘s important new book The Fabrication of Aboriginal History – Vol III: The Stolen Generations.

Today: the evidence from the Northern Territory:

(A page reference given as 245.6 means it is on p245 and the ‘point 6’ means it is just below the page’s mid-point.)

The Northern Territory until the 1967 referendum was the only area where the Commonwealth had direct responsibility for Aborigines.
In 1993 the Australian government sponsored an exhibition about Aborigines compiled from records in the Australian Archives. This exhibition compiled by no fewer than 12 researchers. It opened in Sydney, toured Australia and was seen by half a million people.
There was such demand from schoolteachers that the exhibition was bundled as a book titled “Between Two Worlds”, authored by exhibition curator Rowena MacDonald.
MacDonald when first looking for an exhibition theme, came across then-ANU historian Peter Read, the originator of the “Stolen Generation” thesis (see part 1 of our series). Read was appointed ‘curatorial advisor’ and he successfully advised MacDonald to make the Stolen Generations the whole focus of the show. 480.9

Unfortunately adopting Read’s own methods, Windschuttle says, MacDonald cherry-picked snippets from documents that backed Read’s thesis, and ignored evidence to the contrary. She took apparently embarrassing quotes from early-day officials out of context, and ignored statistics on child removals in the NT that would have questioned her case. She grossly distorted the extent of removals, the climate of the time, and the intentions of those who removed children. 481.3

For example, she quoted a Chief Protector in 1913 saying, “No half-caste children should be allowed to remain in any native camp.” Thus he appeared to support permanent removal of half-castes from other Aborigines. In fact, he was concerned that whites and Asians were supplying the camps with grog and opium, and fornicating there. He wanted the half-castes put on segregated reserves with full-blood Aborigines, where they would be trained and schooled and encouraged to inter-marry in that community. 481.5-9
She also wrote of police from 1927-39 doing sweeps of kids across the territory, removing them for government and church missions. The reason, she claimed, was white fears that they would be swamped by half-castes unless the half-castes – or at least the females – intermarried with whites. Otherwise half-castes might ‘resort to savagery’ and become a ‘menace to society’. 482.7
She ignored readily available data about how many kids were rounded up. The reality was that in 1928, there were 21,000 Aborigines in the NT, including 800 half-castes. The white population was 4500, and unlikely to be swamped by half-castes. 482.5
Of the half-caste children, only 132 were in government or mission quarters. During the 1930s, the ‘homes’ increased their half-caste child populations, but not greatly. For example, half-castes in the government ‘home’ in Darwin rose from 76 in 1928 to a peak of 153 in 1938, of whom 121 were female. 482.9
The government ‘homes’ were poor standard, in fact, appalling, and MacDonald got that correct. But the government took action in the later 1930s to improve the homes, and in the wartime defence of Darwin, the ‘home’ there was good enough for billeting of our troops. 483.9
Why were some Aboriginal children removed from NT camps? In the early 20th Century, partly to get them into jobs in Darwin, but largely to protect the girls from sexual predators of all races, and disease. 486.2 Note that mothers and children jointly went to the ‘home’ in Darwin; there was not ‘removal’ from mothers. Destitute and orphaned kids were also put there.
The NT camps were hotbeds of vice and assault. Old men had multiple young wives, and these, often half-starving, were preyed on by passing white ruffians wanting drink and sex orgies. The station owners had no powers to prevent this trafficking. 488.8
In 1915, the NT Chief Protector, J.T. Beckett, provided this harrowing account of the fate of half-caste girls in camps.
“The half-caste girl who remains with the tribe anywhere in the vicinity of a civilized settlement has one inevitable destiny, and that the most degraded,” he wrote.
“That the half-caste girl without proper protection is more likely to become degraded than a white girl goes without saying, for she runs the risk…of being actually sold by her tribal relatives for prostitution or taken away by force by some unscrupulous man who keeps her just as long as he cares to do so. When half-caste girls have been given a fair chance and kindly treatment they do not go wrong; in fact, they exhibit a plain repulsion to follow any such sort of life.” 489.3
Unfortunately, only the half-caste girls were ‘taken’ to save them from such degradation. Full-blood girls by policy had to be left to their fate in the tribe, because policy was to preserve Aboriginal traditional life. 489.5
Thus there was certainly a ‘racist’ policy: half-caste girls were rescued, full-blood girls were not. But overall, how could this be a villainous exercise in child stealing?

The NT Missions
In 1928 the seven missions housed 419 children, many more than the government homes. Most were full-bloods, and almost all of them came with at least their mothers (i.e. they were not stolen from their family). 491.3
Mothers came readily to missions to escape tribal ‘husbands’ assigned them at birth, to escape violence, or just to get food and schooling for their children. Commonly, kids overnighted in dormitories while their adults lived closed by. 491.7
The concern of the Roper River Mission was about very young girls being raped (in our terms) by their old betrothed husbands. If the girls were attracted to young men, the young men could be speared. One missionary, Father Francis Xavier at Bathurst Island, even ‘bought’ 150 of these child ‘wives’ from their ‘husbands’, in order to protect and educate them in a Christian setting, and to allow them to later marry young men. 492.8

The ‘stolen generations’ story included that half-caste girls were ‘taken’ to be married off to whites, to ‘breed out the color’. The Commonwealth position, adopted publicly by the Lyons government in 1934, was in fact that half-castes were free to marry whom they wanted. The Commonwealth was quite relaxed about them marrying back into the full-blood community. 494.5
Post-War Removals
Bringing Them Home reported that post-war, Patrol Officers prowled the camps seeking out half-caste children for forcible removal. It said that by the early 1950s, the NT missions cared for 360 children, i.e. most if not all of the NT half-castes, it said.
Academic historian Tony Austin claimed the NT was doing ‘social engineering’ on half-castes until 1969. 502.6
Windschuttle examines the data from the archives. In the 1954 NT census, the NT half-caste population was put at 1,955. Lacking data, he then estimates by ratio analysis that the half-caste children totaled about 850, of whom only 353 or almost 60% were not in mission homes. 503.8
And overall, 74% of Aboriginal children (half and full-blood) were not in either government or mission homes. 506.4
Remember also that most of the half-caste children in homes were there for reasons including parental desire for their education, or genuine welfare for orphans, neglected kids, and destitution. 506.2.
Amazingly, all the stolen generation historians refrained from counting or publicizing how many NT half-caste kids were being removed per year, in those early post-war years. The government data, Windschuttle finds, were that such removals between 1946-51 averaged just 18 per year – removals for all reasons. 506.8
The data expose Bringing Them Home’s summary of the NT situation as alarmist work. If you don’t believe Windschuttle, believe Justice Maurice O’Loughlin, who wrote,
“Even though one forced removal would be regarded today as one too many, the numbers in the Administrator’s report, if accurate, do not support an argument that there was a large scale policy of forced removals occurring in this period.” {early post-war} 507.1

The pocket Windschuttle: making a monster of Neville

The pocket Windschuttle: making a monster of Neville
7 Comments | Permalink Andrew Bolt Blog
Andrew Bolt
MAY
12
2010
(12:02am)

The “stolen generations”
Here’s the fourth of reader Tony Thomas’s summations of the key arguments of Keith Windschuttle‘s important new book The Fabrication of Aboriginal History – Vol III: The Stolen Generations.

Today: the sliming of AO Neville.

(Previous essays in this ‘Pocket Windschuttle’ series are also collected at http://www.quadrant.org.au. A page reference given as 245.6 means it is on p245 and 60% down from the top of page. Keith Windschuttle and Tony Thomas waive copyright on Pocket Windschuttle essays,)

Strangely, all the Stolen Generation historians are very loath to name the governments and ministers who must have launched and guided the stealing of half-castes in their jurisdictions. After all, nasty welfare officers and brutal police can’t just run around grabbing half-castes off their own bat – they’re public servants after all. One thing a public servant (even a department head) likes to do, is cover his/her backside by pointing out, “My superiors told me to do it.”

A lot of the governments supposedly organising the stealings were Labor governments, so I suppose that is awkward for the historians. Could the stealers and genociders include, say, Bob Hawke’s uncle Bert Hawke, who was WA Premier from 1953-59? I sat in the WA Parliament press gallery a bit in 1959. I never heard Bert mention the genocide or table a report on it, but then again, I used to doze off a lot. It’s all a puzzle, isn’t it!
However, you can hardly read any stolen generations history without coming across the name A.O. Neville, Chief Protector in WA, a public servant whose role seems to have included god-like powers and authority. And he was definitely a monster, with his henchmen criss-crossing the giant state ripping myriads of screaming babies from their loving mothers’ arms, to be corralled in the horrible Moore River Settlement.
The Moore River Settlement (operating from 1918 to 1951) was indeed a disgusting place. And Neville did have some foolish ideas about ‘breeding out the color’ by integrating half-castes into white society, except that for all his talk, he had neither staff nor funds to do anything about it (see below), and it was logically impossible anyway.
The above are my comments – I just can’t help myself; below is from Windschuttle’s material.

The Windschuttle reality-check.
WA Chief Protector A.O. Neville had 19,000 Aborigines under his control but at most a secretary and five or six clerks who worked with him in two rooms and a back veranda in Murray Street, Perth. His furniture was shabby cast-offs that other departments had rejected. 402.9 /footnote.
(Compare this with Prime Minister Rudd’s department of climate change in 2010: 408 public servants and $8m for office rent, with nothing to do there but send memos to each other: TT).
Yet Neville, according to historian Alison Holland, was conducting with his tiny crew “a massive exercise in social engineering, (in which) administrators orchestrated the assimilation of the ‘half-castes’ into the white population largely via separation from their people, training in institutions and marriage in the white community.” 402.1

For most of his 25 year tenure from 1915-1940, Neville had no patrol officers or travelling inpectors at all. From 1925 to 1930 he did have one travelling inspector, E.C. Mitchell, and Mitchell was so busy organising rations distributions, job permits for whites to employ Aborigines, health work, and inspection of missions, that he had little time left to steal children.
In 1930, with the depression, the WA Treasury ordered that all public service travel was to be curtailed unless ‘urgently necessary’. And poor Neville had to sack his one inspector E.C. Mitchell to save money, and not replace the position for another eight years. 8.7 and 404.7
The WA government was barely interested in its Aborigines. In 1935, NSW government spending on Aborigines was five pounds 9 shillings per head. Neville was expected to run his show on a budget of a mere one pound 9 shillings per head.
He had to run Moore River Settlement on a budget of nine pounds 13 shillings per inmate per year, compared with the WA government spending 64 pounds five shillings per inmate at Fremantle Gaol.
He had to feed and clothes his Moore River clients on a quarter of the money per head spent on whites at the Old Men’s Home in Perth. No wonder Moore River conditions, food, staffing etc was awful. 403.2
Given the paltry size of Neville’s budget, Windschuttle says, this alone makes the Human Rights Commission claim that he was doing genocidal levels of child removal “unbelievable”. 403.5
Neville had to delegate the ‘stealing’ to local magistrates, doctors and police, who were not thrilled to be assigned extra unpaid work by an outsider. 404.9
Neville personally approved each removal and did or supervised the paperwork in each case, additional to his normal workload. This personal role was possible because the numbers of removals were so few. 9.5
Indeed, we all know about the three ‘rabbit-proof fence’ girls taken in 1931 and sent south to Moore River. A surprise though is that in that whole year, only one other Aboriginal child was sent to Moore River.
In total in WA in 1931, there were 25 removals: 4 to Moore River, 9 were old and decrepit Aboriginals sent to a feeding depot at La Grange Bay, and 9 were prisoners released to the Port George Mission.
In any year, child removals (for all reasons) to Moore River were generally under 20, and in some years, zero. 9.7 and footnote.
Windschuttle’s Table 8.1 shows how many native children were in WA government settlements and institutions in 1932-34: All-up: 212, of whom 120 were at Moore River. Total WA Aboriginal population of all ages: 19,000 plus 10,000 beyond contact. Again, remember the 212 children were in state accommodation for all reasons, positive, negative or just because there was nowhere else for a child to go. 408.5
WA Aborigines, who were 6% of the state population, over 25 years got about 0.3% of the annual state budget. “In other words, it is very obvious that none of the governments of WA in this period ever cared enough about the Aborigines to want to commit genocide on them,” Windschuttle comments. 405.5
Moore River, which contained Aboriginals of all ages and conditions, was not a gaol or gulag. Apart from the child wards of Neville, and convicted prisoners, adults who were there for welfare reasons or tucker and who could find work or sustenance elsewhere, simply walked away, with Neville’s blessing. Between 1930 and 1934, 1067 people were admitted but 1030 people left. 406.8
Throughout his tenure, Neville was losing turf disputes with the two more powerful groups in WA: the pastoralists who used Aboriginal labor; and missionaries, who had more clout, independence and influence than Neville. He was a dictator? “Those who make this claim should not be taken seriously,” Windschuttle says. 410.9
So what was Neville’s actual program?
On the positive side, he wanted half-caste kids educated and he wanted work found for all half-castes, to get them off welfare and penury and absorb them into the white community. He even wanted to ‘take’ kids from six years old and educate them in vocational boarding schools. He certainly had the legal authority to do so, but not the means. 411.8
An astounding fact is that around 1900, under compulsory primary education run by the WA Education Department, 31% of non-tribal Aboriginal kids over 5 could read and write and a similar proportion were in full-time schooling. 412.3
But once responsibility was shifted to the cash-strapped and neglected Aboriginal department, Aboriginal education crashed. White parents also began forcing the removal of Aboriginal kids from the primary schools, claiming hygiene issues, but there were virtually no facilities to educate them separately. 412.9
The WA government reacted in 1915 by building a good-standard settlement at Carrolup to feed and house 150 half-caste adults on welfare and educate their children (note: not separate them). Neville wanted to expand it with a hospital and farm for training. By 1922 the government resented the expense, closed Carrolup and ordered the inmates into the Moore River Settlement, rightly described by Paul Hasluck as ‘a dump’. 413.6
A vermin-ridden dump it was. There were 100-200 youngsters there, most of school age and with their parents camped nearby, plus orphans, neglected kids and some forcibly removed because, Neville said, their mothers were unfit to bring them up. Neville viewed that as a cruel but necessary last resort, adding, “Where there is no question of unfitness, the mother should be allowed to accompany the child.” 414.6
Kids and parents could come and go to each other in daylight but at night, for their own safety from predators and assault, the kids slept in separate dormitories.
Whatever his motives, Neville was a poor administrator, Moore River never remotely fulfilled its welfare and training roles, and it was inhumane. Windschuttle says that Neville should have been sacked rather than serving out his term to retirement age at 65, thanks to the indifference of WA governments of both Labor and conservative ilk. 417.5
How many children were removed by force to Moore River?
As usual, the Stolen Generation historians bluster about numbers stolen but don’t seem keen on the specifics. Windschuttle researches the WA admission records, makes ratio estimates for a few years where data is for combined adults/children, and this is his finding:
From 1915 to 1940, the total number of ‘unattended’ children sent to Moore River was 252, that is, an average ten per year. This included a large-ish number in a single year 1933, when about 90 adults and children arrived from a Northam fringe camp to be quarantined because of a scabies epidemic in the camp.419.
The academics, TV producers and Human Rights Commission talk not of hundreds of WA kids removed, but ‘thousands’. They seem to be out by a factor of ten. It could not possibly be true, Windschuttle says.
Of the 252 removed, A.O. Neville says they were orphaned, abandoned, or neglected welfare cases. One baby, for example, had been picked up after being left in the bush at Perth’s Kings Park.
There were plenty more like them in the camps, leading tragic lives, whom Neville said he wanted to ‘take’ but regretted that he had no resources to do so. There were also large numbers of half-caste children whom he would never contemplate ‘taking’, except with their parents alongside.
“We do not take infants from their mothers. The minimum age is six and generally not then. If we have to do what is unusual, viz. take a child from its mother, it is because the mother is not fit to look after it,” Neville wrote.
The Human Rights Commission cherry-picked the phrase about his wanting to ‘take’ many more children, concealing his actual point that he was unable to ‘take’ them, despite the need to do so. 421 and footnote.
Neville elaborated that in 18 years, he had taken only 20 half-caste girls from the Kimberleys, plus a few boys. That is, about one or sometimes two per annum.
In 1937 he reported his ‘takings’ of all Aboriginals statewide as 24, of whom 17 were women and children sent to Moore River: “Of these some were sent in because of health reasons and mainly because of the condition of the children’s eyes which required prompt attention, and the others due to the undesirable conditions under which the children were living. Residence at Moore River in the case of most of these is likely to be only temporary.” 423.2
Neville had no reason to lie about the numbers. He was proud of his work, as he saw it, of rescuing kids from squalor and helping to get Aborigines off welfare (however parsimonious) and into jobs.
All-up, the number of Aboriginal children in WA government institutions in 1932-34 totalled 212 and there were 397 with missions, thus 609 all-up. They were admitted for all reasons – positive (e.g. training), negative (e.g. convictions) and especially welfare (orphaned, neglected). And about 92% of WA Aboriginal children were not in institutions. 441.3
Windschuttle is scathing about claims by stolen generation historian Anna Haebich and the Human Rights Commission that not one Aboriginal family in WA escaped the removal policies. “A massive exercise in social engineering”? How could they have got it so wrong, Windschuttle asks. 441.9