The Stolen Generation - Implications of Australian law on the children of the stolen generation.

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(OHP 1)

Bessy Flower was born in 1943 and at the age of 19 months was

forcibly removed from her mother's arms in the South-West of

Western Australia. Bessy spent 14 years of her life at the

Annesfield native institution where she was refused correspondence

with her parents and suffered ongoing sexual abuse. Not to mention

malnutrition and humiliation.

In 1788, aboriginal children like Bessy were first taken from

their families and placed in missions and institutions.(OHP 2)

But, it was only after World War 2 that the number increased,

because of the introduction of the "Assimilation Policy".

Earlier this century, many white people believed that Aboriginies

were an inferior race. This belief was 'supported' by scientists

who thought that each race was at a different level of development

in an ongoing process of human evolution. In this "hierarchy of

races", Europeans were believed to be the most highly evolved,

followed by Asians.

At the bottom of the hierarchy were

Aborigines, the richness and complexity of their culture not yet


Change came with the 1937 national conference at which the

"Assimilation Policy" was adopted. The "Assimilation Policy" was

based on the belief that "full-blood" and "half-castes", needed to

be treated in different ways. Assimilation was directed towards

the needs of the half-castes. The policy was based on the

principle that it was better to ease half-castes into white

society than leave them in a social and cultural limbo.

The intentions of law-makers and administrators were usually

"humane" enough. They argued that the removal of children from

circumstances that offended white notions of family care gave

children the chance of success in the dominant society, especially

if they lost their sense of aboriginality. It was a legalised

abduction, which left horrific scars in almost every extended


It is estimated...