Agricultural and Pastoral Leases

Applications by Aboriginal people in Western Australia between 1887 and 1933.

The granting of land leases by the Government of Western Australia for agricultural and pastoral pursuits has contributed greatly to Western Australia’s current international standing and economic prosperity. What is less known is the extent to which Aboriginal people have been part of this process. This publication seeks to acknowledge their hard work and achievement despite the barriers many would have faced.

The research focuses on the period between 1887 and 1933 (commencing with the introduction of Land Regulations 1887, through to the replacement of the Land Act 1933). During this time at least 440 applications for agricultural leases were made by Aboriginal men and women.

Regrettably the majority were forced to abandon their leases through failure to meet the stringent conditions imposed by the legislation, as well as the burden of financing their land acquisitions. Never-the-less a small percentage went on to achieve success with subsequent generations capitalising on their ancestor’s resourcefulness.

A newspaper clipping showing Tom Kickett and a horse.
Photo: An Aboriginal Farmer: Tom Kickett, to wit. He owns a selection at Greenhills, valued at £1200. He is a married man with a family. Sunday Times Perth WA 25 October 1903 section 3 p 1
Page reviewed 08 December 2021