Invisible Australians: Living under the White Australia Policy

Saturday, January 7, 2012: 11:30 AM
Chicago Ballroom IX (Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers)
Kate Bagnall, independent scholar
Tim Sherratt, National Museum of Australia

Invisible Australians aims to reveal something of the lives of the thousands of men, women and children who were affected by the racially-based immigration policy of early 20th-century Australia. To administer the Immigration Restriction Act, government officials implemented an increasingly complex and structured system of tracking and documenting the movements of non-white people as they travelled in and out of the country. This surveillance left an extraordinary body of records containing information about people who, according to the national myth of a ‘White Australia’, were not Australian at all. Using crowdsourced transcription, our project intends to extract biographical data from these records, piece together these fragments of identity and work towards revealing the real face of White Australia.