A fictional portrayal entitled The Taking of the Children on the recently installed (1999) Great Australian Clock, QueenVictoria Building, Sydney, by artist Chris Cook.
The Stolen Generations (also Stolen children) is a term used to describe those children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descentwho were removed from their families by the Australian Federal and State government agencies and church missions), under acts of their respective parliaments. The removals occurred in the periodbetween approximately 1869 and 1969, although in some places children were still being taken in the 1970s.
The extent of the removal of children, and the reasoning behind their removal,are contested. Documentary evidence, such as newspaper articles and reports to parliamentary committees, suggest a range of rationales. Motivations evident include child protection, beliefs that giventheir catastrophic population decline after white contact that black people would "die out", fears of miscegenation and a desire to attain white racial purity. Terms such as "stolen" were usedin the context of taking children from their families – the Hon P. McGarry, a member of the Parliament of New South Wales, objected to the Aborigines Protection Amending Act 1915 which then enabledthe Aborigines' Protection Board to remove Aboriginal children from their parents without having to establish that they were in any way neglected or mistreated; McGarry described the policy as"steal[ing] the child away from its parents". In 1924, in the Adelaide Sun an article stated "The word 'stole' may sound a bit far-fetched but by the time we have told the story of the heart-brokenAboriginal mother we are sure the word will not be considered out of place."
Indigenous Australians in most jurisdictions were "protected", effectively being wards) of the State. The...