3 - Aboriginal Welfare Board

Date Range1957 - 1968

The Aboriginal Welfare Board (Victoria) was the department of the Victorian state government responsible for Aboriginal affairs from 1957 to 1968. The Aboriginal Welfare Board pursued a policy of assimilating Aboriginal Victorians into the wider community, bringing it into line with the national policy in Aboriginal affairs at that time. Established at a time of renewed calls to end Aboriginal poverty and deprivation, the Aboriginal Welfare Board imposed stricter government controls over the lives of Aboriginal people but failed to consult with them about the cause of the problems faced by the Aboriginal community or the best means to solve them. A housing policy intended to 'scatter' Aboriginal families in houses throughout the wider community, and the removal from their homes and institutionalisation of Aboriginal children, were central Aboriginal Welfare Board policies.

Philip Eric Felton was the first State Superintendent of the Aboriginal Welfare Board (Victoria) from June 1958. Philip Felton had previously worked at the New South Wales branch of the Aboriginal Welfare Board. In his role as State Superintendent in Victoria, Philip Felton also compiled genealogies of many Aboriginal Victorian families, which later became important in Diane Barwick's Collected Genealogies of Aboriginal Victorians.

Inventory item BARI00290 - PhD Research Notebook 'I' - First Sequence - 1960, Series 6 - PhD Thesis - 'A Little More Than Kin: Regional Affiliation and Group Identity among Aboriginal Migrants in Melbourne' - Fieldwork Notebooks, Diane Barwick Collection, MS 13521, State Library of Victoria, Australia;

Researchers interested in the history of Aboriginal policy in Australia should consult the website of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission. See URL: Accessed 19 November 2007;

Aboriginal Victoria: A History Since 1800, Richard Broome (Allen & Unwin: Crows Nest, New South Wales, 2005). Pages 312-330;

Victims of Victors?: The Story of the Victorian Aborigines Advancement League. A History of the Aborigines Advancement League. (Hyland House Publishing Pty Ltd: Melbourne, 1985).

Published by the The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre, 5 October 2007
Listed by Ann McCarthy and Gavan McCarthy
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Updated 28 November 2014

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