Established as a British Colony in 1835, Victoria was considered the leader in Australian indigenous administration—the first colony to legislate for the “protection” and legal victualing of Aborigines, and the first to collect statistical data on their decline and anticipated disappearance. The official record, however, excludes the data that can explain the Aborigines' stunning recovery. A painstaking investigation combining family histories; Victoria's birth, death, and marriage registrations; and census and archival records provides this information. One startling finding is that the surviving Aboriginal population is descended almost entirely from those who were under the protection of the colonial state.

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