File(s) not publicly available

Can we civilize the Aborigines without killing them? : Florence Nightingale's influence on Bishop Salvado

journal contribution
posted on 2009-10-01, 00:00 authored by Tiffany ShellamTiffany Shellam
In 1859 English public health nurse Florence Nightingale decided to conduct a study of the mortality rates in ‘native schools’ in Britain’s colonies. Since the 1837 publication of the House of Commons Report on the impact of British settlement on native people’s, there had been a speculative discourse about the decline of the Aboriginal populations in the colonies; concerns about Aboriginal health and welfare were debated frequently. New Norcia was included in Nightingale’s study and played a big part in Nightingale’s conclusions.
This paper will discuss the study and New Norcia’s participation in it, with particular attention to the correspondence, questionnaires and reports that travelled between Salvado and Nightingale. This unique archive reveals not only Nightingale’s concern about the relationship between civilizing and Aboriginal ill-health in the colonies, but also shed’s light on Salvado’s remarkable insight into this delicate and fraught relationship. By analysing Salvado’s statistical collections and reports for Nightingale’s study on New Norcia’s Aboriginal residents, it is possible to understand that Salvado evaluated and repudiated the influential theory that the Aborigines were inevitably a dying race.



New Norcia studies




63 - 69


The Archives, Research and Publications Committee, New Norcia


New Norcia, W. A.



Indigenous content

This research output may contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. We apologise for any distress that may occur.



Publication classification

C3.1 Non-refereed articles in a professional journal

Usage metrics