A genocide denied : the ‘half-castes’ of Australia during the stolen generations of 1905-1970 as genocide.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameBachelor of Arts (Hons)
In the early 1990s the Wilson-Dodson enquiry was commissioned by the then Labour Government to investigate the issue of Aboriginal children being forcibly removed from their homes between 1900 and 1970. The children removed became known as the Stolen Generations. In 1997 the Wilson-Dodson enquiry published the findings in the Bringing Them Home Report which sparked intense public and academic debate around the issue of the forced removal of Aboriginal children, particularly whether it constituted genocide. In the wake of the report scholars investigated how the actions of the federal and state governments and their agencies relates to the 1949 United Nations definition of genocide. But this scholarship has not engaged specifically with the genocide of the ‘half-caste’ population. Apprehension around part-Aboriginal individuals arose in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century when many white Australians feared a growing ‘coloured’ population. This dissertation addresses this gap in the literature by exploring the removal of the ‘half-caste’ children in the states of Western Australia and New South Wales. Laws enacted by both state legislatures clearly reveals genocidal intent. The effects of the policy can be seen through victim’s testimonies, which show the long term consequences of being removed, and highlight other aspects of genocide. This research also aims to examine other aspects of genocide in relation to the part-Aboriginal population, including severe mental and physical harm, conditions of life that were calculated to bring about its destruction, and the imposition of measures intended to prevent births within the group. I argue that these actions can be considered as genocide in accordance to the United Nations definition these actions can be considered as genocide.