Was inter-racial marriage ever illegal in Australia?
Quite the opposite really, the early 20th century government was accused of encouraging inter-marriage to “breed out” the Koori influence.
AFAIK inter-racial marriage has never been illegal here, per se, but if an Aboriginal woman had a European man’s baby, there was an extremely high likelihood of the Authorities removing said child from the mother and either awarding custody to the father, or a State-run Mission Station- and this happened well into the 1950s, I’m told.
I’m not aware of any legal problems with non-aboriginal interracial relationships, however.
There might be some advantages under our modern welfare system marrying into an aboriginal family but it’s hard to see any in the early twentieth century?
Whites and Kooris aren’t the only races that might be in question. There was consderable Chinese immigration into Australia in the mid 19th century, associated particularly with the gold rushes in New South Wales and Victoria, which was later stopped by the White Australia policy. (I myself may be the descendant of a Chinese man who went to the Victorian goldfields, bus as he may not have married my great grandmother, it’s hard to find the records giving evidence of this.)
There was considerable prejudice against the Chinese men (it was almost exclusively men, not women) coming to Australia around 150 years ago, and very few would have married, but as far as I know there were no laws forbidding marriage between those of Chinese and British/Irish descent.
The 2002 movie Rabbit-Proof Fence told the story of two such “half-caste” children who had been removed from their mother and placed in such a Mission Station, and their escape and journey home across the outback. It’s well worth seeing if you can find a copy.
Which side of the family? There are genetic tests that can tell you this sort of thing for a couple hundred dollars (assuming you, or someone you have access to has the same y chromosome as the person who was with your great grandmother).
It would be my father’s mother’s father, so the Y chromosome would be lost (my grandmother would not have had it).
[Nitpick]Koori isn’t universally synonymous with Aboriginal*. “Koori” is a term used by Aborigines in the south-east of the country, mainly in New South Wales and Victoria. There are several other names used elsewhere.[/nitpick]
True, but I come from NSW, so I’m just following usage there.
(And I’ve also found that some Aboriginal people don’t like being called “Aborigines”. It’s very hard to get a short term that’s acceptable to everyone.)
That’s true enough. I’ve never had experience of anybody getting upset with me for using “Aboriginal”, but I know it happens. I do know that the Queensland Murris can get a bit tetchy if called “Koori”, but that’s probably just good ol’ interstate rivalry. Most Abirigines I’ve been on friendly terms with prefer “blackfella” - but you gotta know the person.