A little Australian history

March of the Great White Policy

The day will come, and perhaps is not far distant, when the European observer will look round to see the globe circled with a continuous zone of the black and yellow races, no longer too weak for aggression or under tutelage, but independent, or practically so, in government, monopolising the trade of their own regions, and circumscribing the industry of the Europeans; when Chinamen and the natives of Hindustan, the states of Central and South America … are represented by fleets in the European seas, invited to international conferences and welcomed as allies in quarrels of the civilised world. The citizens of these countries will then be taken up into the social relations of the white races, will throng the English turf or the salons of Paris, and will be admitted to inter-marriage. It is idle to say that if all this should come to pass our pride of place will not be humiliated … We shall wake to find ourselves elbowed and hustled, and perhaps even thrust aside by peoples whom we looked down upon as servile and thought of as bound always to minister to our needs. The solitary consolation will be that the changes have been inevitable.

The above is an extract from Charles Pearson’s prophetic  book, “National Life and Character: A Forecast”.

Source: http://press.anu.edu.au//cw/mobile_devices/ch13s05.html

It is the passage Prime Minister Edmund Barton read when he rose to speak in support of the Immigration Restriction Bill – part of the White Australia Policy.

Pearson’s book may have horrified many. He writes to a friend about a particular review:

Grant Duff was an indignant reviewer, suggesting that ‘the English race [would] certainly awake to its duties, when the time came, and massacre as many Chinese and Hindoos as were found superfluous’.  ‘Can you imagine any European power setting itself to massacre 100 millions of Chinamen?’ Pearson asked Deakin.

I have to wonder, reading all this, are these 100+ year old opinions the cause of much of our strife today?

The Bulletin maintained the slogan “Australia for the White Man” on its masthead until 1961.


The site I’ve just quoted above is, shall we say, interesting.  It is a USA site and Alexa.com has it ranked at 135,998 in the world.


As I was not born here, the history of the White Australia Policy has always fascinated me and from time to time I do a bit of research. This is the first time I have come across Pearson’s book. I think he outraged many by the sounds of it.

Has anyone read the book? It is available on Amazon and I’m seriously considering delving into the past. It sounds interesting.

I found an interesting review, obviously written in the language style of the time, which you may care to read.

Mr. Pearson understands and brings out clearly that in the long run a conquest must fail when it means merely the erection of an insignificant governing caste. He shows clearly that the men of our stock do not prosper in tropical countries. In the New World they leave a thin strain of their blood among and impose their laws, language, and forms of government on the aboriginal races, which then develop on new and dimly drawn lines. In the Old World they fail to do even this. In Asia they may leave a few tens of thousands, or possibly hundreds of thousands, of Eurasians to form an additional caste in a caste-ridden community. In tropical Africa they may leave here and there a mulatto tribe like the Griquas. But it certainly has not yet been proved that the European can live and propagate permanently in the hot regions of India and Africa, and Mr. Pearson is right in anticipating for the whites who have conquered these tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Old World, the same fate which befell the Greek kingdoms in Bactria and the Chersonese. The Greek rulers of Bactria were ultimately absorbed and vanished, as probably the English rulers of India will some day in the future—for the good of mankind, we sincerely hope and believe the very remote future—themselves be absorbed and vanish.


So, my fellow curious readers, what are your thoughts?

25 comments on “A little Australian history

  1. […] you like. While you do, ensure you have a solid, workable strategy to protect those humans without lily-white skin from the horror of […]


  2. The ‘Keep Australia White’ policy was very much a product of its time, largely driven for economic (employment) reasons but keying into period prejudices. It intruded into my MA thesis which I wrote (thirty-odd years ago!) on Australasian naval defence policies, pre-First World War.

    The targets of the policy were explicitly Asian, a fear that was expressed in defence thinking too. New Zealand shared the sentiment, though didn’t make it explicit. The Russo-Japanese war offered further justification, by the fervent thinking of the day, and the same thinking certainly flowed into defence perceptions on both sides of the Tasman. It was racist even by the standards of the day (let alone ours), though neither Australia nor New Zealand were alone in such thinking. In 1908 the US sent their navy on a trans-Pacific tour, specifically to assert US interests against the Japanese in the Phillipines. The name of it? The ‘Great White Fleet’. Ostensibly because the battleships had white-painted hulls. As we say…yeah, right.

    There’s no question that Australia was worse than NZ in this regard, however. A little later, when Aussies and Kiwis met up in Cairo on First World War service (99 years ago next month!) and had a chance to get to know each other, the Aussies were constantly ribbing the Kiwis for their ‘soft’ attitude to Maori.

    Of course other nations took similar attitudes at the time, and it would be nice to think that the world has moved along a bit in the intervening century..but it worries me sometimes to think that, if you look around at what’s going on in various places, maybe it hasn’t.


    • I hate to break it to you, Matthew, but today’s immigration policy is also determined by economics and defence, not some transcendental love of all mankind.

      Greater Asian immigration is supposed to help our trading opportunities and skills shortages and dampen aggression (surely no Asian country would attack us, if there’s lots of “their” people living here).

      Ah, you’ve noticed what’s going on.
      Separatist movements almost anywhere you find ethnic minorities. Willing to kill and die for “their” people.
      Why? Because people want to live with their own kind, in their own territories.
      Always have, always will.


      • You say “Why? Because people want to live with their own kind, in their own territories.” If this is correct, why didn’t people stay in their own territories instead of invading remote locations?


    • “… the Aussies were constantly ribbing the Kiwis for their ‘soft’ attitude to Maori.” Illustrative, I think.

      Thanks for the historical perspective from across the ditch Matthew. I never remember my mother mentioning it at all and I don’t remember learning anything at school either, although we learnt English history – very little Australian or American.

      Period prejudices would certainly have been a driving force. And, yes, we do need to ask has the world moved forward or not? As you say, maybe it hasn’t. 😦


      • Team Oyeniyi “You say “Why? Because people want to live with their own kind, in their own territories.” If this is correct, why didn’t people stay in their own territories instead of invading remote locations?”

        Firstly, you’re referring to another age, when empire building was the thing to do.
        The Middle Eastern peoples are just as guilty of violent expansionism.
        Today’s immigrants are motivated by the same impulse: greater prosperity.

        Secondly, they didn’t abandon their homelands. There was no mass exodus.

        Thirdly, they brought their people and culture with them.
        Europeans did not travel to other continents to live among the natives.

        The troubles created by these events should enlighten us to the immense problems created by mixing different peoples together.
        Apparently, we’ve learnt nothing and are turning up the heat.

        “we do need to ask has the world moved forward or not?”

        Well, the former Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and Soviet Union have.
        Back to their constituent ethnic nations.
        The honeymoon with multiculturalism will end one day too.
        Hopefully peacefully.


  3. […] As I was not born here, the history of the White Australia Policy has always fascinated me and from time to time I do a bit of research. This is the first time I have come across Pearson's book. I think he outraged many by the …  […]


  4. “I didn’t demand anything”

    You said we should “expect” representative numbers?
    Why should population size be relevant at all?

    What about wealth, education/qualifications, literacy/numeracy, experience with living in a modern liberal democratic society?

    You only have to look at GDP per capita and the human development index to see that “White” populations tick all the boxes, while the rest have little to offer.


    So why is our intake so biased against those with the most to offer, and favours those with the least?
    How is that going to benefit our nation?.

    “I might point out the Japan and South Korea are populated by their original ethnicities.”

    Both groups are the result of numerous migrations, with the Japanese almost wiping out the native Ainu (Japan’s oddly-Caucasoid-ish “Aborigines”).

    So what if they’re native. The argument for immigration isn’t supposed to be about racial vengeance, is it?

    “Most “white” countries are the result of invasion.”

    Even in Europe?! The same policies are being imposed on our ancestral homelands.
    Just *where* do we have a right to exist? Nowhere apparently.

    The British invaded, but the various peoples of the British Isles (and some other Europeans) merged together and became a *new* people, distinct in many ways from their origins.

    By the 1940s, Australian-born Whites were 90% of the population (yes, back then the census actually asked your race).
    Isn’t 90% sufficient validation of our existence as a distinct people and culture?

    “Japan has enough people already crammed into a tiny space”

    Most of Australia is *desert*!
    Square kilometres means nothing if most of those squares are unlivable.

    “Other “white” countries take far more than we do.”

    Not per capita (Your link only shows gross numbers. Deliberately misleading.)
    Australia has one of the highest per capita and gross numbers of immigrants of all countries.
    Almost a third of the population are immigrants!

    Isn’t it spooky how the maps of foreign-born population, GDP per capita and human development are virtually identical.
    Why should we become a minority in our own successful civilisation?

    *Our* ancestors built that success.
    And our descendents deserve to inherit it.


    • I’m not up to debating the with you for health reasons (surgery pending).

      I will merely point out you have proven my point. The definition of racism is the belief of the superiority of one group over others. You have comprehensively demonstrated your belief.

      When I said “could expect” I was speaking statistically. Please do not misrepresent my words.


    • Indigenous weren’t included in the census in 1940. No one race is superior over another. The majority of whites at that time was a conscious political decision. It is therefore moot as an argument in who is ‘entitled’ to inherit anything. As a country of people, from wherever, we are all entitled to build and pass on. That’s part of the social contract. Race is, and should always be, irrelevant. Skin colour and birth place are not the precursors of either merit or social worth – character is.


    • “our descendents deserve to inherit it.” – deserve, DESERVE!? This use of words without any substance typifies the quality of your whole argument. We Australians whe were born here have the highest standard of living in the history of the world – why?, because the birth canal we came down was situated in Australia. As simple as that, when you remove all the fairy-story BS

      We are all humans; indeed, we are all beings, and neither race nor species is an excuse for selfishness and greed and hatred such as your contribution embodies


      • Team Oyeniyi “You have comprehensively demonstrated your belief.”

        Those maps are not a “belief”.
        They’re a fact. They’re the real world.
        “Equality” is the belief.

        I don’t care what the Bible says about greed.
        It also says a lot about the Jews putting their own people first and being quite hostile to other nations.

        So you admit immigration is about financial matters.
        Yet you permit Japan and South Korea to be as greedy as they like!
        It’s all for them, none for the others.

        Want to help the poor?
        What of the 700,000 unemployed and 100,000 homeless already living in Australia?

        There are plenty of White people who live in poor conditions throughout the world.
        They would both benefit from coming here *and* fit in more easily, with no noticeable drastic change.
        What of all those formerly oppressed, poor Eastern Europeans? They’re only 2% of our intake!

        “Indigenous weren’t included in the census in 1940.”

        And they would make how much difference? 1 or 2%.
        They would actually INCREASE the native-born proportion, genius.

        They’re not immigrants, so are irrelevant to this discussion.

        “The majority of whites at that time was a conscious political decision”

        Right, and that’s what we were.
        “Australians”, the ethnic group, were and are White.

        Other people can have “merit and social worth” amongst their own people.
        If they’re so fabulous, they would rise to the top easily, amongst so many underachievers.

        johnsalmond “because the birth canal we came down was situated in Australia”

        And why was it here? Because your mother’s ancestors (presumably) built this nation.

        Did they build it for any old “human” or did they sweat and bleed and cry for YOU, *their* children and grandchildren, not just anybody’s.

        “Inheritance” is a universal concept that applies not only to individuals, but to entire peoples.
        That’s why there are museums all over the world.

        Where is the “hatred” in my comments?
        I’m so tired of this knee-jerk trotting out of the tired “hate” word.
        The only thing I hate is bull$#!&.

        One could more validly accuse the “anti-racists” of hatred.
        They’re the ones destroying entire peoples and cultures through displacement, just because of their skin colour.
        I’m not proposing changing anyone else’s culture or nation.


  5. Charles Pearson isn’t much of a fortune teller.
    One minute the “Coloureds” are hostile and vengeful.
    The next, their our new best friends, going to salons with us in Paris.
    Make up your mind, Charles. Are they with us or against us?

    Yes, in those countries where there was only a rudimentary administrative settlement, there’s little lasting trace of European colonialism.

    But where they dominated the land (Australia, NZ, USA, Canada) you see the same advanced development as Europe.
    Similar advancement for the “Coloureds” is mostly still a pipe dream (Japan and South Korea are the only significant exceptions).

    Mindmadeup “The poisonous White Australia Policy is still alive and well.”

    With 80% non-White immigration? Give me a break!
    Yes, 80% of recent immigrants are non-White.

    Only 7% of the last year’s immigrants were from the UK, our principal traditional source.

    But this drastic change is of course never going to cause any social problems.

    Because modern people have somehow “evolved” beyond the territorial, tribal instincts they’ve had for a million years, thanks to lovey-dovey happy-face propaganda.
    Let’s all hold hands and sing.


    • I do believe your figure of 80% is WAY WAY over the top. Would you please like to provide EVIDENCE?

      I think you are proof that we can’t ignore the legacy of our history. I assume you are inferring my book is “lovey-dovey happy-face propaganda”?

      Please do check the comment policy for this website.


      • Since you did not edit my comment in any way, I don’t see how I could have violated your policy.
        I was not specifically referring to your book, but to general popular media and government statements that paint a utopian vision of a drastic and dangerous social experiment.

        My figures are accurate.
        The government has a facility that lets you look up the figures.
        http://www.immi.gov.au/settlement/srf/ (Settlement Reporting)
        Select “country of birth (world region)” for general regions.
        You can also choose “country of birth (settlement)” which shows individual countries, or other factors.


      • I referred you to the policy for future comments.

        I downloaded the report and did a QUICK analysis and of course, without knowing what you categorise as “non-white” it is difficult to replicate any analysis you might have made. Are Greeks and Italians in your white or non-white category? What about Argentina and Peru?

        I would say less that 70% are “non-white” even being fairly strict with classification.

        Now, I’m guessing you assumed all immigrants from places like Zimbabwe and Namibia are non-white, yet I have people in my department born in both countries and they are both very Caucasian. So country of birth is not a good indicator, especially when so many whites fled certain countries.

        Of course, the other aspect is “white” people only make up 20% of the world population, so one could expect immigration to be in that ratio. I suggest our immigration mix is actually biased towards “white” when you consider the ethnic mix of the global population.


      • No, you can’t choose a direct “Race” option, but you can extrapolate using what you know of regional populations around the world.

        Yes, there will be some White people in Africa and Asia, but there are also some Africans and Asians in Europe and North America, so they cancel each other out.

        Below is a report I just did, and it confirms my 80% estimate, even being generous and including *all* of South and Central America, which is mostly mixed.

        You can clearly see an overwhelming bias to Asia.
        We hardly even get any “wogs” these days.
        And what of the Eastern Europeans? Aren’t they looking for a “better life” too? Why only 2%? Because they wouldn’t “transform” us?

        I counted as “White” the regions marked thus*.

        Settlers By Cntry of birth (world region)
        Arrival Dates: from 02-Feb-2013 to 03-Feb-2014

        Southern Asia 34789
        Northeast Asia 23077
        Southeast Asia 20987
        The United Kingdom and Ireland* 12069
        The Middle East 11540
        Southern and East Africa 6158
        Northern America* 2288
        North Africa 1978
        Western Europe* 1851
        Southern Europe* 1845
        The Former USSR and the Baltic States* 1820
        Australia* 1804
        South America* 1434
        Central and West Africa 1290
        Polynesia (excluding Hawaii) 990
        Eastern Europe* 967
        New Zealand* 538
        Northern Europe* 334
        Central America* 259
        Melanesia 155
        The Caribbean 121
        Micronesia 6
        Africa (So Stated) 1

        Total above 126301
        Invalid/Unknown 402

        A reflection of world population is not the purpose of immigration.
        It should benefit our country (there’s no point taking millions of poor unskilled *White* people either) and not cause excessive disruption in our existing society.

        You don’t take a massive gamble with your prosperity or social stability for utopian dreams or meaningless “representation”.

        Our history does not reflect the whole world any more than Japan’s or South Korea’s.
        Those rich countries are somehow exempt from the imposition of utopian “representation”.
        Why at they left alone, to be what their own history made them, while all “White” countries/regions must be radically transformed?
        The demand to be “representative”, inclusive and tolerant is a one-way street.
        And when it all blows up in our faces, the immigrant’s homelands will be left unscarred, while we live in rubble.


      • I did it by country, so I think our figures are probably very different.

        I didn’t demand anything, I merely stated a population fact.

        I might point out the Japan and South Korea are populated by their original ethnicities. Most “white” countries are the result of invasion. There is a bit of a difference. Japan has enough people already crammed into a tiny space – rich or not, I wouldn’t expect Japan to realistically take any more people!

        The bottom line is really we saw fit to invade a country yet we don’t want to share. Other “white” countries take far more than we do. We take the least of any of the developed nations, despite the fact we try to spin a different set of numbers. Try the numbers on https://teamoyeniyi.com/2012/02/07/asylum-seekers-in-australia-more-of-the-same/ for comparisons.


  6. Reblogged this on you said it… and commented:
    The poisonous White Australia Policy is still alive and well.


  7. I think they can. Barton’s attitude was known to be overtly racist and was accepted then. As you know our Constitution excluded the indigenous population as voting citizens.

    I was fortunate enough to have parents (their families had been Australian born for some time) who would point these things out to me as a child and who discussed issues such as intolerance. Australia was a very British centric country when I was a child in the late forties and early fifties. The white Australia policy was overtly expressed, though I have spoken to others my age who do not remember this. In the late 50s we prided ourselves on the Columbo program where overseas students could study at University here. Unfortunately, if they happened to fall in love whilst here, and I know personally some young people who did, there was no permission to stay and marry.

    Gradually the “white Australia policy” became less overt. Sir Robert Menzies surreptitiously began the process of lessening it during his time as Prime Minister but it was only officially abandoned by Gough Whitlam.

    I think, in all fairness I should mention that, in some areas there was also fairly strident objections from a significant minority of the community about white European refugees and settlers post WW2. Some were not welcomed as well as they should have been.

    When I worked in England in the early 90s I was told that Australia was regarded as quite racist. I can also admit that I have had embarrassed moments about Australia’s record when at conferences I have from time to time attended professionally when international people were there and when human rights issues have been discussed.


    • Anne thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge. I arrived here in 1974 and although my mother was born and raised in Sydney I don’t recall her ever speaking of the White Australia Policy but she must have grown up with it.

      I am trying to remember her attitude to the Maori shearers, but I can’t recall anything specific. It is too long ago.

      I have received similar comments at conferences, those conferences were not human rights related.

      Interesting your comment about the students in love, given my current series of articles on partner visas. How much of the difficulties now are a hang over from the past?


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