Stolen Wages

Do you know?

Stolen Wages were used to build Queensland - the Government owing to Indigenous people is now conservatively valued at $500 million dollars.

For much of the last century, the Queensland Government controlled the lives of most Aboriginal people. This process began under the Aboriginal Protection and the Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act 1897 and continued into the 1970s – less than one generation ago.

This control extended to all areas of Aboriginal peoples’ lives including work, personal finances, where people could travel and even whom they could marry!

Wages and savings that Aboriginal people earned were held by the Government in ‘trust funds’ and this money was spent on general Government expenditure including hospitals and roads used by the mainstream population. These Stolen Wages were also used to pay for the running costs of reserves and missions where Aboriginal people were forced to live.

Aboriginal people have been attempting to receive their unpaid wages and savings since they were stolen as late as the 1980s. These Stolen Wages pushed poverty and health problems onto several generations of Aboriginal people – which continue today.

Why ANTaR?

The Stolen Wages campaign has been at the formation of ANTaR Queensland since 1997 and continues to be a strong part of our work today.

ANTaR educates members of the non-indigenous community about the true history of Australia and how this historic injustice has impacted Indigenous Australians so deeply. Through understanding what happened to Aboriginal Australians, we can understand why so many issues currently exist for them today.

ANTaR Queensland works closely with the Stolen Wages Working Group – a group that continues to campaign for the awareness & education of non-indigenous Australians and for the government retribution of these Stolen Wages to Indigenous Australians. 

Find out more…

Current Stolen Wages Class Action

Current art installation at Queensland State Library – “Black Opium” by Fiona Foley

Stolen Wages Panel Discussion on 98.9 FM:

Fact sheets, books, articles by Dr. Ros Kidd:

We had no say in the matter – a video on the Stolen Wages:

A short & informative fact sheet on the history behind the Stolen Wages and its current impact on Indigenous Australians:

“The Elephant in the Drawing Room: Slavery & The Stolen Wages Debate” by Stephen Gray – an article explaining why the Australian Government’s actions towards Indigenous peoples constituted slavery:

“Holding the Government to Account: Stolen Wages Issue, Fiduciary Duty and Trust Law” by Stephen Gray – explains what sort of duty was owed by the Government to Indigenous Australians and that this duty was disastrously abused:

Class Action Updates