the parents of young half-castes had first to be uplifted before these young people could be placed in a civilized community under conditions which would enable them to win a place and hold it.
Mr. HARKNESS.—At what age do you take the young people away?
Mr. BLEAKLEY.—We take them for rural training between fourteen and sixteen. At sixteen we apprentice the boys to the skilled native tradesmen. They receive elementary training in wood work, sheet metal, leather and iron work. It is usually possible then to ascertain where their inclinations lie.
Mr. HARKNESS.—Is this urban or rural training?
Mr. BLEAKLEY.—It might be either. The boys are also given some training in agriculture, poultry-raising and the like. Such instruction would be given in the proposed superior half-caste colony.
Mr. McLEAN.—Are these training schools in close proximity to half-caste settlements?
Mr. BLEAKLEY.—Rural schools are provided in almost every country district of Queensland. There is one about four miles from our main settlement. The half-caste lads attend the schools with the white children, and there has been no difficulty about it, even though the lads return to the settlement where their parents live. They come out of the settlement early in the morning, and go back in the evening.
Mr. HARKNESS.—How long has this scheme been in operation?
Mr. BLEAKLEY.—For about three years. The first lot of boys, on finishing their two years' course, were absorbed in the ranks of the skilled workers in the settlement. So far we have not tried to place the boys in outside ranks.
Mr. HARKNESS.—But that will have to be done ultimately?
Mr. BLEAKLEY.—We propose to establish a superior half-caste colony and a reserve for the purpose has been selected. We also give similar training to full-blooded boys who show aptitude.
Mr. HARKNESS.—What the Conference desires is to devise some means to merge these people into the general community ultimately.
Mr. BLEAKLEY.—We think that that could be done if a superior half-caste colony were established, though I am not suggesting that it should be called by such a name as it may be desirable to release them from the handicaps associated with their aboriginal origin. The half-caste parents of the young people of whom I am speaking can only overcome their own disabilities by liberal help and supervision. If their children are to enter the industrial ranks, and work with white boys and girls of similar age they must have a healthy and respectable home back-ground. The idea is not to spoon-feed them, but to equip them to accept suitable employment. The idea is that they shall receive rural school training in all skilled trades and in pastoral and agricultural work, and then be introduced through the apprenticeship system to the occupations found most suitable.
Mr. HARKNESS.—The greatest difficulty will be found in lifting the standard of the people so as to make them acceptable to the white community.
Mr. BLEAKLEY.—This superior half-caste colony could be a sort of clearing house. In our view it is absolutely impracticable to expect these people to come into the white community without technical equipment.
Mr. HARKNESS.—Your idea is to make them feel equal to the occasion?
Mr CHAPMAN.—What Mr. Bleakley has outlined is largely what is already being done in Victoria and New South Wales. Queensland is only reaching out to the stage of development that we have already attained. I do not think the Conference should spend time in going into all these details. We ought to affirm a general principle.
Mr. BLEAKLEY.—If we lay down the broad principles the details can be carried out as far as possible in each State.
Mr. BLEAKLEY.—I wish to have the general principles defined. In Queensland, there is definite opposition to any scheme for the marriage of half-caste girls to white men for the following reasons:—(1) None but the lowest type of white man will be willing to marry a half-caste girl, and as the half-caste women married by the white men are likely to gravitate to aboriginal associations such marriages have very little chance of being successful; (2) there is the danger of blood transmission or "throw back", as it is called, especially as the introduced blood, as in many Latin races, has already a taint of white blood; (3) such a scheme makes no provision for other wives of young men of the same breed.
Mr. NEVILLE.—It has been made apparent that Queensland has five or six times more money to spend on native people than Western Australia has to spend. The ideas that Mr. Bleakley has been placing before us have been broadcast for a number years. In Western Australia we have no fixed wages or awards for the natives. We are perhaps twenty years behind Queensland in matters of this sort. In these circumstances it is not of much use for us to discuss all the details of a scheme which involves heavy expenditure. What we want to do is to state broad principles so that the aim of the various States may be to attain to such development. The young aborigines of our State are wards of the Commissioner up to the age of 21 years. The Commissioner is entitled to treat these young coloured people in loco parentis. That applies to quarter-caste children living under native conditions, but quarter-caste children living under other conditions, may, if necessary, be taken to court to he declared natives within the law. Our method of dealing with these young people has been to find decent employers for them. A good many employers have taken both boys and girls at a fairly early age. Up to sixteen years no question of wages arises but when sixteen years of age is reached the scale of wages becomes applicable. Children taken under such conditions never go back to their beginnings. They take their food in the kitchen with the rest of the staff on a homestead. We do not permit them to go back to native conditions. When their holiday time comes they travel to Perth and if they wish to go to see their parents on the reserve they are allowed to do so for a limited time. If they lose one position we do our best to find them another. When they are 21 years of age they become practically free and can do as they like as members of the general community. First and last with us it is a matter of the money available. If we had more money we could do very much more than we have been doing.
NATIVES NOT OF FULL BLOOD.
Mr. BAILEY.—A good many draft motions have been submitted to me. I suggest that we attempt to narrow down the issues somewhat. Perhaps we could deal first with the natives of other than full blood and then those of full blood. The full-blooded natives are not of much concern, really, in New South Wales and Victoria, or in South Australia, for they are so few in number; but the natives of less than full blood are of concern to all of us. If we could deal with the position of the natives of less than full blood we could perhaps then go back to the very important and serious position of the Northern Territory, outlined for us by Dr. Cook.
Professor CLELAND.—In the interests of uniformity, I should be glad if we could reach some decision which would not leave any suggestion that we