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Making a Nation - Year 9 Assessment Task
Transcript of Making a Nation - Year 9 Assessment Task
How did the 'Immigration Restriction Act' or 'Pacific Island Labourers Act' (White Australia Policy) affect the Afghans?
In your judgement was the White Australian Policy a positive or negative law for Australia and all Australians in the early 1900s? Why/Why not?
Making a Nation - Year 9 Assessment Task
By Leah Haarihona
Describe how the Afghans lived and worked in Australia.
What are the 'Immigration Restriction Act' and the 'Pacific Island Labourers Act' otherwise known as White Australia Policy?
Assess the contribution the Afghans made to Australia's development prior to 1900.
The first ever Afghan cameleers arrived in Australia in the 1860's.
The Afghans were recruited by George Landell who was commissioned by The Victorian Expedition Exploration (VEE) Committee. The VEE Committiee thought the camels would be useless without their native drivers.
The Afghan cameleers had to travel to inland Australia various times with many different exploration parties.
The cameleers, a.k.a pilots of the desert, face dry conditions. But the camels, a.k.a ships of the desert, not only have to face the contions as well (which they're used to, so it's okay), but also have to haul around tons of supplies, materials, water, etc for long periods of time. Camels are probably used to that though.
Cameleers were either given a living quarter on a breeding station or lived on the outskirts of towns and settlements.
Europeans hardly made contact with the Afghans. It wasn't uncommon for outback towns to have three distinct living areas - one for Europeans, one for Aboriginals, and one for Afghans.
In "Ghan towns" cameleers would often build a mosque. The mosques not only served as a place of worship, but offered a sense of community.
The Immigration Restriction Act affected the Afghans by not allowing them to continue to live in Australia, even after everything they had achieved for the Europeans.
Many cameleers would return to their families after their three-year contract was finished and return back to Australia. When trying to re-enter the country, many were denied naturalisation and were not granted permission to return.
To stop new cameleers from entering Australia, the cameleers had to sit a dictation test under The Immigration Restriction Act.
Mosque at Hergott Springs (Marree), 1884.
Source: Australia's Muslim Cameleers: Immigration Museum (Website).
VEE Committee Minutes, 19 May 1859
...'the camels would be comparatively useless unless accompanied by their native drivers'...
Afghan camel train, Wanaaring Road, near NSW/QLD border, 1900.
Source: Inside the collection - Powerhouse Museum.
One of the major contributions Afghan cameleers were involved in, was the development of the rail link between Port Augusta and Alice Springs. This rail link is now known as The Ghan Railway.
An equally important development the cameleers were involved in, was The Overland Telegraph. The telegraph linked Australia with London, via India.
The cameleers helped by transporting and delivering supplies, tools and equipment that was needed.
The cameleers also accompained exploration expeditions. They carried the parties supplies and materials further than any horse or mule could.
The Immigration Restriction Act was a piece of legislation that tried to limit the amount of "non-white" immigration in Australia.
A feature of the Immigration Restriction Act was the Dictation Test. The Dictation Test was taken by an applicant who wished to enter Australia.
The applicant had to write out 50 words in any European language (after 1905, any chosen language) dictated by an immigration officer.
A person who fails is deported.
Camels carrying supplies for the rail link.
I think the White Australian Policy was a negative law for Australia and all Australians in the early 1900s because it wasn't really beneficial for Australia itself as a country. Instead, people overlooked this and went with personal preference.
The choosing of the language in the dictation test was dependant upon whether or not the officer felt the person was desirable or not. If he was not desirable, he would chose another language aside from English - Basically setting the poor person up for failure.
I think this was not called for and definitely restricted Australia from many opportunities.
The Pacific Island Labourers Act was a piece of legislation that made a law to deport most Pacific Islanders in Australia at the time.
Pacific Islanders could still enter Australia, but only as contracted slaves.
Immigration Restriction Act:
Pacific Island Labourers Act: