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The Real Face of White Australia

In December 1901, Australia passed the Immigration Restriction Act, drastically restricting immigration of individuals who were of non-European descent. The Act was the beginning of a series of laws informally known as the White Australia policy, which collectively functioned to exclude individuals from Asia and the Pacific Islands from Australia during the first half of the twentieth century. Historian Tim Sherratt of the University of Canberra, in collaboration with a number of University of Canberra students, have launched the Real Face of White Australia - a citizen history project that seeks to uncover how these policies functioned to police the lives of Australian individuals. This project invites individuals to examine, mark, and transcribe identification documents from the National Archives of Australia, including Certificates of Domicile and Certificates Exempting from the Dictation Test. As these documents reveal, a number of individuals of Asian descent lived in Australia under the White Australia Policy, including members of the large Chinese-Australian community. These individuals were required to carry these identification documents at all times, even if they were born in Australia. To learn more about these "invisible Australians" and their histories, visitors can check out a number of essays, courtesy of the National Archives of Australia, about the history of Chinese Australians and the significance of these identification documents.
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Date of Scout Publication
October 13th, 2017
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October 10th, 2017 at 11:33am
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