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Original Documents on Aborigines and Law, 1797-1840

Document 5

Original Document 5

Proclamations &c Black Natives Establishment of Institution for Children Government and General Orders Government House Sydney: 10th December 1814


Civil Department

His Excellency The Governor having long viewed with sentiments of commiseration the very wretched state of the Aborigines of this Country, and having resolved in his mind the most probable and promising means of ameliorating their condition has now taken the resolution to adopt such measures as appear to him best calculated to effect that object and improve the energies of this innocent and unoffending Race -

With this anxiety to make an experiment so interesting to the feelings of Humanity, and to endeavour to ascertain how far the condition of the natives may be improved by the application of such means as are within his power His Excellency feels that he is making an acknowledgment to which they [17] are in some degree entitled, when it is considered that the British settlement in this Country though necessarily excluding the Natives from many of the natural advantages they have previously derived from the animal and other productions of this part of the territory has never met with any serious or determined hostility from them, but rather a disposition to submit peaceably to such establishments as were necessarily made on the part of the British Government on the formation of this settlement.

With a view therefore to effect the Civilization of the Aborigines of New South Wales and to render their habits more domesticated and industrious, His Excellency the Governor as well from motives of humanity as of that policy which affords a reasonable hope of producing such an improvement in their condition as may eventually contribute to render them not only more happy in themselves, but also in some degree useful to the [18] community, has determined to Institute a school for the education of the Native Children of both sexes, and to assign a portion of land for the occupancy and Cultivation of Adult Natives under such Rules and Regulations as appear to him likely to answer the desired object, and which are now Published for general Information.


That there shall be a school for the Aborigines of New South Wales, established in the Town of Parramatta , of which His Excellency The Governor is to be Patron, and Mrs. Macquarie Patroness.


That there shall be a Committee consisting of seven Gentlemen for conducting and directing the Institution, One of the Committee to act as Treasurer and Secretary.


That the Institution shall be placed under the immediate management [19] and care of M r William Shelly as Superintendent and principle Instructor.


That the main object of the Institution shall be the Civilisation of the Aborigines of both sexes.


That the expenses of the Institution shall be defrayed for the first two years by Government in such manner as the Governor may deem expedient, but with a view to extend the benefits of it after that period, that subscription shall be solicited and received from Public Societies and Private individuals.


That the institution shall be an asylum for the native Children of both sexes, but no child shall be admitted under four or exceeding seven years of age.

Seventhly That the number of Children to be admitted in the first Instance shall not exceed six boys and [20] six girls which numbers shall be afterwards increased according to circumstances.


That the Children of both sexes shall be instructed in common in reading, writing and arithmetic.   That the Boys shall also be instructed in Agriculture, Mechanical Arts, and such Common Manufactures as may best suit their Ages and respective dispositions - That the girls shall also be taught needlework for all which purposes Instructors properly qualified will be employed.

Ninthly That the manager or Superintendent, shall have the immediate care of the Children, the purchase of provisions and of the materials for employing them together with her disposal of the articles manufactured by the Children.

Tenthly That a portion of Land shall be located for the use of Adult Natives who shall be invided [sic] and encouraged to cultivate it; and that such assistance shall [21] be rendered them for that purpose by Government, as may be seemed expedient That the management and Superintendence thereof shall be also vested in M r Shelly, and under the immediate inspection, subject to such directions as he shall receive from the Committee.

Eleventhly .

That the Committee shall meet Quarterly at The Town of Parramatta on the first Wednesday in each succeeding Quarter for the purpose of inspecting and auditing the Quarterly accounts of the Manager and also of examining the pupils as to their Progress in Civilization, Education and morals and how far the necessary attention has been paid to their diet, health, and cleanliness.    That the Committee which shall at no time consist of less than five members shall have power to take cognizance of a correcting existing abuses and frame such additional Regulation as may appear necessary for the Improvement and benefit of the Institution

Twelfthly , That the Committee shall make a written Report of the result [22] of their observations and enquiries at their Quarterly Meeting to His Excellency the Governor as Patron of the Institution, and also of such Rules and Regulations as they may deem necessary to frame for the benefit of the Institution; which must receive the sanction of the Governor previous to there being carried into effect.


That the proposed Institution shall be opened for the reception of the prescribed number of Children on Wednesday the 18 th day of January next being the auspicious Anniversary of the Birth of out Most Gracious Queen.


That no Child after having been admitted into the Institution shall be permitted to leave it, or to be taken   away by any person whatever whether parents or other relatives until such time as the Boys shall have attained the age of sixteen years and girls 14 years, at which ages they shall be respectively discharged.


The undermentioned Gentlemen having [23] expressed their Willingness to forward and promote the objects of the proposed Institution His Excellency is pleased to constitute and appoint them with their own concurrence to be the Committee for conducting and directing all the affairs connected therewith.

By Command of His Excellency the Governor

John Thomas Campbell


10th Dec 1814

Governors Proclamation establishing an Institution for native Children

No. 5

Published by the Centre for Comparative Law History and Governance of Macquarie University, and State Records NSW