Agency VA 512
Chief Protector of Aborigines
About this Agency Records Related Functions Related Agencies
Date Range: 1838 - 1849
 
Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency
The employment of Protectors in the Australian colonies was first recommended in the report of the Select Committee into the Condition of Aboriginal Peoples tabled in June 1837. For New South Wales, five protectors were proposed with their activities confined to the Port Phillip District. Lord Glenelg proposed to the Governor, Sir George Gipps, the appointment of G A Robinson as Chief Protector of Aborigines and Edward Parker, William Thomas, Charles Sievwright and James Dredge as Assistant Protectors with these appointments being confirmed in December 1838.

Port Phillip District was divided into four protectorates:

1. Geelong or Western District with C Sievwright as Assistant Protector with headquarters at Mount Rouse.

2. Mount Macedon or North Western District with E Parker as Assistant Protector with headquarters on the Loddon River at the foot of Mount Franklin.

3. Goulburn or North Eastern District with J Dredge as Assistant Protector with headquarters on the Goulburn River. Dredge resigned in 1840 and was succeeded by William Le Souef.

4. Westernport or Melbourne District with W Thomas as Assistant Protector with headquarters at Narre Warren.

G A Robinson was stationed in Melbourne.

The duties of the Protectors, as outlined by Governor Gipps, were:

a. The Protector was to attach himself to the people in his district moving with them until they can be induced to assume more settled habits of life and endeavouring to make friends with them.

b. The Protector was to watch over the interests of the Aborigines, prevent encroachment upon their property or mistreatment and, if necessary, make representations for them to the Government of the Colony or the Chief protector.

c. If able to be settled in one place, the Protector was to encourage them in developing cultivation, in building suitable Habitations for themselves and in whatever else [might] conduce their civilization and social improvement.

d. Of primary importance was to be the education of the children.

e. The Protector was to promote and instruct in the Christian religion.

f. The Protector was to learn the language of the people.

g. He was to be accountable for any provisions or clothing for distribution.

h. The Protector was to conduct a census of the Aborigines in his district.

In 1842, LaTrobe reported that the protectorate system was doomed to failure due to the inadequacies of the protectors and the anomalous character of their duties. This opinion was endorsed by Governor Gipps and the Colonial Secretary, Lord Stanley. As a consequence, the budget for the Protectorate was severely cut. An 1845 Select Committee was set up to assess the effectiveness of the attempts to assist the Aborigines. A second Select Committee, established in 1849, recommended the abolition of the protectorate system.

Location of Records

Consult the List of Holdings section 16.5.0.
 
More Research resourcesMore Research resources
Record series created by this AgencyRecord series created by this Agency
Display entries per page
Date Range Series Title Series Number Series Location Public Access
1838 - 1839 Copies of Correspondence Relating to the Establishment of the Aboriginal Protectorate (Refer to Microfilm Copy, VPRS 4467) VPRS 4409 North Melbourne Part Open
1839 - 1841 Aboriginal Protectorate Records [Stegley Foundation Collection] VPRS 13172 North Melbourne Part Open
1839 - 1849 Aboriginal Protectorate Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly And Annual Reports And Journals (Refer to Microfilm Copy, VPRS 4467) VPRS 4410 North Melbourne Closed
1840 - 1849 Aboriginal Protectorate Returns [ use microfiche VPRS 4467 ] VPRS 12 North Melbourne Closed
1841 - 1849 Blue Books and Accounts [1844-1849]; School Records for Aborigines in the Westernport and Melbourne Districts [1841-1843] VPRS 26 North Melbourne Open
1844 - Circa 1844 Copy (abridged) of the Chief Protector's Journal of an Expedition to the Eastern Interior (Refer to Microfilm Copy, VPRS 4467) VPRS 4414 North Melbourne Part Open
1845 - 1849 Duplicate Annual Reports of the Chief Protector of Aborigines (Refer to Microfilm Copy, VPRS 4467) VPRS 4399 North Melbourne Part Open
1847 - 1851 Unregistered Inward Correspondence to the Chief Protector of Aborigines - Reports and Returns (refer to digitised images of P0 consignment, available online) VPRS 11 North Melbourne Part Open
1849 - 1850 Chief Protector Of Aborigines' Outward Letter Book (Refer to Microfilm Copy, VPRS 4467) VPRS 2895 North Melbourne Closed
Functions for which this Agency has or has had primary responsibilityFunctions for which this Agency has or has had primary responsibility
Display entries per page
Date of Responsibility Function Title Function Number
Functions for which this Agency has or has had secondary responsibilityFunctions for which this Agency has or has had secondary responsibility
Display entries per page
Date of Responsibility Function Title Function Number
Superior AgenciesSuperior Agencies
Display entries per page
Date of Relationship Agency Title Agency Number
1839 - 1849 Superintendent, Port Phillip District VA 473
Subordinate AgenciesSubordinate Agencies
Display entries per page
Date of Relationship Agency Title Agency Number
Related AgenciesRelated Agencies
Display entries per page
Date of Relationship Agency Title Agency Number
Groups containing this AgencyGroups containing this Agency
Display entries per page
Date of Relationship Group Title Group Number