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Subject: Cultural Studies »

John Lack on the moves to expel Chinese refugees

John Lack and Mara Moustafine.

Historian John Lack describes the moves to expel Chinese refugees at the end of World War 2



Date Added:

06 February 2009


source not available


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

5.2 MB






... Chinese family who had been victims, there’s no other way to put it, of the Labor Party’s attempt to empty these folk out of Australia after the war. They’d come in as refugees, they were in fact the first boat people, they were refugees from the advancing Japanese Army through South-East Asia and The Netherlands, East Indies and my wife’s folk came down by one of the last ships out of what is now Indonesia and they came down the west coast and they came into Melbourne. And like many of those refugees, Chinese, Javanese and so on, they worked in the war industry, supported the war effort against Japanese militarism and then at the end of the war, the Labor Party in its wisdom decided that these folk were going to be sent home.


Wherever home was. Many of them had been - had married Australians and had Australian children. It’s a distressing period and to see those news reels of mothers, wives and mothers and children farewelling their husbands and fathers as they’re forced onto the boats, it’s - it’s just shocking.


And my – her parents were lucky they in fact did have to pack up a number of times. But they were able to stay through the offices (sounds like 01:44) of friends and I think we forget that when we right about White Australia. There were a lot of people – Australians, old Australians – who resisted, you know, who wrote letters, who complained, who realised these people posed no possible threat at all.


End transcript