85 Years in 85 Days

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The 1940s and the world is at war. The conflict will define the world that comes after it and the reverberations of the decision made in the 40s still echo to this day.

Rethinking the White Australia Policy

200px-Ac.whiteaustraliaWhite Australia. The term makes us uncomfortable now, as it well should. Yet as a nation we seem to have done our best to forget the racist policies that underpinned much of government policy through the 20th Century.

It’s telling that as Australia became a unified country in 1901 that one of its founding legislations was that of the White Australia Policy; an act intended to protect and give dominance to the concerns of white settlers over Asian and Islander migrants.

And it wasn’t until 1973 that the Policy was completely dismantled!

Many Australia’s consider our country to still be steeped in racism, yet given that our whole idea of country was couched in racial exclusion from the start, is it any surprise that prejudice lingers? We should not be allowed to forget the White Australia Policy and the discomfort of our history.

AQ uncovers an epic 1945 article discussing the ‘national dogma’ of the White Australia Policy. This era marks the beginning of the end for White Australia as our country is forced to open our doors to outside in order to re-populate after WWII.

“Man lives not by bread alone but also by dogmas – accepted beliefs on which he feels his welfare and even his existence depend…” Look back into Australia’s dark past.

Article from Sept 1945: Rethinking the White Australia Policy

Sex Education

When you think of Sex Education in the 1940s, what do you imagine? The golden age of Australian Protestant repression or a country coming out of war armed with first hand experience of the value of life and a willingness to challenge the past?

As with everything, the answer is not so simple, yet here AQ brings you an intriguingly liberal argument from a Church of England chaplain, railing against the damage of dogma and the need for open and honest discourse about sex.

This 1944 article pre-empts the sexual revolution that is building on the cultural horizon. A fascinating look back at the competing perceptions of sex that have shaped our own live and opinions.

Article from Sept 1944: Sex Education

Launching a Commonwealth of Nations Now

The World is at War. The League of Nations that had been set up after WWI with the sole purpose of preventing further global war, has failed in it’s duty. Yet the realisation that there needs to be a level of international cooperation to manage inter-country relations is, despite the League’s failure, still of primary concern.

With the United Nations yet to be formed, read here a call for a Commonwealth of Nations; an interesting discussion on the need for international diplomacy on a global level.

Article from June 1941: Launching a Commenwealth of Nations Now

A Jewish Settlement in the Kimberleys

Looking through the archives I discovered this long forgotten episode in Australia’s war history. Presumably there was pressure across the Empire for the countries removed from the conflict to offer up a solution to the problem of refugees choking Europe.

Today the government is talking about ‘developing Northern Australia’ but discussions about Australia’s deserted reaches stretch back at least as far as 1940 when a Jewish colony was being considered for the remote Kimberley region in North-west Australia – a mini Israel in the Outback.

Arguably in 1940 the extent of the persecution of the Jews was not yet fully realised by the Allies, and the holocaust had by no mean reached the peak of its horror but, in reading the article with hindsight, it raises the question of whether Australia did do enough to help the Jews, given that as early as 1940 ideas such as the Kimberley settlement were being discussed and discarded.

So have a look at the article and consider how things might have been different in this little known gem of Australian history.

Article from March 1940: A Jewish Settlement in the Kimberleys

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