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Research Guides


Land of Opportunity: Australia's post-war reconstruction


Population policy and immigration

The birth-rate problem

During the Depression and early years of World War II there was widespread concern about the diminishing rate of growth of Australia's population. Despite negligible migration, the population had grown from 6.6 million in 1932 to 7.2 million in 1942. Nevertheless, the population was becoming less youthful, 16 per cent of women had never married, up to 20 per cent of married women were childless, there were fewer births occurring in the first year of marriage, and families were becoming smaller. The net reproduction rate in 1921 was 1.3, but during the Depression it went below the replacement level for the first time, falling to 0.93 in 1934. The number of marriages increased sharply in 1939–42, but this was thought to be a wartime aberration.

Public opinion polls showed that a great majority of people believed Australia needed a much larger population and thought that this would best be achieved by larger families. Politicians, community leaders, journalists and other commentators shared this view. In 1943 both John Curtin and Robert Menzies claimed that the population needed to double in the next 20 years, while Frank Forde went further, suggesting that it needed to reach 30 million in the next 30 years. WC Wentworth pointed out that, with less than 2.5 children per marriage, the population might never reach 8 million. The economist Colin Clark asserted that, unless attitudes to children changed, there was a risk that Australia would either be deluged with migrants or would be taken by force. The budding demographer WD Borrie was more restrained, but he agreed that at the current rate of fertility the population could start to decline within 30 years. Substantial post-war migration would lessen the risk, but since 1900 migration had accounted for only 18 per cent of Australia's population growth. Moreover, Britain and northern Europe also had birth-rate problems, so unless migrants came from southern Europe migration would not necessarily alleviate the problem.

In March 1944 the British government announced that there would be a royal commission into the declining birth rate. Questioned in Parliament, Curtin said that consideration would be given to a similar inquiry in Australia. John Cumpston, the Director-General of Health, responded with enthusiasm and within a few days had written a lengthy memorandum on the problem, referring to national psychology, statistical evidence, deliberate prevention of birth, economic influences, family life and housing, and nutritional and pathological influences. The Department of Post War Reconstruction also had an interest in population policy and its links with economic and social policy. HC Coombs met Cumpston and they agreed on a division of labour. In May 1944 the NHMRC appointed a committee to look at the medical aspects of the declining birth rate. Cumpston commissioned reports from Dame Enid Lyons and Lady Cilento on child-bearing, KS Cunningham on national psychology and education for parenthood, and Constance Duncan on measures to improve the circumstances of mothers and young children. Gerald Firth drafted a report on statistical, economic and social aspects, assisted by Borrie and staff in the Bureau of Census and Statistics and the Department of Labour and National Service.

The various reports, with a general summary by Cumpston, were published by the NHMRC in November 1944. Stan Carver, the Statistician, criticised Cumpston for downplaying some of the economic factors, such as economic insecurity, the desire of most people to share rising living standards with their children, and the increasing cost of family maintenance. The report was the most comprehensive study of the Australian population problem since the turn of the century. In the next few years further work was done on nutritional factors and other medical aspects of the birth-rate problem. The Department of Post War Reconstruction looked at such measures as extended social service benefits for large families and the training of domestic helpers, but met with Treasury resistance. Gradually public concern abated. The improvement in the net reproduction rate did not cease with the end of the war, but rose to 1.41 in 1947 and 1.5 in 1958. With large-scale migration from 1947 onwards, fears of a static or even declining population were forgotten for several decades.

Cabinet
COPIES OF CABINET RECORDS, 1901–60
Series: A6006
Reel 13
Sir Frederick Stewart. The birth-rate and associated matters, 19 September 1941
1941/09/22
Department of Health
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1925–49
Series: A1928
Decline of the birth-rate: suggested Royal Commission, 1944–49 (4 parts)
Reports, memoranda, and correspondence with organisations and individuals on the decline in the birth rate; the inter-departmental inquiry into reasons for the decline; the report (November 1944) by the NHMRC; and proposals for improved hospital, medical and nursing services for mothers and the training of domestic workers. The correspondents include JHL Cumpston, F McCallum, HC Coombs, GG Firth, SR Carver, C Duncan and B Mayes.
680/32
Committee on medical aspects of the decline in the birth-rate, 1944–47 (2 parts)
Minutes of meetings (June 1944 – February 1945) of the committee of inquiry into medical aspects of the decline in the birth rate (chair: M Allan), notes on housing policy in relation to the birth rate, and correspondence about the inter-departmental inquiry into the birth rate. The correspondents include JHL Cumpston, HC Coombs, SR Carver and B Mayes.
680/33
Department of Immigration
CORRESPONDENCE FILES CLASS 5 (BRITISH MIGRANTS), 1945–50
Series: A436
The birthrate and future of the population, 1945–47
Includes a memorandum (February 1945) on aspects of the decline of the birth rate and the future of the population and a letter (20 May 1947) from R Wilson, the Commonwealth Statistician, on Australian population trends.
1947/5/2072
Department of Post War Reconstruction
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1941–50
Series: A9816
International relations: population problems and migration, 1941–46
Correspondence of JG Crawford, GG Firth, LF Crisp and other officers with WD Borrie of the University of Sydney relating to his research on differentials in family structure, fertility and other population problems.
1943/446 Pt 1
International relations: population problems and migration, 1942–45
Memoranda by WD Borrie on population and post-war development, the role of immigrants in population growth, imperial planning in migration, fertility and family structure in Australia, and other subjects.
1943/446 Pt 2
Population: proposed inquiry, 1944–45
Memoranda and correspondence on the proposed inquiry on the declining birth rate, collaboration with the Department of Health and the Bureau of Census and Statistics, research on the economic and social aspects of the population problem, housing policy and the birth rate, and meetings of the working party. The correspondents include HC Coombs, GG Firth, JHL Cumpston, SR Carver and WD Borrie.
1944/165
Population: general suggestions, 1944–45
Letters from individuals, mostly sent to JB Chifley or JJ Dedman, on the population problem, household facilities, the birth rate, child malnutrition, maternity welfare and financial assistance to families.
1944/167 Pt 1
Population material for report, 1944
Reports by GG Firth and his drafts of the report on the economic and social aspects of the birth rate and memoranda and material received from the Bureau of Census and Statistics, the University of Melbourne and other sources. The correspondents include GG Firth, W Prest, WD Borrie and EJR Heyward.
1944/325
Population policy, 1944–47
Interim report of the NHMRC on medical aspects of the decline in the birth rate and correspondence on maternal and infant welfare, the training of domestic workers and action to be taken by the Department of Health and the Department of Post War Reconstruction. The correspondents include HC Coombs, GG Firth, KAL Best and HJ Goodes.
1945/43
Regional planning: discussions on population planning with Prof. Griffith Taylor, 1948
A memorandum by the Regional Planning Division concerning discussions with the expatriate geographer Griffith Taylor on the optimum population of Australia with reference to geographical distribution and a letter (28 May 1948) by AS Brown to JG Crawford about the visit of Griffith Taylor to Australia.
1948/125
Regional distribution of population, 1949
Minutes relating to population and regional development, decentralisation, and the settlement of migrants on the land. The correspondents include AA Calwell, LF Crisp, G Rudduck and THE Heyes.
1949/214
Prime Minister's Department
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1934–50
Series: A461
Increase of the Australian birthrate, 1938–47 (2 parts)
Correspondence of J Curtin and JB Chifley with organisations and individuals dealing with population questions, maternal and child welfare, birth control and the decline in the birth rate.
F320/1/2

Immigration

In the period 1929–37 the number of departures from Australia exceeded the number of arrivals. There was an increase in immigration in 1938–40, including 6475 Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria, but after 1940 immigration virtually ceased. The staff of the Migration Branch within the Department of the Interior dwindled to four and they responded to talk of large-scale post-war migration with some scepticism. A number of researchers and officials shared their scepticism. WD Borrie pointed out to the Department of Post War Reconstruction that Britain and other countries in northern Europe were likely to face labour shortages after the war and large-scale emigration was not in their interests. WD Forsyth in his book The Myth of Open Spaces (1942) conceded that post-war industrial development might support moderate immigration. He agreed, however, with Borrie that migration from Britain and northern Europe was a thing of the past, while migration from southern and eastern Europe would require careful selection, education and social control. Focusing on the Australian economy, LF Giblin told the Financial and Economic Committee in January 1943 that it would be unwise to contemplate an upsurge in migration until Australia had made up arrears in capital expenditure, housing and the provision of social services.

The decision to begin planning for post-war immigration was prompted by a despatch from the British government in April 1943. It was considering adopting a free passage scheme, similar to one that operated in 1919–22, for ex-servicemen and their dependants who wished to emigrate to the dominions. The Department of the Interior was inclined to limit its response to ex-servicemen, but Roland Wilson, LF Crisp and Paul Hasluck saw the despatch as an opportunity to seek Cabinet directions on post-war immigration generally. On 20 October 1943, on the recommendation of JS Collings, Cabinet set up an inter-departmental committee on immigration, chaired by Joseph Carrodus. It remained in existence until 1946. Much of its work was done by sub-committees, dealing with British migration, child migration, foreign migration, the commencement of migration, and publicity. Their memberships overlapped and key figures were AR Peters and JH Horgan (Interior), LF Crisp and JG Crawford (Post War Reconstruction), WD Forsyth (External Affairs), FH Rowe (Social Services) and HJ Goodes (Treasury).

British migration was relatively uncontentious. In May 1944 Cabinet decided that it would share with the British government the cost of providing free passages for British ex-service personnel and their dependants and assisted passages for other British emigrants. No approved applicant would be required to pay more than £10. Child migration provoked more dissension. The Department of Interior officials favoured giving support to migration organisations, such as Barnados and the Fairbridge Society. Supported by Chifley, the Post War Reconstruction representatives doubted the ability of such bodies to handle large numbers of children, including European war orphans, and argued that government infrastructure needed to be set up. At a meeting of the inter-departmental committee in October 1944, HC Coombs claimed that children were the best type of migrant and suggested a target of 17,000 children per annum for three years. The Commonwealth would meet the cost of bringing the children to Australia and maintaining them. In December 1944 Cabinet accepted the Chifley/Coombs arguments in favour of large-scale child migration. The inter-departmental committee also supported a vigorous policy of bringing European migrants, including refugees, as it considered that British migration alone would not lead to a much larger population. The question of assistance to non-British migrants was discussed but not resolved. The committee's report was referred to a Cabinet sub-committee, which never met, and no decision was taken.

On 13 July 1945 Arthur Calwell became the first Minister for Immigration. He had a strong interest in the subject and had just written a well-researched pamphlet entitled 'How many Australians tomorrow?'. About 25 officers from the Department of the Interior, headed by AR Peters, formed the nucleus of the new department. In May 1946 Tasman Heyes took over the position of Secretary from Peters. Under his leadership, the Department of Immigration grew rapidly and by 1950 the staff totalled more than 5000. In 1947 Calwell established an Immigration Advisory Council, chaired by Les Haylen, with representatives of trade unions, employer organisations, the Returned and Services League and other bodies. It was provided with a huge amount of information on passage schemes, shipping, the selection of migrants, deportations and other matters, and many policy proposals were referred to it for endorsement.

Calwell made his first statement on immigration in Parliament on 2 August 1945. His emphasis was very much on population: a much larger population was needed to meet challenges to 'our right to hold this land'. Immigration policy should be closely related to social policy (creating security and higher standards of living) and economic policy (creating full employment and markets for Australian goods). Echoing Giblin, he said that Australia's maximum absorption capacity was 2 per cent per annum, or 140,000 people. Taking into account the net population increase, this left a ceiling for migration of 70,000 per annum. This target was frequently quoted by officials, but it was not in fact reached until 1949.

In his statement Calwell warned that large-scale migration would probably have to wait for two years. There were many difficulties in putting into effect the ambitious new policy. The quest for large numbers of child migrants came to nothing and was abandoned in 1946. The first post-war contingent of unaccompanied children arrived in August 1947 and other small groups followed, sponsored by churches and migration societies. The Commonwealth and state governments provided financial support but child migration eventually came to an end. The free and assisted passage agreements with the British government were signed on 5 March 1946 and came into effect on 31 March 1947. There were large numbers of prospective British migrants, but a critical shortage of shipping prevented large numbers arriving until the latter months of 1947. The numbers soared in 1949 and 1950, and by 1957 more than 600,000 post-war British migrants had arrived in Australia, of whom about half were assisted. The Assisted Passage Scheme remained in force until 1982.

An interim policy on the admission of non-British migrants was adopted in 1946, but shipping difficulties and numerous excluded categories meant that the numbers were low until late 1947. The first substantial group was 1321 Jewish refugees from Europe and China, who were sponsored by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. Some politicians and newspapers reacted with a virulent campaign against Calwell and his support for Jewish migration weakened. He visited several northern European countries in 1947 but, with the exception of the Netherlands, there was little interest in migration agreements. Gradually, more encouragement was given to migrants from southern and eastern Europe and by 1949 large numbers of nominated Italians were arriving. Aware of serious labour shortages in Australia, Calwell secured Chifley's approval to sign an agreement with the International Refugee Organization (IRO) in July 1947. It specified that Australia would take 12,000 refugees and displaced persons per annum, with the IRO meeting the bulk of the transport costs and the Australian government providing employment. At first, the Australian selection teams were only interested in unmarried displaced persons from Baltic countries, but family units were admitted in 1948 and all European nationalities in 1949. Limitations on numbers were abandoned and 75,500 displaced persons arrived in 1949 and 70,000 in 1950. Such a massive influx imposed enormous challenges for the Department of Immigration and the Commonwealth Employment Service, in setting up reception centres and hostels, devising educational programs, providing training, and allocating the migrants to public works projects, the building, timber and sugar industries, and other employment.

The government's success in bringing about large-scale immigration in 1945–49 was, to some degree, overshadowed by its rigid adherence to the White Australia Policy. The inter-departmental committee on immigration did not discuss coloured immigration, believing that any change in policy was a matter for Cabinet. At no time did Cabinet consider a relaxation of the policy and Calwell, in particular, always held that it was sacrosanct. A relatively small number of Indonesians, Malayans and Chinese had been evacuated to, or stranded in, Australia during the war. Most were repatriated in 1945, but about 800 were still in Australia in 1948. Calwell's efforts to deport them, which often meant breaking up families, aroused strong opposition both in Australia and Asia. In particular, the O'Keefe case in 1949 became a cause célèbre, leading to a High Court case and the swift enactment of the Wartime Refugees Removal Act. Opposition politicians, diplomats, church leaders, academics and editorial writers all argued for a degree of flexibility and sensitivity in administering the White Australia Policy. Calwell's stock response was that any departure from the policy 'would ultimately impair the homogeneity of our population and bring to this country the dissensions and problems that are the inevitable lot of states having mixed populations'. In taking this stand, he was consistently supported by Chifley.

Cabinet
CURTIN, FORDE AND CHIFLEY MINISTRIES: CABINET MINUTES AND AGENDA, 1941–49
Series: A2700
British and alien migration to Australia, 20 October 1943 538
Post-war migration, 10 May 1944 538A
Post-war migration: report and recommendations on white alien migration, 10 November 1944 538B
Child migration, 6 December 1944 538C
Foreign child migration, 5 November 1946 538C(1)
Inter-Departmental Committee on Migration: report on the establishment of reciprocity in connection with the social services of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, 18 January 1945, 17 April 1945 538D
Publicity necessary to give effect to the government's decisions in regard to migration policy, 18 January 1945 538E
Maltese migration: question of assisted passages, 2 February 1945 538F
Assisted passage agreement for immigrants from Malta, 9 June 1947 538F(1)
Dutch migration from the Netherlands to Australia, 19 December 1946 538I
Legal guardianship of child migrants, 2 July 1946 724A
Financial assistance to non-governmental migration organisation for the provision of capital facilities for the accommodation and care of migrants, 4 June 1946 1192
Immigration policy and procedure, 5 November 1946 1192A
Shipping in relation to immigration, 23 August 1946 1239
Proposed amendment of Immigration Act, 7 April 1949 1580
Commonwealth Immigration Advisory Council
COUNCIL MEETINGS: VOLUMES OF AGENDA, NOTES AND MINUTES, 1947–58
Series: A2169

Minutes and agenda papers of the Commonwealth Immigration Advisory Council (chair: LC Haylen), including reports on the Assisted Passage Scheme, shipping, legislation, migration from particular countries, reception and training centres for displaced persons, education of non-British migrants, housing, the admission of non-Europeans, deportations, the establishment of migration offices, publicity and statistics.
Department of External Affairs
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1943–44
Series: A989
Migration: Australian policy, 1940–44 (2 parts)
Minutes of the first meeting (9 June 1943) of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Migration, memoranda, correspondence and newspaper cuttings. They include memoranda by Sir John Latham (30 May 1941, 21 September 1943), PMC Hasluck (9 October 1941), Sir Frederic Eggleston (15 March 1943) and WD Forsyth (11 October 1943) on the White Australia Policy and post-war migration.
1944/43/554/2/1
Migration: British migration to Australia, 1944
Draft report (17 March 1944) of the sub-committee on assisted migration and correspondence on migration to Australia by British subjects. The correspondents include Sir Iven Mackay, WA Wynes, JA Carrodus and AR Peters.
1944/43/554/2/2
Migration: child migration, 1944
Notes of a meeting (24 January 1944) of the sub-committee on child migration and correspondence concerning proposals of the Department of Post War Reconstruction, organisations promoting child migration, and preparation of a Cabinet submission. The correspondents include WD Forsyth, JA Carrodus and S Spence.
1944/43/554/2/5
Migration: Sub-Committee 2A: white alien migration, 1943–44
Memoranda by WD Borrie, correspondence, and the draft report (September 1944) of the sub-committee on white alien migration. They include notes (February 1944) by R Wheeler of his interviews in London with representatives of foreign governments about post-war migration to Australia.
1944/43/554/2/9
Migration: Sub-Committee 2: absorption and time of resumption, 1942–43
Report (22 December 1943) of the sub-committee on the timing of resumption of migration (chair: JG Crawford) and memoranda by WD Borrie and the Department of Post War Reconstruction.
1944/43/554/2/10
Migration: Sub-Committee 3: coloured immigration, 1943–45
Includes memoranda (October–November 1943) by WD Forsyth and the Department of the Interior on the White Australia Policy and immigration policy.
1944/43/554/2/11
Migration: refugee migration, 1943–44
A report by Caroline Kelly on European refugees in New South Wales (1938–43), a memorandum (22 March 1944) by JA Carrodus on the proposed Jewish settlement in the East Kimberleys, and correspondence between AR Peters and WD Forsyth about refugees.
1944/43/554/3
Migration: Europe, 1943
A Department of External Affairs memorandum (29 June 1943) on post-war migration from south-eastern Europe.
1944/43/554/10
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1945
Series: A1066
Migration: Australian policy, 1944–48
A statement (7 March 1945) by the Department of the Interior on post-war immigration policy, notes (13 July 1945) on the United Nations and Australian immigration policy, and correspondence and extracts from overseas newspapers on the White Australia Policy.
G45/1/1
Migration: IDC, 1945–46
Minutes of the 5th–7th meetings of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Migration (chair: AR Peters, THE Heyes) and a letter (9 November 1945) from AR Peters to AA Calwell on the migration of allied servicemen to Australia.
G45/1/4
Migration discussions: Australia, 1944–46
Newspaper cuttings on post-war migration, sources of migrants, the White Australia Policy and related subjects.
G45/1/11
Migration: British migration to Australia, 1945–46
Cables between the Department of External Affairs and the United Kingdom Dominions Office and the draft agreement (5 March 1946) between Australia and the United Kingdom on the Free and Assisted Passage Scheme.
G45/1/18
Migration: child migration to Australia, 1944–45
Notes of a conference (9 January 1945) of Commonwealth and state officers on child migration (chair: JA Carrodus) and correspondence, cables and newspaper cuttings on child migration.
G45/1/25
Department of Immigration
CORRESPONDENCE FILES CLASS 2 (RESTRICTED IMMIGRATION), 1945–50

Files of correspondence and other records relating to restricted immigration, including the admission of Asians into Australia and deportations.

Series: A433
Chinese and other coloured immigration (post-war), 1943–44 1944/2/53
Australian Board of Missions: resolutions, 1941–45 1946/2/203
Indian High Commission: query on immigration into Australia, 1945–47 1947/2/1705
White alien immigration: Statistician's figures, 1940–48 1947/2/1794
Aliens married to Australian women: deportation, 1948 1948/2/3189
Immigration policy (including Wartime Refugees Act): correspondence, 1949 1949/2/10
Sir Frederic Eggleston, 1949 1949/2/6244
White Australia policy, 1948–51 1950/2/176
CORRESPONDENCE FILES CLASS 3 (NON-BRITISH EUROPEAN MIGRANTS), 1945–50

Correspondence files relating to European migrants, including refugees, displaced persons, enemy aliens, selection, employment, housing and assimilation.

Series: A434
White alien migration: Ministerial decisions on applications for admission, 1945–47 1945/3/1882
Refugees in United Kingdom: admission to Australia, 1945–48 1948/3/4074
Replies to newspaper criticism of Displaced Persons, 1948–49 1948/3/13193
Australian Jewish Welfare Society scheme for admission of 300 refugee children, 1939–46 1949/3/3
Land settlement schemes: migrant participation, 1949–50 1949/3/2543
Australian Refugee Immigration Committee: policy, 1938–48 1949/3/7286
Survey of former Service camps: housing of migrants, 1947 1949/3/25382
Displaced Persons employment policy, 1948–49 1950/3/13
TW White: notes on overseas migration, 1948 1950/3/9855
Social welfare aspects of immigration, 1948–49 1950/3/17477
Italian workers for North Queensland sugar areas, 1947–48 1950/3/42901
CORRESPONDENCE FILES CLASS 5 (BRITISH MIGRANTS), 1945–50

Correspondence concerning British immigration, including organisations interested in promoting British migration, nominations, training schemes, housing, shipping, employment and individual cases.

Series: A436
Migration policy: Ministerial statement, 2 August 1945 45/5/834
Catholic Hierarchy of Australia: proposals concerning migration, 1946–49 49/5/461
Conference of Commonwealth and State migration officers, 1947–48 50/5/2178
Immigration Advisory Committee, 1946 1945/5/563 Pt 1
Overseas children's schemes: policy, 1941–43 1946/5/2949
White alien migration: policy, 1943–46 1947/5/16
Housing difficulties of migrants: complaints, 1946–48 1947/5/1733
Australian Natives Association: information concerning migration, 1945–47 1947/5/2989
Priorities for shipment of migrants under Free and Assisted Passage Scheme, 1946–49 1948/5/51
State survey of accommodation for migrants, 1946–47 1948/5/70
State and district immigration committees: formation, 1948–49 1948/5/5356
Industrial absorptive capacity of Australia in relation to migrants, 1946 1949/5/2979
Conference of Commonwealth immigration officers, 1947 1949/5/5627
Shipping in relation to immigration: IDC, 1945–48 1950/5/2990-1
CORRESPONDENCE FILES CLASS 13 (MIGRANTS H-K), 1951–52
Series: A441
Caroline Kelly, 1943–47
Report (June 1944) by Caroline Kelly of the University of Sydney on child immigration agencies (non-governmental) in New South Wales, and correspondence and notes concerning meetings between Kelly and the sub-committee on child migration and about the respective roles of the government and private agencies in fostering child migration. The correspondents include AR Peters, JH Horgan and WD Forsyth.
1952/13/2684
CORRESPONDENCE (POLICY FILES), 1922–55

Files relating to the assimilation, welfare and education of migrants, including legislation, migrant organisations, transport, housing and accommodation, sponsorship, conferences and refugees.

Series: A445
Formula for allocation of migrant passages among the States, 1946–49 124/1/28-29
Un-nominated single British migrants: acceptance by States, 1948–49 124/1/34
Full-fare passages: selection of UK operatives for Australian factories, 1946–49 124/1/37
Agenda and minutes of ID conference on housing and accommodation, 1948–49 125/2/1
Fairbridge farm schools, Western Australia, Pinjarra, 1946–51 133/2/12
Re-establishment benefits: Empire and Allied Ex-Servicemen's Migration Scheme, 1944–46 178/1/6
Displaced persons employment opportunities policy, 1947–48 179/9/3
Displaced persons employment policy, 1948–51 179/9/5
Conferences on housing for Australians and migrants, 1948–49 202/3/34-35
Immigration of Italians to Australia, 1938–53 211/1/6
Report by AA Calwell of visit to Europe, 1947 223/2/5
Revised policy: admission of non-British Europeans, 1946–48 235/1/1-2
New policy for enemy aliens, 1947–49 235/1/25
Department of Post War Reconstruction
CORRESPONDENCE FILES OF THE ECONOMIC POLICY DIVISION, 1944–50
Series: A9790
Migration, 1948–49
Correspondence and notes on the placement of displaced persons, migrant labour for the coal industry, the selection of migrants, and the Commonwealth–State Conference on Migration (16 May 1949).
136
Migrant labour: general, 1949–50
Correspondence on population estimates and the availability of migrant labour for public works. The correspondents include JJ Dedman and LF Crisp.
1361
Immigration: conferences and statements of policy, 1949
Agenda papers and summary of proceedings of the conference (19 May 1949) of Commonwealth and state ministers on immigration (chair: AA Calwell), with comments by AS Brown.
1362
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1941–50
Series: A9816
Population problems and immigration, 1941–47 (3 parts)
Cabinet submissions, minutes (1943–46) of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Migration, reports, correspondence and notes on post-war migration policy, re-establishment benefits for British service personnel, and conferences of Commonwealth and state ministers on migration. The correspondents include JS Collings, HC Coombs, JG Crawford, LF Crisp, MW Phillips and RF Archer.
1943/428
Immigration: miscellaneous correspondence, 1943–46
Memoranda and correspondence with organisations and individuals concerning child migration, the admission of refugees and post-war migration generally. The correspondents include HC Coombs, JG Crawford, Bishop TB McGuire, Bishop CV Pilcher, W Bromhead and W Pickering.
1943/1409
Immigration: assisted British immigration, 1943–46
The report (15 March 1944) of the sub-committee on assisted immigration (chair: AR Peters), memoranda and correspondence on British migration to Australia, relations with the Department of the Interior, the formation of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Migration, and the Free and Assisted Passage Scheme. The correspondents include LG Melville, LF Crisp and R Wilson.
1944/587
IDC on Child Migration, 1943–45
Notes of meetings and report (17 March 1944) of the sub-committee on child migration (chair: AR Peters), transcript of the conference (9 January 1945) of Commonwealth and state officials on child migration (chair: JA Carrodus), and memoranda and correspondence on child migration. The correspondents include JB Chifley, HC Coombs and LF Crisp.
1944/589
Sub-Committee on White Aliens Migration, 1941–45
Report (21 September 1944) of the sub-committee on white alien migration (chair: AR Peters), comments by LF Crisp, and papers on the proposals of Sir John Latham on the White Australia Policy.
1944/590
Immigration publicity, 1944–47
Report (28 November 1944) of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Migration concerning publicity for the recommendations of the committee, with comments by UR Ellis.
1944/592
Immigration conferences, 1946–47 (2 parts)
Agenda papers and proceedings of conferences of Commonwealth and state ministers and Commonwealth and state officers on immigration and related correspondence.
1947/313
Department of Social Services
CORRESPONDENCE FILES WITH A (ADMINISTRATION) PREFIX, 1941–74
Series: A884
Migration: social service benefits, 1943–44
Minutes of the sub-committee on reciprocal social services and correspondence on the work of the sub-committee, entitlements of discharged British service personnel, reciprocity, and the report of Caroline Kelly on child migration agencies. The correspondents include FH Rowe, TH Pitt, JA Carrodus and AR Peters.
A183 Pt 1
Prime Minister's Department
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1934–50
Series: A461
Immigration: policy, 1938–50
Cabinet papers and correspondence of J Curtin and JB Chifley, mainly with the United Kingdom Dominions Office, the Australian High Commissioner in London and state premiers, on post-war migration policy, in particular about British migration, the shipping problem, training of displaced persons and deportation of Asian migrants.
A349/1/2 Pts 4-8
Foreign migration: policy, 1940–48
Correspondence mainly relating to the 1947 agreement with the IRO to bring displaced persons to Australia.
A349/3/1 Pt 3
Immigration: employment of foreign migrants, 1948–50
Correspondence between JB Chifley and state premiers regarding migrant labour needed in particular industries or districts.
K349/3/1
Jews: policy, 1938–46
Correspondence of J Curtin and JB Chifley concerning the persecution of Jewish people by the German government, the establishment of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, and a proposal by the British government that dominions accept Jewish refugees and other displaced persons.
M349/3/5 Pt 2
Treasury
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1901–76
Series: A571
Immigration, 1943–51
Cabinet submissions, parliamentary questions, conference agenda and correspondence regarding decisions of the 1945 premiers conference, Commonwealth–state conferences, financial procedures for the Assisted Passage Scheme, maintenance allowances for child migrants, reciprocity with the United Kingdom in social service benefits, medical services for migrants, and the assisted passage agreement with Malta. The correspondents include JB Chifley, AA Calwell, HJ Goodes, J Brophy, THE Heyes and AL Nutt.
1943/3292 Pts 2-4
Displaced persons, 1947–51
Parliamentary questions and correspondence concerning accommodation, clothing and social services for displaced persons, the purchase of equipment for immigration depots and transit camps, financial arrangements for the Bonegilla Reception and Training Centre, immigrant education and shipping. The correspondents include HJ Goodes, HC Newman, THE Heyes, RC Mills, FH Rowe and LF Loder.
1947/3833

Further reading

Appleyard, RT, British Emigration to Australia, Australian National University, Canberra, 1964.

Blakeney, Michael, Australia and the Jewish Refugees 19331948, Croom Helm Australia, Sydney, 1985.

Borrie, WD, The European Peopling of Australia: a demographic history 17881988, Australian National University, Canberra, 1994.

Borrie, WD, Immigration: Australia's problems and prospects, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1949.

Borrie, WD, Population Trends and Policies: a study in Australian and world demography, Australasian Publishing Company, Sydney, 1948.

Borrie, WD, 'Population policy and social services', Economic Papers, no. 7, 1947, pp. 30–42.

Brawley, Sean, The White Peril: foreign relations and Asian immigration to Australasia and North America 19191978, UNSW Press, Sydney, 1995.

Calwell, Arthur A, How Many Australians Tomorrow?, Reed & Harris, Melbourne, 1945.

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