|Description of this GroupDescription of this Group|
The appointment of a Minister of Aboriginal Affairs in December 1967 reflected the beginning of a new policy direction in Victoria in regard to matters relating to Aborigines.
Amendments to the Commonwealth Constitution in 1967 provided for the Commonwealth Parliament to make laws "for the benefit of the Aboriginal people of Australia". Under the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs (Transfer of Functions) Act of December 1974 (No.8606), the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Act 1967 (No.7571) was repealed bringing into force the provisions of the Commonwealth Aboriginal Affairs (Arrangements with the States) Act 1973 (No.115). This Act enabled the Commonwealth (VRG 87) to take over primary responsibility for policy and programs relating to Aborigines.
The Premier (VRG 50) took over responsibility at State level. This role was assumed in 1985 by the Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs (who was also Minister of Planning and Environment, VRG 65).
From April 1990 a newly commissioned Minister for Aboriginal Affairs assumed responsibility. Since October 1992 a Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs has been responsible.
Responsibility of Other Ministers
Other Ministers continued to exercise responsibility in relation to the provision of a range of services to the Aboriginal community, for example Education (VRG 35), Health (VRG 39), Housing (VRG 53), Community Welfare Services (VRG 60), and Community Services (VRG 80). Further research is needed on the nature of the responsibilities of these Ministers.
SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATION OF POLICY AND PROGRAMS FOR ABORIGINES IN VICTORIA 1836-1967
Date Colonial Official/Minister
1836-1839 VRG 7 Police Magistrate, Port Phillip District
1839-1851 VRG 11 Superintendent, Port Phillip District
1851-1855 VRG 16 Colonial Secretary
1855-1856 VRG 26 Chief Secretary
1856-1860 VRG 18 Lands
1860-1966 VRG 26 Chief Secretary
1966-1967 VRG 53 Housing
Location of Records
Few extant records of the agencies with primary responsibility for the function are in the custody of the Public Record Office. The majority of records going back to the 1860's are presumed to have passed to the Commonwealth in 1975 with the function and significant records holdings have subsequently been transferred to Australian Archives in Victoria. Related records may, however, be found amongst those of the Departments in which these agencies were located, e.g. the Colonial Secretary's Office (VA 856) and the Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475). For the earlier period, the records of the Police Magistrate (VA 472) and Superintendent (VA 473) should be consulted, while records relating to education, health, housing and welfare services may be found in those of the agencies with primary responsibility for these functions (see as a starting point VRG 35 Education, VRG 39 Health, VRG 53 Housing, VRG 60 Community Welfare Services, VRG 80 Community Services).
See also List of Holdings 2nd edition 1985, sections 3.16.2 (VA 472 Police Magistrate), 3.16.3 (VA 473 Superintendent), 3.16.4 (VA 856 Colonial Secretary), 3.16.5 (VA 475 Chief Secretary) and 16.5.0. (a small collection of records of Victorian agencies responsible for Aboriginal Affairs).
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs 1967-1975
Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs 1985-1990
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs 1990-1992
Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs 1992-ct