One family which owned several stations in the Kimberley region of WA was concerned about the future of Aboriginals, only recently advanced to the level of serfs, if they were forced onto the fringes of towns and within reach of white vices but without any practical skills to adapt. They ceded parts of their leases to the local people, then ceded a little more to allow a government school to operate away from the town, then ceded even larger slabs of their leases, encouraging the state government to step in and provide proper housing.
Thousands of Aboriginals ended up living on the fringes of towns as a result of this wage decision. Without housing or proper amenities or any chance of keeping themselves ‘presentable’, their rejection became complete.
The Kimberley was not only a remote area: For most of the region the sole industry had been the pastoral industry, so there were few towns with any infrastructure at all. Some towns were no more than a general store and a pub.
As happened when Aboriginals were first forced onto reserves or missions, people from different clans and language groups were thrown together on country that was not their own, and the whole of their social fabric was in tatters.
Some station owners forced people off passively, by refusing to give them transport to find firewood, and no longer providing rations or any other assistance.
One station owner waited until ‘his’ Aboriginals were away at a picnic race meeting, bulldozed their humpies and possessions and shot their dogs. When they came back, he simply told them they had 48 hours to clear out.