Drawing the local colour line: white Australia and the tropical north

McGregor, Russell (2012) Drawing the local colour line: white Australia and the tropical north. Journal of Pacific History, 47 (3). pp. 329-346.

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My title paraphrases that of Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds's recent book, Drawing the Global Colour Line (Melbourne 2008). As those historians explain, the distinction between white and nonwhite races was drawn with increasing rigour in the three decades or so on either side of 1900. Locally drawn lines, however, could be more substantive, inscribing boundaries across land and sea which confined white and non-white to one side or the other. The white Australia policy provides a perfect example, attempting to cordon off the continent as the exclusive preserve of the white race. However, the actual location of the colour line around white Australia was disputed in the early decades of the 20th century. While the dominant version of the white Australia policy drew the colour line somewhere north of Thursday Island, a significant body of critics insisted that it be drawn somewhere near the Tropic of Capricorn. This paper explores the arguments and assumptions of those critics.

Item ID: 23657
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-9605
Keywords: White Australia Policy; northern Australia; tropical Australia; Australian nationalism - history
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2012 06:23
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%
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