Australia in the 1900s

The White Australia Policy

The new Federal government passed immigration laws. The Immigration Restriction Act 1901 (Cth) was passed, allowing the government to keep out unwanted immigrants by applying a dictation test in any European language of the government's choosing.The act was written with the intention of keeping out non-Europeans and was known as the White Australia Policy.

In addition, the Pacific Island Labourers Act 1901 (Cth) stated that any Pacific Islanders still living in Australia in five years' time would be deported. This law was passed to expel the 'kanaka' labourers who were working in the emerging Australian sugar industry.

A snapshot of 1908

  • March
    • Mawson and David scale Mount Erebus in Antarctica.

  • May
    • The first official Australian Coat of Arms is granted.
    • Alfred Deakin's government is defeated and Andrew Fisher becomes prime minister.

  • July
    • The Invalid and Old Age Pensions Act 1908 (Cth) is passed

  • August
    • The Great White Fleet sent by President Roosevelt arrives in Australia at Alfred Deakin's request.

  • September
    • 'My Country', Dorothy Mackellar's poem, is published in London's Spectator.

  • October
    • Canberra is selected for the site of a national capital city.


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