Document Type

Book Chapter


Mixed relations between the Aboriginal and Asian communities in Darwin formed and endured in the face of a largely antagonistic white administration. Asian immigrants were originally brought to Darwin by the South Australian colonial administration, but with the advent of the White Australia policy, there began a regime of restrictions intended to segregate the community into ethnic enclaves and limit the increasing mixed population. The impact of segregation policies was considerable, but despite this, Darwin gained a reputation as a town where everyone mixed together. The segregationists may have held power, but those in favour of a mixed society were in the majority. By the late 1920s Darwin's anti-segregation lobby began to be felt as a political force, but only some aspects of mixed relations were sanctioned. Those of mixed Aboriginal-Asian descent were able to gain significant freedoms, but for many Aboriginal people inter-ethnic relations remained restricted, being officially constructed as inappropriate and even illegal.