Bold Experiment: Documentary History of Australian Immigration Since 1945
OverviewAustralia's post-war immigration confronts historians with perhaps the greatest paradox in our recent history. Policies and programmes of the 1940s and 1950s, designed and adopted to confirm and fortify our identity as a British-European outpost, eventually resulted in a complete abandonment of racian exclusivity. For more than half a century 'White Australia' was the foundation population policy and socio-cultural programme of the Australian Commonwealth. Bold Experiment, the first general collection of source material to describe and analyse the pattern of our immigration history since 1945, traces the undermining and destruction of 'White Australia', and the goals, policies and programmes which have replaced it. Bold Experiment, a collection of documents, examines the development of immigration policy since 1945, the migrant experience, and the host response. It is divided into four roughly chronological, though overlapping, sections. Section One examines the origins of Australia's 'bold experiment', the development of policy and its implementation between 1945 and 1954, and migrant experiences in those years. Section Two explores aspects of the settlement experience of those who were part of the large migrations from Britain, Italy, Greece and other parts of Europe between the 1940s and the 1970s. Section Three focuses upon the decline of the White Australia policy in the 1960s, its overturning as a consequence of the Vietnam War, the refugee crisis, the settlement experience of migrants from Indochina, and the controversy surrounding their immigration. Section 4 explores the recent debate over desirable and undesirable outcomes of immigration in which one side asserts that it has led to a crisis of national identity, while the other celebrates a new diversity. This section also deals with migrants' perspectives on themselves, their communities and their place in Australian society.