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Skip Navigation LinksQueensland State Archives > Researching the archives > Indexes > Indigenous > Correspondence relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 1894-1915 – Deebing Creek

Correspondence relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 1894-1915 – Deebing Creek

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Explanatory notes

  • Many words in the descriptive text have been transcribed as per the original record. Spellings vary
  • Indigenous names have not been anglicised and appear as recorded in the original record
  • Letter 1906 [unnumbered] indicates a letter dated 1906 with no file or letter number references
  • 00/62 indicates the year 1900, letter number 62.

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Background

This index was created from Series ID 4354, Miscellaneous Items and Correspondence, specifically Item ID 716219, Papers, 1894-1905 and Item ID 716261, Papers, 1906-1915 which relate to Deebing Creek and Purga Missions. Only the Deebing Creek files have been indexed. The index was created by staff from the Communities and Personal Histories Unit, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services, Department of Communities.

Background - Home Secretary’s Office and Chief Protector of Aboriginals

The Aboriginal Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act 1897 was the first comprehensive Aboriginal legislation passed in Queensland, bringing an era of protection and segregation, whereby Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders became wards of the state. Under this Act, Parry-Okeden, the Commissioner of Police, was appointed Protector for all districts. In January 1898 Walter E. Roth was appointed Northern Protector of Aboriginals and Archibald Meston Southern Protector. Local policemen or police inspectors were appointed local protectors.

The Home Secretary, Chief Protector of Aboriginals and the Southern Protector of Aboriginals Offices, through their community offices, controlled and managed the Aboriginal population, both adults and children, who were deemed to be 'assisted' or 'wards' of the State. These records (in the form of miscellaneous items, correspondence and papers) are a valuable source of information relating to Queensland Aborigines in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in regard to health, education, employment, housing and accommodation, marriages, deaths, child welfare, personal finances, pensions and benefits, training, finance, property, issue of Certificates of Exemption, removals, etc.

Background – Deebing Creek

The Deebing Creek mission was founded by the Aboriginal Protection Society of Ipswich. Work started on the establishment of an Aboriginal mission at Deebing Creek around 1887. The correspondence records of the Home Secretary’s Office, Chief Protector of Aboriginals and the Southern Protector of Aboriginals Offices are a valuable source of information relating to Debbing Creek.

Missionary Edward Fuller was the first manager of Deebing Creek which initially catered for Aboriginal people from the Ipswich area. By the turn of the century the mission superintendent reported that the inmates of Deebing Creek came from many different tribes with some children being sent to the mission from as far away as Burketown. Government records show that the mission was supplied with provisions by the Department from February 1891 to February 1894.

In 1896 a gazetted notice made provision under the Industrial and Reformatory Schools Act of 1865 for the establishment of an industrial school which came to be known as the Deebing Creek Industrial School. The industrial school at Myora was closed and some of the children were transferred to Deebing Creek Industrial School.  In 1915 the mission was completely relocated to Purga.



Last updated 22 June 2016
Aboriginal Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act 1897 cover
​Queensland State Archives Item ID 611101, Legislation, Aboriginal Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act 1897 (cover)