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Notions of ‘Civilisation’ and the Project to ‘Civilise’ Aborigines in South Australia in the 1840s

Anne Scrimgeour (Charles Darwin University, Australia)

History of Education Review

ISSN: 0819-8691

Article publication date: 24 June 2006


During the first half of the nineteenth century Aboriginal schools were established in a number of Australian colonies as a part of a project to ‘civilise’ Aboriginal people. Using the case study of schools established in Adelaide, South Australia, in the 1840s, this article examines differences in the way the notion of ‘civilisation’ was understood by colonial educators and civilisers, and how these differences impacted on the form of schooling provided. In particular, the article compares the views of German Lutheran missionaries who established the first Aboriginal school in Adelaide in 1839, and those of Governor George Grey, who instituted changes in the approach taken in Aboriginal education which reflected his own views about ‘civilisation’ and the ‘civilising’ process



Scrimgeour, A. (2006), "Notions of ‘Civilisation’ and the Project to ‘Civilise’ Aborigines in South Australia in the 1840s ", History of Education Review, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 35-46.



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