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Lake Tyers Reserve
Lake Tyers Reserve, 1861-1970

Lake Tyers Reserve had been set up in 1861, at the suggestion of the Victorian Board for the Protection of Aborigines. But public and government opinion did not favour the retention of reserves, and by the early 1950s, only Lake Tyers Reserve and Framlingham Station - each of tiny area - remained of the Victorian Aboriginal land base. Assimilation - the Victorian Government's policy after 1957 - encouraged the relocation of rural reserve dwellers to towns, cities and jobs. As Lake Tyers' population dwindled the case for its closure increased, until, in 1962, the Government announced that no resident could remain after March 1965. The media reported sympathetically when residents (and ex-residents) protested this decree. Pastor Doug Nicholls - widely understood to be a successfully 'assimilated' Aborigine - asked the Government to transfer Lake Tyers' title to its residents. The Victorian Government responded by passing the Aboriginal Land Act 1970 which created two Aboriginal Trusts - one for Lake Tyers and one for the only other extant Victorian reserve, Framlingham - to own and manage the surviving land base of the Victorian tribes.

Keywords: Aboriginal Land Act 1970, Lake Tyers, land rights, Nicholls, Pastor Doug, reserves, Victoria, 1861-1970

Still: Aerial view of Lake Tyers, 1967. Courtesy of AIATSIS.
Author: Rowse, Tim and Graham, Trevor