Anglo-Chinese and the politics of overseas travel from New South Wales, 1898 to 1925



Publication Details

Bagnall, K. (2015). Anglo-Chinese and the politics of overseas travel from New South Wales, 1898 to 1925. In S. Couchman & K. Bagnall (Eds.), Chinese Australians: Politics, Engagement and Resistance (pp. 203-238). Leiden: Koninklijke Brill NV.


In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Anglo-Chinese Australians travelled overseas, primarily to Hong Kong, China and the Pacific, on holidays, for education and business, and to visit family. Like other 'non-white' Australians, after 1901 they were subject to the regulations of the Immigration Restriction Act, under which they did not have an automatic right of return to Australia, even though they were Australian-born British subjects. Australia's early immigration regulations were designed to keep out unwanted 'non-white' arrivals, most famously through use of the Dictation Test, and the legislation was not clear on how officials should deal with those who were both Australian born and of mixed race. This chapter explores the politics of overseas travel for Anglo- Chinese from New South Wales within the context of the bureaucratic processes of immigration restriction. Using specific cases found in government archives, the chapter discusses five aspects of this administration-colonial practices and adjustments after 1901, the use of birth certificates as identity documents, the seemingly contradictory requirements around emigration and immigration, cases of disputed identity and the use of cultural capital and community belonging.

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