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Interactive resource

A walk through 'White Australia' at the National Museum of Australia, 1850-2010

In this unit of work students explore how the National Museum of Australia (NMA) exhibitions represent 'White Australia' attitudes and policies in Australian history from 1850 to the present day. The unit uses objects and displays to help students investigate key issues around the development of a multicultural Australia.


White Australia Policy badge, c1920

This is a circular copper-nickel and aluminium fob badge made around 1920. The words 'WHITE / AUSTRALIA' run across a central cut-out map of Australia, which is made of silvered (white) wash on aluminium. The circular brass border bears the words 'AUSTRALIA FOR THE AUSTRALIANS'. There is suspension loop at top. The badge ...


Immigration: fill it or lose it, 1992

This video clip looks at the political forces and propaganda campaigns that tried to fill Australia with 'pure white' immigrants. 'Immigration: fill it or lose it' is an excerpt from the documentary 'Admission impossible' (54 min), produced in 1992. For much of the 20th century, successive Australian governments pursued ...


Rabbit-Proof Fence, 2002: Mr Neville says no

This clip shows Mr Neville, the Chief Protector of Aborigines in Western Australia (Kenneth Branagh), inspecting the colour of Molly's skin. It opens with Mr Neville calling Molly (Everlyn Sampi) out of the group of children assembled in front of the church at the Moore River Settlement. Another Aboriginal girl and the ...


White Australia policy

This collection of 17 digital curriculum resources about the White Australia policy covers the racist background to the policy, its use of a dictation test to exclude non-white immigrants, the deportation of indentured Pacific Islander labourers in the 1900s, the effects of the policy on people's lives, its supporters and ...

Teacher resource

The development of Australian nationhood - Teacher idea

This Teacher idea is designed to be interesting and comprehensive – the teacher wanted to avoid the 'drier' approach that she had taken in the past. It includes interactive learning objects, film clips, photographs, posters, cartoons, maps and documents examining Australia’s road to nationhood. It includes a unit of work ...


Proposal to take Aboriginal children to new NT settlement, 1911

This is a letter from the administrator of the Northern Territory, Samuel Mitchell, to the federal minister for external affairs, Egerton Batchelor, suggesting that police 'gather in' all 'half caste children' who are living with Aboriginal people and take them to a proposed Aboriginal settlement. He notes that 'No doubt ...


Report on rationing and conditions in Kahlin Compound, 1936

This is a report dated 22 May 1936 for the Chief Protector of Aboriginals, Darwin. It covers food 'RATIONING AND GENERAL CONDITIONS OF HALFCASTE INMATES OF KAHLIN COMPOUND' in Darwin. The acting superintendent, A X Herbert, outlines how food rations were issued to the 210 'inmates' over the previous seven weeks. He also ...


Martin Luther King Jr delivering his 'I have a dream' speech, 1963

This is a black-and-white photograph of the American black civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr (1929-68), delivering his 'I have a dream' speech in Washington, DC, on 28 August 1963. Dressed in a suit and tie, King is pictured standing at a lectern with a bank of microphones, with one hand in the air. Other African ...

Interactive resource

Indentured labour 1

This is a slideshow resource about the thousands of indentured Pacific Islander labourers who were brought in to work on sugar plantations in colonial Queensland and northern New South Wales from the 1860s until the post-Federation period of the early 1900s. Slides deal with the commercial impact on the colony, while revealing ...

Interactive resource

Indentured labour 2

This is a slideshow resource focusing on the work and lives of male and female indentured Pacific Islander labourers who were brought to the cane fields of colonial Queensland and northern New South Wales from the 1860s until the post-Federation period of the early 1900s. The resource focuses on the working and living conditions ...


Chinese migrants as portrayed by the Australian colonial media

This is a collection of 19 digital curriculum resources focusing on the racist way the colonial press portrayed Chinese migrants in the mid to late 19th century. The resources are grouped under six headings - presenting Chinese migrants as alien; depicting Chinese migrants as cheap workers; sensationalising the 'Afghan' ...


Australian Rules, 2002: Best man on ground

This clip shows racial tension and discrimination at the presentation night for a local junior Australian Rules football team in the fictitious South Australian town of Prospect Bay. An angry remark from Pretty (Tony Briggs), an Indigenous former player, to the compere, Glenn Bright (Brian Torrey), opens the night's proceedings. ...


Illustration of Indigenous man offering his boomerang to white 'Queensland', 1891

This black-and-sepia allegorical drawing from the cover of the Boomerang newspaper shows an Indigenous man on one knee offering his boomerang to 'Queensland'. The man is dressed in animal skins and Queensland is depicted as a classical maiden. To Queensland's rear and sides are banana plants, sugar cane, tropical fruit, ...


'Native troopers dispersing a camp', c1887

This superimposed black-and-white illustration shows an Indigenous trooper of the New South Wales Mounted Native Police firing his pistol at a fleeing Aboriginal man who is carrying spears. Another trooper is visible in the background firing at other Aboriginal people, one of whom has been shot and another of whom is aiming ...


'A curiosity in her own country', 1888

This black-and-white cartoon shows an Indigenous mother and her child who are dressed in European-style clothes and seated in what appears to be a city street. They are surrounded by rudely staring non-Indigenous onlookers, including a Chinese man. The cartoon by Phil May is captioned 'A CURIOSITY IN HER OWN COUNTRY.' It ...


Cartoon supporting Pacific Island Labourers Bill, 1901

This black-and-sepia composite image shows two views of a cartoon. In the first view prime minister Edmund Barton, dressed as a woman, is about to take a scrubbing brush labelled 'A WHITE AUSTRALIA' to a naked boy wearing only a hat labelled 'BLACK QUEENSLAND'. Tiny black figures are crawling on the boy's body. The second ...


Anti-Chinese immigration cartoon, 1888 - item 2

This black-and-white cartoon depicts a young man with an Australian coat of arms on his hat standing outside, without an overcoat, as the caricatured heads of Chinese people fall like raindrops. The caption's text (not visible) indicates the man is requesting protection from Chinese immigration from John Bull, a figure ...


Sheet music cover for 'White Australia', 1910

This is the front cover of sheet music for a song called 'White Australia'. The music was composed by W E Naunton and the lyrics written by Naunton and H J W Gyles. The cover includes an image of a white map of Australia. Text inside the map reads in part: 'Australia, the white man's land, / Defended by the white man's ...


White Australia medal, c1910

This medal promotes the idea that it is desirable for Australia to have a white-only population. It comprises an aluminium map of Australia inside a brass circle. One side is inscribed: 'AUSTRALIA FOR THE AUSTRALIANS' around the rim and 'WHITE AUSTRALIA' inside the map. The other side, which is cracked, is inscribed 'POPULATION ...