Someone living in Australia who was born elsewhere, has not been naturalised, and therefore lacks citizenship rights. Non-Europeans wishing to migrate to Australia were also called 'aliens'.


Valuable records; a building, room or storage area where archival records are kept; or an organisation that keeps archival records.

assisted immigrants

Immigrants selected or nominated under government schemes and who received free or reduced fares and/or other concessions.

atti di chiamata

Letter of call – papers that Australian residents of Italian origin used to nominate relatives and friends in Italy to come to Australia.



certificate exempting from dictation test (CEDT)

CEDTs were introduced as a result of 1905 amendments to the Immigration Restriction Act 1901. They replaced certificates of domicile and were essentially re-entry permits. Holders could re-enter Australia without doing a dictation test. Issue of the certificates ceased in 1958 with the abolition of the dictation test.

Certificate of Exemption

Introduced by the Immigration Restriction Act 1901, certificates of exemption enabled holders to enter Australia on a temporary basis without doing a dictation test. Issue of the certificates ceased in 1958 with the abolition of the dictation test.

child migration

Children migrating without a parent or guardian. Child migrants were often sponsored by non-government philanthropic or church organisations.


Chief Migration Officer


Describes material that, if compromised, could cause damage to national security.

content creator

The person who created the content of the record.

dictation test

Under the Immigration Restriction Act 1901, non-Europeans intending to enter Australia could be required to write out a dictated passage, not less than 50 words in length, in any European language. Those who failed to write out the passage correctly could be refused entry.

displaced person

Someone who is outside their home country, not by choice.


Spying; or the use of spies by a government to discover the military and political secrets of other nations.

female migration

Immigration of women unaccompanied by either husbands or families. They were often sponsored by governments or private organisations.


A unit of documents kept together because they deal with the same subject. See also Item.


A single leaf of paper or page in a file.


Sameness – in immigration policy, this concept is used to describe a population composed of similar people.


A single, whole file that is part of a series. An item can be a few folios or it can be hundreds. Every item has a reference number.


East Indian sailor


Mixed descent


Maintenance guarantee; also refers to the M28 form, with which an Australian resident guarantees to maintain a person if their application to migrate is successful.


Nomination for entry into Australia; also refers to the M40 form, with which an Australian resident nominates a family member for migration to Australia.


Application form for entry to Australia for the purpose of residence.


A note made of something to be remembered, as in future action; a record or written statement of something.


A rough draft of a document; a written summary, note or memorandum.



National Archives of Australia

An Australian Government agency established by the Archives Act 1983. Its purpose is to preserve the most important records created by all Commonwealth government administrators.

Process of granting an alien the rights of citizenship.

Not for approval


Officer in charge

open period

A record is in the open period 30 years after it came into existence. The public has the right to access Commonwealth records in the open period, subject to certain exemptions. This 30-year rule was established by the Archives Act 1983.


Principal applicant

personal records

The records of a person associated with the Commonwealth (for example, a prime minister, minister or judge).


Prime Minister


A document or object (including a sound recording, photograph, film, map, plan, model or painting) kept as evidence of an event, person or thing.

record creator

The government agency or person who created the file of which the record is part.


Someone who has fled for refuge or safety, especially to a foreign country, due to political upheaval, war, etc.


Describes official material that, if compromised, could cause serious damage to national security.


The parent of an archival file or item. Each series is created by a government agency (although agencies can inherit existing series as a result of administrative change). Every series has a reference number.


Senior Migration Officer


Communication sent by telegraph.


A means of transmitting and receiving messages over a distance, through a conducting wire or other communications channel.


Teleprinter exchange is an international communications system using the public telecommunications network to link teleprinters at remote locations; also a message sent through the teleprinter exchange.

top secret

Describes material that, if compromised, could cause grave damage to national security.

white alien

A term used in government documents and the press to mean Europeans, especially southern Europeans. It implied 'white' but non-British. Most 'white aliens' were Italian, Greek, Yugoslavian or Polish.