The Burden of Freedom? Aboriginal Exemption Policies in Australia

Grant type

ARC Discovery Project (2014-2018)



This project was funded for four years under the ARC Discovery Project scheme (2014-2018). It is the first national study of the clauses in Aboriginal Protection Acts which allowed Aborigines to be released from control by the government, also known as exemption policies, and the extraordinary intimate colonial archives that they created. It argued that as well as the painful family dislocations and disruptions to identity that some argue are on par with the Stolen Generations, Aboriginal people’s interactions with exemption could also be stories of agency, negotiation, refusal and activism. A website to be launched in 2018, will provide a sensitive platform for the exchange of information gathered by the project with members of the Indigenous community who were, or whose family members were, impacted by the policy.

Certificate of Exemption
Certificate of Exemption