- 1920-01-01 - 1926-01-01 (Creation)
Level of description
Name of creator
This department had control of Aboriginal affairs for the area above latitude 25 degrees South in Western Australia. The Department of Fisheries had control of Aboriginal affairs for the area below latitude 25 degrees South in Western Australia.
Auber Octavius Neville was appointed Chief Protector of Aborigines on 7 May 1915. He became Secretary for the Department of the North West on 1 November 1920, combining this position with that of Chief Protector (North of the 25th parallel). When the Aborigines Department was re-established in 1926, Neville became once again, on 30 June 1926, the Chief Protector of Aborigines for the whole State.
Name of creator
In 1909, the Aborigines and Fisheries Departments were amalgamated into one agency, the Department of Aborigines and Fisheries. This was partly due to financial constraints and partly due to the expediency of running as one the two departments whose interests lay mainly in the northern part of the State.
After World War I, the Department was abolished and its functions pertaining to Aboriginal affairs south of the 25th parallel, as well as to fisheries throughout the State, were taken over by the Fisheries Department.
Charles Frederick Gale was appointed the second Chief Protector of Aborigines on 1 October 1908. He undertook this position together with that of the Chief Inspector of Fisheries. In 1911, Frederick Aldrich was appointed Chief Inspector of Fisheries and Gale's duties were limited to that of Chief Protector of Aborigines. Gale was dismissed from office in 1915 at an age of 54, ostensibly as an "excess officer" and was vindicated by a Royal Commission appointed to inquire into his dismissal.
Auber Octavius Neville (Secretary of the Immigration Department since 1911) was appointed as Gale's successor on 7 May 1915.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
This series comprises files that were created by the Department of the North West (1). Between the period 1920 and 1926, this department had control of Aboriginal affairs for the area above latitude 25 degrees South in Western Australia. (The Department of Fisheries had control of Aboriginal affairs for the area below latitude 25 degrees South in Western Australia).
The files deal with matters of a wide ranging nature and include the administration of missions, applications for employment, notices of deaths, exemptions from the Aborigines Act and the removal of Aboriginal children from their families.
A number of "personal" files are also included. (The term "personal" file is a slight misnomer as these files invariably contain limited correspondence regarding the person stated. The Department for Communites holds a fuller series of personal files relating to Aboriginal people. These files were created by the various departments responsible for Aboriginal welfare and were transferred to the Department for Community Welfare in 1972).
This series does include some earlier files that were created by the Department of Aborigines and Fisheries, but relating to matters in the North West. It is presumed that the Department of the North West took custody of these files upon formation.
(Files in this Record Series were previously listed at the State Records Office at reference: AN 1/4; Accession 653).