The White Australia policy

The first page of the Immigration Restriction Act 1901.  Features a red wax seal.

Immigration Restriction Act 1901
NAA: A1559, 1901/17

The Immigration Restriction Act 1901 was a landmark law passed by the first parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia. The Act provided the cornerstone of the unofficial 'White Australia' policy. This policy, aimed at maintaining Australia as a nation populated predominantly by white Europeans, remained in place for many decades.

Get thinking

  • The dictation test was one of the primary ways the Immigration Restriction Act was implemented. How was it used to control which immigrants came to Australia?
  • How effective was the dictation test in maintaining a 'white' Australia?
  • Why do you think the Australian Government stopped using the dictation test?

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