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Autumn Leaves by Wendy Chen: Home

A guide to the themes and context of the short story Autumn Leaves by Wendy Chen

Autumn Leaves by Wendy Chen

White Australia Policy

Attorney-General Alfred Deakin, 12 September 1901:

That end, put in plain and unequivocal terms … means the prohibition of all alien coloured immigration, and more, it means at the earliest time, by reasonable and just means, the deportation or reduction of the number of aliens now in our midst. The two things go hand in hand, and are the necessary complement of a single policy – the policy of securing a ‘white Australia’.


On 23 December 1901 the Immigration Restriction Act became law. It was one of the first laws passed by the new Australian federal parliament. The law was designed to allow British people to migrate to Australia and to limit all other migration. The colonies had restrictive immigration laws before federation, but the Act formalised the idea of a ‘White Australia’ as national policy. The policy lasted until the 1960s and was completely removed by the Racial Discrimination Act in 1975.

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The History of Chinatown

Most major cities around the world have a Chinatown. They reflect a history of hope and hardship when many migrants left their homes for a new life offshore. 



The White Australia Policy - ABC Education

This collection explores the history of the Immigration Restriction Act, as well as some of the stories of those subject to it.

The End of the White Australia Policy - National Museum of Australia

In 1966 the Australian Government introduced new laws that applied the same rules to all people migrating to Australia. These changes allowed migrants to be chosen for their skills, rather than their race or nationality.

Dictation Test from 1923-1936 - National Archives of Australia

From the National Archives, copies of the dictation tests given to 'undesirable immigrants' at ports around Australia

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