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More People Imperative: Immigration to Australia, 1901–39


4. 'White Alien' (non-British European) Immigration Policy

The term 'white alien' was widely used in the period from 1901 to 1939 to describe non-British Europeans and was particularly directed towards Italians, Greeks, Yugoslavs and Poles. Before World War I there was no specific legislation which prohibited or restricted European immigrants and the numbers wishing to settle in Australia were comparatively small. Nor were Europeans encouraged. World War I and its aftermath, however, resulted in the limitation and prohibition of specific European nationalities for particular periods. It is for this reason that they are considered here under a separate policy category.

Maltese and Greeks, sometimes seen as 'semi-coloured', were prohibited from 1916 until 1920. This occurred as a result of the arrival of some 214 Maltese on the eve of the first conscription referendum in 1916 and a number of Kastellorizans during the war, all of whom were thought to be a threat to the jobs of Australian soldiers fighting abroad. After 1920, the numbers of Maltese and Greeks (along with certain other Europeans such as Albanians and Yugoslavs) were strictly limited to a certain maximum number each year. Control was exercised through the granting of visas, a system which was gradually phased out over the 1920s. In addition, the Enemy Aliens Act 1920 prohibited, for a period of five years, all subjects of countries against whom the Allies had fought. This included Germans, Austrians, Bulgarians, Hungarians and Turks. Legislation adopted in the United States in 1921 and 1924 to restrict entry to certain southern and eastern Europeans, led to fears that many would turn instead to Australia. A variety of measures was adopted to counteract this, including numerical limits (or quotas) and landing-money requirements. Regulations were adopted in 1924 and 1925 which required all 'alien' migrants to possess £40 landing money or hold landing permits issued as a result of their maintenance or employment being guaranteed by relatives or friends in Australia.

Despite these measures, there was a general increase in the number of 'white aliens' arriving as the 1920s progressed. This led the Queensland government to appoint a Royal Commission in 1925, chaired by T A Ferry, on the social and economic effects of European migration. Also in 1925, the Governor-General was given wide powers to prohibit 'aliens' on the grounds of economic, industrial or other conditions in Australia, if they were unsuitable, or unlikely to assimilate and become responsible citizens.

Italians, who made up the largest numbers of 'alien' immigrants to Australia in the 1920s, occupied a slightly different position from other Europeans by virtue of the existence of a Treaty of Commerce signed by Italy and Great Britain in 1883. This allowed each signatory full liberty for its subjects to enter, travel or reside in the territories of the other. Britain's territories included Australia. As a result, the Commonwealth government reached an agreement with the Italian government in 1923 which limited the issue of passports to those Italians who could support themselves or had guarantors in Australia. In 1927, entry was further restricted to those nominated by close relatives or who had definite employment prospects, with a suggested ceiling of 3 000 per year.

Quotas for all European groups were reduced in the late 1920s and finally gave way to more rigid forms of control as the effects of the Depression made themselves felt. From 1930, landing permits were only issued to 'white aliens' who were close dependent relatives of Australian residents. The landing-money requirement increased and served as a disincentive to European immigration. These provisions remained in force until economic conditions improved in the second half of the 1930s. The balance between British and European immigration, however, was changing and this, for many conservative British-oriented Australians, was a cause for concern. A major preoccupation of policy-makers at this time was the establishment of 'alien enclaves'. Government enquiries by the Commonwealth Investigation Branch in the late 1930s attempted to monitor areas of high European concentration.

Many of the Europeans who arrived in the 1930s were forced exiles from Nazi Germany whose numbers increased markedly in 1938 and 1939 as Australia, together with many other nations, agreed to admit a limited number of European refugees. Although Australia as a destination was not always their first choice, these new immigrants were in desperate need of new homes and a future they were denied in their own countries. (See Chapter 9 on Refugees.)

Examples of Series and Items

Series descriptions throughout the Guide appear in upper case and in bold type. Note that descriptions of items within particular series are a selection only of what is held in the National Archives. All record descriptions are organised by series; items within series are listed in chronological order of the starting date they cover.

CORRESPONDENCE FILES, ANNUAL SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1903–38
Canberra
This series was the main correspondence file system of the agencies shown above. The subject matter includes administrative and personal matters as well as the following functions administered by the agencies from time to time: immigration and emigration, 'aliens' registration, naturalisation, passports (except 1916–18), influx of criminals, indentured coloured labour, people of races for whom special laws were thought necessary, external affairs (1903–16), Pacific islands (1903–16) as well as other matters not relevant to this Guide.
Series: A1
Quantity: 184.92 metres
Recorded by: 1903–16: Department of External Affairs, Melbourne (CA 7); 1916–28: Department of Home and Territories (CA 15); 1928–32: Department of Home and Territories (CA 24); 1932–38: Department of the Interior (CA 27)
Department of the Interior, Department of Markets and Migration, 'Immigration from countries other then the United Kingdom' [4 cm, 1921–25]
This file contains press cuttings on European immigration and correspondence from 1921 on the extension of the nomination system to close relatives in the other British Dominions and selected European countries (France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Italy, Poland and Finland, and then for agriculturalists from Czechoslovakia, Estonia and Dalmatia). Representations for an extension to other countries followed, some of which were refused, for example, Greece and Malta, and led to memoranda on the relative desirability of certain European nationalities as immigrants. Some statistics on arrivals and population by birthplace are included. Protests about foreign immigration came from various groups, such as the Australian Natives' Association, and an extract from the NSW Parliamentary Debates from 1924 is enclosed. Government communications from 1924 discuss the possibility of introducing a quota. Special conditions for certain Europeans in relation to permits and visas, landing money, guarantors and quotas (for Yugoslavs, Greeks and Albanians) were introduced in 1925 and assistance was thereafter confined to British subjects. A special agreement to control numbers and distribution of Italian migrants was made in 1927. Communications with the Governor of Cyprus, 1928, and on nominations (of Britons) from foreign countries, 1928–29, make up the rest of the file.
A1, 1936/13639
Home and Territories Department, General Correspondence File, 'Victorian Protestant Federation. Deputation re Restriction on Alien Immigration, 1925' [22 pages, 1925]
This file contains a Home and Territories note on the Oath of Allegiance, which British subjects arriving in Australia were required to take, and a copy of a declaration form which Europeans wishing to enter Australia were required to complete which included an undertaking that they would obey the laws of the country. Notes on 'alien' immigration and the question of introducing a quota system and two short letters are included. This information was supplied to the Minister in preparation for a deputation from the Victorian Protestant Federation. The detailed notes on the Deputation record certain resolutions passed by the Federation in favour of restricting the entry of 'aliens' into Australia.
A1, 1925/15492
Home and Territories Department, Correspondence File, 'Alien Immigration into Western Australia, 1925–27' [55 pages,1925–28]
Contains letters from Premier P Collier, Western Australia, to the Prime Minister's Department, 1926–27, stating that foreign migrants, particularly Southern Europeans, were arriving in the state in increasing numbers and under contract, contrary to the Contract Immigrants Act 1905 and asking whether steps had been taken to prevent any 'undue influx'. Collier called for restrictions on 'alien' arrivals to be introduced. Particulars on 'alien' immigration, 1924–25, were supplied and government policy on 'aliens' outlined in the replies to Collier. Extracts from Hansard, press cuttings, correspondence and a report in the file all relate to 'alien' immigration to WA and questions of contract labour and award wages. Police Department investigations in September 1927 disproved the allegations of contract labour but revealed that some foreigners were prepared to work for nominal wages and food. Most of these men had arrived in 1924, however, before landing money requirements had been imposed.
A1, 1927/15940
Department of the Interior, File of Papers, 'Alien Immigration. Relaxation of Restrictions' [19 pages, 1933–34]
This contains press reports and correspondence relating to clarification of a statement made by J A Perkins, Minister for the Interior, in November 1933, that restrictions on foreign immigrants would be eased when economic conditions allowed. At the time, landing permits for 'aliens' were restricted to close dependent relatives of those already settled in Australia and those with at least £500 in capital.
A1, 1933/9940
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, MULTIPLE NUMBER SERIES FIRST SYSTEM, 1915–23
Canberra
This series consists of correspondence files covering a wide range of subjects which were submitted to the Prime Minister.
Series: A457
Quantity: 18.27 metres
Recorded by: 1915–23: Prime Minister's Department (CA 12)
Prime Minister's Department, 'Immigration Encouragement – Absorption of Continental Peoples – 1922' [11 pages, 1922]
Relates to the encouragement of Europeans and their relative desirability as immigrants. The United States Immigration Authorities were approached to gain their views and an account of an interview between the Official Secretary to the Commissioner for Australia in the United States and Mr W W Husband, Commissioner General of Immigration in the United States, on the subject is included.
A457, K400/2
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, CLASS 2 (RESTRICTED IMMIGRATION), 1939–50
Canberra
These files relate to restricted immigration to Australia. Files may contain reports, correspondence, articles, cables, news cuttings, passports, proposed amendments to the Immigration Act, departmental despatches, authorities for admission under exemption (form 32) and deportation orders (form 43B). Restricted immigration covers things such as admission of Asians, coloured persons, business visits, deserters, deportees and undesirables. Files from these series may be top-numbered into series A446, as well as into the subsequent series, A445 and A2998.
Series: A433
Quantity: 8 metres
Recorded by: 1939: Department of the Interior, Central Administration (CA 27); 1939–45: Department of the Interior, Central Office (CA 31)
Department of Immigration, File of Papers, ;Aliens, registration of. Also appointment of officers, Investigation Branch as officers under Immigration Act' [2 cm, 1922–47]
The first 3 pages, dated 1922, cover the issue of the repeal of the Aliens Registration Act (suspended from January 1922), recommendations by the Director, Investigation Branch, for subsequent amendments to the Immigration Act, and reasons given by the Acting Minister as to why such a course should not be followed. The rest of the file covers the appointment of individual officers of the Investigation Branch, Attorney-General's Department under the Immigration Act from 1923 to 1947.
A433, 1942/2/2815
Department of the Interior, ;Refugees Jewish and Others. General Policy File' [3 cm, 1938–44]
This file is more relevant to refugees and is discussed in Chapter 9, but it also contains an outline of the policy with regard to Europeans wishing to migrate to Australia in the late 1930s. The policy on refugees in late 1938 was developed in conformity with the existing policy on ;white aliens'. Projections were made on the intake of ;white aliens' acceptable each year.
A433, 1943/2/46
Department of the Interior, ;Statements re white Alien Immigration for Australian Legation at Washington' [16 pages,1939–40
This contains a request in 1940 from the Department of External Affairs to the Department of the Interior, for a statement setting out the conditions of entry of ;white aliens' into Australia and a short review of the results of immigration over the past ten years, along with any general statements of policy for the use of the Australian Legation in the USA and the High Commissioner's Office in Canada. Memoranda on immigration generally, 1936, White Alien Immigration, Jewish Immigration, 1939, and new policy since the outbreak of war are enclosed together with an application form for a permit to enter Australia.
A433, 1943/2/5228
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE OF THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL (EXCLUDING WAR FILES, 1912–27
Canberra
This series consists of the full range of correspondence of the Governor-General.
Series: CP78/22
Quantity: 28.98 metres
Recorded by: 1912-27: Governor General (CA 1)
Governor-General's Office, General Correspondence, 'Immigration Alien, 1924–27' [152 pages, 1924–27]
The file focuses on certain restrictions on Southern European and other 'alien' immigration to Australia in the mid-1920s. It contains a confidential letter to the British Consuls-General at Canton, Shanghai, Hankow and Tientsin and the British Consul at Harbin, China, December 1925, advising that the migration of Russians should be discouraged and that all applications should go through the Consulates with careful scrutiny, owing to government information about activities of communists and Soviet agents in Australia. Correspondence also relates to applications from Russians and former Russians through other countries, such as Hong Kong, Egypt, France, Palestine, the Philippines and Singapore. There is also a memorandum for the Governor-General from the Prime Minister's Department removing the entry restriction on persons of German, Austro-German, Bulgarian and Hungarian parentage and nationality (former 'enemy aliens'). Thereafter, these national groups came under the same conditions as European 'aliens' generally. Other issues treated in the file refer to the restriction of Greeks, Yugoslavs and Albanians to 100 per month (the reasons given being their destitution in Australia), the alleged ill-treatment of Yugoslavs, 1925, the introduction of the £40 landing money requirement for 'alien' migrants generally, the destination of Yugoslav migrants in 1924, the question of the admission of bona fide merchants from Hong Kong in 1927, and a request for entry of the family of a Chinese man with an Australian passport.
CP78/22, 1926/25 part 2
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES WITH 'V' (VICTORIA) PREFIX, 1924–62
Melbourne
The series comprises files relating to the investigation of all criminal offences committed against the Commonwealth, the contravention of Commonwealth Acts or of State Acts committed on Commonwealth property; the pursuit of recalcitrant debtors to the Commonwealth; and inquiry into the whereabouts of persons requested to be traced by government departments, organisations such as the Red Cross, International Tracing Service, Australia House, private persons or by diplomatic or consular representation. Investigations carried out at the request of government departments include areas such as impersonation, ships' deserters, enemy 'aliens' in wartime, prohibited immigrants and naturalisation, among others. In most cases a separate file was raised for each particular case requested to be investigated.
Series: B741
Quantity: 29.88 metres
Recorded by: 1927–46: Investigation Branch, Victoria (CA 907); 1946–60: Commonwealth Investigation Service (CA 916); 1960-62: Commonwealth Police Force (CA 955)
Attorney-General's Department, 'Aliens. Immigration of, Press clippings and General Enquiries', etc. [0.5–1 cm, 1925–32]
This file contains press clippings on 'alien' immigration from Melbourne newspapers (the Herald, the Argus, the Evening Sun, and the Age) particularly for 1925 and 1926. They focus on Southern Europeans and reflect contemporary attitudes of the press and the public, including reactions to immigration quotas in the United States and to criticisms by Commissioner Ferry contained in the Royal Commission into the increase of 'aliens' in the North held in 1925. A copy of the Commonwealth Immigration Acts and Regulations 1901–24 and 1901–25 which contained clauses relating to 'white aliens' and the removal of restrictions on 'enemy aliens', application forms and letters for admission of relatives or friends to Australia, lists of passports collected and interpreters, declarations of persons seeking to enter Australia, and other correspondence relating to the 1924–25 regulations and 'aliens' in general, are included.
B741, V/398
Attorney-General's Department, 'Misuse of Letters of Recall. Italian Immigration' [14 pages, 1927]
This item contains a letter from the Inspector, Investigation Branch, Melbourne, November 1927, regarding two cases illustrating that, in his opinion, some local supervision of applications for the admission of 'aliens' under the Letter of Call system (Atto di Chiamata) was needed. (The Atti di Chiamata – or letter of call was a nomination system whereby Italians residing in Australia could apply for the admission of a countryman through the Italian Consul-General, who if satisfied, issued a paper to approved applicants bearing an endorsement of the landing permit). Certain criticisms of this system in relation to Southern Italians are made. The letter cites incidences where large and various amounts were paid for the Atti di Chiamata and that one immigrant had not met his guarantor either before or since he had emigrated. Related notes on the traffic in Letters of Call and an article from Truth, 22 October 1927, headed 'Italians fight death duel with hooks' relating to an alleged murder case involving southern Italians are included.
B741, V/4249
Attorney-General's Department, 'Alien Immigration Reports' [21 pages, 1927]
This contains reports for the Commonwealth Investigation Branch by William Weale to Inspector R S Browne, on 'alien immigrants' arriving in Melbourne by German, Italian and French vessels in 1927. One refers to the migrants who arrived on the Re d'italia in 1927 as 'of a most undesirable nature as far as physique, stature and general appearance go. They appeared to be mostly undersized dark southern Italians, and one can safely state the scum of Southern Italian ports.' The report draws attention to the extreme poverty of the immigrants and the apparent guarded nature of the Italian officials of the ship. Other descriptions of a more favourable nature – women and children coming to join their husbands and fathers, Polish and Palestine Jews, Yugoslavs, Czechs and Northern Europeans, boys and girls brought out by the Salvation Army ship Vedic. The reports also contained comments on the accommodation, conditions, general cleanliness of the vessels and the events of the journeys as reported by the ships' officers.
B741, V/4192
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES WITH YEAR PREFIX, 1916–27, AND 'C' PREFIX, 1927–53
Canberra
This series consists of bundles of general correspondence, reports, copies of forms, dossiers, history sheets etc. all of which reflect the activities of the former Commonwealth Investigation Service in respect of inquiries into applications for naturalisation, the admission into Australia of friends and relatives, visitors, substitutes for businessmen (Chinese), claims relating to National Security (War Damage and Property) Regulations. In most cases these investigations conform with the terms of the Nationality Act 1920–36. The series contains policy and precedent, as well as main case files, the majority of which were retained by the agency for future reference.
Series: A367
Quantity: 64.08 metres
Recorded by: 1916–19: Special Intelligence Bureau, (Central Office) Melbourne (CA 746); 1919–46: Investigation Branch, Central Office, Melbourne and Canberra (CA 747)
Attorney-General's Department, Investigation Branch, File of papers, 'Alien Immigration' [24 pages, 1927–37]
This file concerns the careful monitoring of European immigration during the late 1920s and early 1930s. It contains immigration regulations issued by the Home and Territories Department relating to 'aliens', a circular to shipping companies concerning the personal statements required by 'alien' passengers (Form A, No. 42), a copy of the Amending Immigration Act 1932, ministerial directions on the categories of 'aliens' who were eligible for admission, particularly for Italians in relation to the Atti di Chiamata (the letter of call, or nomination system – see Glossary at Appendix 1) and related correspondence. It also contains the form of report to be used concerning applications for readmission of former residents, the employment of 'alien' nominees and their effect on local workers.
A367, C3075AK
Attorney-General's Department, Investigation Branch, File of Papers, 'Alien Immigration. Italians – Admission to Australia', [48 pages, 1927–38]
This file contains press cuttings on the 1927 agreement to limit, through the Italian Consulate, the number of Italians coming to Australia in 1927, calls for more local supervision of applicants for the admission of 'aliens' under the 'Letter of Call' system (explained in the previous file), information on Italian immigrants arriving in Australia and their conditions of entry, a memorandum on the admission of Italians without direct supervision or report from Local Commonwealth Services, allegations of discrimination in the way the Atti were approved, and a 1936 memorandum from the Department of the Interior on Italian immigration to Australia. The file also includes the particular case of A Pandolfini, (called by H E Jones 'a flagrant case of official persecution'), leading to a review of conditions under which Italian immigration was conducted. Figures showing Italian arrivals to Queensland and to Australia in 1936, a Department of the Interior circular about the use of Form A. 42 of July 1937, a Department of the Interior request for figures of Northern and Southern Italians during the previous ten years, dated October 1937, and further press reports are among other contents of the file.
A367, C3075AB
Attorney-General's Department, File of Papers, 'Alien Immigration – 1. Passports and Laws Governing Admission, 2. Statistics, 3. Landing Permits' [63 pages, 1928–37]
There is a letter from the Assistant Secretary, Home and Territories Department to the Director, Investigation Branch, July 1928, advising of an agreement with the British authorities to limit the issue of visas to Australia to an average of 50 per month for Greeks, Yugoslavs and Albanians, and 25 per month for Poles, Czechoslovakians and Estonians. Particulars relating to these migrants were requested. The file also contains various correspondence relating to permit applications, passports, the numbers of Europeans eligible for admission, 'alien' registration, quota restrictions, visa requirements, employment contracts, re-entry, deportation and naturalisation issues, and some individual case material.
A367, C3075C
Attorney-General's Department, 'Alien Immigration. Absorption in Industry in the Commonwealth' [157 pages, 1937–41]
This file refers to representations by the NSW Premier in 1937 for inquiries into labour market conditions before applications for the admission of 'aliens' into particular areas were approved. This led to an investigation by the Department of the Interior into the economic effects of the settlement of 'white aliens' to see whether their entry was detrimental to Australian workers or Australian living standards. Correspondence relates to foreign shopkeepers paying below award wages and prosecutions, 'alien' café proprietors, workers in the furniture trade, the clothing trade, particularly female machinists, and the employment of foreign doctors, journeymen tailors, commercial artists, engravers, leather manufacturers, workers in the motor, tobacco and glassware industries, watchmakers, jewellers and goldsmiths, musicians and conductors, domestic workers and others. Information on individual cases is included. Questions of displacement of Australian workers, particularly by German Jews, and whether certain industries gave preference to 'alien' labour were taken up.
A367, C3075B
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, ALPHABETICAL SERIES, 1927–42
Canberra
This was the main correspondence file series from 1927 to 1942, with contents on files dating from 1901. Most of the early portion of the series to about 1934 was created while External Affairs activities were conducted by a semi-autonomous branch of the Prime Minister's Department. However, some of the pre-1925 material may have originated in the Department of Home Affairs which handled External Affairs from 1916–21. In 1935, the Department of External Affairs was separated administratively from the Prime Minister's Department, and the series continued unchanged until 1942.
Series: A981
Quantity: 145.8 metres
Recorded by: 1927–42: Department of External Affairs, Central Office (CA 18)
Department of External Affairs, 'Immigration Restrictions – Admission of Southern Europeans. Australian Policy' [34 pages,1928–29]
This file contains extracts from Hansard from the first half of 1928 on the subject of restrictions on 'foreigners' and 'aliens' and the effect of Southern European migration on the labour market, press cuttings on white Australia and related correspondence. A Hansard extract for March 1939 on Italian immigration, a cablegram to the Dominions Office giving the number of visas to be issued to Southern and Central Europeans in 1930, a letter of confirmation and a general outline of policy on 'white alien' Immigration are also included.
A981, MIG 55
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE FILES, ANNUAL SINGLE NUMBER SERIES WITH 'H' INFIX, 1926–50
Perth
This series contains general records of functions in connection with migration, covering reports by the Boarding Branch, Customs Department, in respect of all vessels, showing persons coming under notice through the provisions of the Immigration Act; details of the activities of the Social Welfare Branch; applications for naturalisation; applications for Certificates of Exemption from the Dictation Test; applications for admission to Australia as a migrant; nominal rolls of migrants supplied by overseas posts on the departure of vessels; reports on unsuitable migrants and action taken in respect of deportees; general correspondence; reports on immigration centres, Northam and Cunderdin; and applications for permanent residence by persons who have entered the country illegally. From May 1926 to May 1946 all immigration work was carried out by the Customs Department and records were maintained by them. With the establishment of the Immigration Department in Perth in May 1946, all files were transferred from Customs to Immigration. Files prior to 1926 are believed to have been destroyed.
Series: PP6/1
Quantity: 20.16 metres
Recorded by: 1926–45: Collector of Customs, WA, (from 1985) Australian Customs Service, WA (CA 808); 1945–50: Department of Immigration, Western Australian Branch (CA 962)
Department of Immigration, Western Australian Branch, General correspondence file, 'Immigration Act Instructions, book of.' [2 cm, 1929–31]
Contains monthly returns of Greeks, Yugoslavs, Albanians, Czechoslovaks, Poles and Estonians arriving at Fremantle from 1929 to 1931 in relation to the immigration quotas, especially for Albanians, operating at the time. Also some press extracts and correspondence on 'alien' immigration policy from The West Australian, 1930.
PP6/1, 1930/H/3224
Department of Immigration, Western Australian Branch, 'Lists of Immigration Clearances issued 1/9/1930 to 30/6/1933' [2.5 cm, 1930–33]
This file contains monthly lists of assisted immigrants to whom passport clearances were issued, prepared for the Passports Officer, Customs Department, Fremantle, by the Department of the Interior, Immigration Section, 1930–33.
PP6/1, 1933/H/591
Department of Immigration, Western Australian Branch, 'White Alien Immigration' [2 pages, 1935]
Contains a circular to the Collector of Customs, May 1935, on White Alien Immigration: Persons holding executive positions in Australian branches of established overseas firms of superior standing. No restrictions were placed on the landing of these executives and their families. Firms named were Vacuum Oil Company, Goodyear Tyre Company, Messageries Maritimes, German-Australian S S Company. A handwritten action sheet is included.
PP6/1, 1935/H/939
Department of Immigration, Western Australian Branch, 'Immigration Act returns – monthly' [3 manilla folders, 2.5 cm, 1938]
One folder contains correspondence and forms relating to the visit in 1938 of Albert Neufeld, an Austrian businessman, and his request to remain in Australia and bring in his wife. The other two folders contain Immigration Act monthly returns under the following categories: Persons Landing Without Passing Test; Immigration Passengers Passed the Test; Immigration Passengers Rejected; Coloured Persons Leaving the State; Returned Seamen ex-Pearling Industry and Indentured Seamen for Pearling Industry.
PP6/1, 1938/H/337
Department of Immigration, Western Australian Branch, 'Austrian and German visas' [26 pages, 1938–39]
This file contains a circular from the Foreign Office, concerning the denouncing by the British government from May 1938, of reciprocal arrangements for the abolition of passport visa requirements: Germany and Austria. Henceforth, holders of German passports were required to apply for requisite visas from British consular or Passport Control Officers. Since Austria was no longer an independent state, the provisions of agreement with Austria were regarded as no longer in force. A circular from the Department of the Interior to the Collector of Customs, on Australia's position (and that of other British Dominions), May 1938, is included: holders of German passports would not need to obtain British visas for Australia; holders of unexpired Austrian passports who also held landing permits would not require British visas but British visas were necessary on certificates of identity held by former Austrian subjects. Australia then denounced the visa abolition agreement with Germany, as from 1 January 1939.
PP6/1, 1950/H/2808
'Alien Immigration/Conditions of entry' [3 pages, 1939–40]
Contains a letter, 1939, from the Department of the Interior to the offices of the principal shipping companies in Australia requesting them not to book passages for wives and families of 'aliens' if not accompanied by the husband or father. This may have occurred through death since the permit was granted but the concern was for the maintenance of the family in Australia.
PP6/1, 1940/H/29
CORRESPONDENCE FILES CLASS 3 (NON-BRITISH EUROPEAN MIGRANTS), 1939–50
Canberra
These are general correspondence files containing policy decisions, form 40 (application for admission of relative or friend to Australia), form 47 (application to enter Australia), form 47A (medical examination), passport and personal particulars relating to individual cases of non-British European migrants.
Series: A434
Quantity: 12.27 metres
Recorded by: 1939: Department of the Interior, Central Administration (CA 27); 1939–45: Department of the Interior, Central Office (CA 31)
Department of Immigration, File of Papers, 'Alien Immigration 1936 Cabinet Decisions' [3 cm, 1932–38]
This is a large file, part of which contains correspondence from the Church of England Immigration Council, 1932–33, urging a more liberal immigration policy during the depression and from the New Settlers' League, 1933, that restrictions on assisted British migration should be relaxed, together with associated memoranda and replies. There is a list of rejected nominations from mid-1931 to mid-1933, a policy statement on assisted migration since 1929, a copy of an Australian Passage Agreement 1931–32, extracts from the press and from Hansard, and other relevant correspondence. The other part of the file deals with 'alien' immigration policy. It contains a list of British and Europeans entering and leaving Australia, memoranda, press statements and circulars on 'alien' immigration and on the quota system, landing permits issued in 1934, general immigration regulations, Cabinet papers, memoranda and letters on the admission of Jews, and Hansard extracts. Details of changes in policy relating to the relaxation of restrictions and the monitoring of the distribution and economic effects of the settlement of Europeans, brought in from July 1936, are included. The file also contains regulations for 'alien' tourists and visitors, the procedure to be followed in connection with applications for admission of 'white aliens', the distinction between the various categories and the visa and landing money requirements, communications between the Department of the Interior and a number of shipping companies, a review of government policy on 'white alien' immigration into the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, November 1937, conducted by T H Garrett and J Horgan, and a report of investigations in 1938 into concentrations of Europeans and Jews in certain areas. (See also A433, 1945/2/3758, discussed in Chapter 11 – Public Attitudes to Immigration).
A434, 1949/3/29456
Image 20: Application for permit to enter Australia.

Image 20: Application for permit to enter Australia.
NAA: A461, P349/3/5
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CORRESPONDENCE FILES, MULTIPLE NUMBER SERIES, 1934–50
Canberra
This series consists of general correspondence files which cover the wide range of subjects that came to the Prime Minister's attention. Many earlier papers from the previous general correspondence of the Department have been top-numbered into this series. The series also contains constitutional material dating back to 1901.
Series: A461
Quantity: 143.82 metres
Recorded by: 1934–50:Prime Minister's Department (CA 12)
Prime Minister's Department, 'Immigration Encouragement. Landing Money' [21 pages, 1933–38]
This contains various queries and the replies concerning landing money in the 1930s. Memoranda on 'white alien' immigration and the landing money requirements, 1938, are included, revealing the discretionary powers of the Minister of the Interior and commenting on recent press reports (extracts included) on alleged penniless Southern and Central European immigrants. There is also a press statement by the assistant Minister relating to allegations by the Queensland Premier that landing-money requirements in connection with the admission of 'white aliens' were being abused.
A461, G349/1/2
GENERAL AND CLASSIFIED CORRESPONDENCE, ANNUAL SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1902–
Melbourne
This is the main correspondence series of the Collector of Customs in Melbourne. The annual single number registration was prefixed until 1962, by 'C' and 'E' (common to all regions) and since then by 'V' (for Victoria). This series probably began in 1902, after the Immigration Restriction Act was assented to on 23 December 1901. The variations in the subjects dealt with reflects the changing functions of the Departments of Trade and Customs, and Customs and Excise. In general, functions shown are immigration restrictions, tariff classifications, excise, prohibited literature, administration, smuggling, prosecutions, shipping, exports and imports. Because of extensive culling by the Department the extant files up to the 1930's relate almost exclusively to immigration restriction. This function was carried out by the Collector of Customs in association with the Department of External Affairs and its successors. There is very little correspondence with the Central Office of Trade and Customs on this subject. No early control records have survived; the earliest date found in subject and name index cards held by the Department is 9 April 1923.
Series: B13
Quantity: 54.90 metres
Recorded by: 1902–85: Collector of Customs, Melbourne (CA 789)
Customs and Excise Office, Victoria, 'Monthly Return of Finnish subjects arriving at the Port of Melbourne' [52 pages,1934–38]
This file contains monthly returns from the Department of the Interior, Immigration and Passports Branch, to the Consul of Finland, of people of Finnish nationality arriving at the port of Melbourne for the period from February 1934 to March 1938. Two arrived in 1934, seven in 1935, five in 1936 and none between January 1937 and March 1938.
B13, 1937/1417
Customs and Exercise Office, Victoria, 'White Alien Immigration' [3 pages, 1936]
This refers to the landing money requirement of £50 for 'alien' immigrants and whether it could be deposited on behalf of the nominee, either in a Bank or with the Customs authorities or Department of the Interior rather than requiring the immigrant to be in possession of the money on arrival. The Minister did not approve this but raised no objection to the money being forwarded by the guarantor to the nominee in the form of a bank draft or other available means so that the latter would have it on arrival.
B13, 1936/17126
Customs and Exercise Office, Victoria, 'Immigration of Aliens of European Race or Descent to Australia' [1 page, 1936]
This contains only one letter referring to the continuance of the system of collection of landing money required by 'alien' passengers by the Orient Steam Navigation Company at their overseas office to be handed to the Purser of ships on which the immigrants sailed for safe keeping and production on arrival.
B13, 1936/29040
Customs and Exercise Office, Victoria, 'Memorandum respecting Immigration into Australia' [3 pages, 1936]
This contains a letter to the Collector of Customs, December 1936, forwarding a copy of a Memorandum respecting Immigration into Australia, Re-admission of Former Residents, circulated to British Consular and Passport Control Officers and to representatives of the Commonwealth abroad.
B13, 1936/27965
Customs and Exercise Office, Victoria, 'Interest on Immigration Deposits' [2 pages, 1936]
This relates to a suggestion that, where a deposit was lodged as security under the Immigration Act and was held for more than six months, the Collector of Customs could, at his discretion, place the amount in a Commonwealth Savings Bank Account so that interest could be earned by the depositor. The provisions for this were set out, but it was noted that the occurrence was very rare.
B13, 1936/13622
Custom and Exercise Office, Victoria, 'White Alien Immigration' [2 pages, 1937]
This file relates to the admission of a Polish immigrant in 1937, and the payment for him of £50 landing money, which all 'alien' immigrants at that time were required to possess, by his brother in Australia.
B13, 1937/4091
Customs and Excise, Victoria, 'Alien Immigration – Landing Money Requirements' [2 pages, 1937]
This contains two copies of a circular dated 2 April 1937, relating to the approval by the Minister of the Interior that the production by an immigrant at the first port of call in Australia of a Savings Bank Pass Book showing that a sum equal to the amount stipulated on his landing permit or letter of authority had been deposited in the immigrant's name in a Savings Bank in Australia could be accepted as complying with departmental requirements regarding the possession of landing money on arrival.
B13, 1937/5375
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, ANNUAL SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1929
Canberra
This series consists of the main correspondence file series of the Attorney-General's Department. The series commenced in 1929, replacing the existing systems and contains material top-numbered from those series, including papers back to 1901.
Series: A432
Quantity: 2329.2 metres
Recorded by: 1929–58: Attorney General's Department (CA 5)
Attorney-General's Department, File of Papers, 'White Alien Immigration, 1937' [19 pages, 1937]
This contains a Department of the Interior Memorandum on Immigration – Review of the Government's Policy on White Alien Immigration during the year ended 30 June 1937, together with graphs giving particulars of landing permits granted during the same year and 3 maps showing the states and districts in which 'white aliens' settled. The maps are labelled a) White Alien; b) Italians; and c) Greeks, Yugoslavs and Poles.
A432, 1938/390
Attorney-General's Department, File of Papers, 'Immigration Act 1901–35 – Form 40 Applications for Permission to introduce aliens into Australia – re bond of Guarantee for good Behaviour' [25 pages, 1937]
Contains memoranda on the subject of an amendment of the undertaking on the form of application for permission for 'aliens' to be introduced into Australia. The revised undertaking provided for the payment of a specified sum by the guarantor, if the 'alien' introduced were convicted of a criminal offence within five years of arrival, and for maintenance should the 'alien' become a charge upon the state or upon a public or charitable institution. A copy of the application (Form No. 40) is enclosed.
A432, 1937/869
Attorney-General's Department, File of Papers, 'Anglo-Italian Treaty 1883: Question of effect restricting alien immigration into Australia' [44 pages, 1938–46]
Article 13 of the Treaty of Commerce between Great Britain and Italy of 15 June 1883, which was binding on the Commonwealth, provided that subjects of the Contracting Parties should obey the laws and have full liberty, with their families, to enter, travel or reside in any part of the dominions and possessions of the other Contracting Party. This file concerns the implications of this agreement for Australia's immigration laws, especially in relation to restrictions on Italians. The Home Office view was that appeal should not be made to the terms of a commercial treaty against immigration control provided that it was applied to 'aliens' of all nationalities alike. Concessions to Northern Europeans in the late thirties were thus at issue.
A432, 1938/1047
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1918–59
Perth
This series contains numerous applications from Europeans for the admission of friends or relatives into Australia. Individual case files relate to the operation of the policy on European immigration in this period. They include details about the applicant and the nominee, questionnaires and letters sent to the applicant and to his employer, and a copy of the completed Form 40. Information was particularly sought on the financial state of the applicant, whether he could support the nominee, whether the nominee could speak English, whether employment was ensured and if that employment would displace Australian workers. Correspondence indicates whether the application was successful and the reasons for objections where they occurred. The series also includes applications from Europeans for naturalisation and applications under National Security (Land Transfer) Regulations. The files may contain information about loyalty, political activities and affiliations of the individuals concerned.
Series: PP302/1
Quantity: 23.76 metres
Recorded by: 1919–46: Investigation Branch, WA (CA 908); 1946–59: Commonwealth Investigation Service, WA (CA 917)

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